Amb. Stevens died a tragic, and in my opinion, heroic death. Killed in the city he had once helped save.
The slain ambassador, Chris Stevens, helped save Libya's eastern city of Benghazi during last year's revolution.The images of the aftermath of the attack are stark.
Amb. Stevens was injured while trying to evacuate his staff from the embassy, and escape via the roof. Even Fox News couldn't bring themselves to twist the truth.
From Latino Fox:
Details of the attack in Benghazi were still emerging Wednesday. Stevens, 52, died as he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff when hundreds of people attacked with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.This should have been a moment of national mourning. Instead, we were treated to crass political rhetoric by the Republican Party's presidential candidate.
By the end of the assault, much of the building was burned out and trashed.
Dr. Ziad Abu Zeid, who treated Stevens, told The Associated Press that he died of asphyxiation, apparently from smoke. In a sign of the chaos during the attack, Stevens was brought by Libyans to the Benghazi Medical Center with no other Americans, and no one at the facility knew who he was, Abu Zeid said.
Stevens was practically dead when he arrived before 1 a.m. Wednesday, and "we tried to revive him for an hour and a half, but with no success," Abu Zeid said. The ambassador was bleeding in his stomach because of the asphyxiation but had no other injuries, he said.
Mitt Romney's careless and inflammatory words weren't just a disgraceful insult to our President - who, in case he has forgotten, is also his own President - but to all of the Americans who died, and to the Libyans who tried to save them. Yes, the people who killed him were Libyan, but so were the people who tried to carry Amb. Stevens' body to safety.
No one this careless, this thoughtless, this utterly callous, should occupy the Oval Office. A short time ago, we lived through 8 years with a President who liked to speak first and ask questions later, a man who shot from the hip. We all know how that turned out.
And it isn't just Mitt. The Republicans just can't seem to help themselves. Despite the fact that Libyans tried to save our Ambassador, risking their own lives to carry him to the hospital, and the fact that the Libyan Government has condemned the attack, the Republicans, instead of calling for a carefully thought out plan to bring the murderers to justice, would prefer that we attack Libya indiscriminately.The unnofficial head of the Republican Party - Rush Limbaugh - is now claiming that the Libyans were trying to harm Amb. Stevens, not help him.
“Then to add insult to injury, we have to listen this morning — honest to God folks — to Mrs. Clinton and Obama praise the Libyans for trying to save our ambassador,” the conservative radio host said Wednesday. “These pictures that you’ve seen with the ambassador upside-down, half naked, being carried over somebody’s shoulder? We’re told, ‘Yeah, our friends in Libya were taking him to the hospital.’ They paraded our ambassador around! Taking him to the hospital? How stupid do they think we are?”These people have no shame. In such a chaotic world, we need leaders who are diplomatic and can remain calm and level-headed in a crisis. Mitt Romney and the Republican leadership simply don't possess those qualities. The way they responded to this terrible tragedy stands as a testament to that fact.
The Libyan Ambassador to the US offered up these words of condolence:
At a Washington news conference held by American religious leaders to condemn both the violence and the anti-Muslim film, Libya's ambassador to the United States called Stevens "the right man for the right position for the right time."I wanted to add more information about Amb. Stevens' life, since the mainstream media only seem to be interested in Romney's remarks.
"He believed in the Libyan people," said Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali, who said Stevens was a personal friend. "He believed that America should support the Libyan people to get their country back. We need to practice democracy like other nations in the world."
President Obama had this to say about Amb. Stevens:
Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya's transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.From Hannah Draper:
In an August blog post, Draper said the ambassador was "legendary" in Libya because he stayed in the country through the revolution, "liaising with the rebels and leading a skeleton crew of Americans on the ground to support humanitarian efforts and meeting up-and-coming political leaders."From an article about his life:
"Several Libyans have told me how much it means to them that he stayed here throughout the revolution, losing friends and suffering privations alongside ordinary Libyans," Draper wrote on her blog. "We could not ask for a better ambassador to represent America during this crucial period in Libyan history."
Stevens was raised in California where he went on to study for his undergraduate degree at the University of California at Berkeley in 1982 before graduating from the University of California's Hastings College of Law in 1989.His introduction video to Libya:
The Telegraph noted that the reports Stevens sent back to the US government from Libya are believed to have encouraged US support of the rebel council, formally carried out in July 2011 by Obama administration. The Telegraph added, "Upon his arrival in April last year, Stevens became the highest-ranking US representative to travel to Libya since the uprising began."
In a video introducing Stevens as the ambassador, he expressed his desire to continue building US and Libyan relationships. Stevens added, "I had the honor to serve as the US envoy to the Libyan opposition during the revolution, was thrilled to watch the Libyan people demand their rights. Now I am excited to return to Libya to continue the great work we started."
Here is a transcript of the video:
As-Salaam-Alaikum. My name is Chris Stevens, and I am the new US Ambassador to Libya. I had the honor to serve as the US Envoy to the Libyan opposition during the Revolution, and I was thrilled to watch the Libyan people standup and demand their rights.My heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends and other loved ones of Amb. Chris Stevens, and the others killed in this attack. May they Rest in Peace. I'm grateful to Amb. Stevens, Sean Smith, and the others for their service.
Now I am excited to return to Libya to continue the great work we've started, building a solid partnership between the United States and Libya, to help you, the Libyan people, achieve your goals.
Right now, I'm in Washington, preparing for my assignment. As I walk around the monuments and memorials commemorating the courageous men and women who made America what it is, I'm reminded that we, too, went through challenging periods. When America was divided by a bitter civil war 150 years ago, Pres. Abraham Lincoln had the vision and the courage to pull the nation together, and help us move forward toward a shared goal of peace and prosperity.
Growing up in California, I didn't know much about the Arab world. Then, after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, I traveled to North Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. I worked as an English teacher in a town in the high Atlas Mountain in Morocco for two years, and quickly grew to love this part of the world. Since joining the Foreign Service, I have spent almost my entire career in the Middle East and North Africa.
One of the things that impressed me when I was last in Libya was listening to stories from people who are old enough to have traveled and studied in the United States, back when we had closer relations. Those days are back. We had 1700 Libyans apply for Fullbright Grants to study in the United States this year - more than any country in the world.
Now, we know that Libya is still recovering from an intense period of conflict. And there are many courageous Libyans who bear the scars of that battle. We are happy that we’ve been able to treat some of your war wounded at US hospitals. We look forward to building partnerships between American and Libyan hospitals to help return Libya's healthcare system to the extraordinary standards of excellence it once enjoyed.
Over my shoulder here you can see the US Capitol Building. In that building 535 elected representatives from every corner of America come together to debate the issues of the day. They are men and women from every religious, ethic and family backgrounds. I look forward to watching Libya develop equally strong institutions of government.
Education and healthcare are just two of the many areas where I see opportunities for close partnership between the United States and Libya. I look forward to exploring those possibilities with you as we work together to build a free, democratic, prosperous Libya.
See you soon.