A time of testing

The assault on the American consulate buildings in Behghazi yesterday continued with an attack on the car carrying the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans. All were killed. Sickening.

The news reports refer to protests over one or more films — the New York Times goes into detail on one film — but the instruments involved in Beghazi were RPGs, not sandals and placards.

The events in Cairo and Benghazi constitute attacks on the United States by hostile forces on the anniversary of 9/11. Not to worry, however. Embassy officials in Cairo are busy rewriting the record of their abjection.

For now, we have the words of State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland at yesterday’s press briefing on the humiliating events in Cairo to go by:

“I would urge you not to draw too many conclusions as we have also had some very positive developments in our relationship with Egypt,” Ms. Nuland said.

“Obviously one of the things about the new Egypt is that protest is possible. Obviously we all want to see peaceful protest which is not what happened outside the US mission, so we’re trying to restore calm now.

“But I think the bigger picture is one of the United States supporting Egypt’s democratic transition and the Egyptian government very much welcoming and working with us on the support that we have to offer.”

This is pathetic. The Obama administration is enveloped in a dreamy fog of misunderstanding. Witness Ms. Nuland’s remarks, indicative of weakness and wishful thinking about the so-called Arab Spring. Under a heading I have borrowed, John Podhoretz offers a measured assessment of yesterday’s events concluding in the recognition that it’s time to wake up.

UPDATE: National Journal reports: “The Americans were targeted in an attack in their car, trying to move to a safer venue away from the violent protests that erupted at the U.S. Consulate, Reuters reported. Stevens died of suffocation, while the three other personnel were killed by gunshot wounds, CBS News reports.” The updated CBS News story is here.

MORE: We learn from Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt email: “Our ambassador’s body was carried through the streets by the mob.” Jim also quotes Toby Harnden: “Reminiscent of Somalia.”

ONE MORE: See also the New York Post account compiled from wire services.

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