The road to democracy is never an easy one
The murder in Libya of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three of his staff members is a reminder that American diplomats around the world also are on the front lines. Their courage and commitment should be honored just as Americans honor those who serve in uniform.
Mr. Stevens and a small support staff arrived in Libya last year by cargo ship and set up a nascent diplomatic operation even as fighting between government forces and dissidents raged about him. Victorious rebels later raised American, French and British flags at the outpost he had established. He went on to advise them on elections and establishing democratic institutions.
The rioters who breached the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi and killed the Americans were said to be enraged by a movie, produced in the United States, that mocked Mohammed. It is possible, however, that a terrorist attack underlay the chaos. Some attackers were armed with rocket-propelled grenades and the attack occurred on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.
Libyan government officials vowed to bring the killers to justice, an objective to which the Obama administration must hold them.
The attack in Libya and others that have followed, underscored the political volatility that has been left in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings that overthrew dictatorial but largely secular strongmen, thus the challenge facing the West in trying to guide those societies into democracy.
This tragedy and ongoing crisis require fortitude and commitment from Americans.