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Public Statements

The Storming of Our Embassies: An Attack Against America

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. FORTENBERRY. Madam Speaker, last year, an intense debate was under way in Congress as to how to respond to the turmoil in Libya. The imminent slaughter of the people of Benghazi by former dictator Qadhafi led the United States to sustain a NATO-led coalition to stop the bloodshed. Now our Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, is dead--killed by the very people we went there to save. Americans can tolerate ingratitude; Americans can tolerate insult, but Americans cannot tolerate the senseless killings of the official representative of our country and three other diplomatic personnel.

The governing structures of Libya must respond in the strongest way. They should publicly state their condemnation and commitment to restoring order. Democracy is not an election. It is the understanding of the protection of the inherent dignity and rights of each person supported by the structures that bring about the just rule of law.

We honor Ambassador Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and two others whose names I do not yet have for their heroic service. May they rest in peace.

Similarly, in Cairo, Egypt, the storming of our Embassy represents an attack on America. By the norms of international law, custom and tradition, the scaling of the walls of our Embassy severely threatens America's longstanding relationship with Egypt so fruitfully solidified after the peace accords in the Middle East in the 1970s.

President Morsi must decide: Will his government tolerate chaos and violence? Will he abandon Egypt's leading role as a force for stability in the Middle East? Will he use democracy for the consolidation of power while rejecting its central tenets?

The responsibility of President Morsi's is also to speak swiftly and state clearly that the Egyptian Government, duly elected, is committed to its international responsibilities and the deeper responsibilities of self-government.

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