Clipped box hedges and manicured bonsai trees. Strolling through the grounds in football tops and Ts. No hurry. The sound of crickets, then it’s someone’s phone chirping. One guy with a serious camera, others make do with their mobiles, holding them out towards the cauldron of flame. Are we in the Olympic Park? No, it’s a car, flaming too fiercely to be doused out in the adjacent swimming pool; and behind the burning vehicle (under a car porch in true suburban style), the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is going up in smoke. Right now, American ambassador Chris Stevens (Californian veteran of the Peace Corps, fluent in Arabic, friend of ‘the Arab Spring’) is succumbing to smoke inhalation. But Stevens has not been targeted by terrorists. Hardly anyone knows he’s arrived from the capital, Tripoli, especially not those – not rioters, not quite as innocent as bystanders – who only want to have been there when a little bit of America was burning. By the morning after, the compound will look like a real crime scene: blackened buildings, ransacked interior, the pool half-full of debris. The night before, though, if you agree to mistake small arms fire for firecrackers, it could have been a party getting out of hand.