Free speech and Tuesday’s thuggish attacks.
It’s another cold front for the Arab Spring.
A lunatic mob has stormed our embassy in Libya, killing four including the ambassador. The assailants reportedly attacked with rocket-propelled grenades. The late diplomat, J. Christopher Stevens, was the first American ambassador murdered by jihadists since 1979. May he rest in peace.
Hours earlier, more than 2,000 Egyptian protesters gathered at our embassy in Cairo where many tried to scale its walls. One of the American flags was seized and burned. A protester tried to climb up the flagpole and fly a black banner that read, “There is no God but God and Muhammed is His Messenger.”
The supposed source of all this froth is a satirical movie called “Innocence of Muslims” that portrays Mohammed as a gay opportunist who furthers his fortunes by calling for extramarital sex and child slavery. The film, directed and produced by a man named Sam Bacile, isn’t packing theaters nationwide; in fact, it hasn’t even been released yet. But a few trailer snippets drifting around YouTube were supposedly enough to incite a mob to murder an ambassador.
Actually “Innocence of Muslims” probably had very little to do with the violence. This was the usual crowd of young, furious, Islamist extremists that have been popping up with regularity throughout Egypt and Libya. The movie was just the latest excuse to scream and throw rocks, this time exactly eleven years after the 9/11 attacks. This wasn’t about cinema; it was about a caliphate.
And that’s what makes the official American response so bizarre. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo released a statement condemning “Innocence of Muslims”: “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.” After the consulate in Benghazi was attacked, the embassy tweeted that they stood by their comment. Under pressure, the State Department later withdrew the statement and deleted the Tweet.
Then Hillary Clinton denounced the violence, but added that “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”
Really? What, then, is the official United States position on Richard Dawkins? Dawkins, the biologist and author of atheist canons, thinks religion is the “root of all evil.” What of Ann Coulter, who wrote, “I believe our motto should be after 9/11: jihad monkey talks tough; jihad monkey takes the consequences”? Will Hillary Clinton denounce Monty Python’s Life of Brian? Friedrich Nietzsche? Bertrand Russell? The Last Temptation of Christ? Bill Maher’s entire existence? Family Guy? South Park?
Where was she when the late Christopher Hitchens said of my Catholic Church, “This is disgraceful, it’s inhuman, it’s obscene, and it comes from a clutch of hysterical, sinister virgins, who’ve already betrayed their charge in the children of their own church!”
Hitchens was wrong about that, but today is one of those days you wish he still had access to a pen. One of the (many) things that made him angry was the equivocal response from so many Westerners when the Iranian regime put a death sentence on Salman Rushdie. He had no tolerance for those who mentioned creative expression and violence in the same condemning breath. Neither should we.
MIKE BARNICLE: Given this supposed minister’s role in last year’s riots in Afghanistan, where people died, and given his apparent or his alleged role in this film, where, not yet nailed down, but at least one American, perhaps the American ambassador is dead, it might be time for the Department of Justice to start viewing his role as an accessory before or after the fact.
DONNY DEUTSCH: I was thinking the same thing, yeah.
We should prosecute people who laud people who make movies about people who get angry about it. It’s like Barnicle was being channeled by Thomas Jefferson himself.
On Twitter, Libya’s deputy prime minister, Dr. Mustafa Abushagur, condemned the violence, calling it “an attack on America, Libya, and free people everywhere.” No buts, yets, or howevers. Why, at a moment when American soil was invaded by homicidal Islamists, wasn’t our response just as clear?
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online