American Ambassador To Libya Killed
Yesterday, the minister from Florida who did those stupid and pointless Koran-burning stunts
released promoted a movie called Innocence of Muslims. The U.S. embassy to Egypt responded by issuing a statement condemning the film: “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.”
This wasn’t enough for some in the Arab world, and riots broke out all over the place. Including Benghazi, Libya, where the U.S. embassy to that newly-constituted new nation is sited. The results of riots there included the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other members of the diplomatic staff. The government of Libya has condemned these actions and vows to identify and hold to justice those responsible.
Submitted for your consideration, because I have to write this post in a hurry before going to court this morning:
- American critics of Islam are exercising their rights of free speech. There should be no criminal sanction for the creation of Innocence of Muslims. The statement by the American embassy to Egypt fails to adequately express that free speech is as much a cornerstone of American democracy as is respect for religion.
- Freedom from prosecution does not mean freedom from criticism. Critics of Islam have no particular need to demonstrate that a segment of the Muslim population of nations with relatively weak governments will react to strong criticism of Islam with violence. This has been proven again and again in the past.
- The predictable violence is the product of a very distasteful cultural soup which includes a particular kind of Islam, but also includes a broader spectrum of factors including economics, resentment about nineteenth- and twentieth-century imperialism, differing social mores, and a lot of other things I’m in too much of a hurry to itemize here.
- Direct responsibility for the deaths of these diplomats rests in the hands of the Benghazi mob and its leaders. There was clearly provocation involved, as many of the rioters were carrying signs that included slogans in English intended for distribution in western media.
- The previous statement is incomplete, since a degree of indirect responsibility rests with those who provoked them. That includes the American critics of Islam who created the provocation.
- We in the U.S. cannot reasonably ask for more from the Libyan government than that it identify and prosecute the criminals responsible for the deaths of our people.
- This has the potential to affect the pending election in the United States, because a condemnation and cooperation with the Libyan government will not appear particularly decisive or strong, and therefore play into the hands of the Republicans who want to depict Barack Obama as a weak leader. Why leaders of Islamists in Libya would prefer Mitt Romney as President to Barack Obama in the future is completely unclear to me.
- There’s no easy, simple, or neat response to this.