“The people and the army are one hand,” the chant of Egypt’s January 25th revolution on the eve of President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, has yielded in the face of toxic gases, rubber bullets and live ammunition from the security forces, composed of army and police, to “the army and the police are one dirty hand.”
The trust and gratitude the Egyptian people once felt toward the military for their solidarity in ousting Mubarak has evaporated as the brutality of the army and police has caused scores of deaths and thousands of injuries.
Not only tear gas and rubber bullets, but also toxic gases—which cause seizures and reportedly led to several deaths by asphyxiation—and live ammunition have been aimed at the protesters. Tweets from all over Egypt reveal the shock at this criminal behavior. One said, “I am out of words. Egyptian army is murdering Egyptian civilians. That’s our worst living nightmare.”
I think it's unusual for the chief of staff to go on a trip, particularly on a trip this long. The chief of staff is usually more of a chief operating officer in the White House itself, and normally when your principal—whether it's the president himself or the head of Cabinet agency—goes abroad, you have his deputy and those folks staying behind to help manage operations in his absence.