Poll Position: How should Obama respond to embassy attacks?

The big story this week was the series of attacks on U.S. embassies across the Middle East and North Africa: from Libya, where our ambassador was killed, to Egypt, Yemen and, today, Tunisia and Sudan. In Libya, the government is cooperating with the investigation into the murders of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The responses from the other countries have been mixed, but they have been rather tepid on the whole.

How should Obama respond to the attacks on our embassies?

  • Cut foreign aid (255 Votes)
  • Pursue the killers in Libya; otherwise, lie low (173 Votes)
  • Stop issuing travel visas for people from those countries (130 Votes)
  • Bomb 'em (108 Votes)
  • Economic sanctions (106 Votes)
  • Too soon to say (102 Votes)
  • Cut diplomatic ties (91 Votes)
  • Increase foreign aid (5 Votes)

Total Voters: 517

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President Obama made a mistake Wednesday evening when he said of the Egyptian government, which has been in place less than three months, “I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy.” It was a mistake because the White House on Thursday had to walk back the statement; later Thursday, the State Department had to walk back the walk back, clarifying that Egypt retains the official designation of Major Non-NATO Ally it has held since 1989.

But this post isn’t about criticizing Obama for shooting first and aiming later. (OK, maybe it’s a little bit about that.) It’s really about the question most of us have been pondering since the attacks in Libya and Egypt on Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of 9/11: What is the proper response?

Some of you took my first post on the subject to imply a military action is needed. As I tried to make clear in the comments, that’s not the case. Things would have to spiral much further out of control before we were talking about military action.

Unless, of course, you include drone flights and a possible targeted strike on the terrorists responsible for the ambassador’s death, which the Obama administration appears to be considering at the very least.

Otherwise, there are a range of options here. We could pull our diplomats from their capitals. We could expel their diplomats from Washington. We cut cut or eliminate foreign aid to these countries. We could, I suppose, increase our foreign aid to them and use it to promote and educate them about our laws and values (such as freedom of expression). We could officially remove them from our list of allies. We could stop issuing travel visas from their country to ours. We could impose some form of economic sanctions. Or we could essentially do nothing more than pursue the people who killed Stevens and the other Americans.

What should Obama’s response entail? That’s this week’s Poll Position question. Answer in the nearby poll — NOTE: unlike most of my polls, you can select more than one answer in this one — and the comments thread below.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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949 comments Add your comment

Joel Edge

September 15th, 2012
6:09 am

Should be ‘how will Obama respond to the embassy attacks’. Answer: as little response as possible. Another apology tour maybe?

Michael H. Smith

September 15th, 2012
6:11 am

More remedial learning for the remaining brain dead socialist liberals who still believe the economic mess was “ALL” the fault of George W. Bush.

Reading assignment: Community Reinvestment Act

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_Reinvestment_Act

Michael H. Smith

September 15th, 2012
6:20 am

Extra credit for those socialist liberals lagging the rest of their remedial learning class on the causation of the economic collapse.

Money, Power and Wall Street

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/money-power-wall-street/

Footnote: Follow all the links on this subject as shown.

Michael H. Smith

September 15th, 2012
6:39 am

When Washington Tries to ‘Win the Day,’ Americans Lose

~ Gretchen Hamel

Woodward’s book depicts a president confident in the power of his own ideas but ill-equipped to manage the complex negotiations necessary to achieve consensus among legislators, even those in his own party. Members of Congress come to the negotiating table already held hostage to the partisans and interest groups that dominate their parties and thus unmotivated to work together. And no one has much concern about the promises they made to get elected in the first place. All that matters is minimizing liabilities and gaining the upper hand politically.

There is a notable moment of timidity early in Obama’s presidency when he is meeting with Democratic Congressional leaders on health care reform. Around midnight, House and Senate leaders were unable to agree on specifics for a final bill. Frustrated, Obama snapped at the group, “None of you are listening … It is very clear there is nothing I can do to help you.” He left and went to bed. As the group began to head out, then-Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel went through the proposals from both sides, line by line, and created a framework for a compromise. This was a shocking revelation, the president walking out on his top legislative priority. He was eager to lead but unwilling to do the hard work of leadership.

This wasn’t the only instance of the administration’s complete abdication of responsibility. The Bowles-Simpson commission was little more than a delay tactic on deficit-reduction, and its final report was ignored by just about everyone. The administration’s strategy on deficit-reduction was to “gimmick it up,” in the words of Larry Summers, director of the White House National Economic Council….

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gretchen-hamel/woodward-obama-politics_b_1881354.html

marko

September 15th, 2012
7:33 am

When we add or subtract we use Arabic numerals. A vast improvement over the Roman numerals that preceded them. The fact is that a few centuries ago the Muslim civilizations were far more advanced than those in the west. What went wrong? The simple answer is no separation of church and state. For the Muslim world, A movie like Monty Python’s, The Life of Brian, Would be unthinkable. Mohammad said it, they believe it, and that settles it.

In the west, the Catholic church did their best, they burned witches, tortured Galileo, and excommunicated Henry the Eighth. Religion is not a democracy. Moses never said,” that’s the Ten Commandments boys all in favor say aye.” The Popes and the Cardinals, fought the good fight , but at the end of the day it was democracy 42 theocracy 17.

Galileo’s little telescope opened the doors to a universe so vast and mysterious it defies description. In the east, no vast universe, just an iron age god so weak, and feeble, he requires the aid of suicide bombers to keep the female types properly attired.

Uneducated, uninformed, vote against my best interest, Howdy Doody

September 15th, 2012
7:35 am

Let Sera Paylin handel it from her back portch. Shes got the guns and the ammo. Problum solvd.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

September 15th, 2012
7:43 am

marko at 7:33? Possibly one of the best posts on this problem I’ve ever read.

MarkV

September 15th, 2012
8:04 am

TruthBe @ 12:02 am

Is that a parody of the right wing thoughts, or a product of insane mind?

steve373

September 15th, 2012
8:07 am

Whatever your choice of response, electing Romney should not be one of them.

MarkV

September 15th, 2012
8:15 am

How should Obama respond to embassy attacks?

A more interesting question would be: How would Romney respond to embassy attacks? We can answer that question based on how we have witnessed him to react. By making a premature, foolish action based on incomplete information.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

September 15th, 2012
8:15 am

“Whatever your choice of response, electing Romney should not be one of them.”

Yeah, ’cause we wouldn’t want a person who has achieved success in everything he’s ever done and who can defend America’s values in the White House, would we?

Yeah, let’s just continue with the clown prince currently misguiding there . . . :roll:

nelson

September 15th, 2012
8:42 am

I do not know how Prez O should respond to the attacks on U.S. embassies.
I do know how he should not respond and that is, by limiting our FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH.
By seeking to condemn the maker of the film that was uncomplimentary to the muslims.
FREE SPEECH is the foundation of DEMOCRACY. As I understand it the law has already taken the film maker into custody or taken his property. Not the way to go, if this became acceptable procedure then everytime the muslims heard of some derogatory comments they would start an uprising. I do not know why the U.S. bothers with them at all.

Lynnie Gal

September 15th, 2012
8:49 am

We should pull military aid from Egypt. Maybe even pull back on our export of wheat to them, as well. This might cause he Muslim Brotherhood to fail, which would benefit Egypt in the long run.
Libya is different. What happened there was a coordinated terrorist attack on our embassy. So, we should continue aid to Libya and pursue the murderers of Stevens and the others and bring them to justice. As far as Tunisia and Yemen, if we’re aiding them militarily, we should pull that aid. Only humanitarian aid to those countries makes sense.

Big J

September 15th, 2012
9:20 am

The reason for these attacks are because they KNOW America will do NOTHING!!! I’m not picking on Obama here (although he will never get my vote), I’m picking on our government. AMERICA needs to stand up for herself. I’m not talking about another 10 year war… I’m talking about a MASSIVE show of strength and resolve that lets those type of people know we will not take this anymore. I’m sure innocent people will be hurt, and for that I’m sorry… but people better wake up… We are going to fight this… either over there or over here… I pick there!!!

Piedmont South from North Georgia

September 15th, 2012
9:24 am

The easy thing to say is that we should pull all our people out of the middle east and northern Africa and close the embassies there. But that probably is not realistic.
Only other option is to work with the governments and pursue the people responsible for the murders and the violence. If it was an organized action then go after the groups responsible.
We should call on the Muslim religious leaders and government officials to renounce violence as a means of defending attacks on Islam.

Piedmont South from North Georgia

September 15th, 2012
9:27 am

Big J

_____

So your solution is to kill a lot of people, without regard to whether they are innocent or guilty. That would not help and would only make things worse.
Concentrate on going after the guilty.
Most Muslims are not violent. We need to isolate and punish the violent ones and reward the rest.

Piedmont South from North Georgia

September 15th, 2012
9:31 am

Bush on home ownership. A lot of people were wrong about the mortgages.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNqQx7sjoS8

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

September 15th, 2012
9:36 am

We should call on the Muslim religious leaders and government officials to renounce violence as a means of defending attacks on Islam.

Not a serious statement! Jihad is a moral prerequisite for being a Muslim, according to the Koran. How can any religion, that allows females to be abused, molested, killed, and kept ignorant and demands that Jihad be pursued against all infidels, be considered as just another religious choice for our community of nations? Yes, many Muslims reject these tenants of that religion, but those in the ME apparently are dedicated to following the Koran to the letter.

Just Proud To Be Here

September 15th, 2012
9:39 am

Why would the Feds even bother the film maker? They certainly didn’t do anything to Andres Cerrano when he produced ‘Pisschrist’ with taxpayer money. Nor should they have. This administration is clueless in every aspect of government. First Amendment trumps political correctness and hurt feelings every time.

independent thinker

September 15th, 2012
9:43 am

Testerday John McCain lit into Sean Hannity for the putrid and treasonous hatred of Obama he has been spewing out nightly and called him a liar- what a beutiful sight! Integrity is a wonderful trait.
And yesterday pretty boy Ryan showed his true extreme right wing fascist beliefs showing up at a right wing extremist conference with Michelle Bachmann and Frank Gaffney. I am surprised they did not feature that racist anti muslim film there followers made and then as a finale blame it all on the Jews.
What a team the GOP wants to put in the White House! Maybe Sean will the press spokesman or Anne?

Piedmont South from North Georgia

September 15th, 2012
9:46 am

Rafe Hollister,

_______

Your conclusions on the thoughts of the majority of Muslims have no basis in fact. Just your personal beliefs.
Show me something to back up what you say.

Piedmont South from North Georgia

September 15th, 2012
9:48 am

Just Proud To Be Here

______

Just because something is legal does not make it right of moral. Making fun of someone else’s religion or beliefs is neither right or moral and should be condemned.

gm

September 15th, 2012
9:54 am

Amazing how Obama is responsible for the piece of scum putting out Anti muslim movie”
Michelle Bachmann, what a piece of work, her anti muslim statements shows what a idiot this women really is, amazing how the right is never outraged over our inside terrorist, sick white males who have killed our Americans citizens in Colorodo, Az, you noticed you dont hear any more about these killers?

I wonder what would happen if these people were muslims? going on these killing sprew, Obama would have been responsible””””

David R. Boag, DDS

September 15th, 2012
9:57 am

Fred @ 12:47 am

“Concerning your post, let me use an analogy. If you put braces on my crooked ass teeth for 2 weeks will they then be straight and stay straight for the rest of my life?”

How is that analogy relevant to my post? If anything, I see it in AGREEMENT with my post. We are saying that if you listened to the MSM talk about Mr. Obama prior to his coronation, it sounded like it would be SUCH a stark contrast to the GWB policies that it would end, or at minimum significantly diminish, the vitriol against the US that was attributed to GWB’s foreign policy. It’s been 3+ years now, and just like teeth in braces, even in a short period of time you should begin to see movement of the teeth in the direction that heads toward the objective. That kind of movement in international affairs is ABSENT! In fact, it could be argued–although I will not do it here–that the movement is in the WRONG direction. In either case, if you put braces on and the teeth start moving in the opposite direction or not at all after a bit of time, better reassess what kind of brackets and wires you aree using and look at how you’ve put them on, because leaving things as they are won’t cause teeth to move in the opposite direction that they initially move.

Is that what you were trying to say? If so, you are right.

cc

September 15th, 2012
10:07 am

getalife @ 10:23 pm:
“We are drilling more than ever. You think drilling will solve our jobs problem?”
You either missed key words in my statement or purposely ignored them. The oil exploration and drilling is occurring on PRIVATELY OWNED LAND and federally owned lands where permits were approved PRIOR to the coronation of Hussein. I’ll answer your question with a question. How could exploration and drilling possible HURT our ‘jobs problem’?

Just Proud To Be Here @ 11:17 pm:
Great post! Thanks . . .

gm @ 9:54 am:
Pathetic, just pathetic . . .

Piedmont South from North Georgia

September 15th, 2012
10:13 am

We should not ignore the hundreds of millions of Muslims that are living in peace and want to work and raise their families just because of a minority that are violent.

MarkV

September 15th, 2012
10:21 am

nelson @8:42 am: “I do not know how Prez O should respond to the attacks on U.S. embassies. I do know how he should not respond and that is, by limiting our FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH.”

Which, of course, is what President Obama has not done.

RW-(the original)

September 15th, 2012
10:24 am

This administration reacts to terrorists slaughtering Americans by telling Americans to shut up and then tells us if we want real news to read Xinhua.

Lord help us…

MarkV

September 15th, 2012
10:28 am

RW-(the original) @10:24 am: “This administration reacts to terrorists slaughtering Americans by telling Americans to shut up and then tells us if we want real news to read Xinhua.”

Starting with lies early today?

David R. Boag, DDS

September 15th, 2012
10:30 am

Linda @ 11:35 pm,

You seem very well-grounded to me.

Some women get so hung up on the Christian doctrine that wives are to be submissive to their husbands. What they fail to see is that there is a flip side to that coin. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Uh, that is an even BIGGER call, and one that few realize. However, there are some who do, and what is amazing is how much easier it is to submit yourself to someone who genuinely loves you to the point of sacrificing themselves totally for your benefit, because they love you. But it is amazing when we accept the roles that God has designed us for how well a marriage can work. Certainly not without effort. But your time together does give testimony to the success of those principles when properly attempted. There is something very empowering about living your role(s) to its/their potential that can only be understood and experienced fully by those who devote themselves to it.

Keep it up!

RW-(the original)

September 15th, 2012
10:33 am

md

September 15th, 2012
10:44 am

“And my response is, might be time to let go of that possible outcome. Given the notoriety and attention this case received, I’m pretty sure we would have heard by now if Trayvon was a gang thug, dope dealer, habitual offender, Kenyan…”

Interesting……so trials are now conducted in the media so we can just skip the actual court proceedings??

Seems you have the same affliction of drawing conclusions before all the facts are known….

md

September 15th, 2012
10:51 am

“They consider insulting Islam as a capital offense.They have a long way to go and we need patience but will not tolerate harming Americans.”

Patience? Like a few more centuries will really make a difference??

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

September 15th, 2012
10:52 am

Piedmont South from North Georgia: Making fun of someone else’s religion or beliefs is neither right or moral and should be condemned.
————————

…except for Christians, who are fair game, right?

Just Saying..

September 15th, 2012
10:57 am

Whichever side you’re on, Romney’s “Favor Rich” score in the latest NY Times/CBS poll is astonishing:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/09/14/us/politics/2012-presidential-election-poll.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120915

MarkV

September 15th, 2012
11:00 am

RW-(the original) @10:33 am

Why don’t you show us the evidence of the administration reacting to terrorists slaughtering Americans by telling Americans to shut up? I call it a lie. So why don’t you put up or shut up.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

September 15th, 2012
11:04 am

Piedmont South from North Georgia: Making fun of someone else’s religion or beliefs is neither right or moral and should be condemned.
————————

…except for Mormons, who are fair game, right?

RW-(the original)

September 15th, 2012
11:04 am

I call it a lie.

Good for you. I can’t educate the willfully ignorant though.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

September 15th, 2012
11:05 am

Romney’s “Favor Rich” score in the latest NY Times/CBS poll is astonishing
——————-

Romney favors Americans. Obozo favors anyone whose vote he thinks he can buy with handouts.

gm

September 15th, 2012
11:13 am

Lil’ Barry Bailout – Vote American

Most of you rep hypocrites get hand outs, most of you get SSI, Medicaide, Va Checks, Feema, Pell Grants, Corportate welfare, you right wing nut jobs have to be the bigest hypocrites this country has ever seen.

You nut jobs look at gov like a buffet you like to pick and choice what works for you””’

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

September 15th, 2012
11:14 am

PS @9:46 and 9:48 and 10:13

You are off base with your comments. I did not pretend to do any mind reading. I stated what the Koran teaches, some of the factions do not subscribe to the unfiltered version, but most in the ME do. The info I found said there were 1.1 billion Muslims in the world in 1990, projected to grow to 2.2 by 2030. The few million that live in America, that cause no harm, and want to be left alone are a speck on the back of a camel, compared with the whole camel. Are there peace loving Muslims throughout the world, sure, we disagree on who the minority is. I think the peace loving ones are a small minority considering the populations in the countries having a theocratic government constantly fomenting hate against the west.

BTW, Australian Muslim’s joined the violence today.

I did not make fun of their religion. I started to say they are free to believe whatever they want, but that is not true, many are killed if they reject Islam. But anyway, they can have at it, I don’t care. My point was you can not have any kind of meaningful diplomatic relationship with people that enslave their females, kill those who reject their teachings, and wish to destroy their neighbor.

You can try to encourage an end to the human rights abuses and offer then humanitarian aid if they do, but unless they change their views and become more tolerant of others in the world, we just have to be on guard. It is a clash of cultures their 18th century one versus a modern world. There are only three choices, leave them alone and let them war with themselves, return to the 18th century with them, or bring them into the modern world. The violence will continue, until one of these is implemented. Just my humble opinion, which I have the right to express, I disagree with yours.

Del

September 15th, 2012
11:15 am

Regardless of your position on the video this should outrage every American.

http://news.yahoo.com/la-sheriff-feds-interview-calif-filmmaker-092417591.html

Campaigner in Chief

September 15th, 2012
11:17 am

Obama’s foreign policy (or lack thereof) is coming back to bite him and the US. He is void of leadership and woefully inept. Romney “knee jerk”???? Obama and Clinton jumped on the apology wagon without knowing the true story – these attacks have been planned for weeks. The media, which is lock-step with Obama, jumped on the video angle too.

The Mideast apology tour has really reaped dividends – we are seen as weak and powerless. Meanwhile, Obama is out campaigning and smoozing with celebrities. It sickens me…..

MarkV

September 15th, 2012
11:18 am

RW-(the original) @11:04 am: “I can’t educate the willfully ignorant though”

In other words, you have no evidence, no facts, just falsehood.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

September 15th, 2012
11:18 am

Lil Barry @11:04 HOMERUN!

Everyday the magic underware bomb is dropped! But killing a female for flirting with a stranger, don’t question that, that is their holy religion.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

September 15th, 2012
11:19 am

Western religions evolved, matured, and became more peace-loving over the centuries. Maybe in a few more, Islam will too.

Pray Tell

September 15th, 2012
11:20 am

Rafe

There are certainly people of the Muslim faith who wish to do harm to the “infidels”. However, they are not the majority.

If the majority of 1 billion plus people wanted do to harm to non Muslims, this world would be up in flames; literally.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

September 15th, 2012
11:21 am

Question, if the filmmaker was to give the finger to the Agents that wanted to question him/her, what could they do. No crimes were committed. It is an outrage that they were questioning someone for using their free speech. Orwell like.

gm

September 15th, 2012
11:25 am

Campaigner in Chief

Another fox misinformed idiot, American embassey was attacked 13 times under GW Bush plus we lost over 3500 Americans on our soil, did that make GW Bush weak?

Anti Americans who hate the President of the United States like scum bag and high school drop out Rush Limbaugh will never tell you that, please research and shut off no news fox”””

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

September 15th, 2012
11:26 am

If the majority of 1 billion plus people wanted do to harm to non Muslims, this world would be up in flames; literally.

Well, there are a few embassies aflame! Maybe they just lack training, planning, and weapons, do you know? All I know is, what I hear the vocal ones shout, “death to America”, “death to the West”.
What the silent majority think is anyone’s guess.