By Zykra Carter
With less than a month before the Presidential election, the violence in Egypt, Libya and Yemen are adding a new element to the presidential campaigns. The killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others has gone from tragedy to vote grabber. Mitt Romney has accused President Obama’s administration of sympathizing with the attackers, angry about an American-made film that shows the prophet Mohammed in a negative way. Democrats and Republicans alike criticize Romney for his remarks, and recently the president fired back in an interview with 60 minutes correspondent Steve Croft.
“I think most Americans, Democrats or Republicans understand that there are times when we set politics aside… one of those is when we’ve got direct threat to American personnel who are overseas,” Obama said. “And so I think that if you look at how most Republicans, most elected officials, have reacted, they’ve reacted responsibly, waiting to find out the facts before they talk, making sure that our number one priority is the safety and security of American personnel.”
It doesn’t matter whether Romney was wrong or right on that issue, what’s concerning is how far politicians will go to get that vote. It seems like they don’t care how they make the country look to outsiders or insiders. And sometimes their words may threaten our country.
In an effort to cool down the protest over the film at its embassy in Cairo, the U.S. released a statement saying that the movie did not represent what Americans believe about Islam.
I have to agree with the president and it also was so irresponsible for that filmmaker to make such movie and pretend he didn’t know it would cause violence. Obama said the information about the attack came from U.S. intelligence in Libya.
“It didn’t come from me. It didn’t come from Secretary Clinton,” he continued. “It came from folks on the ground who are potentially in danger. And you know, my tendency is to cut folks a little bit of slack when they’re in that circumstance rather than try to question their judgment from the comfort of a campaign office.”
Obama continued that Romney has a tendency to “shoot first, aim later… The president stopped short of calling Romney’s comments irresponsible but said, “I’ll let the American people judge that.”
Touching again on the film that is said to have sparked the protest, Obama acknowledged the importance of the First Amendment and his comments to uphold the right of individuals to “speak their minds” but firmly reiterated that “this film is not representative of who we are and our values and I think it is important for us to communicate that. That’s never an excuse for violence against Americans.”
Obama said that his “number one priority and my initial statement focused on making sure that not only are Americans safe, but that we go after anybody who would attack Americans.”
Hopefully others will be considerate enough to honor the ambassador and the others killed instead of using their tragedy for political gain.
Zykra Carter is a fifth-grader at Village Academy.