Elections influenced by Middle Eastern violence
It is no surprise that the magnitude of the attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 shook the entire population of the United States; and that the attack has found great popularity as a conversation topic in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.
The attacks were allegedly caused by a video titled, “The Innocence of Muslims,” a low-quality video that was released on YouTube this past July that resulted in an attack that killed 4 individuals, including U.S. ambassador, Christopher Stevens.
Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and their respective campaigns have shared words with one another, sparking much debate. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Romney began the political drama when he pointed fingers at the Obama administration for “suggest(ing) that there’s something wrong with the right of free speech.”
Romney claimed that the Obama administration was passive in responding to the attacks and that there should have been immediate condemnation of those involved in implementing the disaster.
Rebuttals were delivered promptly to the Romney campaign team. "We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Gov. Romney would choose to launch a political attack," stated Obama campaign spokesman Ben Labolt in a USA Today report.
Whether or not Obama’s actual response to the attack was sympathetic with those who waged the attacks, as Romney infers, is up for debate.
Nonetheless, the candidates’ responses to the attack in Libya leaves room for voters in the upcoming election to interpret how these actions by the candidates reflect their own views on foreign policy.
Both students and alumni of Niagara University are formulating opinions on the matter.
Some individuals support Romney and his pledge to defend the First Amendment in regards to the movie made that sparked the attacks.
“I support Romney’s view on the matter. Free speech is such an incredible privilege to have, considering there are still many countries who cannot exercise this fundamental right. Do I support the awful video that allegedly sparked these attacks? No. However, I believe that we must stand by this right, even when it inadvertently ‘causes’ such tragic events,” said Junior Jessica Bialkowski.
Niagara alumnus Kaitlyn Bayne, class of 2012, shared her thoughts concerning the election and the attack.
“It's concerning that it sounds like Romney wanted some retaliation, and I think Obama handled the situation perfectly, all things considered. It's clearly a fragile country and needs support, and we shouldn't be blaming an entire population based on a few people. Plus this happened on 9/11, a time already sensitive to the American people, which I'm sure was taken into account when they attacked the embassy. But regardless, it's a sensitive week for so many people, and I don't think that would have been the time for Obama to have such an egregious response," Bayne said.
No matter the case, the event’s aftermath is still unfolding and the reactions of all candidates could be crucial in winning the election.