Attacks on US an opportunity to come together
Don M. Foster
Our America usually comes together when our people are attacked. International agreements are supposed to assure that our diplomats and property are protected by host nations. Our ambassadors and U.S. personnel hold diplomatic passports that governments pledge to honor and protect.
Ambassador Christopher Stevens is an American patriot who served our national interests with distinction. He first learned Arabic and lived as an “unofficial” American previously as a Peace Corps volunteer. His fellow victims, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, deserve the same honor as our war dead. All should make us more aware of and appreciate our democratic principles.
Why did murder and facility destruction in Benghazi and Cairo this time immediately result in divisiveness rather than solidarity? Why did candidate Romney demonstrate incompetence by spouting inaccuracies and attacking President Obama with no apparent sensitivity to the death of four of our “best and brightest?”
Perhaps more of our political opportunists and “experts” should serve in the armed services, as I learned as a 17-year-old soldier in 1944 to respect the responsibilities of superior ranks regardless of my personal dislikes and disdain.
The president demonstrated competent leadership with insight provided by Secretary of State Clinton and rightfully called the two heads of state, remonstrating against their constabulary’s retreat from the attackers rather than fulfilling their obligation to protect, as well as being our commander-in-chief by mobilizing and increasing alert levels of our armed forces in the region. An attack on an embassy or consulate is a direct attack on the U.S.
I have visited our embassies and consulates in many nations for various reasons and being there gave me a sense of home, while enabling a short stress recess from living and working with different governments, cultures and languages.
The majority of the approximately two billion Muslims on the globe is peaceful, consistent with the holy Koran. My professional Muslim colleagues in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were valuable partners in their joint U.S. and U.N. project work. Yes, there are Muslims who hate us. These groups include the zealous proponents of Sharia (replace constitutions with draconian Koranic Law), ethnic Pashto Taliban and the al-Qaida, offshoot of the Saudi Arabian Wahabbi Sunnis. Wahabbi U.S.A. leader Sheikh Akhmed (Drexel University) has said, “America is corrupt! America is immoral! America is ruled by Satan who employs the Jews to carry out their bidding — !” Important to note is that he would not be free to say those untruths in Saudi Arabia.
True to our core values, we do not accept violence to address domestic or foreign grievances. When a poor and largely illiterate Muslim population’s sole sense of identity, however, is its faith, any perceived insult becomes very personal and demands action to retain a sense of personhood. Their reaction is emotional rather than thoughtful and contrary to their faith.
Similar to the disreputable video about the Prophet produced by zealot Coptic Christians, what if the Wahabbis produced a video showing Jesus in sacrilegious activities? I think our fellow Christians would demonstrate righteous indignation and vigorous protest.
Instead of cannibalizing each other, let us unify, even if briefly, to lament the loss of our Foreign Service patriots and punish the killers.
Don. M. Foster and his wife Frances have worked, volunteered and lived in nations on four continents. They now live in Grass Valley.
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