What's to be done? On the TV, there was much talk on the left of bringing the perpetrators to justice and on the right of destroying al Qaeda. I don't think either course of action really helps. Killing the perpetrators, while noble, only provides martyrs and is a tricky proposition. Look how long it took to get bin Laden and he was the world's most wanted. No one is in the mood in this country for another war with al Qaeda on any front. And frankly, grotesque and heinous as the killing of Ambassador Stevens was, it is not cause for war by itself.
However, we have the means to retaliate in ways that can be effective in stopping the spread of this sickness. In most of the s***holes where these terrorists abide, they are suffered to live because the governments are unwilling to do much about their presence for political reasons that time does not permit me to analyze. The proper response is to cut off the flow of money to the government and the leaders of the government. In most cases, this means taking action to stop their oil exports. This can be done by blockade, sabotage of pipelines, destruction of shipping ports or any number of other means. My favorite would be to put Hugo Chavez in charge of Libya's oil industry, but that would be TOO obvious a ploy. The economic forces are likely to topple the regime or seriously inconvenience those in power. Further, it would have the salutary short term effect of driving up oil prices. The political clamor to increase drilling in this country and to approve the Keystone XL pipeline would result in more jobs. I could see a President Romney unleashing a jobs explosion if he chose such a path. This sort of thinking could work against the Iranians as well. To date, we have been too timid about short term economic shocks. But gasoline is already at $4 per gallon with little effect on the President's re-election chances. It's time to take on these terrorists and their enablers by denying them the wealth they need to stay in power.