Blog: The Assassination of American diplomats in Libya and the aftermath: Could it Have Been Handled Differently?

On the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, the United States was shocked to hear of the deadly attacks on four American diplomats in Benghazi, Libya. It was brought upon by hatred of religion extremists, as well as ignorance, if not hubris by a bigger power. The attack represents a failure of US policies and a failure to handle the situation in an appropriate way. How did this all come about? Was it all because of an untrue claim in regards to an anti-Islam video that surfaced on YouTube?

The situation fell on Susan Rice, the U.S Ambassador to the United Nations. It was her job to explain the situation and the ways the CIA and the United States was handling the crisis. She claimed on numerous news programs that “the violence that killed a U.S ambassador and three other Americans was not an act of terrorism, but rather a ‘spontaneous’ mob reaction to an anti-Islam video on YouTube.”  This left many Americans at unease and questioning how we should handle our relations to the Middle East while maintaining our right to free and unfettered expression.

Susan Rice has been known to promote false accusations and use poor word choice in the past. When Bill Clinton was president, Rice shocked the Clinton Administration and her colleagues during the 1994 Rwanda genocide by wanting to release information about the slaughter without using the word “genocide.”  Her failure to use proper word choice can help predict future problems with Libya and other Middle Eastern countries in the near future.

According to the Huffington Post, President Obama tried to persuade the U.S. that the CIA had it’s own initiative on handling the situation in Benghazi. If that was the case, why did the CIA dismiss any mention of a terrorist attack? Why did the CIA try to deceive Americans from the truth? It maybe an answer we will never receive.

Yes, Obama has killed multiple wanted terrorists; and though it seems to get political points here at home, it is not solving the problem of the United States being hated in the Middle East and our geo-political leadership being under-minded.  If we want to remain a peace-keeping leader in the world, we need to abide by the founding doctrines of our nation: respect for all religions, respect based on education, and understanding “dignified acceptance of differences.” We need to educate our population about Islam and its many variations. We need to elevate, on a global scale, respect for others and their religious beliefs. If we respect them, they may respect us in return.

In the next coming months, Obama proposed Susan Rice as a potential candidate for Secretary of State after Hillary Clinton. This decision ignores her stumbled regards to Benghazi, her role in Rwanda, and her blindness towards the American public.  Overall, Rice as a Secretary of State has an image problem of huge proportions. By ignoring the deeper issues of this decision, we are putting more Americans at risk.

Victoria Pethen is a Sophomore studying International Area Studies and Legal Studies at Drexel UniversityThe views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the position of UNA-GP.