It has been nearly three weeks since four Americans, including ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, were killed in a terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi. Some officials still cravenly insist on making the murders somehow less offensive to humanity than the making of a video making fun of Mohammad that supposedly “caused” the sometimes-violent anti-American protests that have been roiling the Mideast. “A” says something “B” finds insulting, so “B” shoots “C” in response. We blame “A” more than “B”? In what moral universe is that not despicable?
Of course the video had nothing at all to do with the Libyan uprising. It was just a useful excuse for the al-Qaida Libyan affiliate that had carefully planned the whole thing as a reminder on 9/11 that the West was still on the not-to-be-tolerated list. Everyone is so used to idea that Islamic fundamentalists might take murderous revenge for the slightest offense that it was sure to be effective.
Our leaders certainly obliged. At least the White House has stopped sending out people to keep pointing out that the United States had nothing whatsoever to do with the video (so please don’t hurt us, OK?). But even as late as last week during his own U.N. speech, Obama felt compelled to mention the “crude and disgusting video” with a message that should be “rejected by all who value our common humanity.”
One great difference between Muslim and the American tradition is the view of the relationship of government and religion – they believe the two are intertwined, we insist they be kept separate. Shouldn’t someone be saying that, in the meantime also defending free speech instead of apologizing for it? The fanatics are fighting us because they don’t like our values. How hard do they have to fight if we won’t even stand up for those values?