The morning after news broke of the horrific attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and Embassy in Cairo, Egypt – which resulted in the deaths of four American diplomats includingU.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens Mohsen Milani,director for strategic anddiplomatic studies for USF World, held a press conference to address the violent attacks.
I was deeply saddened and shocked, he said, callingthose who perpetuated the acts animals who kill for fun.
While some initiallysuspected the attacks were a response to a viral videocreated by an Israeli filmmaker in California and promoted by Gainesville pastor Terry Jones who condemns Islam, U.S. intelligence officials said the attacks may have been planned before and may have been veiled under the guise of protesting the video.
It (may have been) amotivating factor in the attack on the American consulate in Cairo, Milani said. But I think the attack on Benghazi, I dont think thats what were looking at. From what I understand,they say these guyswere highly equipped… Whether or not you think the video was inappropriateor not, there is nojustification for burning an American flag or American consulate in Benghazi, the very same city where American Ambassador Stevens helped the rebel get rid of themadman Gadhafi.
After the attacks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. did not intend to change its diplomatic tactics in Libya, where the U.S. has maintained a strong presence since Gadhafi was toppled and the new administration took charge.
Milani said he thought the decision was wise.
I think Secretary Clinton and President Obama are absolutely correct, he said. This was an act perpetuated by terrorist organizations. There is not an iota of evidence that it has to do with the Libyan government.
Obama issued a statement early in the day condemning the actions of the attackers and said there was no justification for their actions. Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney criticized Obamas statement and a statement issued before the attacks by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in relation to the video, calling Obamas responsedisgraceful.
But Milani said he did not think Libya nor foreignpolicy will leave much of an impact on the minds of voters in November, who prioritize jobs and the economy.
If we can contain it and the violence doesntmetastasize, it wont be an issue, he said.