In regard to the recent attack in Libya, in which the U.S. Ambassador to Libya was killed, what do you believe the implications are in terms of the United States’ involvement in the region, as well as on a political level at home?
I was sad to learn of the attacks on two U.S. diplomatic office sites in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. He was a fellow returned Peace Corps Volunteer with a distinguished career of public service. His death is a tragedy, compounded by the horrific news that three other U.S. personnel were killed during the Sept. 11 assaults by armed terrorists.
Since the attacks, many have questioned our involvement in countries like Libya. In the face of this senseless violence, it might seem to some that the United States should turn our back and walk away.
In light of those calls, what we must remember is that freedom and democracy are not uniquely American ideals. Instead, they are a thread that has the power to unite the entire human race in peace and we must do everything possible to promote them throughout the entire world.
Just as the filmmaker who created the awful movie that sparked rioting around the Muslim world does not represent our country’s view, the rage of the terrorists who carried out these attacks are not representative of the entire Muslim faith.
The majority of Libyans share the same values that we do. They have a strong sense of faith, practicing a religion of peace and tolerance that rejects the radical views of extremists who wish to use it to ignite violence.
America has built partnerships with those in Libya who believe in democracy. We must continue to stand beside our allies there to promote peace, equity and justice in a nation that has been starved of these basic human principles but yearns for them nonetheless.
This kind of transformation will not be easy and it will not happen overnight. The challenge is great so our resolve must be greater.
U.S. disengagement could enable terrorists and fringe groups to further their recruitment in Libya. It could escalate into a breeding ground for the brand of hatred that gave rise to these attacks and the attacks on our soil that occurred 11 years earlier. A stable Libya is in the United States’ national security interests, but, more importantly, it is reflective of our highest ideals of democracy, peace, and prosperity. We must continue to work towards that goal.
Good men and women, like Ambassador Stevens, have worked too hard to promote freedom and democracy in Libya for us to simply give up now. We cannot hand the terrorists a victory because the task became too difficult.