Protests At Western Embassies Spread Across Muslim World

For the fourth day, American and other embassies became the focus of mass protests in many Muslim nations.

For the fourth day, the Muslim world played host to often violent protests at American, and other western, embassies and consulates, in many cases with deadly results:

CAIRO — The violently anti-American rallies that have roiled the Islamic world over a video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad expanded on Friday to more than a dozen countries, with demonstrators storming the American Embassy in Tunisia in a deadly clash and protesters in Sudan’s capital broadening the targets to include Germany and Britain.

The broadening of the protests reflected what appeared to be a catharsis of rage at the Western powers and was unabated despite calls for restraint from world leaders including the new Islamist president of Egypt, where the demonstrations first erupted four days ago on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In Washington, the Pentagon announced that it was dispatching 50 Marines to Sana, Yemen, to secure the American diplomatic compound, which was partly defiled by enraged protesters on Thursday. At a bazaar about 30 miles east of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, protesters burned an effigy of President Obama.

The breaching of the American Embassy in Tunis, the birthplace of the Arab Spring revolutions, was at least the fourth time that an American diplomatic facility in the Middle East had been violated since the protests began. The Tunisian police said at least three protesters were killed and 28 people were wounded.

All of the embassy staff members had been safely evacuated beforehand, officials there said, but part of the compound was burned and looted.

The American Cooperative School of Tunis, which caters to expatriate families and is located across the street from the embassy, was burned and completely plundered by protesters, who carried away a range of items including hundreds of laptop computers, children’s toys and musical instruments, the director of the school and members of his staff said. All of the students and faculty members had been evacuated hours before the embassy protest.

“It’s ransacked,” the director, Allan Bredy, said in a telephone interview. “We were thinking it was something the Tunisia government would keep under control. We had no idea they would allow things to go as wildly as they did.”

Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, told reporters at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin that the country’s embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, had been “stormed and in part set aflame” in an attack by “demonstrators capable of violence.” According to Mr. Westerwelle, embassy employees were safe. German missions in Muslim countries had already strengthened security measures because of the unrest.

The police fired tear gas to drive off the attacks in Khartoum, where about 5,000 demonstrators massed on the German and British Embassies, a witness told the Reuters news agency.

Thousands of Palestinians joined demonstrations after Friday Prayer in the Gaza Strip. Since there is no American diplomatic representation in Gaza, the main gathering took place in Gaza City, outside the Parliament building, where American and Israeli flags were placed on the ground for the crowds to stomp. Some demonstrators chanted, “Death to America and to Israel!” Palestinians also clashed with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem and held protests in the West Bank.

Witnesses in Cairo said protests that first flared on Tuesday — the day J. Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador in Libya, was killed in an attack in neighboring Libya — continued sporadically Friday, with protesters throwing rocks and gasoline bombs near the American Embassy and the police firing tear gas. The bodies of Mr. Stevens and three other Americans killed in the Libya attack were being returned to the United States on Friday.

In Lebanon, one person was killed and 25 injured as protesters attacked restaurants. There was also turmoil in Yemen, Bangladesh, Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq, and demonstrations in Malaysia. In Nigeria, troops fired into the air to disperse protesters marching on the city of Jos, Reuters reported.

(…)

In Yemen, baton-wielding security forces backed by water cannons blocked streets near the American Embassy a day after protesters breached the outer security perimeter there and officials said two people were killed in clashes with the police. Still, a group of several dozen protesters gathered near the diplomatic post, carrying placards and shouting slogans.

In Lebanon, hundreds of protesters set alight a KFC restaurant in the northern city of Tripoli on Friday, witnesses said, chanting against Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the country and shouting anti-American slogans, according to a Reuters report.

In Iraq, where the heavily fortified American Embassy sits on the banks of the Tigris inside the Green Zone and is out of reach to ordinary Iraqis, thousands protested after Friday Prayer, in Sunni and Shiite cities alike.

Raising banners with Islamic slogans and denouncing the United States and Israel, Iraqis called for the expulsion of American diplomats from the country and demanded that the American government apologize for the incendiary film and take legal action against its creators.

“We want the U.S. government to prove that there is justice by stopping this movie and punishing the director and his staff,” said Sheik Ahmad al-A’ani, a preacher at a mosque in Baghdad.

In Hilla, in the Shiite-dominated south, a witness reported the burning of American and Israeli flags. In Kufa, another Shiite town in the south, a mosque preacher declared his belief that the four Americans killed in the attack in Libya actually died at the hands of the American government to create a pretext for the United States to seek revenge and extend its presence in the region. And in Samarra, a Sunni city north of Baghdad that is near Saddam Hussein’s hometown, Tikrit, preachers at mosques demanded that Iraqis boycott American goods.

To get a true sense of the scope of the protests, John Hudson at The Atlantic created this Google Map:

Is it really possible that all of this is over a badly made YouTube video that, in all likelihood, most of these people have never seen? Robert Wright doesn’t think that the film really had anything to do with what we’ve been seeing unfold over the last four days:

Here is what now seems to be the case: the anti-Islam film wasn’t made by an Israeli-American, wasn’t funded by Jews, and probably had nothing to do with the American deaths, which seem to have resulted from a long-planned attack by a specific terrorist group, not spontaneous mob violence.

In retrospect, the original narrative should have aroused immediate suspicion. If, for example, this lethal attack on an American consulate in a Muslim country was really spontaneous, isn’t it quite a coincidence that it happened on 9/11?

And as for the funding of the film: The filmmaker was said to be describing himself as Israeli-American and volunteering the fact that “100 Jewish donors” financed his project. Well, 1) 100 is a suspiciously round number; and 2) If you were this “Israeli-American,” would you be advertising that this incendiary film was a wholly Jewish enterprise? (Kudos to two excellent reporters: Sarah Posner, who seems to have been the first to raise substantive doubts about the filmmaker’s identity, and Laura Rozen, who seems to have been the first to suggest that he was “linked to [the] Coptic [Christian] diaspora”–a suggestion that so far is holding up.)

Maybe one reason these questions weren’t asked is because the original narrative fit so nicely into some common stereotypes–about crazy Muslims who get whipped into a death frenzy at the drop of a hat, about the backstage machinations of Jews, and about the natural tension between Muslims and Jews. (How many Americans had ever heard about intra-Egyptian tensions between Muslims and Coptic Christians, which may well have been the impetus for this film? How many had even heard of Coptic Christians?)

I bring all this up partly by way of warning that, though some early misconceptions have now been stripped away, we should be careful, as events unfold in the coming days, about letting simplistic mental templates continue to shape the story.

Wrights thesis is backed by a diplomat in Cairo that The New Yorker’s Peter Hessler spoke to who described the film as a pretext for the protests, not the cause. Shadi Hamid reaches the same conclusion, and points out that what America does or doesn’t do rarely has much of an impact on public opinion on the Arab street:

The anti-Islam film in question was a pretext much more than the cause of yesterday’s violence. It could have been anything. Anti-American anger, even in Libya, the most pro-American country in the Arab world, remains palpable, lingering underneath the surface of apparent gratitude. But, that aside, even if the United States did everything on Arabs’ wish lists, there would remain a small, influential fringe that would find another reason to hate — or at least dislike and distrust — the United States.

Outside of exceptional cases where the United States intervenes decisively on one side or another, Arab attitudes toward the world’s preeminent power are generally what economists would call inelastic. In other words, even when the United States does “good” things — such as ending the war in Iraq — Arab public opinion does not seem to change all that much. Even in Libya, anti-American sentiment will almost certainly increase after the NATO operation fades from memory. In fact, in several Arab countries, U.S favorability ratings have been lower under Obama than they were in the final years of President George W. Bush’s administration.

It is sometimes difficult for Americans to understand just how deep-seated Middle Eastern anger is. Some of it is illegitimate, but much of it is at least based on things that have actually happened. Algerians will bring up 1991, when what was then the region’s most promising democratic transition was aborted by a Western-backed military coup. Iranians will often bring up 1953, when their democratically elected prime minister was toppled in a CIA-sponsored coup. These dates, far from a remote, forgotten history, are very much alive for those who still suffer the consequences of those tragedies. Anti-Americanism can diminish, and probably will, but to expect an overnight transformation is fantasy.

That’s really the rub here. You can argue that the Muslim attitude toward the United States is irrational, and in many cases it is, but it’s also based quite often in things that we’ve done over the years in a region that clearly has a longer historical memory than we do. We’ve supported brutal dictatorships, many of whom have jailed people considered respected religious leaders. We’ve bombed, we’ve invaded, and we’ve occupied two Muslim nations in the past ten years. We engage in drone strikes that often result in innocent civilian deaths from “friendly fire,” and, from their perspective, we put a thumb on the scale in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis while claiming to be an “honest broker.” Add all of this together with the fact that many of these nations have large populations of people who are at best only semi-literate and easily influenced by radical clerics. None of this is to excuse acts of violence committed against Americans and others, of course. The people who commit those acts need to be dealt with harshly. However, it would probably help if we understood what motivated the hatred of the United States that we see exploding from Libya to Bangladesh, and it would answer the questions of those who has why they don’t love us since we helped “liberate” them.

It’s hard to tell where these protests are going to lead. The typical course of action for these types of things, as we saw during the protests lasts year over Terry Jones’s planned Koran burning or the protests earlier this year in Afghanistan when it became public that members of the U.S. military had, apparently inadvertently, burned copies of the Koran while disposing of material confiscated from prisoners, is for these things to die out relatively quickly. If this follows that pattern, then it’s likely that these protests will largely be a memory by next Friday as people move on to something else. The other possibility, of course, is that the rabble rousers will continue to exploit public anger over this film and other issues and keep the protests going. If that happens, I’m not sure where this ends, or what we can do about it.

FILED UNDER: Islam, Middle East, National Security, Religion
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Dazedandconfused says:

    Sometimes religion is simply the vehicle for other things, like having nearly 50% of your young men without jobs looking for something to do, but there’s more to it than that.

    Colonialism left a big mark on the “third world”, and resistance to change is a natural result. We, fairly or not, are viewed as the worlds last remaining hegemony.

    Here’s an old history lesson that is much better than most at describing how disruptive the introduction of Western economy has been. This is no namby-pamby cultural argument, it’s and economic determinant one (added to keep some folks from dismissing it out of hand).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JslIEPAgT3U&list=PL4D25B85C43A26CD6&index=50&feature=plpp_video

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Shouldn’t “Protests” be “Deadly Rioting?”

    That aside, indeed you’d have to be pretty f’n naive and loopy not to connect the dots between all this and, you know, 9/11 and the whole Islamic terror war against the West and such. Hell, even the U.S. liberal media would have a hard time jumping through their own assholes to pin the cause of attacks on German and British embassies to some Internet movie nobody ever saw or knew about. Well, they’d have a more difficult time of it than most, I guess.

    This shit has been going on for decades. Munich was 40 years ago. Tehran was over 30 years ago. Pan Am 103 was over 20 years ago. Kenya and Tanzania nearly were 15 years ago. The Cole was over a decade ago. It’s the way of that world.

    Some day, hopefully soon, the U.S. cognescenti literally will have no choice but to wake up and clue in and finally, mercifully, to be sentient about all this. The ghastly irony, however, is that they still might not do so. Leftism as a political ideology and especially as public policy is a de facto national suicide pill. Hopefully as a country we’ll somehow be able to avoid the predestined fate of that Political Hemlock Society.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    We’ve supported brutal dictatorships, many of whom have jailed people considered respected religious leaders. We’ve bombed, we’ve invaded, and we’ve occupied two Muslim nations in the past ten years. We engage in drone strikes that often result in innocent civilian deaths from “friendly fire,” and, from their perspective, we put a thumb on the scale in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis while claiming to be an “honest broker.” Add all of this together with the fact that many of these nations have large populations of people who are at best only semi-literate and easily influenced by radical clerics.

    C’mon Doug, you know the real reason they hate us is our freedoms.

    None of this is to excuse acts of violence committed against Americans and others, of course.

    It is sad when one has to state the obvious lest one be declared a hater of America.

    Good post Doug.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Some day, hopefully soon, the U.S. cognescenti literally will have no choice but to wake up and clue in and finally, mercifully, to be sentient about all this. The ghastly irony, however, is that they still might not do so.

    I love your cherry picking of history Tsar. Did you even bother to read Doug’s post?

  5. CB says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    man, you need some new material. i personally think you bring something valuable to these pages, but youve gotta spare us all of the tropes and platitudes.

  6. swbarnes2 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Good post Doug.

    You know, it is, because Doug didn’t write “What a bizarre thing for those people to have done, I can’t explain it” and then stop writing. He did a spot of research, and look, it turns out that people don’t do things for no reason whateoever. You can talk about their premises, their justifications, their goals, those things are not impossible to suss out.

    Likewise, Doug could say “Romney is talking up birthers and birtherism because Republicans can’t win if the virulently racist stay home in large numbers.” But Doug will never analyze Republican policies and tactics like that.

  7. Anderson says:

    Can’t we have Sixth Fleet deliver these people a tanker of Corona and a few cases of porn DVDs? They have no idea what to do with their free time, evidently.

    Hell, if half these people actually *owned* a computer with internet access, they wouldn’t be using it to watch Islamophobe videos.

  8. Stephen1947 says:

    Doug, in your extensive quote from Robert Wright’s essay you left out one of the most interesting bits of analysis – why the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s use of anti-film agitation is part of a strategy to keep some truly radical Islamists from gaining more power in Egypt. I urge everyone to read the whole thing.

  9. Just Me says:

    Wait I thought the whole focus of the rioting was the movie ad somehow Romney.

    There is a lot of anger and hatred, and I do think the level of reaction is irrational. I do think colonialism left an ugly mark. But you also can’t ignore the elephant in the room, which is the branch of Islam that doesn’t recognize the types of freedoms we enjoy, value, and believe are creator given.

    Anyone want to be a gay, Christian or woman victimized by rape in these societies? I don’t.

    Not sure what the answer is, but I think it is naive to think they just want to be friends.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    How clueless are you? This clueless:

    A) This sh!t has been going on for decades. Munich was 40 years ago. Tehran was over 30 years ago. Pan Am 103 was over 20 years ago. Kenya and Tanzania nearly were 15 years ago. The Cole was over a decade ago. It’s the way of that world.

    B) Leftism as a political ideology and especially as public policy is a de facto national suicide pill. Hopefully as a country we’ll somehow be able to avoid the predestined fate of that Political Hemlock Society.

    So, according to you, this has went on during the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2 and Obama administrations. And the problem is leftism. Because Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush were leftists.

    Genius!

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @swbarnes2:

    Likewise, Doug could say “Romney is talking up birthers and birtherism because Republicans can’t win if the virulently racist stay home in large numbers.” But Doug will never analyze Republican policies and tactics like that.

    I have read any # of criticisms of the GOP by Doug. That he can not acknowledge the dog whistling that so many in the GOP engage in is not surprising. I work with a lot of guys who just plain and simply don’t hear it even as some of them react to it. When I point it out they look at me as tho I have lobsters crawling out of my ears.

    I don’t point it out very often any more as it is generally quite useless to argue with them guys.

  12. Woody says:

    I agreed with your views, Doug. However this:

    None of this is to excuse acts of violence committed against Americans and others, of course. The people who commit those acts need to be dealt with harshly. However, it would probably help if we understood what motivated the hatred of the United States that we see exploding from Libya to Bangladesh, and it would answer the questions of those who has why they don’t love us since we helped “liberate” them.

    will be seen as milquetoast mollycoddling by much of the GOP. At every level.

  13. Clanton says:

    I certainly hope that this is not used as another lame excuse to gouge us by jacking the gas prices up. What would Obama and Congress do about that? It is already too high and is one reason for the slow economy. If gas was $2.15 a gallon, I would have more money left over to spend on food, movies, clothing, a new laptop, and Halloween decorations.

  14. Ben Wolf says:

    Another good post, Doug. Strikes the right balance.

  15. Ron Beasley says:

    We’ve supported brutal dictatorships, many of whom have jailed people considered respected religious leaders. We’ve bombed, we’ve invaded, and we’ve occupied two Muslim nations in the past ten years. We engage in drone strikes that often result in innocent civilian deaths from “friendly fire,” and, from their perspective, we put a thumb on the scale in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis while claiming to be an “honest broker.” Add all of this together with the fact that many of these nations have large populations of people who are at best only semi-literate and easily influenced by radical clerics.

    Why do you hate America Doug? Seriously though the only thing you left out is the 100s of thousands of young men with no jobs and no hope – in the end that may be the real cause.

  16. @Ron Beasley:

    That’s a good point. There has been some discussion that one of the things that spurred the protests in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011 had to do with increased prices for basic food items, all of which are controlled by the state.

    And the age thing is important too,I think. I can’t find the statistic now, but I remember reading around the time of the Tunisian and Egyptian protests last year about the unemployment rate for young men, the numbers were astounding. When you have a lot of young guys standing around with nothing to do all day, something bad is likely to happen.

  17. David M says:

    @Clanton:

    What would Obama and Congress do about that? It is already too high and is one reason for the slow economy. If gas was $2.15 a gallon, I would have more money left over to spend on food, movies, clothing, a new laptop, and Halloween decorations.

    I know I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m not entirely sure price controls for gas are going to work out very well.

  18. Brett says:

    On top of the real events leading to grievances, you can add that the whole region is awash in conspiracy theories and false perceptions about how much influence and manipulation the US is actually doing in Muslim countries. I remember Robert Baer talking about the crazy, convoluted theories about why the US was involved in Gulf War I he heard back when he was a spy tripping around the region. Or Daniel Drezner talking about some of the stuff he heard from Developing World students.

    Some benign neglect by focusing on a different part of the world would probably do more to improve our image than a bunch of PR stuff.

  19. Anderson says:

    “you can add that the whole region is awash in conspiracy theories and false perceptions”

    Oh, for a second there, I thought you were talking about Texas.

  20. cd6 says:

    Remember when McCain’s strategy for mid east peace was to get the Israelis and the Palestinians together and tell them to both “cut this shit out”??

    Once Romney is president and tells everyone how awesome America is, I bet these riots will calm right down.

  21. rudderpedals says:

    We’re not talking about Syria too much anymore, it seems.

    The Coptic connection I think is a red herring. First the jews, then the copts, maybe tomorrow the kurds. Who knows? This is all very convenient…

  22. tps says:

    Another suggestion is that some of the force for the riots in Egypt is frustration with the lack of any real reforms. If you try to demonstrate against the leadership, you get your head bashed in. If you do it against the Americans you can at least get something out of your system.

  23. grumpy realist says:

    @Clanton: You may never see gas at that price again, because the market demand for it is so high.

    Suggest you read an introductory text on economics…..(Math, how does it work?)

    Doug, is there any way we can weed out the posters less than 15 years old?

  24. michael reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:

    No, I think you’re too harsh. I think Clanton is on to something. The president should make gas free. Then Clanton would have even more money to spend and the economy would recover!

    If only you weren’t such a liberal socialist you’d see the advantage of government-mandated prices.

  25. john personna says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Mumble, mumble, energy independence by 2020.

  26. wr says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “Munich was 40 years ago. Tehran was over 30 years ago.”

    Munich was a terrorist act by a pro-Palestinian group against Israel. Tehran was a revolution against an oppressive dictator imposed on Iran by the US. What do these have in common with each other, or with any of the other attacks you mention?

    Or does your idea of foreign policy go no deeper than “they’re all brown and they talk funny and they like that guy who isn’t Jesus, so they’re all the same”?

  27. Anderson says:

    Netanyahu on MTP this weekend? The Israelis may be burning down our embassy next.

  28. Lynda says:

    I grew up in the UK when the IRA was at its peak. My home town was bombed and two kids died http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warrington_bomb_attacks.

    Sectarian violence was not unusual in Ireland
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sectarian_violence#Northern_Ireland.

    If you had asked me 20 years ago if there would be peace in Northern Ireland in my lifetime I would have given an emphatic no.

    However thankfully it has, although riots still flare up today http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jul/12/orange-order-parade-belfast-riots over what most commentators here would consider pretty minor stuff.

    The problems in the middle east have been going on for longer and are more complex than Ireland. The pessimist in me says it is a knot that can never be undone. The optiomist in me really hopes that some of the lessons from Ireland can be applied and it is a Gordian knot.

  29. anjin-san says:

    This shit has been going on for decades. Munich was 40 years ago. Tehran was over 30 years ago. Pan Am 103 was over 20 years ago. Kenya and Tanzania nearly were 15 years ago. The Cole was over a decade ago. It’s the way of that world.

    How many yeas has it been since we started a war in Iraq that killed tens of thousands of innocents that did not threaten us? Not very many.

  30. Lynda says:

    Despite growing up in the land of Shakespeare I have always had a problem whether it is spelt optimist or optomist.

    My hind brain clearly decided to cover all bases by typing optiomist in the post above.

    Thanks to the people who have ignored that and concentrated on the sentiments within rather than pointing out the spelling error.

    Any chance of an edit function?

  31. michael reynolds says:

    @Lynda:

    Seriously? That doesn’t even count as a typo around here. Until you have posted a comment in the wrong thread, attacking the wrong person, while misspelling at least three words and misusing ‘your’, ‘you’re’, ‘they’re’, ‘there’ and ‘their’, you don’t even rise to the level of mild disapproval.

  32. JKB says:

    Yes, we know. America is bad, we do terrible things. I think we should withdraw from theses countries so that the people there have the opportunity for self determination. We’ll withhold all the American taxpayer cash we send them as well. Then they be on easy street.

    Oh, wait, the “Arab Spring” was about high food prices. Worse because all these unemployed boys apparently can’t grow food or do anything else productive that will improve their economy. Sure they had some old despots but they’ve gotten rid of them so it should be all good now.

    I any case, we should withdraw our diplomatic missions to behind armed camps, stop aid and other interference and let the muslims find civilization for themselves.

  33. anjin-San says:

    @ JKB

    I know that someones child, wife, or mother getting blown to bits in the “shock & awe” bombings was no skin off your nose – I am sure the opportunity to congradulate yourself on what badasses we are was far more meaningful to you. As a bonus, you got to feel like a tough guy, while not risking anything.

    I don’t recall anyone saying America is bad – once again you are making crap up. Human beings have been slaughtering each other since they first figured out how to throw rocks. We have done more good than any other great power, but we have abused our great power, and that should give us all pause for sober reflection.

  34. JKB says:

    Hey, let’s have a Tea Party outside the Egyptian and Libyan embassies. At least then, a protest outside an embassy will be condemned and make the front page. MSNBC would go 24/7 coverage of the mob politeness.

  35. JKB says:

    Alleged producer of unknown film alleged to have angered Muslims hauled off in the middle of the night by uniformed men in brown shirts. Authorities assure this has nothing to do with his speaking freely but rather he is suspected of having prohibited relations with a computer.

    Obama asks Youtube to do what the Constitution won’t let the government do. Youtube replies “Nuts!”

  36. Mikey says:

    @anjin-san:

    How many yeas has it been since we started a war in Iraq that killed tens of thousands of innocents that did not threaten us? Not very many.

    Next March–that’s in six months–it will be a decade.

    This coming October 7–about three weeks–we’ll have been in Afghanistan 11 years.

    I have an eight-year-old son. I realized the other day that soldiers who are dying in Afghanistan were his age on 9/11.

    I was talking to a good friend of mine last night. He’s had a rough week. Sean Smith was a friend of his. What a mess this all is.

  37. Davebo says:

    The largest exodus of Christians in the mid east started in Iraq in 2003.

    Can’t imagine what that was all about but when discussing “Muslim Countries” it should be on the table at least.

  38. PD Shaw says:

    I still can’t believe the Libyans are pissed-off at Thomas Jefferson, the sinful wages of history indeed.

    Meanwhile, as Vietnam and America become closer, we have a country which has large sections uninhabitable and toxic from American military chemicals, and the permanently injured remains from a major war. Yet no deadly anti-American protests.

    But Thomas Jefferson was one bad mother.

  39. @PD Shaw:

    But Thomas Jefferson was one bad mother.

    You mean for someone who couldn’t be elected today?

  40. JohnMcC says:

    @JKB: From the “update” in the LATimes article:

    (Sheriff’s Dep’t spokesman Steve) Whitmore told the Times that Nakoula was taken in for voluntary interview with probation officials and was not arrested or detained.”

    The full story didn’t make you feel sufficiently victimized? He has apparently been convicted of bank fraud. One presumes that access to the internet would facilitate more fraud therefore the terms of his probation forbade him such access personally or through accomplices. These probation agreements are usually agreed to voluntarily.

    Your “brown shirts carried him away” BS illustrate what every intelligent person knows has been the fate of that fine thing called “conservatism”. It was stolen by idiots.

  41. bk says:

    @anjin-San:

    I don’t recall anyone saying America is bad

    But but but APOLOGY TOUR!

  42. Carson says:

    @michael reynolds: That would be a great idea for the new stimulus package.

  43. Rick Almeida says:

    @JKB:

    So law enforcement officials are “brown shirts” and a convicted meth maker and fraudster is your protagonist?

    Your values are perverse.

  44. JKB says:

    @JohnMcC:

    So the LA officials are just padding the overtime by “inviting” the man in for an interview after midnight for using a computer sometime in the past in violation of his probation? I made no assertion that he was arrested or detained, only that he was hauled off. Are you saying that he wasn’t transported away from his home?

    Are you saying the officers were not wearing brown shirts? Or weren’t in uniform? Any meaning you infer from the term “brown shirts” is entirely your own. Just the other day there was a big discussion of how no one under 40 remembered Carter. Well, no one under 80 would remember the meaning you inferred.

  45. JKB says:

    @Rick Almeida:

    Optics

    You somehow imply that the gentleman’s past makes it all right to haul him in for making a movie that made come uncivilized Muslims mad? That somehow his right to free speech is impinged upon by his past unlawful actions that had nothing to do with his free expression or right to protest?

  46. @JKB:

    Do you think “bringing the crazy” really helps conservatism, or libertarianism, or Mitt?

    Think of all the conservatives brighter and saner than you who are just keeping their mouths shut right now.

  47. mattb says:

    @john personna:

    Do you think “bringing the crazy” really helps conservatism, or libertarianism, or Mitt?

    No… I mainly think that he’s desperately doing everything he can to stick up for his tribe on a topic that they’ve largely bungled.

    His increasingly unhinged posts on the subjects have all the excess of someone who realizes how bad the situation is but can’t bear the thought of actually having to admit to wrong doing.

    It’s beginning to remind me of the scrambling that Sarah Palin supports had to do in the wake of her increasingly erratic behavior post election — especially those who stuck with her after she abandoned the governorship.

  48. Rick Almeida says:

    @JKB:

    No. I believe that parolees/probationers can be questioned about alleged violations of the terms of their release.

    One of the conditions of his release is that he not use a computer. If he typed an anti-Muslim screed on an Underwood, he’d be within his rights.

    Are you outraged that a multiple felon has temporary limits on his freedoms?

  49. JKB says:

    @Rick Almeida:

    I am outraged that the Obama Administration would use the resources of the United States to identify someone who exercised their right to free speech.

    I find it disturbing when they find a hook into the guy, they use it to stage a late night PR stunt designed to placate murderous thugs in a foreign country.

    I am appalled that individuals sworn to uphold the Constitution would participate in this blatant intimidation by thugs in our own government.

    Why are you not?

  50. Eric Florack says:

    I observe that the very same president who doesn’t seem to have a problem with insulting Christians calling us “Better clingers” and disregarding the first amendment rights of Catholics as regards abortion etc., tells us that we should not be insulting to Islam. And is willing to use the force of government to curtail free speech in the area.

    Something seems a little out of whack, here.

  51. Rick Almeida says:

    @JKB:

    Why are you not?

    Well, my first concerns are for those killed and those still in harm’s way. Coddling an individual who has admitted to multiple felonies is quite further down on my list of concerns.

    And let’s not pretend for a minute that your position would be at all consistent if this were a union activist who made an anti-Christian film.

  52. Rick Almeida says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I’m Catholic. Which First Amendment rights have I lost?

  53. Eric Florack says:

    @Rick Almeida: So, you don’t think that forcing Catholics to pay for Abortion doesn’t interfere in their first amendment rights?

    And I wonder; if anti-Islam movies are responsible, does this mean that we’ll have to stop showing the pro-Obama propaganda film, that was created to help Obama’s re-election, “Zero Dark Thirty”? You may recall, the makers of that movie were given all sorts of access to classified material so as to make the movie more compelling and the re-election of Obama more possible. Will we see YOU calling for the movie to be shut down? Somehow, I suspect your concern doesn’t quite extend so far.

    Of course, this is the same political philosophy that arranged for government support for “Piss Christ”, So perhaps the current excesses are not all the unbelievable, after all.

  54. matt says:

    @Eric Florack: Wow I wasn’t even aware of that movie. I’ll be sure to check it out when it’s released in DECEMBER you know a month after the election….

  55. Eric Florack says:

    If you didn’t know about it….. Oh, never mind. Facts like that wouldn’t matter to you.

  56. An Interested Party says:

    Are you saying the officers were not wearing brown shirts? Or weren’t in uniform? Any meaning you infer from the term “brown shirts” is entirely your own. Just the other day there was a big discussion of how no one under 40 remembered Carter. Well, no one under 80 would remember the meaning you inferred.

    Oh my, that was quite pathetic, even for you…apparently you never get tired of being a disingenuous hack…

    I observe that the very same president who doesn’t seem to have a problem with insulting Christians calling us “Better clingers”…

    To be fair, it would be entirely accurate to describe you as a bitter clinger…

    If you didn’t know about it….. Oh, never mind. Facts like that wouldn’t matter to you.

    You do realize the illogic of suggesting that a movie is going to help the President’s reelection even though the movie won’t even be released until after the election? You probably don’t, as you have shown repeatedly that logic doesn’t matter to you…

  57. jukeboxgrad says:

    A special reminder for JKB: you’re a liar.

    A special reminder for Florack: ditto.

  58. Stephen1947 says:

    Eric F, the ‘better clinger,’ asks: So, you don’t think that forcing Catholics to pay for Abortion doesn’t interfere in their first amendment rights?

    Answering a question with a question: Do you think that forcing Quakers to pay for the expenses of waging war interferes with their first amendment rights?

    If not, STFU.