Thursday, September 13, 2012

Violent protests - What America should do

Sadly it appears that the 'film protests' are continuing unabated. The US Embassy in Yemen is currently under attack and protests are continuing outside our embassy in Cairo. The United States is now being directly challenged. Iran, Assad, Hizballah, Al Qa'ida and every other group that hates America are now watching to see what we do. Here's what we should do.

1) The President should order the deployment of military reinforcements to secure our diplomatic facilities in the region. He has currently sent FAST units, however, this may not be sufficient. The US has considerable military assets in the EUCOM and CENTCOM areas of operation. We should not be afraid to utilize these assets as necessary.Our response should also involve tightening security procedures at diplomatic facilities in states like Indonesia and Pakistan - which may face protests after tomorrow's Friday prayers. The key is that we ensure we are able to protect our diplomats and our facilities. Secretary of State Clinton must require that host nation security forces are provided to defend our diplomats. 

2) The President should unequivocally (and angrily) condemn the violent reaction that has followed reporting on this film. His speech yesterday was not sufficient. There is no excuse for the kind of violence that we have seen. This film was produced by a private group of individuals in the conduct of free speech. Free speech defines America. We must stand up for this right while emphasizing that the US govt. had nothing to do with the film. Where there is positive regard for the United States in the Middle East, in large part this feeling stems from a high regard for our freedoms. The President must condemn those who violently protest as morally pathetic human beings. They need to be called out for their repellent ideology.

3) The President should take substantive action to bring to justice those responsible for the Benghazi bombing. This should include the application of military force if targets can be identified (for example in the Libyan desert). The US is currently appearing impotent and weak in the Middle East. From my perspective, this is in part a result of the President's appearance of timidity on Iran. Whether this is a fair perception or not, appearance is as, if not more important than reality when it comes to Middle Eastern political dynamics.

This is somewhat personal to me, my father was a diplomat with State and my grandfather was a US Marine. We need to make sure we protect our citizens.

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