Friday, September 13, 2013

New normal, State Department, Benghazi-phobia

Doyle McManus commentary: New normal is tough on U.S. diplomats | The Columbus Dispatch: "But for U.S. diplomats in embassies overseas, the new normal is a serious problem — as much for their ability to do their work as for their safety. “There’s a serious case of Benghazi-phobia going on,” one government official told me. After terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, killing Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, Congress demanded tougher security measures. (Last) month’s closure of embassies for more than a week was, in part, a response. The State Department said the action was taken “out of an abundance of caution.” But working diplomats worry that if embassies close in response to every threat, their work will be impossible. “Washington makes decisions on a zero-risk basis, (but) there has been a level of risk for years,” noted Ronald E. Neumann, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. Put more bluntly: If a bomb maker in Yemen can close U.S. embassies just by making plans for his next attempt, doesn’t that mean the terrorists have won?"

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