by RAy Fleming

The details of the events surrounding the killing of the US Ambassador to Libya and members of his staff are not yet clear although its significance is obvious as the Libyan government and people, and others in the region, struggle to establish stability and democracy. However, in the United States it became immediately clear that the death of Ambassador Stevens would bring foreign affairs into the presidential election campaigns after being almost ignored at the parties' Conventions. Mitt Romney made sure of this by criticising a statement issued by the US Embassy in Cairo referring to a film made in America which demeans the person and actions of the Prophet Muhammad. It condemned “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims and to offend believers of all religions.” Romney quickly described this as “an apology” and the US Administration's failure to “condemn the attacks but to sympathise with those who waged the attack”. Later he strengthened his view, adding that the Administration should have made a statement of “condemnation and force.” Romney was wrong an all counts. The Embassy statement was issued before the attacks took place and it was clearly not the definitive White House position which came yesterday from the President and Secretary of State. It would also be interesting to know what Mr Romney meant by “force”. Force as with George W Bush?

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