US Guilty of Security Failure in Libya

Thursday, 18 Oct 2012 11:32 AM

By Tawfik Hamid

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The State Department acknowledged that it rejected appeals for more security at its diplomatic posts in Libya in the months before a fatal terrorist attack in Benghazi as Republicans suggested that lapses contributed to the deaths of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
 
Irrespective of the heated political debates about the issue, there is a common sense dimension that needs be addressed.
 
Common sense tells us that when there is a patient with a high risk of getting infection, extra protection is needed for such a patient. Refusing to provide extra protection to such a patient is a form of malpractice.
 
For example, imagine if the manager of a big hospital was informed that there is a patient who has dysfunction of his immune system that puts him at more risk of getting fatal infections and thus this patient will need extra protection for his room to protect his life and that the "manager" refused to provide such needed extra protection which resulted in death of the patient: Who should take the responsibility of the death of this patient in such a case?
 
Similarly, when you have an embassy in a place after a revolution with chaos and with al-Qaida operating in the same area (as in the case of Libya), you need to give such a dangerous place extra protection.
 
In this situation, refusal of the U.S. administration to give extra protection to the U.S. embassy in Benghazi after knowing that al-Qaida operates in such a place — is not much different from the hospital manager who refused to provide extra protection to the patient with immune deficiency after knowing that the patient is at higher risk than other patients.
 
Failure to see that U.S. consulate in post-revolution Benghazi is in a different security situation from, for example, the U.S. embassy in Canada, for example, and that must have extra security is a failure of common sense that has led to a disaster and deserves treatment on its own.
 
It is hard to believe that the U.S. budget could not afford extra security for its consulate in Benghazi. Additionally, the refusal to provide extra security for the consulate in such circumstances represents underestimation of the threat of radical Islam.
 
Furthermore, assuming that Islamists will not attack us because we had helped them remove al-Gadhafi from power is a form of both naivety and ignorance about history. Decision makers at the state department should have learnt a good lesson when the U.S. supported the Mujahedeen of Afghanistan against the Russians and ultimately the latter attacked us on Sept. 11.
 
To conclude, refusing requests to increase security of our embassy in Benghazi is a form of negligence and is inexcusable.
 
Dr. Tawfik Hamid is the author of "Inside Jihad: Understanding and Confronting Radical Islam." Read more reports from Tawfik Hamid — Click Here Now.
 
 

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