Diana West is the author of "The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization," and blogs at dianawest.net.More ↓Less ↑
Two historic attacks on U.S. territory marked the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks – and what happened? The Obama administration surrendered our constitutional principles.
The first was a “blasphemy” riot that breached the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, whereupon thugs burned the American flag and hoisted in its place the traditional black flag of Islam that flies over al-Qaida and other jihad movements.
The second was a military-style assault against the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, believed to have been mounted by a militia known as Ansar al-Sharia (“Partisans of Islamic Law”), which formed in the U.S.-supported anti-Gadhafi revolution. Christopher Stevens, U.S. ambassador to Libya and former point man to the al-Qaida-linked revolutionaries, and three staff members were killed. Five more Americans were wounded, and the American outpost burned under another black flag of jihad.
An obscure, made-in-the-USA movie critical of Muhammad has been blamed for “causing” these attacks. In fact, it is people in Egypt and Libya who committed these two unprovoked acts of war to mark the 9/11 anniversary. The official response?
The first response actually preceded the mayhem in Cairo when the U.S. Embassy, having suspended regular business in anticipation of the planned movie protest, posted on its website on Sept. 11: “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” (As Middle East and Islamic expert Raymond Ibrahim pointed out, the embassy expressed no such solicitude for the “feelings” of a Christian on trial in Egypt for “insulting” Islam, “even as a throng of Muslims besieged the courthouse, interrupting the hearing and calling for the man’s death.”)
Noting the 9/11 anniversary, the embassy statement continued: “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”
Here we see Uncle Sam conceding the First Amendment to safeguard the “feelings” of Muslims, and accepting the basis of Islamic laws against criticizing Islam.
In response, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney issued an initial statement expressing outrage over the violence and the Cairo embassy statement, which the embassy Twitter feed would underscore in both English and Arabic messages. (Both the statement and subsequent tweets have since been removed.) In the meantime, the White House disowned the embassy statement as unauthorized.
But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed the embassy message to “deplore” free speech. Clinton said: “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”
Actually, the nation’s founding commitment is to religious “liberty.” It’s important to realize that Clinton supports an anti-liberty, U.N. anti-blasphemy resolution designed to curb criticism of Islam, advocating the circumvention of the First Amendment through what she calls “plain old-fashioned peer pressure and shaming.” Assaults on sovereign territory, it would seem, simply go too far.
Then came details of the assault in Libya. Addressing Libya only, President Obama also inserted the government into free speech, while criticizing the violence (and taking no media questions). “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others,” he said, “we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai weighed in, denouncing the “heinous act” – the Muhammad movie! – and calling for “efforts to prevent” its release and other restrictions on the lawful activities of its producer and Pastor Terry Jones, who endorsed the movie. Karzai ignored both attacks on the United States.
Similarly, Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt (who denies that al-Qaida attacked the U.S. on 9/11, by the way), directed the Egyptian Embassy in Washington to “take legal action” against the movie’s producers. Morsi doesn’t seem to understand First Amendment protections; of course, neither does the Obama administration. (Maybe they will discuss a “solution” to free speech when Obama hosts Morsi at the White House this month.)
Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil asked for similar action “within the framework of international charters that criminalize acts that stir strife on the basis of race, color or religion.” This is a direct appeal to hold Americans accountable to the U.N. blasphemy resolution Hillary Clinton, along with the Islamic bloc, has championed, despite its repressive controls on free speech.
The administration response gets worse. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey telephoned Jones to implore him to withdraw his endorsement of the Muhammad movie to “prevent” violence in Afghanistan. Apparently, Dempsey and the administration he serves believe a movie blurb is a self-firing assault weapon, and Islamic law nullifies the First Amendment.
In a Wednesday press conference, Mitt Romney stated: “America will not tolerate attacks against our citizens and against our embassies. We’ll defend also our constitutional rights of speech and assembly and religion. … We stand for the principles our Constitution protects. We encourage other nations to understand and respect the principles of our Constitution, because we recognize that these principles are the ultimate source of freedom for individuals around the world.”
At least one American leader is willing to defend our country and Constitution.