Libya

Gingrich: Attacks on U.S. Embassies in Libya, Egypt "exactly like 1979 in Iran"

The 11th anniversary of 9/11 saw demonstrations at U.S. Embassies in Muslim countries around the world, including ones in Libya and Egypt that turned violent

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u.s. embassy in benghazi

Yesterday's attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, perpetrated by demonstrators protesting some film they felt offended by, was joined by an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi. The U.S. Ambassador to Libya was killed, reportedly in a rocket attack as he and other staffers were headed toward a safer location.

On CNN this morning, Newt Gingrich called the situation at the two embassies "exactly like Iran in 1979".

He continued:

Maybe it's because I'm a conservative, maybe it's because I come out of a different background, but when the American flag is torn down and destroyed, when an American Ambassador and three other Americans are killed, my reaction is not to find some way to be pleasant and understanding and caring about the people who are killing Americans, tearing down our flag and assaulting our country. My reaction, frankly, is pretty militant: we ought to stand up for America.

Gingrich was referring to a controversial statement by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, disowned by the Obama administration, that the Embassy "condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims."

The CNN anchor noted the statement came before the storming of the embassy and that it was disowned by the Obama administration. CNN's State Department correspondent Elise Labott called Gingrich's assertion "stretching just a bit."

Later, Fran Townsend, a CNN National Security Contributor, insisted the incident in Libya showed that the NATO operation in Libya was not enough: "It's not enough to help people actually get their freedom, overthrow an oppressive government. You're gonna have to the clean behind them and help them as a fledgling democracy," she said. 

You could also probably say if there had been no NATO operation in Libya, this might not have happened. Expect a lot more to be said about yesterday's shocking series of events by talking heads on the tubes.