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Winston Churchill once said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.” On September 11, Christopher Stevens, a career diplomat, became one of the first Americans in Libya to feed the crocodile of Ansar Al-Sharia and learned too late that while appeasers may hope to be eaten last, they are often eaten first.
Christopher Stevens was a Middle Eastern diplomat who typified the new breed going from the University of Berkeley and the Peace Corps to desks in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria. He taught English to Moroccan children in the Peace Corps and helped Palestinian Arabs in the East Jerusalem Consulate, which has a firm policy of pretending that Israel does not exist.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said of Christopher Stevens that he “made other people’s hopes his own” and that may serve as a fitting eulogy both for Stevens and for the disastrous foreign policy of making “other people’s hopes” our own that brought on the Arab Spring.
Stevens, like Clinton and Obama, made the hopes of Islamists his own and they repaid him for it, just as Afghans repaid America for supporting them against the Soviet Union, as Lebanon and Somalia repaid America’s peacekeeping efforts by killing American troops and on down the litany of gratitude in bombs and bullets that have come America’s way from the Muslim world.
“He risked his life to stop a tyrant, then gave his life trying to build a better Libya,” Hillary Clinton said, but if anything his murder exposed the lie that there is a better Libya now than there was before Hillary and he intervened in Libya. Clinton’s eulogy comes perilously close to conceding Stevens’ real mission and the degree of American intervention in the overthrow of Gaddafi.
Stevens was the connection between the Islamist Benghazi rebels and the Obama administration’s illegal war to overthrow Gaddafi. His mission, like the true mission of the war, was secret, and the consulate, marginally fortified and devoid of Marines, reflected that secrecy. Stevens did not think that he had anything to fear from the Islamists because they were his friends.
In the Wikileaks cables, Stevens cheerfully described fighters who saw “resistance against coalition forces in Iraq” as “an important act of ‘jihad’” and local businessmen who took pride in the number of suicide bombers who had come out of the area. For years he had walked safely in their company without understanding that he was just as much of a target as a Marine in Baghdad, but without the training, the weapons or the survival skills.
The only reason Christopher Stevens had lasted this long is that the jihadist fighters had known a useful man when they met him. And Stevens proved to be very useful, but his usefulness ended with Gaddafi’s death. Once the US successfully overthrew Gaddafi and began focusing on stabilizing Libya, Stevens ceased to be a useful idiot and became a useless nuisance. Attacks soon followed on the Benghazi consulate and on other consulates as well, but the Marines were not brought in and Stevens continued relying on local goodwill to secure his offices. It was only a matter of time until the attackers got through.
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