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

gm

September 14th, 2012
6:31 pm

Linda

Of course when Obama passed the Ledbetter act for women a lot of women benefited , I know Mitt wife can not understand that because she never worked a day in her life.
I know you can not help yourself when a party of men control you and will not let you be independent, you are the typicall mental rep women who have benefited from the civil rights movment to lib women fighting your battle, because you love the submissive life to your conservative ego male.

kayaker 71

September 14th, 2012
6:31 pm

Those goons in the protests in Libya have never known what free speech is all about. They have had someone else making decisions in their life since being born. It’s like explaining the Hubble Telescope to your pet lab. There is no negotiating with these people. There leadership remains smart, focused and determined, although biased, they are the power in all Muslim countries. They use religious fanaticism to maintain control of all of these sheep. Make no mistake, they know and control everything that goes on in their country. To say that these demonstrations are spontaneous is not to understand control. All of this was orchestrated. Everything. The Muslim Brotherhood knows exactly what they are doing. And it ain’t good.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

September 14th, 2012
6:33 pm

positive American outcomes
——————

Those have been pretty few and far between during the Obozo administation…unemployment…deficits…debt…credit rating…exploding dependency on welfare…respect for America abroad…

All worse thanks to Obozo.

For real progress, Vote American.

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

September 14th, 2012
6:34 pm

And Linda, the Ledbetter Act does little to change laws already on the books. It merely resets the timeframe when women can sue their employers – nothing else.

Not exactly the landmark piece of legislation these liberals like to claim it is.

md

September 14th, 2012
6:34 pm

“But I don’t know what the President was actually thinking. Apparently you believe you do. And….
I think your opinion is no better than mine. And I contest your opinion.”

My original point was and still is that he jumped the gun on those particular issues. When he made the statement on Martin, he was going off the information that was out there at the time which may or may not have been erroneous…….just like the Cambridge situation and just like the ally situation.

There is still conflicting information on the Martin case, but let’s say it turns out the kid was a criminal……..do you think Obama makes that same statement?

I don’t…………

kayaker 71

September 14th, 2012
6:34 pm

gm, 6:31,

My “neo-conservative” wife just read your post. If she knew your address, she would be looking for you. Submissive? BWhahahahahahahahahah. I should be so lucky.

Hillbilly D

September 14th, 2012
6:37 pm

I’ve heard of “submissive” women all my life but I’ve yet to run into my first one.

gm

September 14th, 2012
6:37 pm

Linda

Make sure you ask the women in Mich, Oh, who jobs were saved due to Obama saving the car indust, Oh, I forgot your party dont believe in helping other Americans, shame on my thoughts , about you people caring about this country.
Nothing like backing a person who sent our jobs overseas now thats a true American””’

MarkV

September 14th, 2012
6:37 pm

InAtl @ 6:22 pm
“Now you’re parsing words.”

No, I am stating facts.

“It’s very clear to me from some of the statements the administration has made that they are telling the angry muslims that they agree with them that the film is offensive; i.e. they understand their outrage.”

Have I said that they did not tell the muslims that they agreed that the film was offensive? I agree that the film is offensive. Don’t you?

Where I am making a distinction is about what you implied about “understanding.” The word “understand was not in any of those statements, as far as I know. Still, if you mean understanding the outrage because the film insulted their religion, then I agree, and I understand that too. But that is a far cry from claiming that the administration somehow understood the way that outrage was expressed by a violent attack.

LeRoi2

September 14th, 2012
6:40 pm

Anyone who would write that we do not know if the Muslim Brotherhood is an ally or not has to be completely ignorant of the organization, and its history. Its not hard to find out everything you need to know prior to making a post. It is amazing to me that someone would post first, think later. I guess i shouldnt be surprised.

Just Saying..

September 14th, 2012
6:41 pm

“For real progress, Vote American.”

C’mon Barry. You’re better than that.

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

September 14th, 2012
6:41 pm

“Make sure you ask the women in Mich, Oh, who jobs were saved due to Obama saving the car indust”

And whose jobs would have been just as saved had they gone though a normal restructuring without a government bailout that screwed investors, gm.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

September 14th, 2012
6:41 pm

Carney: Protests not directed at the United States

‘This is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy, this is in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims’
—————

Whose flag are they burning?

Morons!

gm

September 14th, 2012
6:42 pm

kayaker 71 ha, ha,

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

Please you dont want to compare GW Bush of 8 years to Obama 4 years when it comes to passing good legislation ”””””’

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

September 14th, 2012
6:43 pm

Did women work in any of the hundreds of dealerships Obozo shut down?

InAtl

September 14th, 2012
6:45 pm

“Still, if you mean understanding the outrage because the film insulted their religion, then I agree”

That is what I mean. And you can’t condemn them out of one side of your mouth and “understand” their outrage out of the other. But most importantly, the film is irrelevant. Let me repeat that. The film is irrelevant. Period. Tomorrow they’ll be upset that we’re making the Fort Hood shooter shave his beard.

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

September 14th, 2012
6:45 pm

“Please you dont want to compare GW Bush of 8 years to Obama 4 years when it comes to passing good legislation ”

No, I don’t. Because:

1. I am not a Bush supporter. In fact, I never voted for the guy.
2. I don’t live in the past. I use the past for context, but I do not dwell on anything I cannot change.

You should try that sometime.

gm

September 14th, 2012
6:45 pm

I am not a muslim, but all muslim should make a film about christianity that is negative and send it around the world, I wonder will these hypocrites on the right be any outraged?

md

September 14th, 2012
6:46 pm

“I know Mitt wife can not understand that because she never worked a day in her life.”

I’ve raised my share of kids, and I can tell you there are days when going to the office was a break. Ann raised 5 boys…….if gm doesn’t think that is work then I want some of what he is smoking…….

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

September 14th, 2012
6:48 pm

gm: I am not a muslim, but all muslim should make a film about christianity that is negative and send it around the world
——————

I’m guessing there are already plenty of them, and guess who’s caring about it? Nobody!

Just Saying..

September 14th, 2012
6:49 pm

“There is still conflicting information on the Martin case, but let’s say it turns out the kid was a criminal……..do you think Obama makes that same statement?”

md: It’s been nearly 6 months, you know? I understand holding out hope, but….what IS your hope here?

Let’s agree to disagree.

kayaker 71

September 14th, 2012
6:49 pm

gm, 6:37,

“Saving the car industry?” What a joke. GM invested 1.2B dollars of taxpayer money into the Volt project. Each Chevy Volt costs GM 89K to build. The MSRP for the vehicle is 39K and change. Tht means that they are losing 50K/car, even before it is sold. The typical Volt buyer makes in excess of 170K/yr so the vehicle is not marketed to the “average” American. There used to be a 7.5K tax credit for the purchase of the car. Bozo Motors has now upped the tax credit to 10K. So, in addition to the 50K that GM is losing on each car, add 10K of American taxpayer money that the government will not collect in taxes. The initial goal of Bozo Motors was 40K cars/yr. To date, they have only sold 14K units…… in two years. This is another colossal clusterf**k that is costing us much more than it is saving us. What else can you expect from a cross between the peter principle, a community organizer and a Chicago thug?

gm

September 14th, 2012
6:49 pm

md

Did you have several Nannies like her?

Hillbilly D

September 14th, 2012
6:52 pm

My opinion is that in Libya, at least, this attack was already planned, probably for some time, and the film and the protests around it served as a convenient smoke screen and diversion for the attackers.I think they’d have made this attack, when they made it, even if there’d been no film.

The date of the attack was no coincidence.

md

September 14th, 2012
6:52 pm

“if you mean understanding the outrage because the film insulted their religion”

People might want to re-think all this baloney on the film causing all this grief……the protests have now spread to about 14 countries with chants of “death to america” and “osama bin laden”. Many of these places have no internet much less youtube…..logic dictates if they were upset about just the film, they would be calling for the death of those behind the film a la Salman Rusdie…..

This is pure america hating………….

Just Saying..

September 14th, 2012
6:54 pm

“Tomorrow they’ll be upset that we’re making the Fort Hood shooter shave his beard.”

Exactly.

Linda

September 14th, 2012
6:55 pm

gm@6:31, You are sooooooo pitiful. What this election is about is preventing the fed. govt. from “controlling” us any more than necessary.
You are also insulting to women. Having one child is a full-time job. Having 5 children, especially boys, is equivalent to 5 jobs. The most important job in America has been & always will be that of being a mother. The second most important job is that of being a father.
I don’t know many women as independent as I am. I was only an employee about 5 years of my working life. After that, I was an independent contractor, which means I paid for my own health care, paid my own taxes, invested for my own retirement & all my own work-related expenses out of my pocket.
I’m about the freest & most independent woman you will ever encounter. I need more govt. like a need birth control pills.

gm

September 14th, 2012
6:55 pm

kayaker 71

Idiots like you is why Georgia is not a play maker in this election, this is why Obama is leading in all the importants states like Mich, Oh these people lives where affected nobody gives a dam about trailer parks down 75 south.

Elected officals in Georgia dont give a dam about you idiots, this why unemployment in those states are lower then goober ville.

getalife

September 14th, 2012
6:55 pm

Women have been fighting for equal rights for all their lives because of cons thinking they are better than them.

So, there are no submissive women and sadly they are still fighting for equal rights because the cons are still attacking them.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

September 14th, 2012
6:57 pm

GM owes American working men and women $35 billion.

Name a business that couldn’t be “saved” give that amount of taxpayer cash.

md

September 14th, 2012
6:58 pm

“md: It’s been nearly 6 months, you know? I understand holding out hope, but….what IS your hope here?”

What does time have to do with anything?

It’s a simple concept………He made a statement without the facts, just as he did in the cambridge situation.

And then has the audacity to declare Romney shoots first and aims second……..

MarkV

September 14th, 2012
7:00 pm

InAtl @6:45 pm
“And you can’t condemn them out of one side of your mouth and “understand” their outrage out of the other.”

I disagree completely. I can understand their outrage and absolutely condemn the way that outrage is expressed.

But let’s not forget the main point of this debate, which was Romney’ claim that the Administration sympathized with those who waged the attacks. He clearly was talking not about all the Muslims, who were insulted by the film, but about those waging the attack. And there was NEVER, EVER any expression of such sympathy. One more time, a big lie.

I disagree that the film is irrelevant, even while I agree that it was just a pretext to violence for a group of militants. But the widespread violence would not have happened without it.

kayaker 71

September 14th, 2012
7:00 pm

gm, 6:55,

Got anything but insults? I swear, when backed into a corner and proven dead wrong about something, all you libs seem to have is insults, name calling and vilification. You gotta’ do better than that.

md

September 14th, 2012
7:00 pm

“Did you have several Nannies like her?”

No, just a very hard “working” wife………..

gm

September 14th, 2012
7:00 pm

Linda

First of all Mrs. Romney had Nannies to raise her kids, I am sure that was really hard”’
Please count the numbers of I’s in your statment” me, me, me, but it takes we to defend this nation, that gov you are talking about issues SSI, Va, Medicaide, Femma, Pell Grants to many rep tea party hypocrites who take them year after year””’

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

September 14th, 2012
7:01 pm

Off-topic, but this can’t be good . . .

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/egan-jones-cuts-us-debt-rating-aa-aa-203103961–finance.html

Apparently some people aren’t as enamored of the Feds plan as liberals on here are.

getalife

September 14th, 2012
7:01 pm

The filmmaker will be back in prison where he belongs..

getalife

September 14th, 2012
7:02 pm

Gop obstruction is not free and very costly.

MarkV

September 14th, 2012
7:03 pm

“…the protests have now spread to about 14 countries with chants of “death to america” and “osama bin laden”. Many of these places have no internet much less youtube….”

I wonder how they have learned about joining the demonstrations. By bush telegraph?

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

September 14th, 2012
7:04 pm

“First of all Mrs. Romney had Nannies to raise her kids”

Really? Care to cite some link to verify that claim, gm?

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

September 14th, 2012
7:04 pm

I disagree that the film is irrelevant…the widespread violence would not have happened without it.
—————–

It sure is easy to play those Muslims! Make a movie, spark global unrest!

The movie is a pretext for the Islamofascist stoogemasters to rile up their base. They’re the ultimate “community organizers”.

gm

September 14th, 2012
7:04 pm

Please right wing nut jobs where was the outraged when W issued stimulas checks to Americans?
I wonder how many of you hypocrites sent it back to Wahington? you people are a joke””’

gm

September 14th, 2012
7:06 pm

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

Since you talking heads dont do research you pull it up, this is old news””””

InAtl

September 14th, 2012
7:08 pm

“But the widespread violence would not have happened without it.”

Baloney

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

September 14th, 2012
7:10 pm

“Please right wing nut jobs where was the outraged when W issued stimulas checks to Americans?”

Uh, gm? You DO realize that the checks sent to people were then deducted from their taxes the following year, so they were just giving us back the money WE earned a bit earlier, don’t you?

As opposed to spending money we don’t have on people and projects best left to state and local jurisdictions.

Cally

September 14th, 2012
7:10 pm

I think most sane sensible people would say that these radicals attacking our embassies are overreacting to put it mildy. As Secretary Clinton implied, this film these characters are reacting to so violenty was poorly produced by a few sick religious bigots with whom the U.S. government or anyone hurt or killed had any association.
Niether the perputrators of the film or the perputrators of the resulting violence, both of whom should be put into a locked cage together and allowed to kill each other, thought through or care about the consequences of their actions.
If these zealots, so sensitive about anyone criticizing their concept of God, really want to take God’s perogative of retribution into their own hands, it seems that they would go after the actual bigots that created the film- not just any American individual or institution handy.
This brings up another point. Are these characters actually so super sensitive about anyone’s criticism of their religion, or are they Al Queada influenced individuals looking for an excuse to attack anything American?
How shouild we react? The Republicans pathetically blamed everything on the Administration without offering an explanation of what they would have done differently to anticipate this situation. I hope more responsible individuals will reassess the necessity of having a presence in some of these volatile areas, and in places where we need to be, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

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

September 14th, 2012
7:10 pm

“Since you talking heads dont do research you pull it up, this is old news”

Got it. You got nothing.

kayaker 71

September 14th, 2012
7:14 pm

So, should we quit criticizing Muslims? Should we just avoid “offending” them for fear of them shooting our diplomats? Should we quake in out boots when we think they might not like what we say about them? If they stone their women to death for having an extramarital affair, should we just look the other way? Granted, it is none of our business how they live their lives but it is none of their business how we live ours as well. This double standard is something that they do not understand and never will. Our freedoms to them are a pipe dream, a fairy tale. They wouldn’t know how to deal with them. No fanatic Muslim thinks on his own. He is controlled like a puppet. That’s the game. It has to be for the big wigs to maintain control. So, democracy is something that they will not know for generations, perhaps never. The “enlightened” Muslims that live in America, while still very devout, have had exposure to something else. But they are, for the most part, silent. Where are the condemnations from them for an American diplomat killed in an Muslim country? So far, nothing.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

September 14th, 2012
7:16 pm

The Republicans pathetically blamed everything on the Administration without offering an explanation of what they would have done differently to anticipate this situation
————————

Did anybody die as a result of the Republicans not offering an explanation of what they would have done? Some folks DID die because the Obozo administration didn’t do their jobs.

An attack on our embassies on 9/11 in Muslim-dominated countries? Whodathunkit?

stranger in a strange land

September 14th, 2012
7:17 pm

i not understand why any of you on blog is argue with md…….