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Obama’s Timidity In The Face Of Extremism

In the days before yesterday’s protests in Pakistan over an anti-Muslim “film” made by an obscure person in California and, to date, only seen by the public in the form of a fourteen minute trailer on YouTube, the Obama Administration purchased some airtime on Pakistani television:

The Obama administration is airing ads on Pakistani television condemning the anti-Islamic film “The Innocence of Muslims,” a State Department spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

“As you know, after the video came out, there was concern in lots of bodies politic, including Pakistan, as to whether this represented the views of the U.S. Government.  So in order to ensure we reached the largest number of Pakistanis – some 90 million, as I understand it in this case with these spots – it was the judgment that this was the best way to do it,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

The ads show clips of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the film in English (but dubbed in Urdu) in remarks they made last week, emphasizing that it was not produced or authorized by the United States government.

“In the case of Pakistan, it is common and traditional to have to buy airtime on Pakistani TV for public service announcements.  So in that environment, it was their recommendation that we buy some airtime to make sure that the Pakistani people would heard the President’s messages and the Secretary’s messages, so we did purchase some time, is my understanding, on Pakistani TV stations, all of the stations,” Nuland said.

She pointed to other instances of the U.S. government airing ads in foreign markets — including after the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan.

Here’s the ad itself:

As it turned out, the video apparently didn’t have much of an effect at all given that the protests went forward yesterday and became quite violent:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s officially declared “Day of Love for the Prophet Muhammad” devolved into deadly violence in major cities Friday as tens of thousands of Pakistanis angrily demonstrated against an Islam-mocking YouTube video, although calm generally prevailed in other predominantly Muslim countries.

At least 20 people died and more than 150 were injured in the protests in Pakistan, authorities said — the highest one-day death toll since protests began over the video on Sept. 11. The demonstrations havespread to about 20 nations.

The government’s announced effort to tamp down anger by providing a national holiday for peaceful protest clearly backfired, offering instead what seemed like an official sanction to violence.

Critics called the holiday a pandering attempt to please hard-line Islamist parties, whose influence has been on the rise here in recent years.

(…)

The rioters in all four cities targeted U.S. diplomatic facilities but failed to reach them, thwarted by Pakistani police and paramilitary forces who had set up barbed-wire barricades and steel shipping containers to deter demonstrators.

On Friday evening, as the death toll continued to climb, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf renewed his calls for peace.

“Destroying property and resorting to violence negate the spirit of Islam and teachings of the prophet,” Ashraf said in a statement.

Honestly, I’m not quite sure what possessed the Pakistani Government to declare a national holiday so people could protests to begin with, but that’s a Pakistani concern and it’s been clear for a long time that we cannot really trust that nation. Indeed, just today a Pakistani government minister has offered a bounty to be paid to anyone who would kill the people who made the film that is the cause of all this controversy. What I am concerned with, however, is the extent to which the Obama Administration has gone out of its way to pander to the violent extremists in the Middle East who consider it perfectly acceptable to engage in violent protests, even to the point of storming a building and setting it fire to an American Embassy as happened in Tunis, Tunisia, all because of some movie that they never saw and that most people never would have heard of but for these past two weeks of protests.

As I noted in my initial post on this matter, the movie is actually a pretext that was quite obviously used by extremist clerics and others to whip crowds up into a fervor that would have the desired result. That doesn’t make the actions of the people any less unacceptable, though. What rational person responds to a movie by burning down buildings and calling for people to be murdered? Of course, since we’re talking about religion here rationality isn’t exactly part of the equation to begin with, but it strikes me that this makes the extremist reaction worse, not somehow excusable. If you’re worshiping a god that considers it acceptable to call for murder because of a work of “art,” a term I’m using very loosely, then you’ve got some serious problems.

More importantly, because these attitudes are based in religion, and taking into account the fact that public opinion of the United States in nations like Pakistan is fairly bad already, one has to wonder why the State Department would think that trying to pander to this kind of extremism was either helpful for a good idea. Did they really think that an ad like this would actually change anyone’s mind, or that trying to point out that the film has no connection to the United States government would matter to the protesters? We said the same types of things when Terry Jones threatened to, and then ultimately did, burn a Koran and it did nothing to stop protests in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Trying to reason with irrational religious passion is pointless, and possibly dangerous.

Cato’s Mallou Innocent makes an excellent point:

[I]nstead emphasizes America’s tolerance for religious freedom without reference to other fundamental rights. I recognize that Obama and Clinton not only want to stop the anti-American protests, but also challenge the misconception that private and public speech in America are essentially one and the same. But when demonstrators in Peshawar are burning movie theaters and setting fire to posters of female movie stars, our leaders convey the impression that they are kowtowing to radicals. (It should be noted that the savagery perpetrated by radicals in the Muslim world disgusts many moderate Muslims.)

It is bad enough that Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked its American counterpart to have the anti-Islamic film removed from YouTube. It would be worse if Washington fulfilled that expectation by obliging. As writer Salman Rushdie has said of the protests more generally, free speech is at risk because “religious extremists of all stripes” attack people who criticize beliefs.

Americans live under a different set of laws and customs and should never be scared into bending to extremists. And, however offensive the film mocking Mohammed was, there is no excuse for the violent behavior on display.

As does Alana Goodman:

Those who engaged in violent riots this week and last did so for one reason: because they chose to. And why did they choose to? Maybe because there’s no real cost, and a whole lot of benefit. When top U.S. officials respond to wild tantrums across the Muslim world by pleading with crackpots like Terry Jones and blocking anti-Islam YouTube videos, it creates a moral hazard on two levels. First, it rewards these violent uprisings by handing a victory to the Islamist leaders who egged them on. Second, it hands anti-Muslim fringe figures an unhealthy amount of notoriety and power.

There’s nothing wrong with the Obama administration denouncing the anti-Islam film, in the context of condemning the riots. But that’s not what this is. This is a taxpayer-sponsored ad that repudiates a YouTube clip by a private citizen, while accepting the false premise that it was responsible for the violence. The intention is to ease the riots for the moment, but the long- (and short)-term consequence could end up being the opposite.

As long as people believe that it is acceptable to riot because of a movie, no amount of reasoning is going to persuade them otherwise. More importantly, though, apologizing to them for something that we, as a nation, have not done concedes the fact that they have something to be rightfully offended over and effectively sanctions the anger that causes them to rise up and act irrationally. We don’t have to endorse the film, obviously, but it is protected by our First Amendment and our long history of freedom of expression. It was wrong for the President to throw all that away in an attempt to appease people who cannot be appeased.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Herb says:

    The narrative is……changing? Huh???

    What are you on about, man?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  2. Herb,

    This has nothing to do with the attack in Benghazi. Which, of course, had nothing to do with protests over a film.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 19

  3. JKB says:

    Well, if you are rational, you can’t even stop the government from taking money from you an using it to create blasphemous “art” and put on display in downtown NYC, so the lesson is don’t be rational. Not only do those in the “art” community run pleading into the night, you get American taxpayer money spent on groveling. The mistake would be that this, shall we say, ill-advised advertisement only represents the weak will of Obama and Hillary Clinton, along with those they surround themselves with. It would be a mistake to think many of the rest of Americans aren’t subscribing to the call of the widow of one the SEALs killed in Benghazi, “Rid the world to those savages.” On the upside, we are seeing in Libya that the moderate Muslim may not be so mythical after all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

  4. stonetools says:

    Doug, you have to get your story straight, here. Were’nt you berating the Obama Administration for itsruthless prosecution of the drone war just the other day? Now you are attacking the Administration for being timid in the face of Muslim intrasingience.

    What, exactly, you would have the Administration do? They’ve both affirmed our free speech rights AND condemned the video. I don’t think they can do much more.

    I think its also clear that making videos like this and posting them on the Internet really is the equivalent of shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater-that is, its speech that will inevitably have the effect of causing injury and death. Maybe it shouldn’t. If we were sitting down in a Victorian salon with John Stuart Mill and Jeramy Bentham , it wouldn’t.But in the real world of Muslim fundamentalism and warmongering Muslim clerics, it does have that result, every time.
    I’m not sure what the solution is. Maybe there is no good solution. But there definitely is a problem, and we should be discussing it , beyond bromides about “appeasement”.

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  5. michael reynolds says:

    Pakistan is an exceedingly dangerous country. It may be the most dangerous country on earth. And instead of trying to tamp down the violence — riots in a country without whose acquiescence we cannot maintain forces in Afghanistan or carry out strikes against Al Qaeda — you think we should be lecturing them on the First Amendment?

    And again with the “weakness” meme? In the same country where Mr. Obama arranged to have Osama killed?

    This is a stupid post, and I don’t usually use that word about your writing, Doug. This is the real world. Pakistan has real nuclear weapons. Its government at the best of times hangs by a thread. But we should be chest-thumping? Good grief.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 53 Thumb down 5

  6. @stonetools:

    I didn’t get into it in the post, but there’s plenty of reason to believe that the drone campaign is actually damaging the reputation of the United States, especially in nation’s like Pakistan where they have resulted in civilian deaths.

    Getting to the subject of the film, though, I have to ask a simple question — why is it the business of the United States Government to be “condemning” this film to begin with?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 12

  7. Davebo says:

    Doug, beyond any draft age yet too young to buy some polyester coveralls and take up complaining about the guvmint full time.

    Or I could be wrong about latter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  8. @michael reynolds:

    The President’s duty is to the Constitution of the United States, not to winning the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan., who are going to hate us no matter what we do.

    I see no reason for the video to begin with, and it obvious didn’t work. I am not saying we should have done anything else. I’m saying we shouldn’t have done anything at all.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 34

  9. grumpy realist says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Doug, you really don’t give the impression that you know anything about what the world is like, do you? This is reality, not some idealistic world where you can make a speech about Freedom of Speech and suddenly the other side will applaud and go back home. You have to deal with people as they are, not how you want them to be.

    Apologies are useful, sometimes. Yes, it’s very likely that nothing would have kept these nut cases from rioting, but think about the secondary effects. This takes the “well, the US didn’t even apologize!” argument off the table. As such, this may be keeping more riots from occurring in places like Malaysia, Indonesia, Tunisia, Europe….so forgive us if we’re not all that impressed by your chest-beating. You’re not the one whose life is on the line.

    (Libertarians, sheesh. Totally oblivious to reality.)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3

  10. @stonetools:

    I think its also clear that making videos like this and posting them on the Internet really is the equivalent of shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater-that is, its speech that will inevitably have the effect of causing injury and death.

    No it’s not. But I find it informative that you seem to think that speech should be banned because someone finds it offensive. Or are you unwilling to go that far?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7

  11. @michael reynolds:

    Pakistan is an exceedingly dangerous country. It may be the most dangerous country on earth. And instead of trying to tamp down the violence — riots in a country without whose acquiescence we cannot maintain forces in Afghanistan or carry out strikes against Al Qaeda — you think we should be lecturing them on the First Amendment?

    We shouldn’t be trying to do either. We need to recognize we have no control over violence like this and instead discuss how to deal with it. Both the Republican “if we just kick them in the shins they’ll stop” and he Democrat “if we just try to be nicer they’ll stop” are foolish. They’re not going to stop.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  12. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    We must condemn it in order to make it clear that it doesn’t represent our views. In much of the world our condition of free speech not only doesn’t exist, it isn’t even understood. There are a heck of a lot of illiterate people there, and this is being used to whip them up by people for whom that is of political benefit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The President’s duty is to the Constitution of the United States, not to winning the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan., who are going to hate us no matter what we do.

    And this harms the Constitution how, exactly?

    The President also has a duty to manage foreign policy and to protect the American people. You’re creating an utterly false conflict. The Constitution is unaffected.

    As for there being nothing we can do, as noted above, you like to flip from one side to the other on this. The porridge is always either too hot or too cold for you. Whoever is president is always to blame for failing to head off threats and equally to blame for attempting to head off threats. Damned either way.

    The practice of diplomacy cannot always be managed within whatever politically correct boundaries partisans may wish to apply. Sometimes our FP establishment needs a bit of room. That requires an informed and rational US population that doesn’t rush to score silly points over non-issues.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 42 Thumb down 3

  14. Modulo Myself says:

    But when demonstrators in Peshawar are burning movie theaters and setting fire to posters of female movie stars, our leaders convey the impression that they are kowtowing to radicals.

    This is mealy-mouthed bullshit. We aren’t kowtowing to radicals, we aren’t pandering to anybody, and nobody in the Muslim world thinks we are.

    The only people who believe that we are conveying this impression are Americans caught up in foreign policy debates.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3

  15. stonetools says:

    Getting to the subject of the film, though, I have to ask a simple question — why is it the business of the United States Government to be “condemning” this film to begin with

    I would think it obvious-to disassociate the US government from the sentiments expressed in that film-sentiments which would damn the US government in minds of many Muslims.

    In your Fiirst Amendment ivory tower, the US government doesn’t need to do that, because you understand that Us government had nothing to do with the film.
    Many Muslims don’t see it that way, though. That’s a fact,and its also true that and they riot and kill people assocuiated with the sentiments expresed in that film. Again, we aren’t dealing with Locke or Bentham here. They don’t play by Enlightenment rules and never will.
    That being the case, the Us government has to do what it can to protect the lives and property of US citizens living and working in countries with Muslims who act that way. If that’s “appeasement,” lets have more of it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  16. michael reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I think that’s defeatist. Quite clearly we changed the attitudes of Libyans toward the US. So these things are not immutably written in stone. No one is pretending this is a magic bullet, that it will work overnight. But there is no alternative to engagement. Disengagement is its own version of engagement. Recall that we disengaged from Afghanistan after the Soviets left. Any blowback from that?

    We are the superpower. We are engaged whether we like it or not.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  17. My first reaction was that Doug had blown his cover. There is no way that a libertarian who believes in lower defense spending could complain about “timidity” in Pakistan. So I thought Doug was just doing the good work, giving middle aged commenters an issue to increase the heart rate and general circulation. I sometimes think Doug is just teeing the ball up for us.

    But no, apparently he really thinks a little harmless PR, explaining that we allow things we do not endorse, is apologizing for America. Should he ask for another carrier group to go with that?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  18. @john personna:

    Kowtowing to people who think it’s okay to kill someone over a movie is “harmless PR?”

    Yea, I’m a libertarian. I want a President who stands up for personal liberty, not irrational rioters.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 22

  19. @michael reynolds:

    I don’t think we really changed the Libyans. They’d had enough Qaddafi that the anti-Qaddafi (us) looked good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  20. stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    No it’s not. But I find it informative that you seem to think that speech should be banned because someone finds it offensive. Or are you unwilling to go that far?

    I said there was a problem, and that that I did not have a solution, but we should be duiscussing the problem. You want to short-circuit the discussion by bringing up the ” B” word.
    I find it informative that you would prefer to simply not discuss the problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  21. Stonetools,

    First Amendment.

    There, I’ve discussed the “problem.”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 23

  22. @michael reynolds:

    Quite clearly we changed the attitudes of Libyans toward the US.

    We didn’t do so by abandoning our principles. If the only ways to make Pakistan like us is to repeal the first ammendment (as people like stonetools are demanding) then we’re better off not having them like us. Now this doesn’t mean we provoke them with lectures about the third ammendment, but neither do we beg their forgiveness for having the first ammendment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

  23. @Doug Mataconis:

    Thanks Doug, for that set up.

    Obviously no, explaining that while we have free speech and sometimes bad speakers is education on free speech. It is not “kowtowing” in the remotest sense.

    It would be a pretty false picture to say we have free speech and it’s all good. God knows I do not endorse everything you find on the Internets.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  24. Me Me Me says:

    Doug, did you grow up watching the original Star Trek? I, too, long for the days when after 50 minutes of struggle and strife, Captain Kirk would risk it all to take a principled stand and in doing so, would win the day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  25. Dazedandconfused says:

    I think this has been described as the “Palinization” if the First Amendment: Criticism is impingement of free speech.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  26. Eric Florack says:

    I’ve spared no ire with you when you’re wrong, Doug.
    IN this case, you’re exactly correct, here, and in more than you know.

    But, failure it was and not just of Obama, but of leftism in general. Nor is this a case of simple incompetence on the part of Mr. Obama and his administration. Indeed, Mr. Obama and his people have been all too compeitant at installing liberal policy. The failure is the policy itself and the world view attached to it , not the political operations of the people in question.

    At the root of that failure is the leftist worldview which is centered around the idea that all cultures are equal and that given the proper respect all cultures will be peaceful.

    So we see the results of the application of these ideas; The Iranian hostages and the taking thereof back in 1979 were a response to a removal of strength from the region, in the person of the Shah of Iran, as well as the removal of our own strength in the region. We removed the Shah of Iran, supposedly because he was a mean person. The result was the mullahs taking over. I suppose there are very few people now in Iran will consider that their lives of improved dramatically since the Shah met his demise .

    We did the same thing with Qaddafi more recently, and for the same stated reason. and with the same results.

    Indeed, the results, in both of those circumstances was that violence in those countries increased dramatically, anti American sentiment was increased dramatically, and the chances of peace in the region were lessened.

    Nature, you see, abhors a vacuum. Remove from power someone who, while less than desirable from a western viewpoint, managed to keep the peace in the country for decades, and should anyone really be surprised that violence increases? Handed power from these strong men to the Muslim brotherhood which is in fact a terrorist organization, why should anyone be surprised that violence increases? The parallels in foreign policy between Carter and Obama are inescapable. The results in both cases were also disastrous.

    I would add a third Datapoint to these comparisons. That being the 9/11 itself,is as I said at the time, the direct result of the leftist foreign policies as applied by Bill Clinton. In all these cases, our foreign policy has been seen by AlQueida, the Taliban, et al, as WEAKNESS.

    .

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 37

  27. stonetools says:

    Kowtowing to people who think it’s okay to kill someone over a movie is “harmless PR?”

    Yea, I’m a libertarian. I want a President who stands up for personal liberty, not irrational rioters.

    I’m sorry, how is explaining that the US government is for free speech, but that it doesn’t condone a particular expression of free speech , “kowtowing”?

    If that’s libertarian “thinking”… well, its not really thinking.

    I’m glad you are “standing up” for the free speech rights of Americans in Pakistan-from 5,000 miles away. I’m sure they appreciate it .

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  28. Liberty60 says:

    We have been “getting tough” with adversaries in the Mideast for what, 30, 40 years? We have been periodically at war since the Gulf War in 91, and continuously since 2001.

    In that time, has the level of animosity decreased? Are we safer? What benefits have accrued as a result of our bombing runs? Will yet one more door kicking house to house snatch and grab operation, one more drone strike “rid the world of these savages”?

    How is the chest-thumping Chuck Norris schtick not just a “once more, with feeling” strategy?

    I agree that we have no choice but to engage, but I would like to think we have more tools at our disposal than “Bomb, bomb, bomb, BOMB BOMB IRAN”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  29. stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Stonetools,

    First Amendment.

    There, I’ve discussed the “problem.”

    Well, if that’s your idea of discussion, there’s not much to say , is there?

    Defamation, incitement, treason-just saying First Amendment ends the issue. Why do we even need a Supreme Court, then?
    But clearly the Supreme Court-and reason-places limits on free speech rights. Its intelligent to inquire as what those limits are . Its foolish to insist there are no limits.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  30. stonetools says:

    If the only ways to make Pakistan like us is to repeal the first ammendment (as people like stonetools are demanding)

    Er, when did I propose that? Please link to it. Thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  31. michael reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Repeal the First Amendment? WTF are you talking about?

    Actually, to the extent we’ve earned the affection of the Libyans it’s by using the French and Brits as cut-outs for a violent overthrow of the tyrant Gaddafi. Not sure where you find any of that in the Constitution. In fact I’m pretty sure Doug would say it was all un-Constitutional.

    I do not like the idea of the US government as art critic. But this is the real world. The actual world where a very unstable country called Pakistan has nuclear weapons. If a little soft soap helps, then I would refer you to the fact that we are the country that made common cause with Stalin when it suited our purposes and called him ‘friend.’ We’ve also made common cause with quite an array of dictators when it was deemed necessary for diplomatic or national advantage.

    So getting hysterical over this is utter nonsense.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  32. @michael reynolds:

    Repeal the First Amendment? WTF are you talking about?

    I’m referring to stonetools “making videos like this and posting them on the Internet really is the equivalent of shouting ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater-that is”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  33. Herb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “This has nothing to do with the attack in Benghazi.”

    Nothing? That seems to be contradicted by some of your quotes:

    The demonstrations havespread to about 20 nations.

    and

    tens of thousands of Pakistanis angrily demonstrated against an Islam-mocking YouTube video

    Yep…totally unrelated.

    Look, I know it’s an election year and you don’t like the President. But I’m not about to indulge in this “blame the president” nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  34. @michael reynolds:

    If a little soft soap helps, then I would refer you to the fact that we are the country that made common cause with Stalin when it suited our purposes and called him ‘friend.’

    We didn’t make common cause by telling everyone in Russia how sorry we are for capitalism. You and Doug seem to be stuck in this false dilemma that we need to be either lecturing them on free speech or apologizing to them for it. We don’t have to do either, we can just not talk about it. There’s plenty of ways to soft soap them other than the way it’s being done. Which predicatably hasn’t worked.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. @Herb:

    The attack in Benghazi was not coordinated with any protest. Indeed, there now appears to have not been any protest in Benghazi at all on the day of the attack

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  36. stonetools says:

    I’m referring to stonetools “making videos like this and posting them on the Internet really is the equivalent of shouting ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater-that is”.

    That’s not repealing the First Amendment. THat’s referring to a well-known court holding limiting the First Amendment. You do know that there are court holdings that limit the First Amendment, right?

    You may not agree with those decisions. But those decisions do not “repeal” the First Amendment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  37. Stonetools,

    You do realize that the case in which that phrase was used, Schenck v. United States, is nearly 100 years old and is no longer considered good law on the issue of when speech reaches the level of incitement to the extent it can be considered incitement, right?

    I would suggest you look into Brandenburg v. Ohio. Under the test set forth in that case, the idea that there would be any legal basis to ban this film is clearly absurd.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  38. Carson says:

    The response certainly has been more “Carteresque” than anything else. Obama should explain exactly what his policy about this is going to be – if he has one. All foreign aid to Pakistan and some of the other countries should be frozen immediately. In the absence of a middle east foreign policy except for apology and excusing, Congress should take action or watch more attacks.
    http://west.house.gov see video about Colonel West’s reaction about the events in the middle east and what should be done.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

  39. @Doug Mataconis:

    What people quoting that decision often forget as well is that the case wasn’t actually about someone yelling “fire” inside a movie theater. It was about arresting someone for criticizing the draft during World War I.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  40. Stupid liberals says:

    Stupid liberals saying that we shouldn’t lecture angry muslims

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  41. I’m not saying we should lecture them. I am saying that their barbarous conduct deserves nothing but condemnation from us. Trying to explain ourselves is pointless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  42. Stormy,

    Indeed. Holmes got that case very, very wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  43. @Carson:

    Not to single you out, but … how exactly is a declaration of American religious tolerance bad, or Carteresque?

    It really seems like a question anyone should be able to answer. Can you have free speech and religious tolerance at the same time? How do you do it?

    IMO, it’s an easy answer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  44. @Doug Mataconis:

    So, you are really arguing for a different kind of “diplomacy.”

    Well, once you condemn their barbarous behavior, what do you do? Pull out of the ME and leave the Straights of Hormuz for whoever takes them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  45. John,

    See this post.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “Trying to explain ourselves is pointless.”

    Why? Are all those savages too stupid to understand?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  47. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others

    This isn’t true, I love the dennigration of the religious beliefs of others. I loved Moral Orel, South Park, Dogma, The Book of Mormon. I think people like Bachmann and Perry are kooks and deserve to be merciless mocked for their ridiculous beliefs. I love making fun of scientologists.

    Obama says that makes me un-American. Well then fuck him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  48. SKI says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I’ve spared no ire with you when you’re wrong, Doug.
    IN this case, you’re exactly correct, here, and in more than you know.

    Doug, does this make you re-think your position?

    Serious, you are again using perjorative language to obscure that you have no actual, you know, facts. In this case it is “kowtowing”.

    The youtube video isn’t “kowtowing”. It is a simple statement of reality – we really do think the movie is idiotic and the government had no part in it. That statement doesn’t change policy. It is basic PR that was designed to reach some of the target audience. I doubt that anyone thought that the Pakistanis would magically stop protesting. The leadership of those whipping up the protests are invested in creating the unrest.

    The idiotic movie is a convenient scapegoat, not the point, of the riots. The adults know this. You know this. I can’t quite figure out why you aren’t willing to acknowledge it however. My best supposition is that you are instinctively trying to find away to “balance” your Romney/GOP criticism with criticism of Obama. It is kind of telling, however, that you keep having to resort to loaded overstatements to try to justify those criticisms. Can you explain what about it is “kowtowing”? What is subservient about either Obama’s or Clinton’s remarks? Are you seriously contending that responding at all is a sign of weakness? Why not throw our supporters over there a bone? c’mon…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  49. @Doug Mataconis:

    Oh, I know about that post, and I’m highlighting what I see as the contradiction.

    Well, partly contradiction and partly a blind eye to what “cheap gas” voters will demand.

    We can’t have it both ways in the middle east. We can’t tell them to pound sand and ask them for cheap oil at the same time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  50. @john personna:

    We buy the oil and otherwise leave them to their own destruction, if that’s what they want, as far as I’m concerned.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  51. @Stormy Dragon:

    I think something was lost when atheists dropped religious tolerance, yes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  52. @Dazedandconfused:

    What part of the fact that they hate us don’t you understand?

    Of course, they hate us mostly because we continue to think we can turn everyone into a western-style democracy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  53. michael reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Obviously the video is inflammatory, it was evidently intended to be. Telling Pakistanis that the video has nothing to do with the USG in no way, shape or form damages the First Amendment. These Pakistani mobs are ignorant people being used by factions within Pakistan to jockey for power and influence.

    Jockey for power and influence in an unstable country with a bunch of nuclear weapons.

    The idea that we should no nothing, nothing at all, la di da, to try to keep a lid on that inflamed sh!thole of a country is insane. What is it about nuclear weapons and Islamic extremists that fails to set off alarm bells in your head?

    There is no apology for freedom. There is no threat to the First Amendment. There is nothing bad going on here. This is a Drudge Report/Fox News manufactured outrage and yet more proof, as if any were needed, that Republicans are foreign policy imbeciles, utterly irresponsible, and far more concerned about scoring cheap political points than in managing this nations’ security.

    I don’t lump Doug in with the Republicans, because his is the different problem of Libertarian Magical Thinking.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 3

  54. @Doug Mataconis:

    I wouldn’t actually mind a little disengagement, but I don’t think I’ve got enough votes in my corner to overturn the Carter Doctrine.

    Given the reality of that, given the phoniness of every “energy independence” drive, I do think that diplomacy is justified. The video is diplomacy, and speaks for higher American values. Tolerance is not a bad thing, and never did the administration say that tolerance demanded censorship.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  55. @john personna:

    Except that neither Kevin Smith nor Dino Stamatopoulos are atheists. Just because someone is mocking a religion (or more specifically a church) doesn’t mean they reject it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. @Stormy Dragon:

    I saw what you did there ;-). A subset of those mocking religion are religious, yes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  57. @michael reynolds:

    Telling Pakistanis that the video has nothing to do with the USG in no way, shape or form damages the First Amendment.

    Except he didn’t just say that. He also went on to say that the country repects all religious belief and is opposed to making religious believers feel bad. Setting aside that this clearly isn’t true, the question now comes whether or not Obama actually believes that.

    Now I suspect that he does not believe that and was being insincere. If so, why not just say nothing. There going to figure out we didn’t mean any of it eventually. And if Obama did mean it, then THAT’S the threat to the first ammendment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  58. Herb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “The attack in Benghazi was not coordinated with any protest. Indeed, there now appears to have not been any protest in Benghazi at all on the day of the attack “

    You know what else they don’t have in Benghazi?

    The First Amendment.

    Come to think of it….they don’t have the First Amendment in any of these countries, And yet here you are, pounding on the First Amendment, calling the president “timid.”

    If you want to go to war with these 20 countries over a Youtube video, it would make sense. If you want to manage this crisis, your bluster is just not impressive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  59. Herb,

    Their loss.

    We don’t need to be kowtowing to their absurd adherence to absurd things like the idea that “insulting” a religion is something that should either be illegal or unacceptable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

  60. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Who is this “they” you are referring to? Perhaps the crowds are filled with a lot of people with an imperfect understanding of the situation, and are being manipulated.

    Their version of WND, perhaps?

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/08/22/jonathan-kay-how-egypts-crucifixion-hoax-became-a-classic-internet-urban-legend/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  61. @Dazedandconfused:

    I’m sure they are being manipulated. Which is another reason why trying to reason with them is pointless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  62. @Doug:

    I watched the video and I see:

    1. As assertion of religious tolerance (a key American and constitution value).
    2. A statement that the US government was neither responsible for, not endorses, the video of controversy (a truthful statement coupled with a policy position I support).
    3. An attempt to persuade the persuadable (of which there will be some in the audience).

    What I don’t see is timidity or an apology for the First Amendment.

    I am missing the grand objection here.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  63. Also, you keep saying “kowtow”–where’s the kowtow?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  64. Even conceding that there is merit in the idea that this movie is “offensive” that the US Government needs to take responsibility for strikes me as a mistake.

    And, as we saw yesterday, the video didn’t work anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 14

  65. Herb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “We buy the oil and otherwise leave them to their own destruction, if that’s what they want, as far as I’m concerned. “

    Yeah, that’s all good and great till they fly planes into buildings and blow up trains and stuff.

    Thought we went over this ten years ago.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  66. Herb,

    I should have added “and, when they pose a clear threat to our vital national interests, we take action.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  67. michael reynolds says:

    Had someone offered the equivalent of this video to Christians anywhere from the 1st century up to perhaps the 19th century the wild overreaction would have been the same or worse. Papal or royal armies would have been on the march.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  68. Michael,

    Like I said in the post, most things motivated by religion are irrational.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  69. Herb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    ““and, when they pose a clear threat to our vital national interests, we take action.””

    Doug, they are storming our embassies.

    In 20 countries.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  70. Yes Herb, and what exactly do you propose doing about that?

    Clearly, the video didn’t work in Pakistan.

    Perhaps we need to examine the reasons they hate us instead of apologizing for Freedom Of Speech.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  71. Modulo Myself says:

    I love the idea that these riots in Pakistanis happen because the crazies hate our great system. I suggest giving Pakistani intelligence free reign to conduct airstrikes inside America for four years. People in this country were out on the streets because of a health care mandate. What would happen when a Muslim drone operator mistakes an SEC tailgate for a militia training camp?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  72. Modulo,

    I didn’t say that. I’m just saying that Obama and Hillary pretending to apologize for our system isn’t going to stop them from hating us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

  73. James in LA says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “I’m saying we shouldn’t have done anything at all.”

    This is not leadership, sorry, and just won’t do. Feel free to hide in the sand. The President must walk lines finer than you can possibly and evidently imagine. Doing nothing in 2012 is not an option, certainly not where Pakistan is concerned.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  74. Andre Kenji says:

    No, that´s more complicated. I think that´s simplistic to think that all these people are burning embassies just because of a movie. You have the problem that there is a large young population in these Arab Countries, and in several countries most of these young people are unemployed. In some countries there are real reasons for people to get angry with the United States, like the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the use of drones). The idea of “Islamic Extremists” obscures that point.

    Besides that, it´s useless to talk about Brandenburg v. Ohio or the First Amendment because that´s not something that´s used outside the United States, and most people outside the United States do not know or even understand the American Jurisprudence regarding the First Amendment, and it would be unproductive for Obama or Hillary Clinton to try to explain.

    Frankly, among foreigners that understand the First Amendment that´s not an easy discussion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  75. @Doug Mataconis: I honesty am not sure what the right response is, and indeed fear that there may not be one, but I continue to have a hard time seeing what is wrong with the video from Obama and Clinton.

    What I definitely don’t see is “Obama and Hillary pretending to apologize for our system”.

    Without snark I ask: could you point out that part to me?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  76. James,

    You’re right. With regard to Pakistan there are two things we can do:

    1. Get out of Afghanistan now so we don’t need them; and,
    2. Strengthen our relationship with India, which is a far more natural ally.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  77. Steven,

    It’s a personal opinion, but I find going out of the way to condemn an action by a private citizen that is completely authorized by law to citizens of a foreign country to be inappropriate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  78. @Doug Mataconis:

    Even conceding that there is merit in the idea that this movie is “offensive” that the US Government needs to take responsibility for strikes me as a mistake.

    As many of have observed above, there is a difference between criticism and censorship.

    Put another way, it asks the listener to distinguish between two ideas:

    1) Free speech is good.

    2) All speech is good.

    I think choice #2 is crazy, but more importantly it has never been a rational defense for #1. We don’t have free speech because all speech is good. We have free speech so that we can have arguments to call out the bad and promote the good.

    If you don’t like the way this government makes the call, elect a new one, but don’t pretend they or any other rational administration in the history of the Union has or should subscribe to idea #2.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  79. @Doug Mataconis: In honesty, that’s a non-answer.

    This is public diplomacy in the face of a very serious situation.

    First, I still don’t see the big “apology” here. I certainly don’t see “kowtowing.” (and you haven’t explained either, to be honest).

    If an American did something really rude and anti-Semitic in Jerusalem and there were a lot of Israelis who were offended by it, I suspect that the State Department and the President would try and make amends. This would not be apologizing for the constitution.

    You aren’t making your case.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  80. Steven,

    We’ve tried this before and it always fails. Why Obama and Clinton even thought it would work this time is beyond me.

    I honestly don’t think that “public diplomacy” with the people of Pakistan is possible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  81. I think we’ve wound down from the “timidity” in the title, to the idea that the administration should have a misbegotten idea of free speech, and that the administration should stand behind the words of every felon overseas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  82. John,

    The creation of this “film” was not a felony.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  83. @Doug Mataconis:

    Can you even keep your arguments straight?

    You actually are demanding that the US stand behind the film, made by a felon, for the purpose of incitement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  84. John,

    I am saying that the United States condemn the rioters who have attacked our embassies. That is the only appropriate response.

    The option you suggest would endorse the Heckler’s Veto and only encourage further protests every time some idiots somewhere did something that offended someone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  85. @Doug Mataconis:

    Come on Doug, you know the US has condemned the rioters in all cases.

    They’ve just balanced that with some First Amendment education, telling people that the film was not the work of the government and does not reflect US values.

    (Anyone who insists we adopt religious intolerance as a US value does not understand how we got here, to a country which could have both free speech and domestic tranquility.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  86. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Re:

    ” I’m sure they are being manipulated. Which is another reason why trying to reason with them is pointless”.

    You are suggesting that since they have been lied to and are being manipulated then there is no point in attempting to tell the truth to them.

    I suggest you consider the claim that Obama is being timid in the face of extremism from the perspective of the tape that was used to rile them up is itself extremism. If you agree that it is, what course does the President and SoS have that can not be characterized as timidity in the face of extremism?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  87. John,

    And, as they have in the past, those efforts failed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  88. @Doug Mataconis:

    Pfft. What straw man for “success” did you just insert?

    Are peaceful demonstrations with a flag burning or two the goal or the problem?

    Or are we only concerned (as we should be) with those demonstrations which become riots with injury to persons?

    (Some of the 20 nation protests are no more exciting than a Tea Party march on Washington. Part of the game is to say “they hate us!” for each one, but not of course, speaking of our Tea Party friends.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  89. Carson says:

    statement that would be more appropriate and clearer: “go ahead, make my day”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  90. @Dazedandconfused:

    Also, since Doug is clearly being manipulated, should we talk to him?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  91. Herb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “Yes Herb, and what exactly do you propose doing about that?”

    Exactly what the president is doing.

    Speak softly….but carry a big stick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  92. michael reynolds says:

    Doug, this would be a case of libertarianism running smack into reality and — as always — revealing the philosophy to be rigid, narrow, unrealistic and embarrassing for anyone over the age of majority.

    You’re now arguing that the USG criticizing a stupid video is giving in to intimidation and that the preferred course would be for us to find out why they dislike us and change our policies to suit? Because that wouldn’t be giving in to intimidation? Say what?

    Your post has been blown apart six different ways now. Categorically, completely, and in detail, blown to smithereens. Both the “facts” and the logic are in little pieces all over the floor. It’s so transparently wrong that Eric Florack is praising it.

    When you keep finding yourself in a box of dumb by following your philosophy it’s time to rethink the philosophy, not double down on the dumb.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 1

  93. Spartacus says:

    Doug wrote: “More importantly, though, apologizing to them for something that we, as a nation, have not done concedes the fact that they have something to be rightfully offended over . . . ”

    Could you please explain how a factual statement announcing that the U.S. government had nothing to do with the film and condemns it constitutes an apology?

    You can’t just say stupid bullsh*t like this if you wish to be taken seriously. That’s what Redstate.com is for. People come to OTB because they expect fact-based commentary. You have yet to even attempt to demonstrate how a statement that factually distances the U.S. government from the film is an apology.

    You’ve also completely ignored all of Bush’s actual apologies for the burning of Qu’rans. Somehow those literal apology isn’t actually an apology, but the Obama video is. IOKIYAR.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  94. @Herb:

    Giving in to the 7th Century opinions of the Pakistanis by assuming that the film needs to be condemned by people not connected with it at all is not diplomacy, it is foolishness

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  95. @michael reynolds:

    All good. I think too that our libertarian friend got sucked into the neocon slipstream. The whole “timidity” argument comes from them, and makes little sense otherwise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  96. @michael reynolds:

    Yes Michael, I am saying that the President reinforcing the idiotic 7th Century views of people in Pakistan is stupid.

    Apparently, you think it’s a great idea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  97. @Doug Mataconis:

    Now we’re back to the kind of statement that just makes me believe you are feeding our egos. You say something absurd, like the idea that the President is “reinforcing the idiotic 7th Century views of people in Pakistan” and our brains swell with feel-good chemicals as we identify and reject the error.

    And certainly, equating Obama’s call for religious tolerance to 7th Century Islam is about the biggest error you could serve up for us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  98. Herb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “Giving in to the 7th Century opinions of the Pakistanis by assuming that the film needs to be condemned by people not connected with it at all is not diplomacy, it is foolishness”

    That’s where you’re wrong, though.

    Hillary’s video wasn’t for the people with 7th Century opinions. That’s what drones are for….

    This was for the people seeking common cause with us. And I see nothing to decry in that.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  99. Herb,

    You are naive if you think that.

    Pakistan is a lost cause.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 17

  100. @Doug Mataconis:

    We’ve tried this before and it always fails. Why Obama and Clinton even thought it would work this time is beyond me.
    I honestly don’t think that “public diplomacy” with the people of Pakistan is possible.

    If by “worked” you mean that the rioting stopped, you are, of course, correct. But no one thought that that would be the case. The purpose is to get an official position out. It serves a purpose. To pretend like the administration thought this would stop the riots is disingenuous. .

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  101. Dazedandconfused says:

    @john personna:

    We must stridently defend even the most blatant lies and agitprop that comes from anybody in America against all others, for fear they will deem us timid. This is because they hate us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  102. Herb says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “Pakistan is a lost cause.”

    Even if it is, it would be folly for our political establishment to treat it like one.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  103. stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I would suggest you look into Brandenburg v. Ohio. Under the test set forth in that case, the idea that there would be any legal basis to ban this film is clearly absurd

    Sigh.

    Actually, Doug, I am aware of that , which is WHY I AM NOT CALLING FOR A BAN OR TO REPEAL THE FIRST AMENDMENT!!!!!

    There, is that loud enough for everyone? Now, are you aware that the people rioting and demonstrating in Pakistan don’t care about Schenk, Brandenburg, the First Amendment, or any of that stuff? Because you seem to think that the way to resolve the situation is to say, “First Amendment, bitches!” and leave it at that.
    At this point, its not clear to me what can be done. What impresses me is that lives are at stake. Doug and others don’t seem to give a damn about those lives, but I do. I’m for walking and talking softly if that’s whats needed to save lives. I think its despicable-there’s a word- to pontificate about the First Amendment from the safety of the United State, while American lives in foreign countries are in balance. That’s not standing on principle-that’s chickenhawkism.

    As to what to do about those in the USA who make those videos, frankly I don’t know. I do know that every time Rev Jones or whoever pulls one of these stunts, PEOPLE DIE. Is it incitement? Probably not, if we are talking about US citizens. Such speech certainly seems designed to, and does incite, foreigners to lawless action-every time. I’m not sure Brandenburg is dispositive in that special circumstance. Maybe its time we find out.
    Maybe a better way is legal action by private citizens-a wrongful death action. If someone dies in Pakistan, maybe a survivor can sue. The government wouldn’t be bringing that action, so the First Amendment wouldn’t be directly implicated.
    What’s also a fact too is that these stunts really do screw up foreign policy over an important region that we aren’t withdrawing from any time soon. Just leave alone a nuclear armed Pakistan, with a nuclear armed India on its border to maybe fight a fourth Indo-Pakistani war? Yep, that totally makes sense, Doug.Maybe you’re not aware that Yemen is next to Saudi Arabia and that Saudi Arabia has some strategic importance?You might want to consult a map. The plain and simple fact is that we can’t just ignore the Middle East-and that doesn’t even cover the fact that the Middle East can come to us, as it did on 9/11.

    Now all of this doesn’t cut liberal or conservative, really, It just cuts factual. Facts aren’t really in the liberal or conservative camp. Facts just are. And we dance to their music. (Anyone spot the literary allusion?)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  104. @Steven L. Taylor:

    If an American did something really rude and anti-Semitic

    If? Americans do things that are rude and anti-semetic all the time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  105. stonetools says:

    Herb,

    You are naive if you think that.

    Just saw that. My irony meter just blew up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  106. @stonetools:

    Maybe a better way is legal action by private citizens-a wrongful death action. If someone dies in Pakistan, maybe a survivor can sue.

    Yeah, stonetools is does not want to repeal the first ammendment. He just wants to change the law so that people can use the coercive power of the state to punish people that say things he doesn’t like! That’s completely different!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  107. @Stormy Dragon: let me be clearer. If there was an event that was anti-Semitic in nature and that caused international attention, there would be attempts at public diplomacy in such a case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  108. An Interested Party says:

    You aren’t making your case.

    He’s a libertarian, what do you expect? For whatever Doug has to say about the President and his policies, they are far more grounded in reality than Doug’s ideology…

    You are naive if you think that.

    Ha! Once again, this is quite amusing coming from a libertarian…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  109. plaidjammies says:

    I would not call this president ‘timid”. This same person,while appearing all at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, had just hours before given the go-ahead for an intricate plan to take down Osama Bid Laden. What we see on the surface is not necessarily what’s going on behind the scenes. Second guessing President Obama is not a worthwhile past time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  110. @Steven Taylor:

    If there was an event that was anti-Semitic in nature and that caused international attention

    But see, anti-semetic You Tube videos DON’T cause international incidents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  111. mattb says:

    Here’s a different perspective…

    After most major and minor acts of terrorism or apparent anti-Americanism, someone always pops up and asks ‘where is the appology from the Muslims?’

    this video doesn’t strike me as an apology per sea — in fact my reading matches what Steven has already written.

    that said, the production of this video seems to stem from the fact that — whether it’s out fault as a people or not — an entire section of the world was — fairly or unfairly — angered by the actions of a few citizens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  112. bk says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Indeed. Holmes got that case very, very wrong.

    Hmmm…..Oliver Wendell Holmes vs. a George Mason graduate in a Yankee cap. I’m thinking it over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  113. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’m sure they are being manipulated. Which is another reason why trying to reason with them is pointless.

    You’re being manipulated all the time, and quite often fall for the manipulation, and yet we keep trying to reason with you. Which, yes, is pointless most of the time, but we still try.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  114. Eric Florack says:

    I’m sorry, how is explaining that the US government is for free speech, but that it doesn’t condone a particular expression of free speech , “kowtowing”?

    Well, let’s see.

    Take “PIss Christ”, as a prime example. Does the US government’s monetary sponsorship of the work, count as condoning the work? Why would we be worried about condoning the film, but not a crucifix in a bottle of piss, I wonder?

    And you still seem fixated on the idea that the film had anything to do with anything except an excuse for Obama… a chance to claim the protests had nothing to do with his foreign policy failures

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 18

  115. stonetools says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Yeah, stonetools is does not want to repeal the first amendment. He just wants to change the law so that people can use the coercive power of the state to punish people that say things he doesn’t like! That’s completely different!

    We already have lots of torts that punish certain kinds of speech.Somehow, the republic and the First Amendment has survived.
    Now, I’m not a great fan of any of this, but I’m even less a fan of having Americans and others killed by the reckless actions of others, without recourse by the survivors. I hope you agree.

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  116. @Stormy Dragon:

    We have a deeply ingrained sense of “free speech.” We should remember though that people in many other countries feel quite free with different rules. I don’t think people in Europe feel especially oppressed by the “no Nazi” rules, for instance.

    And of course “no Nazi” rules have been in place for 60 years, without sending Europe to anything like a North Korean dystopian future.

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  117. Eric Florack says:

    @Steven Taylor:

    let me be clearer. If there was an event that was anti-Semitic in nature and that caused international attention, there would be attempts at public diplomacy in such a case.

    Really? And how do you suppose that would occur given that we can’t get Mr. Obama away from the starlets and the big money parties long enough to meet with the prime minister of Israel?

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  118. @Eric Florack:

    Piss Christ never should have been indirectly funded, in my opinion, but indirect funding 25 years ago … I’m not sure how Obama is behind that one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  119. @Stormy Dragon: yes, I understand that it is ridiculous that this film is causing his reaction. However, my acknowledgment of his fact does not stop the riots from happening.

    This is not the poit, of course. The poitnt is that this is not the first time the US govt has engaged I. This type of public diplomacy and no one has made the case as to why this case is so horrible.

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  120. (Eric should probably admit his love of PC. If one single work did not get indirect funding 25 years ago what on earth could he claim as government assault on Christian faith?)

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  121. @john personna:

    Most Americans didn’t feel oppressed when homosexuality was a felony. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t oppressive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  122. @Stormy Dragon:

    Actually, I’m pretty sure that many Americans did feel oppressed by that one. Had they genuinely not been, you might have a point.

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  123. @Steven Taylor:

    This type of public diplomacy and no one has made the case as to why this case is so horrible.

    Because we see people like stonetools and worry that when our President is on TV arguing for the logic behind blasphemy laws that it’s going to lead to some attempt to create legal penalties for blasphemies in the US.

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  124. C. Clavin says:

    I read down far enough to see that Doug and Flirack agree on this.
    That’s all you need to know.

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  125. @john personna:

    Ah yes, I remember how back in the 80s and 90s, everyone spent their evenings sitting around weeping at how oppressed we were by sodomy laws. “There’s homosexuals in jail right now! This country is worse then North Korea!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  126. C. Clavin says:

    Let’s see…who should I trust on this???
    Doug and Eric Florack?
    Or Obama and Clinton?
    Hmmm

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  127. @Stormy Dragon:

    I think you just brought the crazy.

    No one is remotely suggesting a US blasphemy law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  128. @Stormy Dragon:

    That’s a non-argument by false equivalence. If you want to talk about the horrors caused by “no Nazi” rules in Europe, or similar laws. talk about those.

    Otherwise I’ll just say “no Nazi” rules are like wearing seat-belts ;-)

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  129. steve says:

    What exactly did they say in this that was an apology or kowtowing? You still have not answered Taylor and, TBH, I dont think you will because it is not there. This may be the stupidest thing you have written. All assertions. Not even a single quote to back up what you claim.

    Did it work? Dont know. How many were persuaded to not participate by it? Should we do away with laws against murder because people still kill each other?

    Steve

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  130. stonetools says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Because we see people like stonetools and worry that when our President is on TV arguing for the logic behind blasphemy laws that it’s going to lead to some attempt to create legal penalties for blasphemies in the US.

    (Shrug)

    I would oppose that, and I’m sure Dr. Taylor would too. Stop beating that straw man.

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  131. bk says:

    @Eric Florack:

    we can’t get Mr. Obama away from the starlets and the big money parties long enough to meet with the prime minister of Israel?

    Hmm, this week’s Redstate meme. Whatever happened to the good old days of “TELEPROMPTERS”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  132. Ron Beasley says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I couldn’t agree more. The only reason they are not killing each other is “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” One of the few times I agreed with Pat Buchanan was when he said “they don’t hate because of who we are, they hate us because of where we are.” If we left the region they would once again start killing each other.

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  133. Jeremy R. says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    This has nothing to do with the attack in Benghazi. Which, of course, had nothing to do with protests over a film.

    Militants attacking the mission were ranting about the film. That’s why the theory that they were responding to the Cairo embassy rioting by deciding to raise the Benghazi mission is a popular one (the came with gas cans).

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  134. Ron Beasley says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’m inclined to agree. These protesters/ hooligans get all the press but they are a small minority. Talking to the majority is not a bad idea. Doug himself pointed this out here. That’s why I think Obama’s attempt to talk to that majority is wise and another thing he simply continued from the Bush administration. Remember Karen what’s her name who was supposed to be doing the same thing.

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  135. Jeremy R. says:

    @Jeremy R.:

    … by deciding to raise the …

    Err, raze.

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  136. Jeremy R. says:

    @Jeremy R.:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/21/world/africa/after-attack-in-libya-ambush-struck-rescuers.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1

    Libyan witnesses, including two guards at the building, say the area around the compound was quiet until the attackers arrived, firing their weapons and storming the compound from three sides, beginning at 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 11. A witness said that some of those attacking referred to the film’s insults to Islam.

    What is clear, however, is that those who arrived at the mission — not officially a consulate, though Libyans call it that informally — came intending to inflict maximum damage on the building.

    In a detail not previously disclosed, after storming the compound, the attackers poured diesel fuel around the exterior of the building where Mr. Stevens; a computer technician, Sean Smith; and a security officer had settled in for the night and ignited it. It is not clear if they knew anyone was inside.

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  137. mattb says:

    @Steven Taylor:

    If there was an event that was anti-Semitic in nature and that caused international attention, there would be attempts at public diplomacy in such a case.

    *Nit-picking* the video was, in fact technically anti-Semitic, considering that Mohammed was a semite/semitic speaking individual and, generally speaking, all people in the middle east are either Semitic or Semitic descendents.

    It’s only been the last century (really beginning in the lead up to WWII) or so when the concept of “semite” has been limited to just people of ethnic Jewish descent and/or the Jewish religion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic

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  138. mattb says:

    @john personna:

    Piss Christ never should have been indirectly funded, in my opinion, but indirect funding 25 years ago … I’m not sure how Obama is behind that one.

    Side note… ever notice how the very people who tend to go back a quarter of a century to something like “Piss Christ” are among the first to decry going back a little further in time to discuss how the effects of things like Segregation might still have an effect on today?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  139. al-Ameda says:

    @mattb: Andres Serrano should pay Eric Florack PR fees for publicizing Piss Christ, and keeping Serrano’s name and legacy alive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  140. wr says:

    @Eric Florack: “Take “PIss Christ”, as a prime example.”

    Oh my God. Are you still whining about a 30 year old photograph? Are you such a whiny little baby that the existence of a work of art consumes something like half of your adult life? How are you any different from the Taliban who blew up the Buddha statues because they couldn’t stand the idea of any art that didn’t match their religious and political beliefs?

    Get the hell over this. Grow up. The picture exists. For God’s sake, stop whining about it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  141. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: No disrespect intended, but have all the libertarians here been taking stupid pills lately? Not everything in the world demands the outrage-meter go to eleven. Not everything that doesn’t hew exactly to the gospel of Rand means imminent Fascist takeover.

    You used to be the reasonable libertarian — the one who balanced Doug’s slavish devotion to the ideology with some experience in the real world. But the last few weeks you’ve been sounding like you bet your life’s savings on Romney to win and are now panicking.

    Take a breath and think through some of these things. Really, the world isn’t coming to an end.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  142. wr says:

    @al-Ameda: Have you ever seen the picture? I saw it at MOMA. And much to my surprise, it’s quite beautiful. I was admiring it for some time before I glanced at the card and realized that this was what had the true morons of America up in arms for decades.

    Art. It’s what separates us from the savages. And we know where the Florack’s of the world come down on that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  143. al-Ameda says:

    @wr:

    @al-Ameda: Have you ever seen the picture? I saw it at MOMA. And much to my surprise, it’s quite beautiful. I was admiring it for some time before I glanced at the card and realized that this was what had the true morons of America up in arms for decades.

    Art. It’s what separates us from the savages. And we know where the Florack’s of the world come down on that.

    I have seen it. You’re right, it’s the title that created the controversy – and I’m pretty sure Serrano was looking for the publicity (shocking … an artist looking for controversy and publicity.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  144. bk says:

    One thing about your posts, Doug – they create a lot of page views and replies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  145. @john personna:

    No one is remotely suggesting a US blasphemy law.

    stonetools was advocating ability to producers of anti-religious speech for the actions of religious fanatics. That’s functionally equivalent to a blasphemy law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  146. @wr:

    You used to be the reasonable libertarian

    I will freely admit that freedom of expression is one of my beserk buttons, and it’s one of those issues were Obama is extremely weak. The things is, I’m not actuing differently I normally due. The problem is that all the normally reasonable liberals are on here are in election mode, which means they have to pretend everything Obama does is the best thing ever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  147. anjin-san says:

    the people of Pakistan., who are going to hate us no matter what we do.

    Really? Because a bunch of people in Libya are pissed that the militants killed our ambassador, pissed enough to risk their lives to chase them out of town. Maybe Obama actually won some hearts and minds there.

    Really Doug, you should think about devoting yourself to the law full time. You are serving up some extremely weak tea. Obama is too timid? Ask the senior leadership of Al Qaeda about that, if you can find any of them alive still. I’ve actually been a little shocked at the ferocity with which Obama has gone after the terrorists. His way is not as satisfying for armchair warriors as chest thumping as “shock and awe” bombings on TV, but I am satisfied that it is pretty effective.

    Middle eastern nations not going to become Jeffersonian democracies overnight. Maybe they never will. But in my mind, trying to move them towards being something other than despotic regimes with torture underwritten by US taxpayers is worth trying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  148. @john personna:

    That’s a non-argument by false equivalence.

    Yes it was. And it was when you made it as well. People tend to ignore oppression that’s not happening to them. Most Europeans consider themselves free despite the ban on Nazi discussion because they don’t want to discuss Nazis. Likewise until very recently, most Americans considered themselves free despite sodomy laws because they weren’t gay. The measure of how opressive a policy is shouldn’t be how many people don’t care because it’s not effecting them.

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  149. steve says:

    “one of those issues were Obama is extremely weak.”

    How so? I hear he has apologized, but when I read his words I see no apology. I hear he is kowtowing, but dont see it in his words. I have not seen anyone’s speech rights taken away. Where is he weak?

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  150. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug:

    Giving in to the 7th Century opinions of the Pakistanis by assuming that the film needs to be condemned by people not connected with it at all is not diplomacy, it is foolishness

    Then maybe you should take a moment to condemn Mitt’s “foolishness” and “timidity in the face of extremism,” since he said this:

    The idea of using something that some people consider sacred and then parading that out a negative way is simply inappropriate and wrong. … under the First Amendment, people are allowed to do what they feel they want to do. They have the right to do that, but it’s not right to do things that are of the nature of what was done by, apparently this film.

    Why is Mitt apologizing for our freedoms and kowtowing to our enemies? Why did he decide “to pander to the violent extremists in the Middle East?”

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  151. michael reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Dude, it’s one of my berserk buttons, too. I’m a fiction writer. We are, as a class of humans, extremely averse to government intrusion. Extremely.

    But this was not an apology. Doug has failed after about 50 requests, to show us a “kowtow.” It was not an attack on the First Amendment. It had nothing to do with American law. It was just a small attempt to tamp down some crazy in a crazy, dangerous place. Not everything is a slippery slope to 1939.

    This was the diplomatic equivalent of trying to calm a hysterical toddler by telling them Santa Claus will get them a Barbie’s Malibu Fun House. It’s not the first step to fascism.

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  152. Eric Florack says:

    @john personna: actually you’re quite correct, in that Obama never had anything to do with piss Christ. then again I’ve never held Obama to be anything more than more than a symptom of the disease that is liberalism.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 20

  153. @mattb:

    *Nit-picking* the video was, in fact technically anti-Semitic, considering that Mohammed was a semite/semitic speaking individual and, generally speaking, all people in the middle east are either Semitic or Semitic descendents.

    Indeed. I actually did think of this as I was typing the comment above, but was in a hurry so left it as it was.

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  154. An Interested Party says:

    And how do you suppose that would occur given that we can’t get Mr. Obama away from the starlets and the big money parties long enough to meet with the prime minister of Israel?

    Oh yes, it’s just so horrible that an American President doesn’t want to kowtow to the Likud party line…just tragic, really…

    then again I’ve never held Obama to be anything more than more than a symptom of the disease that is liberalism.

    Seeing as how that “disease” isn’t going anywhere, I suggest that you go vaccinate yourself…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  155. john personna says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I chose European speech restrictions to show where they are in place and where people like the trade off. That is not false equivalence, that is a direct example. Especially given that those restrictions are there to protect the general tranquility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  156. @Stormy Dragon:

    The problem is that all the normally reasonable liberals are on here are in election mode, which means they have to pretend everything Obama does is the best thing ever.

    I have no idea if you put me in this camp, but speaking for myself the issue for me is not a defense of Obama. I am ambivalent to much of the administration’s responses to this issue. I just get driven a tad crazy by assertions that the video linked about is an “apology” or “kowtowing” or some sort of assault on the First Amendment. I am not seeing it and no one so far has explained it to me.

    I tend to consider myself a near absolutists on the free speech clause. I am not calling for legal actions against the film nor am I looking for rules to curtail anti-Islamic films, books, etc.

    However, I am saying that it is not an affront to the First Amendment to acknowledge that offense has been given and that the US government has nothing to do with the film.

    This is, again, about public diplomacy and trying to distance the US government from an inflammatory video. How is this an apology and how does this damage the First Amendment?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  157. @Eric Florack:

    a symptom of the disease that is liberalism.

    Quite the champion of civil liberties.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  158. john personna says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I’m pretty sure it is “criticism equals censorship” round 687.

    We could draw different lines, but the one we’ve had for 200 years has been free speech, and social standards for religious tolerance. They’ve actually been complementary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  159. bk says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I’ve never held Obama to be anything more than more than a symptom of the disease that is liberalism.

    Exactly WHAT is “liberal” about Obama? Jesus H., it has come to the point where anyone to the left of Attila the Hun is ‘liberal” to people like you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  160. @Stormy Dragon:

    Because we see people like stonetools and worry that when our President is on TV arguing for the logic behind blasphemy laws that it’s going to lead to some attempt to create legal penalties for blasphemies in the US.

    Ok, because you interpret that a commenter on a blog in this fashion answers the question of “why this case is so horrible”?

    I am not seeing it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  161. Jeremy R. says:

    Ugg, I’m perpetually getting stuck again and again in the spam filter. Not sure what triggers it, but I’ve reworded my post half-a-dozen times quoting in slightly different ways this politico article. I’ll try just putting the link in, no quotes:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0910/41895.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  162. Jeremy R. says:

    @Jeremy R.:

    Weird, it went through. Maybe it was the words that Romney is using that triggers it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  163. Eric Florack says:

    @bk: LOL… You’re suggesting Obama isn’t a liberal?
    LOL Who knew?

    @Steven L. Taylor: At the risk of bursting your bubble, in the end, no liberal is in fact a friend of civil liberties.

    @An Interested Party: Well, idiocy is always with us. It’s up to the adults in the room to overcome it. That, in fact, is why we had a revolution. It remains to be seen if we’ll overcome it in November, though I suspect we will.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  164. jukeboxgrad says:

    Not sure what triggers it

    I wonder if you were just using that one link. Too many links will trigger the filter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  165. @Eric Florack:

    At the risk of bursting your bubble, in the end, no liberal is in fact a friend of civil liberties.

    Because, of course, the Defender and Definer of civil liberties is a person who calls the opposition diseased.

    I am aware of historical circumstances in which one side dehumanized another, and the result was hardly the forwarding of civil liberties.

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  166. jukeboxgrad says:

    Florack, I will always defend your right to tell brazen lies (example).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  167. bk says:

    @Eric Florack: Nothing signifies a reasoned response to a serious question quite like “LOL”. Once again, please explain what makes Obama a “liberal” in your mind. I’ll wait.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  168. @Steven L. Taylor:

    I just get driven a tad crazy by assertions that the video linked about is an “apology” or “kowtowing” or some sort of assault on the First Amendment.

    I’ve not said it was an apology or kowtowing. I’ve said now several times that I’m not saying it was an apology or kowtwoing. Will you please stop putting words into my mouth.

    However, I am saying that it is not an affront to the First Amendment to acknowledge that offense has been given and that the US government has nothing to do with the film.

    Again, as I’ve said, if all he’d said was that the government was not responsible for the video, I’d not have the problem. My problem is that he then felt the need to go farther and condemn the people who made the video. You don’t see the problem with the US government buying television time to condemn specific American ciitzens? He also implies that the speech that offends religious sensibilities is somehow unamerican and incompatible with religious tolerance. I have problem with those sentiments as well.

    Again, I’m not saying diplomcy to calm things down is a bad idea. What I’m saying is that can be done without throwing criticism of religion under the bus.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  169. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:

    At the risk of bursting your bubble, in the end, no liberal is in fact a friend of civil liberties.

    Actually, at risk of bursting your bubble, the vast majority of people in the arts are liberals. We are, to a man or woman, defenders of freedom of speech. It would be asinine to claim that the people who write books, make movies, create art are enemies of free speech, if for no other reason than pure profit motive. Surely even you can understand at least that much.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  170. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    The message out of the Obama administration is clear: violence and credible threats of violence work, and trump Constitutional rights.

    Time for the Christians to start blowing up abortion clinics. Bill Maher should be under a death threat for putting out “Religulous.” The Mormons should issue death sentences for the people behind “The Book Of Mormon” play. And the Catholics… oh, boy, do they have a long, long list of people who need intimidating.

    Why should the Muslims be the only ones who can exercise the veto?

    For the record, I am NOT endorsing any of these acts of violence. I’m just applying the same principle being endorsed and practiced here to other faiths beyond Islam.

    But let’s be blunt: the real message here is that Muslims — at least a significant percentage of them — are savage, brutal barbarians who can’t be expected to act like civilized human beings, and we should make allowances for them.

    President Bush was mocked when he said they hate us for our freedom, but he was right. These savages hate that we have our freedoms, and exercise them in our own nation in ways they don’t like.

    Islam means, literally, “submission.” And I see a lot of people here who’ve taken that to heart. Hell, look at all the people who call Mohammed “The Prophet Mohammed.” He isn’t their prophet, but they still submit to the Islamist demand that we rhetorically submit to their rules.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15

  171. jukeboxgrad says:

    Time for the Christians to start blowing up abortion clinics.

    It’s too late for you to tell them to start, because they already started.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  172. bk says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Islam means, literally, “submission.”

    Actually, the closer meaning is ” voluntary submission to god”, Indy. And your point is what?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  173. jukeboxgrad says:

    look at all the people who call Mohammed “The Prophet Mohammed.”

    Only one comment in this thread contains that phrase, and it’s your comment. Who are “all the people?”

    And I’d like to call your attention to this (NR, 9/19/12):

    In its most recent issue, Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine, has chosen to publish obscene cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed

    I could show you many similar examples. I bet you didn’t know that NR has been taken over by Islamists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  174. An Interested Party says:

    Well, idiocy is always with us. It’s up to the adults in the room to overcome it. That, in fact, is why we had a revolution. It remains to be seen if we’ll overcome it in November, though I suspect we will.

    Who knew that the American Revolution was about overturning liberalism? By the way, the real adults in the room don’t refer to their ideological opposition as a “disease” and, finally, I’m sure we’ll be having a hearty laugh at your expense when your prediction about what will happen this November will be as disastrously wrong as your prediction about what was supposed to happen in November of 2008…

    But let’s be blunt: the real message here is that Muslims — at least a significant percentage of them — are savage, brutal barbarians who can’t be expected to act like civilized human beings, and we should make allowances for them.

    Actually, the real message is that if these people had the same liberties that we enjoy, perhaps they might not be acting so violently…you will notice that Muslims in Western countries, particularly our own, do not act like this…

    Islam means, literally, “submission.” And I see a lot of people here who’ve taken that to heart.

    Oh absolutely! Drone strikes are just so submissive…taking out bin Laden was just so submissive…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  175. anjin-san says:

    they have to pretend everything Obama does is the best thing ever.

    I have been pretty consistant with my grading of Obama @ B-

    Compared to Bush’s F, that looks pretty damn good. “Best ever”? Who is saying that?

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  176. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: And freedom of expression is being threatened how? The administration says it doesn’t like this scummy video. Dan Quayle didn’t like Murphy Brown, and somehow the republic stood.

    The idiots who made this crapfest haven’t been constrained in the least. That doesn’t mean normal human beings have to get down on their knees to admire it. I’d think a self-styled libertarian would understand that more than anyone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  177. bk says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Who knew that the American Revolution was about overturning liberalism?

    It wasn’t! It was, as the esteemed historian Eric said, all about overcoming idiocy. Did you sleep through your US History class???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  178. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “The measure of how opressive a policy is shouldn’t be how many people don’t care because it’s not effecting them.”

    Sure. Except maybe in this case, where it’s not effecting ANYONE.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  179. wr says:

    @Eric Florack: “You’re suggesting Obama isn’t a liberal?
    LOL Who knew?”

    To start with, everyone who knows anything about liberalism. And then just about everyone with a brain.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  180. anjin-san says:

    Muslims — at least a significant percentage of them — are savage, brutal barbarians who can’t be expected to act like civilized human beings

    It was Muslims who drove the militants out of Benghazi last night while your candy ass was in bed. Some of them died in the process.

    Our own country has an extremely high murder rate, and the highest incarceration rate in the world. When we do something about that, maybe you can talk about barbarians in other countries without sounding like a moron. Human beings are violent and barbaric. In every country. Always have been, probably always will be.

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  181. @wr:

    Except it’s a lot of people. Artist in France, for example, frequently have to go through lengthy litigations because their work for offending some religious group or another (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech_laws_in_France#Selected_cases for some examples). While the suits often end up unsuccessful, they still must go through years of expensive litigations to defend themselves.

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  182. anjin-san says:

    Surely even you can understand at least that much.

    I would not bet the farm on that.

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  183. Andre Kenji says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I think that hate speech and blasphemy laws are complicated. At least to me and other foreign people that knows the US law. I like the First Amendment, but I understand why countries have hate speech laws.

    That´s why I said that simply pointing out to the First Amendment is simplistic.

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  184. mtnrunner2 says:

    The world needs to know if they kill Americans, we will reach out and touch them.

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  185. Davebo says:

    Is this thread dead yet? Seriously.

    Doug posts some idiotic drivel, which he tends to do from time to time. Hey, it invokes page views and that’s all good (notice James’ input).

    It’s bidness people. Someone has to do it. And we all seem perfectly willing to engage in this commerce.

    But seriously, let it go. Jim’s kids will be fed and Doug will be around tomorrow with more “I’m against all of them” commentary.

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  186. RightKlik says:

    What rational person responds to a movie by burning down buildings and calling for people to be murdered? Of course, since we’re talking about religion here rationality isn’t exactly part of the equation to begin with…

    Yeah, a lot of countries have religion, but they’re not all like Pakistan.

    Maybe religion isn’t Pakistan’s only big problem when it comes to its propensity for ignorance and violence.

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  187. Here’s what the “timidity” theme is really about:

    Some Republican defense hawks are urging Mitt Romney to separate himself from President Obama on Afghanistan and back an extended presence for U.S. troops in the country.

    GOP pushes Romney to break from White House’s Afghan strategy

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  188. Also related:

    On the eve of his first trip to the United States as Egypt’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi said the United States needed to fundamentally change its approach to the Arab world, showing greater respect for its values and helping build a Palestinian state, if it hoped to overcome decades of pent-up anger.

    So the neocons want to extend our stay in Afghanistan and reject every call for respect because respect equals censorship, even when no one is asking for censorship.

    Will this end well?

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  189. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: And the plight of artists in France has exactly what to do with what you’re criticizing the president for? Is there actually a sum that’s less than nothing?

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  190. al-Ameda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    actually you’re quite correct, in that Obama never had anything to do with piss Christ. then again I’ve never held Obama to be anything more than more than a symptom of the disease that is liberalism.

    As they say, a liberal is a conservative who has been arraigned, tried and convicted. The jails are filled with LINOs.

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  191. @wr:

    There are two separate issues, IMO. One is how our system works (free speech and social disapprobation), and the other is how other systems work (France, etc.). I think both can be discussed, but it isn’t a sensible argument that social disapprobation is a slide to “France.”

    … just because social disapprobation is nothing new and has never led to that kind of fundamental change to free speech laws.

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  192. Eric Florack says:

    @wr: Thanks for confirming my point on double standards.
    You tell ME… how is that not directly comparable?

    @al-Ameda: In case you missed the point, I’m talking here not about personalities, but about positions and policies.

    @john personna: The left goal hasn’t figured out how to render respect for the Judeo Christian ethic. Do we really suppose that they respect anything at all other than government ? Or is it that they share a disrespect for Jews and Christians with the Islamic extremists, and anything that advances that agenda, the left will sign on to?

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  193. @Eric Florack:

    The left goal hasn’t figured out how to render respect for the Judeo Christian ethic.

    That’s very silly. We live in a time when Christian religiosity is a requirement for high government office.

    Thomas Jefferson said things questioning God that no modern pol could get away with.

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  194. Al says:

    @stonetools:

    Ken, over at Popehat, explains why the “shouting fire in a theater” argument for censorship is a bad one.

    @wr:

    He also talks about how France’s anti-Holocaust denial law opens the door for an anti-blasphemy law.

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  195. Ben Wolf says:

    Not sure what people dislike in this post. The President should have simply stated that in the U.S. people are free to insult anything they want and rioting over it is foolishness. There’s nothing contradictory in accepting that the President’s drone strikes are creating hostility toward the United States and that the President ought to make it clear no amount of violence will ever push us into cracking down on civil and Constitutional liberties.

    The incoherence is on the part of the Administration: they’re way too aggresive in offensive strikes against perceived enemies and way too timid in voicing steadfast defense of American concepts of liberty.

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  196. @Ben Wolf:

    We didn’t use to be a nation of assholes, Ben.

    Religious tolerance used to be a virtue.

    (Still is, in some quarters.)

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  197. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    Are all the references to n**gers and the diseased left on your blog part of your creed of Christian tolerance and brotherhood? I don’t remember Jesus advising people to hate their fellow man.

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  198. Dave Schuler says:

    I’m curious about what people think about this aspect of the story:

    Indeed, just today a Pakistani government minister has offered a bounty to be paid to anyone who would kill the people who made the film that is the cause of all this controversy.

    That seems very troubling to me. What about jus terra? And shouldn’t we view a government minister, even the railway minister as other reports are characterizing him, as having a heightened responsibility towards, for example, international law?

    If, for example, Sec. Clinton were to put a million dollar bounty on the head of the Pakistani government minister, would that be okay? I use her as an example only because she’s one of the richest members of the cabinet.

    How about a non-cabinet officer, say, Charles Koch?

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  199. bill says:

    he’s just gauging the polls before he acts, like usual. maybe the puppet master hasn’t directed him on how to deal with those who hate u?

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  200. Ben Wolf says:

    @Dave Schuler: The reward for the filmmaker’s death really bothered me. To be honest I would have liked to hear the Administration state that such a threat against an american citizen exercizing his rights is completely unacceptable. I’m also bothered by the lack of response to politicians in the Muslim world calling for the U.S. to give up the 1st Amendment and the call for banning insults to Islam by the United Nations. Their religion (like all others) has the right to exist and be practiced privately: nothing more.

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  201. Ben Wolf says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    . . . and the call for banning insults to Islam by the United Nations.

    This should read: “. . . and the call for the United Nations to ban insults to Islam”

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  202. Carson says:

    The president needs to clearly state what he expects from these leaders. He must demand protection for the embassies. Until steps are take, the foreign aid is stopped. People do not take weapons to a protest demonstration.This could have been stopped quickly. What about the US military that was close enough to respond? This was the 9/11 anniversary. There should have been a higher state of alert. He must say that these people are criminals and murderers. The president and secretary of state have been too quiet and reserved in the face of Americans being murdered and the burning of the US flag. Congress should also step up: they control the funding.
    This is the video that should be played and watched in these countries daily:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZZf619DIpo

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  203. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Davebo:

    I wish people wouldn’t go ad hominem on Doug so much around here myself.

    The world needs libertarians. I like them, except when they go all doctrinaire on me (I hate that when that happens), and Doug is much better than average at not doing so. He has adjusted my thinking on several things and I’m grateful for that.

    What I suspect be the problem is on this one is the adversarial approach. Lawyers tend to rely on it, it’s what they do. It place is in negotiations, trials, and the like. Limited role in diplomacy. Don’t know many lawyers that became ambassadors….it’s a different mind set.

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  204. @Ben Wolf:

    To be honest I would have liked to hear the Administration state that such a threat against an american citizen exercizing his rights is completely unacceptable.

    I agree.

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  205. @Dazedandconfused:

    I wish people wouldn’t go ad hominem on Doug so much around here myself.

    I would concur that ad hominem is unnecessary and unbecoming.

    What I suspect be the problem is on this one is the adversarial approach. Lawyers tend to rely on it, it’s what they do. It place is in negotiations, trials, and the like.

    I have long thought that Doug’s approach to comment-debates is very much influenced by his profession: one does not give any ground in court. This, of course, makes sense in that context. Less so, however, I would argue in a discussion.

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  206. Clanton says:

    @anjin-san: A high percentage of the crimes in this country are committed by repeat offenders who have somehow got back out on the streets by some weak kneed parole board or a judge who is soft on crime. Many of the people crowding our prisons are in there for simple possession, pickpockets, trespassing on military bases, shoplifting, and white collar crime,such as not paying taxes to the Federal government. There are more appropriate consequences for these people instead of occupying a cell next to a bank robber.

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  207. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I have long thought that Doug’s approach to comment-debates is very much influenced by his profession: one does not give any ground in court. This, of course, makes sense in that context. Less so, however, I would argue in a discussion.

    This gets to the heart of John Scalzi’s recently circulated posts about Good Commenting and the fact that “good agumentation” is different than “good discussion.”

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  208. wr says:

    @Dazedandconfused: “The world needs libertarians.”

    That’s why we have adolescence. And like libertarianism, it’s supposed to stop around the time you turn 20 and realize you are not the only human being on the planet.

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  209. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    To be honest I would have liked to hear the Administration state that such a threat against an american citizen exercizing his rights is completely unacceptable.

    Does that need stating?

    Before State does that, they will first assess if it is true, and then assess whether or not the person who stated it is worthy of a reply. An official statement from the US government addressed to this person gives him status and power. International diplomacy is a dance with seemingly odd customs. Addressing individuals of another country without first discussing it with the government of that country can be considered a breach of protocol.

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  210. Hal 10000 says:

    You know, I agreed with this post initially, but the more I think about it, the less I do. I’m thinking of this more from the diplomatic angle than anything else. Pakistan is a country on the balance with fanaticism. I think it’s likely this has less to do with placating the crowds than with giving them less reason to overthrow the Pakistani government. It’s a bone thrown to their leaders in a difficult bind. We have a very difficult relationship with that government (e.g, the bin Laden raid). I think it’s likely this is aimed at the government rather than the mob.

    FWIW, I recall that Bush and Thatcher, while upholding freedom of speech, did not exactly defend Salman Rushdie when he was condemned. And that book was *far* less offensive than this film.

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  211. Rob in CT says:

    I get the sense that there are many Americans who just don’t like diplomacy.

    There are folks in Pakistan who aren’t going to be reasoned out of their positions (likely b/c they didn’t reason their way in). But when you’re dealing with large numbers of people, some portion will be persuadable. And this is Pakistan we’re talking about. You know, the unstable nuclear power? So we do a bit of PR.

    My preference is a move toward a less interventionist FP. However, even if I get my wish, I expect that we would still have embassies in places like Pakistan. Right? Well, then, we will probably have to engage in some PR from time to time then.

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  212. notsure says:

    a

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  213. notsure says:

    Today I got some rather chilling news from a close family member that there is much more going on in the world. I always consider my source and never believe conspiracy theorist, or random blogs or posts, so I will assume many here won’t believe me.

    I have been told by a reliable source that there is much larger issues facing the US. We have all known that China is constantly spying on the US constantly. However, recently, I have learned that there truly is a collaborative effort taking place that involves more than just China. Without saying anything specific to me, I have been told that the US has caught wind of something that involves (at the moment) 4 nations, with nuclear weapons, are conspiring something big.

    I know what your thinking, I am another crack pot person commenting something ridiculous, but I had to post this because it troubles me. I’m not planning on building a compound in the woods or anything, and the information I had been told was vague. However, it comes from a source I have known my entire life, that is very high on the military food chain.

    So, with what little he could tell me is this: there are currently several countries (not just Iran) that have planned, or are conspiring to potentially attack the US, and they are not just farmers wotg rifles, these are nuclear sub, warhead holding superpowers. He said it was extremely stressful, and alarming. He also told me that its not set in stone, bit if an opportunity arose, we could see a large unilateral attack on US soil. He also said the US and our allies were more than capable to handle the threats, but at potentially high loss.

    I’m not saying an attack we have lived with, as is the norm for any country or has been planned in terms of date, I am saying that, besides the standard potential threat of a hypothesized threat, the US is knowledgeable of an organized new plan to attack the US, from 4+ countries that has the US and those within the pentagon on high alert.

    I’m not talking a terrorist attack, I’m saying a legitimate army.

    It threw me off guard and I know he didn’t say much, but I wouldn’t lead into what he said with assumptions. This is real and its a very stressful time Fo the US. To put it lightly this possible, not 100% plan, that may or may not happen, has still been planned, and it makes an Iran war sound like small potatoes.

    Believe me or not, I know this to be true.

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  214. notsure says:

    I apologize for the spelling and grammar. A phone keyboard is a sloppy way to post such a claim. I also deleted and re-typed a sentence or two and deleted some lines by accident. So if it reads a little incoherent, its my lack of proofreading as well as a tiny phone keyboard. Sorry for the not so thought out response, it was spontaneous, but very true.

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