Eleven years to the day after the 9/11 attacks, a mob in Cairo attacked our embassy -- sovereign American soil -- and was allowed to tear down our flag. Security apparently knew they were coming, and had cleared the embassy of diplomatic personnel. They fired warning shots, but chose to allow our colors to fall to the mob rather than fire for effect. Perhaps they thought this would save lives, in the short run.
In Libya, another mob attacked a consulate. Another mob killed our ambassador and paraded his corpse in the streets. Three other embassy workers died as well.
Our response, for the first day, was limited to statements of sympathy with the attackers, and condemnation of the "abuse" of free speech. Only after the matter became politicized here at home did the US Embassy in Cairo retract its apologetic statements. Today we have progressed as far as a written statement from the President "strongly condemning" the "outrageous" attack in Libya. The Secretary of State has reiterated that America condemns insults aimed at the Islamic religion, but says also -- "let me be clear" -- that she likewise condemns the attacks on her diplomats.