By now, most Americans have seen the disturbing footage of Egyptian radicals scaling the wall at our embassy in Cairo, tearing down our flag, and burning it while waving black Islamic banners emblazoned with the message “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger.”
They’ve also seen the graphic images of the murderous mob in Libya that killed our ambassador and other staffers in that country.
At presstime, Egyptians remained on the streets, bombarding the U.S. Embassy compound with rocks and bottles, and the chaos had spread to our embassy in Yemen as well.
The attacks are an utter outrage, a global scandal – prompting even Cuba’s government to declare that violence against diplomats and foreign missions around the globe is never justified.
Yet in one of the most baffling displays of appeasement in recent memory, our own government issued apologetic statements both before and after the Egyptian embassy siege criticizing those who “hurt the religious feelings of Muslims” and “the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech”
The administration quickly scrambled to disavow the statements — making the almost laughable claim that the embassy issued them without their knowledge – only to essentially reconfirm the same flaccid sentiments in Mr. Obama’s own subsequent response to the tragedy.
“We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” the President said in a statement – a statement that didn’t even mention the issue of free speech.
For starters, we believe that the issue of the obscure, poorly produced and largely undecipherable Youtube video allegedly at the heart of this controversy was just a smokescreen used by Muslim radicals seeking to make a statement on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
But even if it weren’t just a smokescreen, the offending 13 minute clip is hardly a legitimate justification for the savagery and barbarism on display in Benghazi and Cairo this week.
We’re also shocked that U.S. policymakers would use the oddball video as an excuse lecture Americans about the need to restrain our own hard-won freedom of expression just because that expression might offend an illiterate Islamist in some remote corner of the North African desert.
Perhaps our elitist overlords in Washington need a quick civics lesson: Unpopular, controversial, offensive and yes, even incendiary speech is precisely the stuff that the First Amendment was designed to protect. Non-controversial speech, on the other hand, doesn’t require special constitutional protection. That’s because it is, well, non-controversial. Which is why such speech is perfectly legal in places like Iran and China — you know, the types of places where people have to “think twice” before they speak.
It’s also somewhat ironic to hear the political left forcefully condemning those who “denigrate religion” in their endless effort to defend the delicate sensibilities of foreign Muslims. Ironic because we don’t recall hearing these sorts of denunciations when public dollars were used a few short years ago to subsidize “art” that included feces smeared on a portrait of the Virgin Mary, and a crucifix submerged in human urine.
For the record, we also don’t remember an angry mob of Christians scaling the walls of the National Endowment for the Arts in retaliation, or demanding the head of its director.
And where were these self-styled defenders of religion when then-candidate Obama denigrated Christians for clinging to their guns and bibles four years ago? (No word on whether or not Mr. Obama believes the angry mobs in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere are “clinging too tightly to their RPGs and Korans”)
We believe that rather than seeking to mollify radicals by apologizing for our most cherished freedoms, American officials should denounce the use of mob violence to repress these freedoms even more loudly.
And while it may not be politically correct to say it, The West must demand that the Islamic World grow up, police its own ranks, and join the rest of us in the 21st century – where people appreciate such novel concepts as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, political pluralism and equal rights for men and women.