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U.S. policy in face of Libyan bombing

Posted on September 13, 2012 | by WSN Editorial Board

Sad news reached the American people on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Four U.S. diplomats, including the Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, were killed in an assault on a consulate building in Benghazi. Some suspect the attack was a retaliation for the recent American-made movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” which caused outrage and protests throughout the region. Others believe this was the work of al-Qaeda in avenging the death of Libyan deputy Abu Yahya al-Libi. Either way, the weaponry used in the killings — mortars and rocket-propelled grenades — implies that the attack was premeditated.

Destabilization has increased gradually in the region since the U.S.-led NATO intervention last spring deposed Muammar el-Qaddafi and turned the government over to Libyan rebels. Thus, the U.S. government is forced to deal with potentially dangerous long-term repercussions to an invasion that has been universally lauded for its short-term successes.

Independently, this attack does not damage the relationship between the American and Libyan governments. The assault took place at a consulate building on American property. There was little that Libyan security forces could have done that American forces couldn’t, especially considering the new regime’s instability. Besides, the new Libyan government, installed in the wake of el-Qaddafi’s overthrow, was overtly supported by NATO. Unless the new Libyan government refuses to cooperate with subsequent investigations, there is no reason for the U.S. to weaken ties with a fledgling government in the midst of transitional turmoil.

Rather, the U.S. should support any efforts to quell social unrest in the region. This instability allows religious fundamentalism to gain traction, as observed following the establishment of the provisional government in Iraq in 2003. The U.S. needs to allow Libya to foster its own governmental institutions rather than imposing its policies upon the country. In this way, America will hopefully learn from its past mistakes.

Despite the distance between statements made by President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney about the embassy attack, whoever ultimately wins the election will most likely continue current policies when it comes to maintaining a relationship with the new Libyan government. We should only hope they don’t change course into strategies that result in greater turmoil.

A version of this story appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 13 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at 


Tatiana Baez

Assistant Managing Editor | A CAS junior, Tatiana is studying journalism, environmental science and politics. She’s a bomb editor, as well as the staff’s main source of entertainment because she sings along to every song after 12 a.m. She also writes about culture, science, technology and sex, and her work has been featured in VICE, Motherboard, Elite Daily, amNewYork and others. She enjoys eating Thai food, reading fiction and binge-watching Netflix.

And in case you were wondering how great she really is — “I just can’t get enough of Tatiana” is a direct quote from her EIC at WSN only moments ago.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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