53 Days And Counting…
I didn’t catch this until today, but apparently it’s now being reported that the appeasement memo from the Cairo Embassy was the result of a PR guy gone rogue. I came across this new piece of info from reading this post from the Flathead Memo, where James Conner is revising and kind of apologizing for his initial post, which you can read here.
In that initial post, James says of the Embassy memo:
That statement by our embassy in Egypt isn’t going to mollify the fanatics who attacked our embassy and killed our consular officer. Islamic zealots want us dead or converted to Islam. There’s no middle ground here; none is possible as long as Islam produces hyper-religious cultists who treat producing an image of its prophet as a capital offense.
I expect our embassies to issue full-throated defenses of free speech — including speech that offends. Anything less is cowardice. We know what’s the matter with Islam. But what’s the matter with our State Department?
The subsequent post acknowledges that the memo is now being reported as having been issued by a PR guy gone rogue. James says:
Now, a day and a half later, it’s clear that the PR guy in Cairo acted against instructions, no doubt hoping to damp the anger of protesters who were planning a demonstration later that day. I understand why he did what he did, but he did the wrong thing, a cowardly thing, and served his country poorly.
Cowardice is a matter of perspective. That a major feature of the US war on terror entails remote killing from air conditioned rooms half a world away with drones is, I think, a pretty cowardly method of waging war. It’s also guaranteed to radicalize more potential terrorists. But we’re not having that conversation.
Instead, the conversation Dave Budge thinks we should be having is one about the first amendment and free speech. In that post he wonders (rhetorically) why the principled left isn’t outraged about Obama’s supposed aim to use the video to cover his administration’s alleged ineptitude:
So, Obama gets in a jam (again) and calls on Eric Holder to supply covering fire to escape press scrutiny. But the press, for the most part, doesn’t seem to care. Nor, might I add, have we heard very much from the principled left. Glenn Greenwald’s opening salvo in his new gig at The Guardian spilled ink on the press’s question of “Why do they hate us” as opposed to the government shutting off access to truth. Funny that.
Meanwhile, the Obama admin “reached out” to YouTube to see if there was any way they could “review their terms of service” policy to get the incendiary video taken down. The good news is that YouTube refused. Ah, but never let a government looking for scapegoats get in the way of principles. Just round up “the usual suspects”. Today a person associated with The Innocence of Muslims was brought in for an interview by the LAPD and the Feds promptly stepped in. Meanwhile, and perhaps I’ve just missed it, all of those people who excuse Julian Assange, accused Ari Fleischer of censorship when he said people should watch what they say, and are otherwise great civil libertarians have gone missing in their outrage. Well, I guess principles stop on the eve of an election. So it seems, anyhow.
My personal hierarchy of outrage in reacting to this still developing situation isn’t to prioritize the Obama administration’s attempt to suppress this stupid video, though I do think it is troubling how this ex-felon guy who supposedly made it is now being investigated by the FBI.
Instead what most concerns me is how the more relevant factors fueling this spreading unrest are not being adequately addressed, like how flooding countries with weapons in an attempt to orchestrate violence against the regimes we deem necessary to destabilize and ultimately overthrow has unforeseen consequences.
As figurative pressure valves vent steam across the Middle East and North Africa, a broader assessment of how the US advances its interests in the region would be great, but we certainly won’t get that during an election season.
Romney wouldn’t discuss foreign policy during the GOP convention, and Obama certainly wasn’t about to discuss signature drone strikes during his coronation.
Now that both men are trying to respond to this complicated situation in campaign mode, we’ll have to hope things don’t escalate dramatically in the next 53 days.