U.S. Marines are typically the guards at American diplomatic missions around the world. They are found manning the entrances to embassies and stand ready to defend ambassadors and diplomatic personnel. They are also in charge of the security and integrity of classified equipment and documents at American embassies and can be called upon to assist with defending U.S. personnel and evacuation from foreign posts.

Slain American ambassador Chris Stevens, who died in a firefight at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, did not have Marines to defend him and the consulate on September 11. While Americans were commemorating the loss of life of 9/11, Ambassador Stevens and three U.S. personnel lost their lives in a hail of bullets and rocket propelled grenades.  Stevens was in a highly sensitive position, and had gained the trust of Libyans. One of the goals of his mission was to find shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that could wind up in the hands of terrorists. 

Besides the ambassador, embassy communications expert ,Sean Smith and members of the consulate security detail, Tyrone Woods and Brian Doherty, were victims in the assault in which their vehicle was burned to a charred hulk. Ambassador Stevens was dragged, either dead or unconscious to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead of "extreme asphyxiation." For twelve hours after his death, the U.S. State Department had no knowledge as to his whereabouts or condition.

Preliminary investigation on the ground suggests that the attack may have been conducted by elements of the al-Qaeda terrorist network and may have been planned for that date irrespective of the release of the film "The Innocence of Muslims' that has been blamed by Muslim protesters for their rage in more than 20 countries.

Four Americans put their lives on the line for the largely failed foreign policies of the Obama administration. Egypt spirals out of control yet continues to enjoy American largesse to the tune of more than $1 billion per annum in foreign aid. Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has demanded an apology from the United States for the the production of the film, even while it was Egyptian security that failed to defend the American embassy in Cairo from mobs that climbed over the security perimeter and tore down the American flag and raised the black flag of Islamist militancy in its place. The Obama administration continues to dither as Iran advances on its nuclear weaponization program, while telling Israel - which Iran has threatened repeatedly - to wait. Wait? For how long?

But the surest sign of Obama's priorities came over the weekend when it was revealed that his top advisor and confidante, Ms Valerie Jarrett, is the recipient of considerable ministrations from White House security. According to Breitbart news, Democratic pollster Pat Caddell said that she has a full Secret Service security detail while vacationing on Martha's Vineyard.. “Jarrett seems to have a 24 hour, around the clock detail, with five or six agents full time,” Caddell explained. “The media has been completely uninterested. We don’t provide security for our ambassador in Libya, but she needs a full Secret Service security detail. And nobody thinks there’s anything wrong with this. And nobody in the press will ask. What kind of slavish stoogery are they perpetrating here?"

There is obviously set of priorities at the White House that does not appear to square with reality. While other Americans are in harm's way in dangerous countries such as Libya, and serving with inadequate security, a civilian Jarrett on vacation in one of the most exclusive island resorts in the U.S. is given the benefit of White House security. Long associated with both President Obama and Mrs Obama, Jarrett does not have a foreign policy portfolio but instead reigns over the relations of the White House with government agencies and outside interest groups. That is to say: Jarrett is Obama's eyes and ears with constituent groups who can ensure a second administration.  Are Obama's priorities indeed America's priorities? 

How much longer will it be until Obama's priorities square with a world that is increasingly violent and where mobs in Muslim countries appear able to seize American diplomatic missions at will? Mustering a few Marines here and there, or sending the navy to the Gulf of Sirte, is nothing but ineffectual sabre-rattling. Obama must change the course of his so far disastrous foreign policies and make his priorities match those of the nation. The problem the United States is facing is not the obscure and vile "Innocence of Muslims" video, but a Commander in Chief whose policies and priorities are derelict and dangerous.



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.

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