Friday, September 14, 2012

The End of the "New Beginning" !

This week President Obama observed the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and declared that "our country is stronger, safer and more respected in the world." However, conservatives have argued that the Obama foreign policy has been feckless and will lead to disaster. They may turn out to be right, but it's no easier an argument to make than the economic case that Obama's policies will produce prosperity anytime soon. After the events of September 11, 2012, the argument is easier to make.

At the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, what appeared to be a genuinely stupid and spontaneous unarmed mob angered by an anti-Islam video said to have been produced in the United States, gathered in protest. Unfortunately, the embassy responded by issuing an apologetic statement:
          The Embassy of the United States condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims -- as we condemn efforts to offend believers in all religions. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
The mob was not appeased. One might wonder if it was because of that weak-kneed response....that they then stormed the embassy. The Cairo mob taunted the U.S. with a chant: "Obama, Obama there there are still many Osamas!" 

There were many "Osamas" to launch a fatal attack the next day on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. They killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens (who took over just 3 months ago). These jihadist scum were armed with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. The Times reported, "Intelligence reports suggest the possibility that an organized group had either been waiting for an opportunity to exploit the protests over the video or even generated the protests as a cover for their attack."

Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton quickly apologized for the Cairo apology and made fresh statements saying that "since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, but there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts."  Mitt Romney also denounced the embassy's apology and criticized the administration for sending "mixed messages." He said,  "It's never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and defend our values."

To understand what's wrong with Obama's & Hilliary's statement, consider the statement from George W. Bush in response to rioting over Danish cartoons of Muhammad quoted in The Times: "The Bush administration offered protesters support, saying that 'We find them offensive and we certainly understand why Muslims would find these images offensive.' The State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack said, 'Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images which are routinely published in the Arab press, as well as anti-Christian images.'  Still the United States defended the RIGHT of the Danish and French newspapers to publish the cartoons. 'We vigorously defend the Right of individuals to express points of view.' Mr McCormack added."

You can see that neither the president or Mrs Clinton vigorously, or even limply, defended the Right of Free Speech. They went only so far as to say that the offensive video did not justify violent acts against American diplomats. With that wimpish reply the emboldened spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood had the nerve to say that the U.S. administration should issue a formal apology for the film to the Muslim world, adding that the U.S. government should prosecute the "madmen" whose activities were harming Washington's relations with Arab and Muslim countries.

In his famous 2009 Cairo speech, portentously titled "A New Beginning", President Obama declared:
         I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap and share common principles--principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

The Way I See wonderful as justice and progress and tolerance and dignity may be, America's central principles are principles of FREEDOM. America does not -- and constitutionally cannot -- prosecute people because their speech is offensive. "Mutual Respect" requires leaders in the Muslim world to grow-up and understand and accept that modern concept and it requires American leaders with the firm self-respect to make it clear to these archaic people. (I personally would have liked to see every major newspaper editor have the balls to run those cartoons all over the world.)

The idea that a submissive-sounding president could set things right in the medieval-minded Muslim world always struck me as far-fetched. This week's events render it indefensible. This looks like the end of the "New Beginning." and a good time to throw Obama out before he bows, physically or verbally to another foreign leader.

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