Amid all the rightwing noise about what happened in Benghazi the night the US Ambassador was killed, there’s a tendency to forget that Libya is still far from the new democratic utopia that ousting Gadaffi was supposed to usher in. Last week, militias shelled and brutally pillaged a Gadaffi loyalist town. Two days ago rival militias started a firefight outside the Supreme Security Committee headquarters in the capital, Tripoli. Now workers at western Libya’s main oil refinery plan to shut down the plant from Wednesday to protest the government’s weak grip on security and a member of Libya’s National Transitional Council has been found dead in a locked car after he went missing for a day.
It shouldn’t really need saying, but Libya is a dangerous place right now no matter which nationality you are, and there’s no way to guarantee anyones’ safety, not even an ambassadors. That was true in war-torn and unstable places during the Bush era too, when there were ten separate attacks on US embassies and it was only by the hand of grace that no senior diplomats lost their lives, “just” security folks.
Still, now that the election is over, I expect the rightwing noise machine will have no further use for Benghazi outrage.