Question: Were the Marines at American embassies in the Middle East not allowed to be armed?
Answer: Presidential campaigns lead some people to politicize everything and the tragedy in Libya is no exception.
Bloggers and users on Twitter and Facebook were quick to circulate claims that the Marines in Cairo, Egypt, and Benghazi, Libya, were not permitted to be armed. The story went that the U.S. ambassador to Egypt told the Marines they couldnít use their weapons.
It turns out the Marines in Cairo were armed. Both Mother Jones magazine and Fox News -- two news sources at opposite ends of the political spectrum -- talked to Marines spokesmen who confirmed there were no restrictions on weapons or weapons status.
In Libya, the consulate in Benghazi did not have Marines stationed there -- the security was supposed to be provided by the Libyans.
Finally, itís something of a misnomer that the primary mission of the Marines is to protect the embassy. Thatís the responsibility of the host country. In the event of a crisis, the Marines will certainly do their best, but their main mission is ďto provide internal security at designated U.S. diplomatic and consular facilities in order to prevent the compromise of classified material vital to the national security of the United States,Ē according to the Marines Corps Embassy Security Group.
Jeffrey Bruner is the wire chief for the Gannett National Wire Desk in Des Moines.
This is a letter to the editor of small newspaper.
Letter: Why were U.S. security forces for the consulate in Benghazi lacking?
Each day I am continually confused as to the position of our president, the secretary of state and the State Department in general with whether the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was an organized terrorist attack or a spontaneous attack allegedly triggered by outrage over an anti-Muslim film.
The real problem is a small group; a few people or a group overran the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and caused the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other staff members.
The question is why a tragic lack of security at the Benghazi mission was allowed and why did a U.S. regional diplomatic officer feel that local Libyan militia were sufficient to guard the station?
We now have U.S. Marines at the location. Why they were not deployed to that sensitive area before?
Similar to Stans question.
So, how many troops would you suggest be posted at each embassy?
Squad, platoon, company, brigade, division.
What would you suggest they be armed with?
Small arms, shoulder fired missiles, crew served heavy weapons, armor, aircraft.
It`s the host countries responsibility to provide the security for foreign embassy grounds and staff.