Sunday, October 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Getting the story straight on Libya

By
From page A10 | October 05, 2012 |

The issue: Our confused response to the tragedy complicated important assessments that are under way

In the public relations business there is said to be a maxim for handling disasters: Get the information out right, get it out first and get it out your way.

IF THAT FIRST RULE is botched, the other two don’t much matter, and the Obama administration is paying the political price for that in its handling of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who grew up in Davis, and three other embassy employees.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, three possible explanations surfaced: It was a spontaneous reaction to a video Muslims considered blasphemous originating in the United States; a terrorist group opportunistically used those demonstrations as spontaneous cover to attack the consulate; or the attack was carefully planned by known and well-organized groups of Islamic extremists.

In the week following the attack, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice offered the first explanation; the secretaries of Defense and State, the White House press secretary and the president of Libya said flatly it was a terrorist attack; and President Barack Obama, ever cautious, initially said extremists used the video as an excuse to attack the consulate, perhaps overlooking the symbolic importance of the date — 9/11.

Given the initial — and short-lived — uncertainty about the origin of the attacks, the confused response by the administration is perhaps understandable but hardly encouraging.

IN NORMAL TIMES, a dispassionate congressional investigation would be in order, but in the current climate that’s not going to happen. An FBI investigative team is on the ground in Libya but is being held back because of security considerations. Presumably, Pentagon and State Department assessments are under way.

And it is reassuring that ordinary Libyans tried desperately to rescue and revive Stevens; that the attack was followed by pro-U.S. demonstrations; and that Libyan President Mohammed el-Megaref was deeply apologetic and reportedly is carrying out his promise to crack down on extremist groups.

Predictably, the Romney campaign sought political advantage from the lethal attacks, finally a chance to attack Obama on his foreign policy strong suit. Typically, the GOP response was devoid of details and specifics. Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said on Sunday that Obama’s foreign policy was “unraveling.” And “so what Mitt Romney is going to do is lay out a very different vision for foreign policy, one that is a policy of American strength versus what I would claim (is) one of weakness.”

MEANWHILE, our spooks and special operations forces have become extremely adept at exacting revenge in cases like this. Congress should keep this in mind when it talks so casually about dismembering the defense budget.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Howzat! Cricket tradition grows in Davis

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Housing First pilot project targets West Sac homeless

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

    Return to sender: MRAP removal options go to council

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    $18.75M grant aims to build global food security

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Cop witnesses car-pedestrian collision

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Hawaii hit by winds, rain as hurricane veers west

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Evidentiary hearing set for man shot by CHP

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Firefighters on the town

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A3

     
    Donate used books at Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Love-life tips on ‘Heart to Heart’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Volunteers sought to chip in on parks cleanup

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Crash victim ID’d as Woodland man

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

     
    Senior Computer Club hears from county official

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Guns to be discharged at police range

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

     
    DHS ski and snowboard swap set on Nov. 9

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Wolk sets ‘Morning with the Mayor’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Safe viewing of solar eclipse planned

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Fill the Boot for the hungry

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

     
    Quiz Master Gardeners at open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Celebrate origami at Davis library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Esparto home targeted in three-city pot bust

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

     
    Apply by Friday for Biberstein grants

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Wolk earns perfect score from senior advocates

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    UCD celebrates 50 years of global agricultural success

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Special education information night scheduled

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

    Be on the lookout for tagged Monarch butterflies

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A16 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Old news disturbs the present

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Take time to reach out for help

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

    Are we there yet? Yik Yakking the day away

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A8

     
    A bionic hand with feeling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Ain’t Snow Mountain high enough

    By Our View | From Page: A14

     
    Let’s take Davis’ energy future seriously

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

    Teach cyclists to obey laws

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

     
    Proposed lights harm kids

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

    Water theater isn’t fun

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

     
    Elect Granda to board

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

    Yes on Prop. 47: reasonable changes to curb recidivism, save money

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

     
    No on Prop. 47: an end to safe neighborhoods, and more victims

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

    Be careful cycling on Fifth

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A15

     
    .

    Sports

    Competitive Aggies fall at No. 6/7 Montana

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils stick it to Chico, cancer

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Vargas emerges from crowded Aggie WR corps

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    JV Devils fall to Franklin

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Niemi leads Sharks to win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    UCD roundup: Big crowd sees Aggies nip Guachos

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

     
    Davis is a temple for fine beverages

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Arcadia Biosciences earns spot on global innovation list

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    35 employers will be at West Sac job fair

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Rob White: Building an economy on innovation

    By Rob White | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Sadie Louise Barga

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Morgan Wheeler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Peggy Belenis Swisher

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, October 19, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8