(PHOTO: The late Christopher Stevens and unidentified boys)
(Sep. 14, 2012) In his sardonic 1955 novel "The Quiet American," Graham Greene offered a devastating portrait of Alden Pyle, a young American covert agent in Vietnam, exuding idealist notions of democracy and Americanism while trying to cobble together a "third force" to stem the tide of the Vietnamese revolution. Unleashing mayhem upon the country's population in the process, he ultimately becomes the victim of his own political intrigues.
"I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator says of Pyle.
The description seems apt as the eulogies pour in for J. Christopher Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya, who was slain together with three other Americans in an armed assault on the American consulate in Benghazi Tuesday.
No one should take joy in the violent death of a 52-year-old man. But for all the tributes to his "idealism" and - in the words of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - his commitment to "advancing America's values and interests," it is impossible to understand the demise of Stevens without recognizing that this was an individual with blood on his hands who, like the fictional Pyle, fell victim to the very forces he helped unleash.