For my last I have been called an evil person and an idiot by two of my cherished interlocutors. If this keeps up, I could get my feelings hurt. My chief point was to criticize this now infamous statement issued from the Cairo embassy hours before the protest began.
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.
That my criticism was correct is confirmed by the White House's efforts to distance itself from the statement. Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy has a revealing summary of the boondoggle.
President Obama commented on the controversy in an interview to be aired Wednesday evening on 60 Minutes. "In an effort to cool the situation down, it didn't come from me, it didn't come from Secretary Clinton. It came from people on the ground who are potentially in danger," Obama said. "And my tendency is to cut folks a little bit of slack when they're in that circumstance, rather than try to question their judgment from the comfort of a campaign office."
I gather from other reports that it wasn't cleared by the Ambassador either. In the Obama White House the buck doesn't stop, it drops like a stone.
Apparently the stone carries little weight.
Cairo senior public affairs officer Larry Schwartz, who wrote the release and oversees the embassy's Twitter feed, according to a detailed account of the Tuesday's events…
After the breach [of the embassy walls], as public criticism of the statement grew, the Cairo Embassy Twitter account continued to send out tweets defending the statement, some of which were later deleted. One deleted tweet, originally posted at 12:30 a.m. Cairo Time, said, "This morning's condemnation (issued before protests began) still stands. As does condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy."…
The White House says that it ordered Schwartz not to release the statement, but this apparently had no effect. Where was the ambassador and why is he not in trouble? Why did Secretary Clinton's statement contain a kernel of the same apologetic language? If it's all the fault of this one Twitter-twit, how are they dealing with him?
Despite his disregard of Washington's instructions and his actions throughout the day Tuesday, Schwartz has not yet been disciplined in any way and is still the lead public affairs officer at the embassy.
What do you have to do to get fired from this operation? Of course, if they fire him, he might tell us what actually happened.
I would add this piece from Evelyn Gordon at Commentary:
Just two weeks ago, a Cairo court sentenced 76 people indicted over last September's mob attack on Israel's embassy in Cairo. The net result is that not a single person is going to jail over that attack, sending the clearest possible message that mobs can attack foreign embassies in Cairo with impunity. Yet no world leader has lodged even a pro forma protest over this decision.
This is not just an Obama Administration problem; it is a global law and order problem. Embassies are a vital part of the diplomatic system and they are sometimes the only thing that stands in the way of chaos and war. To allow murderous thugs to violate them is an existential threat to world peace. To defend that system requires courage and force, not sensitivity.
ps. It seems that the Ambassor was in Washington while all this went down. Good thing, that.