Obama publicly mourns film critic, forgets slain diplomat

Although the Obama administration found the time to eulogize a popular film critic in an official White House press release following his death last week, after a young Foreign Service officer was murdered in Afghanistan in the service of her country, we’ve heard nothing but silence.

Anne Smedinghoff
Anne Smedinghoff rides in a helicopter near Helmand, Afghanistan. Photo credit www.thedailybeast.com

A Taliban terrorist in Kabul killed Anne Smedinghoff and her companions while delivering books to Afghan children. The following day, Secretary of State John Kerry, who had met Smedinghoff shortly before the attack, offered moving words of praise at a press conference in Turkey.

Also commending the woman’s service and patriotism were her father and the president of Johns Hopkins University, where she received her degree in international studies.

On Tuesday, a memorial service was held at Smedinghoff’s old high school, and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin, D-Ill., paid tribute to her on the Senate floor, according to The Washington Post.

“Anne was a bright spot on the embassy compound,” Durbin said. “Known to her friends and co-workers as an intelligent, caring and optimistic young officer who worked hard to help Afghan women and children.”

Other than Kerry’s heartfelt condolences, there has been nothing — official or unofficial — from the White House since Smedinghoff’s April 6 death.

The White House website includes blog posts onSexual Assault Awareness Month, gun control and the first lady’s student workshop celebrating “Memphis Soul.” Nothing on the death of a Foreign Service officer.

The latest press release posted on the site announced the 2013 Spring Garden Event, but again, zilch on Smedinghoff’s murder.

At a Monday press briefing, in response to a reporter’s question on the April 6 attack, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost their lives, both military personnel as well as civil personnel, as well as to those who were wounded.”

Neither Smedinghoff nor any of those killed with her were mentioned by name.

However, when film critic Roger Ebert died on April 4, the president’s Twitter feed sent out the following message:

Obama Tweet

That was followed by two tweets from the White House Twitter account:

White House Tweet

The White House also sent out the following press release:

Michelle and I are saddened to hear about the passing of Roger Ebert.  For a generation of Americans – and especially Chicagoans – Roger was the movies.  When he didn’t like a film, he was honest; when he did, he was effusive – capturing the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical.  Even amidst his own battles with cancer, Roger was as productive as he was resilient – continuing to share his passion and perspective with the world.  The movies won’t be the same without Roger, and our thoughts and prayers are with Chaz and the rest of the Ebert family.

I’m still waiting for a statement mourning the death of an American Foreign Service officer whose life was cut brutally short by Taliban terrorists. Or is that asking for too much?


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