Iowans Condemn Attack on Libyan Consulate

By James Lynch and Rod Boshart, Reporters

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- The rocket attack in Libya that killed the U.S. ambassador to that country and three staff members should be treated "like an act of war," Sen. Chuck Grassley said this morning.

"There ought to be serious implications," the Iowa Republican said on C-SPAN's Washington Journal. "Particularly when you get a rocket attack, it's an act of war and ought to be treated like an act of war."

Grassley also expressed his regret to the families of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other embassy staff who were killed in assault on the American consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

Stevens and the others were fleeing the consulate when a rocket-propelled grenade struck their vehicle, according to news reports from Benghazi.

Grassley joined Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in condemning the attack on the consulate.

In a statement released by the State Department, she condemned the "vicious and violent attack that took their lives, which they had committed to helping the Libyan people reach for a better future."

Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin joined Clinton in condemning "these senseless acts of violence."

"My hope is that those responsible for these attacks are identified and swiftly brought to justice," he said. "Until then, my thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who perished."

Likewise, 1st District Rep. Bruce Braley, a Waterloo Democrat, condemned the attacks as a "travesty" and offered condolences to the victims' families.

"Today I'm remembering the people who lost their lives in the attacks on our embassy yesterday," Braley told reporters during a conference call. "I strongly believe we need to do everything we can to bring those responsible to justice. But today is a day for mourning and thinking about those whose lives were tragically ended."

His Republican challenger expressed a similar sentiment.

"We stand united as Americans against these gutless attacks on our countrymen abroad and we offer our prayers and sympathies to the families of those who have lost their lives at the hands of evil," Lange said. "May justice be brought to bear swiftly and methodically on those who committed these cowardly acts."

Second District Rep. Dave Loebsack, an Iowa City Democrat, also expressed grief for the victims of the "horrific attack (that) is a reminder of the threats we face around the world and of the dangers faced by Americans serving overseas, whether in uniform or as diplomatic personnel."

Although he's still waiting for details of the attack, Grassley said the U.S. must "show the world we are a nation that lives by international law."

"We expect other countries to live by international law," he said, "and this is a violation and you have to take appropriate action."

He did not suggest what that might be. CNN reported that the Defense Department has dispatched two Marine anti-terrorism security teams to Benghazi to reinforce security there.

Grassley complimented President Obama for his effort early in his term to mend fences in the Middle East.

"Four years ago the president made a very gracious effort going around that part of the world, giving speeches, showing that the expression of friendship of our people toward that part of the world," he said. However, Grassley added, "I suppose now it looks like that was maybe a mistake because it shows some weakness on our part."

Unfortunately, Grassley said, "it didn't do the good it was meant to do, but it was good-intentioned."
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