Originally Posted by cherokeesam
What is it with all this "omg where was SHIELD and Cap in IM3?!?" hand-wringing? It's two different solo stories that are roughly concurrent, and it's stories that deal with the solo careers of Steve and Tony that have nothing to do with what's going on in the Avengers (who haven't been shown to be a formalized group with regular meetings yet until AoU makes them the superteam we know and love from the comics).
The simple fact of the matter that people keep forgetting is that SHIELD is NOT a tool of the US government. SHIELD works for the movie version of the UN; they're not there to do the work of the CIA, FBI, and US military. When the President got abducted, the US military sent Iron Patriot to rescue him, and that's the appropriate threat response (even if that response failed). Captain America works (worked) for SHIELD, not the US army.
And not only that, Rhodey explicitly stated that the US government wanted to treat the IM3 events internally and specifically asked SHIELD not to get involved.
So you have:
a) The US explicitly asking SHIELD (which, as you stated, is an international organization) to back the **** off.
b) The fact that HYDRA was pulling SHIELD's strings all along.
Yet people continuously bring up the same question, wondering where SHIELD (and Captain America) was when the whole Mandarin/Extremis fiasco was playing out.