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One journalist friend from Lebanon asked me how the attack in Benghazi possibly could have happened, painstakingly describing how difficult it is to get anywhere near the fortress-like U.S. Embassy in Beirut, site of a past attack. “Well, we learn from our mistakes,” I said. We should not be building secure facilities only in countries where we have already been attacked.

Let’s hope only this administration learns quickly after the disgrace in Libya. If we can’t guarantee the safety of American diplomats overseas, we need to start shutting down high-threat embassies and consulates today. We must never forget Benghazi and collectively ensure that Mr. Obama does not, either.

J.D. Gordon is a retired Navy commander who served as a Pentagon spokesman in the office of the secretary of defense during the George W. Bush administration.