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So, too, are American principles. “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims,” began a statement from the American embassy in Cairo. The statement continued, “Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”
Religious freedom is certainly a cornerstone of American democracy. But so is freedom of speech. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney picked up on the outrageousness of such a statement. “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks,” the presidential aspirant pronounced Tuesday night. Alas, both major presidential candidates supported the intervention in Libya.
So did the American ambassador who died as a result of it. Before he gave his life evacuating the consulate in Benghazi, Chris Stevens risked his life to help Libyans overthrow the regime of the brutal dictator Muammar Qaddafi. The ingratitude extended to Stevens by the beneficiaries of his diplomatic work should serve as a cautionary tale about the futility of extending good deeds to bad people.
Why pick a winner in a contest of losers?
Whether his actual outlook or diplomatic nicety, Stevens himself had publically contended that Libya headed in the right direction. “One of the things that impressed me when I was last in Libya was listening to stories from the people who are old enough to have travelled and studied in the United States back when we had closer relations,” the slain public servant announced on the State Department video. “Those days are back.” No, they’re not.
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