Cairo embassy personnel put out a problematic statement on Tuesday designed to mollify angry protesters upset by an anti-Islamic movie: “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”
This was explicitly intended, and rightly taken, as an apology for the conduct of Americans who insulted Islam — as though it were the place of Cairo embassy personnel to deliver such apologies on behalf of the US government for the conduct of its private citizens, no matter how noxious that conduct might be.
Nine hours later, the Romney campaign released a statement implicitly linking that apology to Obama’s larger foreign policy: “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”
Plainly recognizing the political potency of this line, the White House quickly repudiated the Cairo statement.
Then, in the middle of the night, came word of just how horrific and deadly the killings in Benghazi had been. And also word that embassy staff had put up the Cairo statement before, not during, the attempted siege.
And so descended from On High the three horsemen of the Apocalypse, trying to bring about Foreign Policy Romneygeddon.