Dawson: How should the U.S. respond to the attacks on diplomatic personnel in Benghazi and Cairo?

By: /
September 12, 2012
Laura Dawson, PhD has more than fifteen years’ experience providing advice to government officials on trade and economic issues in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Russia and CIS, and China.

Being an American diplomat abroad is one of the most difficult and dangerous professions in the world. Hours after the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Public Affairs Officer Sean Smith, and two others, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement that articulates her country's commitment to continued efforts in Libya: "The mission that drew Chris and Sean and their colleagues to Libya is both noble and necessary, and we and the people of Libya honor their memory by carrying it forward. This is not easy. Today, many Americans are asking – indeed, I asked myself – how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be. But we must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group – not the people or Government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post. Some were wounded. Libyans carried Chris’ body to the hospital, and they helped rescue and lead other Americans to safety. And last night, when I spoke with the President of Libya, he strongly condemned the violence and pledged every effort to protect our people and pursue those responsible."