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Published in Stream:
9/11 Attack on Libyan Embassy
Press by
James
@JamesMiller
Personal account of James Miller, Managing Editor of The Interpreter, a publication on Russia, Ukraine, and Syria. A contributor at Reuters, The Daily Beast, RFE/RL, elsewhere.
JamesMiller
18 Months - Iraq vs. Libya - No Comparison.
9 years
The Timeline

There are many unanswered questions about the 9/11 embassy attack on Libya. How were Americans killed? How was the attack conducted? How is the investigation being handled.

But let's remember how hard it is to rebuild a nation after years of war.

Iraq - US forces conduct a preemptive invasion to remove Saddam Hussein because he was suspected of having weapons of mass destruction. The US made up the bulk of the invasion force, took the most coalition casualties, and paid for the vast majority of the war.

There were 1201 Coalition fatalities between the invasion in March 2003 and October 2004, a casualty rate that would stay constant or increase until 2008, with an additional 15,000 to 100,000 civilians killed in the conflict. Though coalition forces have now withdrawn, intense violence continues to this day.

Amount of times 30,000+ people have held a pro-US rally = 0

Free elections had not yet been held by this time in 2004.

George W. Bush was reelected in November. His message was that Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat (though no weapons of mass destruction were ever found) and  the American people needed to be patient and stay the course, or risk the collapse of the provisional government. 

Libya - NATO, following a UN Resolution brokered by the Obama administration, conducts a no-fly zone in Libya. No US personnel conduct combat missions, and no US troops are deployed. The United States takes no casualties in the effort to remove Colonel Gaddafi from power. The European nations commit the bulk of the combat aircraft and pay the majority of the cost for the initial phase of the crisis.

In approximately 18 months of conflict, the most liberal number of total casualties, including combatants, was 30,000. Most sources say the total amount of deaths was approximately 15,000, with between 5,000 and 7,000 civilians killed. The conflict was over in 8 months, and claimed 1 coalition casualty (a British pilot). Since then, very few people have been killed by combatants, but 4 US embassy personnel were killed in a tragic attack on a US consulate in Benghazi on September 11th. After this rally, more than 30,000 Libyans rallied outside the embassy to express sympathy for the United States. After the rally, a group split off an attacked the headquarters of the militia suspected of conducting the attack.

There is no ongoing or persistent violence in Libya, though occasional battles between Libyan government forces and militias are fought, claiming few casualties. 

President Barack Obama is running for reelection in November. His message is that the country of Libya, both the new government and the populace of the country are overwhelmingly pro-American, and a major threat had been removed with minimal cost or loss of American life. The American people need to be patient and need to support the new and democratically elected government so that it can continue to improve the country and stabilize the security situation.

As you can see, there is no comparison.