MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

September 15, 2012

Stand united in the face of attacks

We must stand united.

No matter how divided we are during a bitter presidential campaign year, both parties must set aside political divisions at the ocean’s edge, particularly in a time of crisis.

An attack on the United States embassy in Benghazi, Libya, killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

It now appears heavily armed militants used a protest of an anti-Islam film as a cover and may have had help from inside Libyan security.

A deplorable attack involving tragic loss of life should not be used to score political points, regardless of how close this race is.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama of apologizing for America. His first statement mischaracterized events before all the facts were known, including that a beloved U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, had died.

Romney’s hasty response to the attacks was distasteful. We don’t turn caskets into podiums for political speeches.

Further, airing divisions in this way hurts America’s ability to respond to the crisis.

This is a time for the president to be presidential. Regardless of party or person, he is commander-in-chief and leader of the free world.

The GOP for generations has been a party strong in the foreign policy arena, with great respect for the office of president.

That is exactly what is called for here – respect for the office in a time of tragedy.

Romney drew criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike for his comments, and rightly so.

Foreign policy cannot be determined by who can yell the loudest or express the most outrage.

Outrage is part of the problem – Muslim outrage at an amateurish piece of trash filmmaking that inflamed passions.

Calming those passions while holding the perpetrators to account is the best response. The U.S. must show strength with resolve, but our power must be tempered with reason.

Those on the fringes, here or abroad, cannot be permitted to determine the nature of our relationships in the Middle East.

As Theodore Roosevelt said: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”

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