How do US missions protect themselves? A photo gallery.

This photo shows US Marines walking past the front of the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq on Feb. 6, 2007. On Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Protestors also attacked and vandalized the US Embassy in Cairo.

The US consulate in Benghazi is still smoking after an attack caused the violent and disturbingly symbolic death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens on Tuesday.

Protestors also attacked and vandalized the US Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday, making it a terrifying week for US foreign service representatives abroad. In this climate, it's worth taking a look at the fortifications that US missions in challenging countries usually contain — and what can happen when those defenses fail. 

Read more from GlobalPost: Who was US Ambassador Chris Stevens?

Before Stevens, the most recent Ambassador to be killed in service to the US was Adolph Dubs, ambassador to Afghanistan from 1978 until his 1979 death.

Dubs was kidnapped by Islamic extremists while driving to the US Embassy in a bulletproof vehicle in Kabul, and was later killed in the crossfire as Afghan security forces attempted to rescue him, in an event that remains controversial to this day. 

Comparing and contrasting photos from the 1979 Iranian storming of the US Embassy in Tehran, and those coming out of Iran and Egypt this week, is a disturbing exercise — and an object lesson in how little, perhaps, has changed.