Secretary Clinton Delivers Remarks on the Deaths of U.S. Personnel in Benghazi, Libya

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 12, 2012

More:Remarks by President Obama on the Deaths of U.S. Embassy Staff in Libya | Presidential Proclamation -- Honoring the Victims of the Attack in Benghazi, Libya

On September 12, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks on the deaths of American personnel in Benghazi, Libya. Secretary Clinton said:

"Yesterday, our U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings. American and Libyan security personnel battled the attackers together. Four Americans were killed. They included Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer, and our Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. We are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals.

"This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence, and we send our prayers to the families, friends, and colleagues of those we've lost.

"All over the world, every day, America's diplomats and development experts risk their lives in the service of our country and our values, because they believe that the United States must be a force for peace and progress in the world, that these aspirations are worth striving and sacrificing for. Alongside our men and women in uniform, they represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation.

"In the lobby of this building, the State Department, the names of those who have fallen in the line of duty are inscribed in marble. Our hearts break over each one. And now, because of this tragedy, we have new heroes to honor and more friends to mourn.

"Chris Stevens fell in love with the Middle East as a young Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in Morocco. He joined the Foreign Service, learned languages, won friends for America in distant places, and made other people's hopes his own.

"In the early days of the Libyan revolution, I asked Chris to be our envoy to the rebel opposition. He arrived on a cargo ship in the port of Benghazi and began building our relationships with Libya's revolutionaries. He risked his life to stop a tyrant, then gave his life trying to help build a better Libya. The world needs more Chris Stevenses. I spoke with his sister, Ann, this morning, and told her that he will be remembered as a hero by many nations.

"Sean Smith was an Air Force veteran. He spent 10 years as an information management officer in the State Department, he was posted at The Hague, and was in Libya on a brief temporary assignment. He was a husband to his wife Heather, with whom I spoke this morning. He was a father to two young children, Samantha and Nathan. They will grow up being proud of the service their father gave to our country, service that took him from Pretoria to Baghdad, and finally to Benghazi.

"The mission that drew Chris and Sean and their colleagues to Libya is both noble and necessary, and we and the people of Libya honor their memory by carrying it forward. This is not easy. Today, many Americans are asking -- indeed, I asked myself -- how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be.

"But we must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group -- not the people or Government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post. Some were wounded. Libyans carried Chris' body to the hospital, and they helped rescue and lead other Americans to safety. And last night, when I spoke with the President of Libya, he strongly condemned the violence and pledged every effort to protect our people and pursue those responsible.

"The friendship between our countries, borne out of shared struggle, will not be another casualty of this attack. A free and stable Libya is still in America's interest and security, and we will not turn our back on that, nor will we rest until those responsible for these attacks are found and brought to justice. We are working closely with the Libyan authorities to move swiftly and surely. We are also working with partners around the world to safeguard other American embassies, consulates, and citizens.

"There will be more time later to reflect, but today, we have work to do. There is no higher priority than protecting our men and women wherever they serve. We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet. America's commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear -- there is no justification for this, none. Violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith. And as long as there are those who would take innocent life in the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace.

"It is especially difficult that this happened on September 11th. It's an anniversary that means a great deal to all Americans. Every year on that day, we are reminded that our work is not yet finished, that the job of putting an end to violent extremism and building a safe and stable world continues. But September 11th means even more than that. It is a day on which we remember thousands of American heroes, the bonds that connect all Americans, wherever we are on this Earth, and the values that see us through every storm. And now it is a day on which we will remember Sean, Chris, and their colleagues.

"May God bless them, and may God bless the thousands of Americans working in every corner of the world who make this country the greatest force for peace, prosperity, and progress, and a force that has always stood for human dignity -- the greatest force the world has ever known. And may God continue to bless the United States of America. Thank you."

You can also read the Secretary's remarks on www.state.gov.

Comments

Comments

Gene N.
|
United States
September 12, 2012

Gene N. in the U.S.A. writes:

Who gave the Marines the order to NOT protect this ambassadors life?

Susan C.
|
Florida, USA
September 12, 2012

Susan C. in Florida writes:

So sorry, so sad to read about Chris Stevens and Sean Smith, and the others who were hurt, and or killed. I have long been impressed with the courage of our diplomatic corps. Again, deeply saddened by what has happened. Condolences to their families and their State Department family.

John P.
|
Greece
September 12, 2012

John P. in Greece writes:

It's what we have said in the past Susan... Terrorists are like snakes. You cut their tails, they get a new one to the nearest "gun store".

They only way is to cut their "head".

I am very upset, because I was reading a comment on Ambassador's Rice FB page, concerning the attack. An idiot (I don't mention his name) wrote: "kill all Americans". That's what this punk thought like saying in this very difficult moment for Global Diplomacy and Democracy.

That's how they "think" Susan. They cannot... think 'cause they are dangerous idiots!

(By the way Best Regards to you, my friend Eric in NM and all the DipNote staff)

LynnM
|
California, USA
September 12, 2012

Lynn M. in California writes:

Prayers for the families of those who were stricken. Thank you Hilary for assuring that the noble work of these fine Americans will continue in their honor and the honor and core values of US, and for your strong message that justice will reign.

Susan C.
|
Florida, USA
September 12, 2012

Susan C. in Florida writes:

@ John P. in Greece.

It was good to see your comment, John. I have wondered how things have been for you as I have read about the struggles in Greece, and have hoped that all was well with you. And you are right, the mob mentality of blind hatred is still very much with us. It is so very sad that good people who love and believe in the people of Libya, and Egypt, and the Middle East in general, are killed because of their dedication to freedom for all people, everywhere. A very sad day indeed.

Fred T.
|
Florida, USA
September 12, 2012

Fred T. in Florida writes:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these 4 brave Americans who were attempting to bring democracy to a troubled part of the world.

Roger B.
|
Arizona, USA
September 12, 2012

Roger B. in Arizona writes:

We could not rescue our own people and got two of the Marines killed going to their rescue. How shameful!! I have been involved in many operations in the US and overseas and cannot fathom how anything like this could happen! We need new people in the State Dept. (Hillary gone) and a much stronger message to the idoits killing our people. God bless america!!!

Trinidad W.
|
Arizona, USA
September 13, 2012

Trinidad W. in Arizona writes:

I am shocked ~ I grieve over this happening again ... but for this to happen on foreign soil is even more disconcerting!

Why isn't there U.S. Security Forces at Embassy Installations especially in volatile-hostile locations. Our personnel-staff employed in these far-flung locales need always have the security of our defense apparatus-measures to ensure their well-being in the conditions they function ~ must always be assured for their well-being ... its' not asking impossible measures. Installations should have periodic overview of these oversights particularly as the temperment in the region fluctuates in hostilities ... how can I even be assured of your safety as you're visiting foreign embassy's ~ I've never forgotten Secy of State Condeleeza Rice mention her feeling of relief when she flew away from a Libyan state visit! This after the fact resorting for security at facilities must be an on-site provision in foreign policy - there is lives of our staff-information data and equipment that need security at all times.

Thank you for listening - I've never wanted to hear of another "sneak attack" - but it keeps' happening-since Pearl Harbor! Please consider this a request of a citizen for total overview and installed security forces at embassy's a required maintenance expenditure for a facility.

JSeaton
|
New Hampshire, USA
September 13, 2012

J. Seaton in New Hampshire writes:

I would like to extend my condolences to the families of those killed in Benghazi. It is a horrible tragedy for all peace-loving people, and especially the victims families. Thank you, Secretary Clinton, for being such a brave and level-headed leader during your time, and especially during this crisis. I am not usually a flag-waving American, but you bring out the best in us, you represent the best our country has to offer.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 13, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

First I wish to express my condolences to the US dept of State and the families of the fallen.

Secondly;

I think it unwise for anyone not familiar with the facts to critisize the efforts to defend against a well planned coordinated attack, in that folks gave their lives to defend against this act of terrorism, as we are a nation at war.

I think we were all reminded of that again yesterday.

Third;

How people respond to this...well, as John in Greece said, ""They only way is to cut their "head".**

Aye well you be dealing with the likes of Medusa and best to be getting to the heart of the beast , eh?

(as a threat response assesment)

Some say "you can't kill all the terrorists in the world." Ok then, let us endeavor to make becoming a terrorist an incredibly bad carreer choice.

Lest more bad things happen...

-----

@ John in Greece & Susan in Florida

I see this as not an isolated incident, but part of a pattern of incidents and destabilization of nations as well as their inter-relations in an attempt to draw the US into full scale conflict in the ongoing suni/shitte war that is, and has been waged to one degree of hostility or another for a very long time.

Part of that stategy involves pitting the Muslim faith against Cristian and Jew, apocalyptic prophesy, and idiots on all sides will be tempted to drink the koolaid and walk on over oblivion's cliff.

I gotta say I'm getting realy tired of Pissed off Preachers chanting "death to America".

Maybe it's about time we took this seriously as the officialy stated foreign policy goal of a hostile nation who happens to be the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism?

Best,

EJ

Frank N.
|
California, USA
September 13, 2012

Frank N. in California writes:

On behalf of the Committee for Religious Minority Rights in IRAN, we extend our deepest condolences to the family of Ambassador Chris Stevens, to the Secretary of State and to the American people.

Chris Stevens was extremely helpful to Iranians as a whole, when he served as Iran Desk Officer in 1999 and was always concerned about human rights in our country.

We shall never forget his vital assistance in saving the lives of the 13 innocent Jewish men and boys, arrested in Iran during his service in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

Chris had such a bright future ahead of him. His loss is a personal as well as a national tragedy.

Frank Nikbakht
Pooya Dayanim
George Haroonian

GloriaY
|
Florida, USA
September 13, 2012

Gloria Y. in Florida writes:

Our thoughts and prayers go to the families of the four courageous Americans who gave their lives for the love of their country. Thank you for your service.

Nasir
|
Nigeria
September 13, 2012

Nasir in Nigeria writes:

I really wish that the American people will refrain from depicting such films. Religious tolerance must include knowing the constitutional beliefs guiding such religions. I also really wish that the muslim ummah will have a sincere body that would be enlightening the Americans and reacting diplomatically in such situations so that they will be able to correct their wrongs in time and prevent future occurences of such senseless movie acts instead of taking the law into their hands.

I have a question though to Mrs.Clinton. If my friend's culture and traditions allows him to disrespect his parents,will that be enough reason for him to disrespect my own parents even if our culture and tradition differs? Hope you will answer the quertion with all sincerity and hope I will not be misundertood.

Thank you.

fahmi t.
|
Libya
September 13, 2012

Fahmi T. in Libya writes:

We are all feeling sad right now, we share you same Feeling we share the American people Our Sadness. and we send our support to Chris Stevens family We will remember them all time

God bless him

Normita
|
California, USA
September 13, 2012

Normita in California writes:

Sec. Clinton, my thoughts go to the families of those brave foreign service diplomats and personnel. They are under your stewardship and a part of your family. God bless you and our beloved country.

Let this be a moment of reflection.

Henry
|
California, USA
September 13, 2012

Henry in California writes:

Ironically, the Obama administration has played an important role in encouraging precisely this sort of mob violence in both Libya and in Syria. I don't recall hearing loud condemnation from the Department of State of the very similar mob which assassinated Libya's previous head of state. In fact, an article in the New York Times suggested that the assassination was the Obama administration's preferred method of handling Col. Gaddafi, as opposed to the potentially embarrassing alternative of a public trial. So the U.S. government should learn a sobering lesson from this week's incident -- when you promote this sort of senseless violence, it may turn around to bite the hand that feeds it.

Bill A.
|
California, USA
September 15, 2012

Bill in California writes:

Dear Madame Secretary -

I may not always be in agreement - but today(Fri), I was never prouder of my Secretary of State, and President Obama, then at today's ceremonies.

Most respectfully,
Bill

county46
September 16, 2012

W.W. writes:

too much

Maria
|
Texas, USA
September 16, 2012

Maria in Texas writes:

I am so proud of our Secretary of State.

I do wish we would seriously consider cutting the funding to Eygpt and the other countries burnng our USA flags, our Embassies, but most of all killing Americans!

This is the most serious situations Americans have faced. What can I expect the future of my grandchildren to be as Americans?

Madame Secretary, keep up the excellent work!

Ashim C.
|
India
September 17, 2012

Ashim C. in India writes:

What was the need for that film and what inspired it's maker ? One cardinal principle of liberalism is differentiation between "self regarding" and "other regarding" actions. There need to curb the later is always more critical than former. The film maker cannot hide his intentions by using freedom of expression as a shield. He deserves to be subjected to a) media grilling and trial b) publicly held narcoanalysis tests or something similar. However, there is no denying that reaction to the film has been excessive and uncalled for. Islam is based on solid foundations and universally respected values, which most other religions share too. Followers of Islam, one is sure, know it and cannot be intimidated by a film here and a cartoon there for they cannot diminish in any way the importance of their religion as an important pillar in human civilization. Leaders of Islam ask followrs of faith to respond to delinquents with merciful kindness as that will bring not only peace on streets but also in minds and may be put to shame the much distorted liberalism.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 21, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Ashim C. in India,

Hi Ashim, I guess if I were to try and put the principal of "freedom of expression" in perspective for folks as a facet of one's democratic inalianable rights to life, liberty and the persuit of happiness in context with ethical infants within society, it would be premised on this;

There is no law under our constitution preventing one from becomming the village idiot, nor expressing one's opinion and proving to be an idiot to the rest of the villagers.

I mean if one were to compare the video-taped insult to Islam with the GOP candidate for President-Romney's insulting 47% of the American public's moral character, dividing and enraging the populous, we in America may look upon this with scorn and derision as a contemptable manifestation of ethical infancy, but we arn't going to be issuing a Fatwa for his head anytime soon as we have a vote and a voice in the matter anyway...

As for religious differences, conflict of philosophies and the infidelity of pious,biased, intolerance inherant in pissed off preachers and their minions; there are legal ramifications to one's incitement to - riot, commit violence, or call for genocide.

"death to America" ...

I would ask any self-respecting nation on Earth..;

Exactly how long would you put up with this mindset from a hostile government if it was your nation named with such ill intent without going to war?

32 years and counting,.. the Iranian people can probably attest to America's patience with the ethical infant at the head of their government's intent, and thank their lucky stars we haven't responded kineticly in all these years to remove their Ayatollah from power.

Is it more offensive to Muslims, to slander by portrayal-Mohammed? Or is it more offensive to Muslims to have their religious leaders try to involve them in their "holy war" as accessories to murder and genocide, sectarian conflict and the like?

Personally, therefore I would have the producer of that film charged with "assessory to murder" at this point, along with anyone else involved in the scripting and final content as aired.

But that's just my opinion.

Best,

Eric

Charlton G.
|
Indiana, USA
January 23, 2013

Charlton M. G. in Indiana writes:

Hillary R. Clinton; keep up the great work and I think the job you do will keep the USA safe. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Monty

.

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