The murder of our ambassador to Libya (and other members of the State Department mission there) is an act of violence with no justification.
That Mr. Stevens was by all accounts a friend to the people of Libya, and the wider North African and Middle Eastern world, makes it all the more sad. That this was apparently the work of religious fanatics who worship a god with the fragile ego of a fawned-over starlet makes it all the more infuriating. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
That partisans in our country would argue that this constitutes an indictment of Mr. Obama's policy in Libya is--confusing. Or at least, it is not immediately clear to me what their preferred course of action would have been. There really are only a few options, so let's examine them.
1. We should have intervened on the side of M. Qadaffi. I look forward to hearing this argument advanced. Really, I do.
2. We should have simply taken over Libya. We should have intervened to help overthrow Qadaffi, then commenced a long-term occupation to nation-build and wipe out the various (and predictable) Islamist insurgencies that would arise--including the ones to whom we had just rendered assistance. The precedents here are, in a word, problematic.
3. We should have stayed out of Libya completely. If this is
what you think, may I be the first to welcome you into the
non-interventionist camp! We sure could have used your help 10 years ago
or so, but I guess later is better than never. I'm sure you seeing the
light has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that there is a
Democrat in the White House.
(Lest you think I am engaging in revisionist history, here, Libya is probably the subject on which I've levied the most criticism against Mr. Obama, for example: here, here, here, and an excellent guest post here.)