Frank Weathers, whose wonderful blog, Why I Am Catholic, often displays his quirky sense of humor, authored a post with a decidedly more serious turn a few days ago.
The post, The Real Culprit Behind the Attacks in the Islamic World, is both insightful and thoughtful. Frank draws on his experience as a former Marine Security Guard at the American embassies in both Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and Cairo Egypt. I could tell you more, but it would spoil a fascinating read.
The Real Culprit Behind the Attacks Across
the Islamic World UPDATED
The Colors flying at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo Egypt, at half-mast. September 13, 2012
I’ve been thinking about the attacks to our embassies all across the Islamic world. Like the rogue character Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, me thinking is a frightening prospect, I know. But I cannot help but do it, as I served in Cairo, Egypt and Kuala Lumpur Malaysia as a Marine Security Guard (MSG) at our embassies located in those two capital cities of predominantly Muslim countries.
I spent 15 months or so in both of these countries fairly soon after a barracks of Marines was blown up in Lebanon (1983), and the U.S. Embassy in Beirut was blown to kingdom come (1984). Under President Reagan, and his State Department, which at the time of my service as an MSG was under the leadership of George P. Schultz (who as a Marine Corps artillery officer, saw combat on Peleliu in WWII), the rules of engagement were a bit more straight forward than they seem today.
Nancy and me.
No one would be allowed to breach our walls and come into the embassy compound uninvited. Ever. Too many had died horribly in our recent collective memory to ever allow such an event to happen again.
Sustaining this resolve is the other awful memory of the American Embassy in Tehran having been sacked, and hostages held for 444 days, from November 04, 1979 until President Reagan was sworn into office on January 20, 1980.
Suffice it to say that when I served, it was a different time, under different leaders, who had a different background of experiences than what is the case today. Their idea that our embassies should be protected, and strongly, has merit. Actions approaching anything less courts disaster, and perceived weakness invites boarding parties to play “capture the flag” with impunity, as we are witnessing these days. (Read more here.)