Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

September 25, 2012

Susan Rice's dodge

(Continued)

For Rice, they love us; they just hate what we post on YouTube. She blamed "a very hateful, very offensive video that has offended many people around the world." Note the euphemism. "Offended" is what you are when someone uses the wrong dinner fork; "stark raving mad" is what you are when you storm an embassy over an amateurish video. The "many people around the world" happen to be concentrated in one region and one religion.

The fact is that video is more a pretext than a provocation. As in prior such episodes of violence over alleged Western offenses against Islam, the people who are enraged need to be told to be enraged, and perhaps paid a little on the side for their trouble.

For all its scurrilousness, the anti-Muhammad video is laughably bad. If this is the best cinematic effort that Muslim-haters can muster, the Islamic world should rest easy. Frankly, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded better anti-religious material.

But Obama officials fasten on the video so they can flinch from hard truths. They can't bring themselves to say that the protesters hate us and our freedoms. They can't admit that electing President Barack Hussein Obama, with generations of Muslims in his family (as he boasted in his Cairo speech), wasn't enough to win over the Muslim world. They can't look dispassionately on an Arab Spring that is sputtering out into more radicalism and more disorder. And, most disturbing of all, they can't muster a full-throated defense of free speech that doesn't give ground to the premises of Muslims hostile to it.

To blame the video for the violence, rather than the provocateurs on the ground, is a concession to the logic of blasphemy laws giving aggrieved Muslims a veto over free speech. The administration has already shown itself disturbingly sympathetic to these efforts, co-sponsoring a U.N. resolution in 2009 against religious hate speech. In free societies, religious hate speech is simply free speech, otherwise Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris wouldn't be allowed to publish. Any hedging on this principle is a betrayal of who we are.

There's no assurance that Susan Rice sees that, any more than she sees anything else in front of her nose.

(c) 2012 by King Features Syndicate

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