Keystone Jihad - The imbeciles have won
by Kathleen Parker
Columnist
September 17, 2012 12:01 AM | 807 views | 3 3 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“THIS TIME, the imbeciles have won.”

That was the assessment of French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy in his remembrance of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

And he wasn’t just whistling “Freres Jacques.”

BHL was referring to the fact that Stevens was a great friend of Libya and of the Muslim/Arab world generally. The imbeciles killed perhaps their bravest advocate in the Western world.

And, they killed him (perhaps in part) because of the actions of another imbecile in the U.S. One lowlife creates an anti-Islam film that looks like a blend of “The Blair Witch Project” and “Keystone Terrorists,” and the unhappy Muslim world goes ballistic.

I emphasize the word “unhappy” because it is no more accurate to condemn the Muslim world for the atrocities of a relative few than it is to indict America because one lowbrow decides to upload a lousy flick that nobody otherwise would watch or even know about. Hey, demonstrators: Anybody can make a movie. It doesn’t mean anything.

And by the way, anybody can burn a Quran. Or a Bible. Or smear feces on a crucifix. Or ... ad infinitum. We tolerate rudeness because the alternative — state-enforced politeness — leads to the guillotine.

Unfortunately, even we seem to have lost sight of the nature and causes of these incidents, which have less to do with reasons than with excuses. The demonstrations and attacks more likely are a function of post-revolutionary jockeying among the groups competing for power than they are about American anything. The storming of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11 may have been a planned attack, possibly orchestrated by al-Qaeda and possibly nothing to do with the movie.

The extent of our role, alas, has been exaggerated by our own actions. At least two notable missteps should be reminders about the importance of getting it right. For handy reference, check the parenting manual: Do not indulge tantrums.

First, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued what amounted to an apology to the mobs for any hurt feelings they may have suffered because of the film in question. If you intend to watch it, be sure to take necessary IQ-lowering measures. It is so ridiculous and poorly made, no movie-going American could watch long without succumbing to laughter or ... coma.

But then, the America-hating, unhappy Muslim mob isn’t familiar with “Rotten Tomatoes” or even Siskel and Ebert. They watch a homemade movie trailer on their computer and see a nation of haters. How does one deal with this kind of senseless rabidity?

Apparently, not through any civilized response such as, “Gosh, sorry about that awful film. We don’t really believe that.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the film “disgusting and reprehensible.” Of course it is, but so what? Besides, I don’t think they’re listening.

Here on Planet Earth, where being goofy isn’t a head-severing offense, one reaches without strain the following observation: The film was idiotic and not worth the attention of our president or secretary of state. The response has made clear that an apology doesn’t work, which is why both the White House and the State Department initially distanced themselves from the embassy’s statement.

This is most certainly why Mitt Romney decided to enter the fray, for which he has been variously pilloried and heralded. Put me in the pillory column. His comments condemning President Obama’s “apologist” foreign policy were premature, inappropriate and too politically motivated to be effective either as proper criticism or as a campaign maneuver.

Attempting to clarify, Romney’s foreign policy adviser, Rich Williamson, subsequently asserted that events would have been different under a President Romney. Perhaps, but might we use the same powers of extrapolation to infer that 9/11 wouldn’t have occurred if George W. Bush hadn’t been president?

Obama critics have long held that his post-exceptionalist, lead-from-behind model only invites contempt in the Middle East. Since no policy thus far seems to have been very effective, we’ll have to rely on history for more information. On principle, meanwhile, Romney would have been better advised to keep his own counsel pending clarity — always the wiser course.

What we clearly must not convey to the Muslim world is that either a random, Quran-burning zealot or an anti-Muhammad filmmaker is remotely relevant to our foreign policy. By apologizing — and later by Romney’s commenting — we made events more of an American problem than they were. And we lent unnecessary gravity and impetus to the conduct of imbeciles.

Obviously, they don’t need any help.

Kathleen Parker is a columnist for The Washington Post.
Comments
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Maatf
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September 17, 2012
The statement from the Cairo embassy was NOT an apology. Here it is - in its entirety:

"The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims -- as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies ofThere democracy. 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."

Ackward, yes. Which is why the Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, issued this statement hours before Romney said anything: “I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today,” Clinton said, confirming the death of a consulate diplomat. “Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”

Neither statement "apologized" for the virtue of free speech. But both statements make the point that it can be misused and that the U.S. government does not support how it was misused.
SG68
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September 17, 2012
Obama and his administration are an embarassment.
anonymous
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September 20, 2012
This column is an embarassement, especially in light of the White House's week-late admission that the attack was perpetrated by al quaeda and a Gitmo detainee who was released by the Obama administration.
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