In light of yesterday’s attacks on our American Embassy in Cairo, I’ve been going through the web looking for the whole story of what happened. The best overall treatment of this, so far, has been on Commentary Magazine.
Although it’s a well-respected site, I’m not sure how many of y’all read ‘Commentary’; if you don’t, you really should. The following two posts should be proof enough of that statement.
These are from late last night (9/11) & early this morning (9/12), and the first one is from Jonathan Tobin:
Today a mob numbering in the hundreds stormed the Cairo embassy on the pretext of being upset about the alleged appearance on YouTube of a film made by Egyptian-American that is derogatory to Islam. The mob scaled the wall of the embassy, entered the courtyard and tore down and burned the U.S. flag that flew over the diplomatic enclave and raised in its place a black Islamic banner that is associated with al-Qaeda.
In response to this outrage, this is the statement issued by the United States in Egypt:
“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 September 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 of 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.”
No mention was made to the invasion of the embassy or the insult to the symbol of the United States that is as dear to Americans than Islam is to Egyptians. Rather than making it clear that this breach of diplomatic immunity and common decency requires the apology of the Egyptian government and the punishment of those responsible, the Obama administration bowed and apologized.
Americans do respect all faiths and religious believers including Islam. But we also respect freedom of speech and that gives the person who made the offending film — a member of the Egyptian Coptic faith that has suffered bitter persecution and violence at the hands of the Muslim majority — the right to say what he likes whether the Egyptians like it or not.
More to the point, it is not the business of the State Department, the Cairo Embassy or any American official to apologize for or to in any engage in the controversy over this film, let alone issue a statement that appears to rationalize a violent assault on a U.S. embassy on the 9/11 anniversary.
The Embassy statement also was released on TWITTER yesterday, but then was quietly taken back down later that day. So, to (very) loosely paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, this would be: “Tweet softly, …and carry a big Apology”.
On a side note, Charles Krauthammer had a very similar take as Tobin’s, although he said it a bit more bluntly:
All last night and into today, the news continued to flow out of Egypt. Thus, Tobin revisited the subject very early this morning:
The Obama administration is attempting to walk back the damage done by the apology issued by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for criticisms of Islam made by American citizens. In the wake of condemnations of the embassy’s shocking statement, which seemed to justify the violence that was directed at the United States, administration officials have now said the apology was not vetted by Washington.
Responding perhaps to Mitt Romney’s outrage about the apology, last night Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued her own statement in which she also condemned critics of Islam but added, “There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.” But with the attacks on posts in both Libya and Cairo now having left four Americans dead and with anti-U.S. rioters acting with impunity, the problem here is bigger than one retracted apology.
But the damage control being performed in Washington isn’t enough to put the administration’s stand in a positive light. If the initial apology resonated around the world it was because it was very much in line with the tone of moral equivalence that was the keynote of President Obama’s speech to the Arab world given in Cairo in June 2009.
Having set forth a credo that balanced understanding for grievances against U.S. policies with a desire to conciliate its critics rather than to forthrightly defend America and its allies, the president cannot now be surprised when the instinct of U.S. representatives abroad, and especially those in Cairo, is to apologize first and to be resolute later.
The problem with the Obama administration’s attitude toward the Arab world is that a stance of moral equivalence that posed a false symmetry between the Holocaust and Palestinian grievances against Israel or of an Iranian nuclear threat and past complaints about America’s conduct in the Middle East invites the outrages we witnessed yesterday.
The assault on Americans on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks illustrates the deep-seated paranoia and intolerance on the part of Muslims and Arabs. Theirs is a worldview in which their sensibilities must be guarded at all times and places, but that those of Americans and Jews can be abused with impunity.
The evidence that the Obama administration was weak-kneed (at best) on foreign policy has been evident for years. And we can’t forget the repeated, blatant hostility to our allies, including this recent gem:
“In a highly unusual rebuff to a close ally, the White House said on Tuesday that President Barack Obama would not meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a U.S. visit later this month, as tensions escalated over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.”
Great strategy, guys: Tell our allies to take a hike, and then apologize to the Arab whack-jobs who are killing us ’cause their feelings were hurt.
Oh, yeah: THAT’s gonna work for us.
Does anyone still want to tell me that this administration has even the faintest of ideas what the heck they’re doing? Because if this is all part of some well-oiled, intricate foreign policy plan, I’m reeeeally curious as to just how this can result in our being better off, or somehow more secure as a country.
‘Course, that’s likely just me being paranoid. Isn’t it?
Yeah, and what do the Networks want to discuss? If Romney spoke out of turn.
I’m beyond disgusted.
West is speaking from a ton of experience. Wish we had more like him.