During his interview with 60 Minutes Sunday, President Obama likened Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the other three Americans killed in the Benghazi attack on the US consulate to speed bumps.
[Steve] Kroft: Have the events that took place in the Middle East, the recent events in the Middle East given you any pause about your support for the governments that have come to power following the Arab Spring?
Obama: Well, I’d said even at the time that this is going to be a rocky path. The question presumes that somehow we could have stopped this wave of change. I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy, universal rights, a notion that people have to be able to participate in their own governance. But I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam. The one part of society that hasn’t been controlled completely by the government. There are strains of extremism, and anti-Americanism, and anti-Western sentiment. And, you know, can be tapped into by demagogues. There will probably be some times where we bump up against some of these countries and have strong disagreements, but I do think that over the long term we are more likely to get a Middle East and North Africa that is more peaceful, more prosperous and more aligned with our interests.
Interesting, that Obama singled Islam out as the “single organizing principle” behind the attacks. Not radical Islam but just plain old Islam. Had President Bush said something similar, Kroft would likely have interrupted and challenged him for declaring that we’re at war with Islam. Obama’s view here is simplistic at any rate; Islam has been used by the local tyrants as a means to scapegoat the West and distract from local brutality and failures.
According to 60 Minutes, the president gave that interview on Sept 12. According to the White House, Obama had been informed of the Benghazi attack on Sept 11 within 90 minutes after it started, and had been informed that Ambassador Stevens was missing that night. He went to bed not knowing Stevens’ fate, and learned of the ambassador’s death the morning of the 12th.
Then he went on 60 Minutes and described the assault and Stevens’ murder, the first of an American ambassador since 1979, as “bumps in the road.”
Kind of ghoulish, if you ask me.