U.S. message to Muslim world: You didn't trade tyranny of dictators for tyranny of a mob
In a very somber and almost tearful ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland marking the return to the United States of the remains of the four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, killed this week in the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton gave a very clear message to the Muslim World: " The people of Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob."
President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Panetta at her side Mrs. Clinton highlighted one young woman in Benghazi, her head covered and her eyes haunted with sadness held up a handwritten sign that said thugs and killers don’t represent Benghazi nor Islam.
The president arrived at Andrews Air Force Base on Friday to lead a ceremony honoring the return of the remains of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans killed in an attack in Libya this week.
Obama met with grieving family members at the base outside Washington, where a U.S. government plane had brought their loved ones' remains back to U.S. soil. He was due to deliver an address inside an airplane hangar.
Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the other Americans died after gunmen attacked the lightly fortified U.S. consulate and a safe house refuge in Benghazi on Tuesday night.
The attack, which U.S. officials believe could have been planned in advance, emerged from a protest blaming America for a U.S.-made film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad. The film has sparked protests, some of them violent, at U.S. embassies across the Muslim world.
"Their sacrifice will never be forgotten," Obama said as four flag-draped cases rested near him. He had come to witness the return of those slain in the assault on the American diplomatic mission, including the U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens.
"They knew the danger, and they accepted it," Obama said. "They didn't simply embrace the American ideal. They lived it."
Said Obama of all four men: "They embodied it: the courage, the hope and yes the idealism, that fundamental belief that we can leave this world a little bit better than before. That's who they were, and that's who we are. If we want to truly honor their memory, that's who we must always be."
Of Ambassador Chris Stevens Secretary of State Clinton said:
"During the revolution in Libya, he risked his life to help protect the Libyan people from a tyrant. And he gave his life helping them build a better country.
"The President of the Palestinian Authority who worked closely with Chris when he served in Jerusalem, sent me a letter remembering his energy and integrity. And deploring, and I quote, an act of ugly terror. Many others from across the Middle East and North Africa have offered similar sentiments."
She further note: "It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless. And it is totally unacceptable. The people of Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob. Reasonable people and responsible leaders in these countries need to do everything they can to restore security and hold accountable those behind these violent acts.
"And we will, under the President’s leadership, keep taking steps to protect our personnel around the world. There will be more difficult days ahead, but it is important that we don’t lose sight of the fundamental fact that America must keep leading the world. We owe it to those four men to continue the long hard work of diplomacy.
"I am enormously proud of the men and women of the State Department. I’m proud of all those across our government, civilian and military alike, who represent America abroad. They help make the United States the greatest force for peace, progress and human dignity the world has ever known. If the last few days teach us anything, let it be this; that this work and the men and –
- Asian Tribune -