Benghazi Glen Ross

Why was Obama the only leader to reference religion in response to Libya attack?

by Paul Wells

One of the unnoticed footnotes to the crisis in Libya and Egypt that threatens to rock the U.S. presidential election is the reaction of Canadian political parties to the events of Tuesday and Wednesday. From the government: John Baird says Canada “strongly condemns and deeply regrets yesterday’s senseless attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.” From the NDP: Paul Dewar says New Democrats “unequivocally condemn this brutal and senseless act of terrorism.” From the Liberals, over the signature of Bob Rae: “We condemn this violent attack against the American mission, and support the Libyan government in its efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

There is nothing in any of the three main parties’ statements to match the subordinate clause that begins this sentence from U.S. President Barack Obama’s statement today: “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.”

An NDP spokesman was cross with me when I pointed out today on Twitter that there was no reference to “efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others” in the NDP statement. Nobody’s statement included such language, a transparent reference to the amateurish film that many rioters in Benghazi and Cairo are citing as a provocation. The NDP guy meant the NDP statement was identical to the Liberals’ and the Conservatives, and that’s true. But indeed I cannot find any such reference to denigrating others’ beliefs in the statements from David Cameron, François Hollande, and Germany’s foreign minister.  

So the only editorial comment on the motives of the mobs that I found in this quick survey comes from the U.S. President. And check the link: I’m not talking about last night’s disputed and disowned tweets from the Cairo embassy, I’m talking about today’s official statement by the President.

Anyway. Discuss. Meanwhile things are moving very quickly across the region where Obama gave his first major foreign-policy speech as President less than four years ago. The speech carried a title, “A New Beginning,” and that’s what the last few days have felt like, but in a more foreboding way than Obama intended. He’s got what looks like an organized ambush against U.S. personnel in Benghazi; an Egyptian president who’s more upset about the film than about the siege against the U.S. embassy in Cairo; an Afghan president with the same reflexes; fraying relations with the Israeli PM, who seems for all the world to be attempting to ensure Obama loses in November. Just about the only good news for him this week is Mitt Romney’s response to the chaos.

But while Romney was wrong on facts and graceless in manner, his instinct — that a “yes, but” is not the right response to the Benghazi slaughter, that “we didn’t like the film either, but you shouldn’t kill over it” gives the mob too much credit and the notion of free speech too little — was widely shared today. The makers of Innocence of Muslims are Americans, so perhaps they are a problem only Obama needed to address. But only he did; his contemporaries, from Germany to the Office of the Leader of the Opposition in Ottawa, steered clear.

UPDATE: A Reader on Twitter points out that Obama does have some company, but it’s not in other countries this week, it’s in the same country not long ago: During rioting over the Danish cartoons in 2006, the Bush administration sought to defend free speech and condemn violent fanatacism while also criticizing the cartoons: “We find them offensive,” a State Dept. spokesman said, while defending Danish newspapers’ right to run them.

 

 




Browse

Benghazi Glen Ross

  1. The Romney statement you criticize was a response to the Cairo events, not to the Benghazi murders. It’s essentially no different than what the Administration ended up saying about the statements coming out of the embassy before and during the Cairo riot.

  2. Goldberg has the luxury of taking a libertarian absolutist stand over the first ammendment. Obama has a much wider responsibility to make sure this doesn’t get out of hand. It might offend the purists like Goldberg; but he could always run for office couldn’t he. Goldbergs assertion that politically motivated extremist groups are just looking for such an excuse as this film to spread their poison doesn’t negate Obama’s response. It’s beside the point; they weren’t Obama’s audience[ at least not primarily]. Just telling Muslims to get over it, we can’t limit our sacred freedoms to suit your sacred beliefs is just the kind of libertarian nonsense i would expect from Goldberg. There aren’t any hellish consequences for him should he get it wrong. How many times have we already seen this movie in both Afghanistan and Iraq? How many died for someone elses constitutionally protected stupidity?The fact that Obama is pretty much out there on his own pretty much says it all – he’s the President…not Harper, Mulcair, Rae or anyone else.
    Convinces me more than ever that our flexible charter is superior to the US constitution. Freedoms are sacred, but they have consequences if not respected or abused.
    Edit: Just to save some back and fro here; i’m not at all suggesting it is ok to limit our freedoms, or even apologize for them – ever – particularly in the face of murderous extremists who respect no civilized law.

    • That edit’s pretty ironic, even funny given the context of the article.

    • The “consequences” are not the result of upholding fundamental freedoms such as free speech, but are entirely in spite of it. The “consequences” are solely the result of decisions that the savages who committed these acts of violence chose to undertake.

      Why is it that I, as a nonbeliever, should “get over” the hundreds of verses written in religious books that I find to be deeply offensive (which is exactly what I do, I get over them), whereas anybody who has a less than favorable view of Islam should be “flexible” and forcibly censored? The problem with being “flexible” with free speech is that you end up with double standards in the way liberties are being granted as a result, unpopular viewpoints are drowned out solely on the basis that they are “blasphemous” and “offensive”. That undermines the very essence of free speech, the whole point of which is to allow unpopular and potentially provocative viewpoints to be heard. If somebody does not like the content of a certain publication or speech, they are more then welcome to use their own free speech to counter and condemn the content, rather than demand the imposition of theocratic restrictions on freedom of expression, or for that matter resorting to bloodshed.

      • Hey, in theory i agree with you. Meanwhile in the real world…or at least the one the leader of the free world has to deal with.

        Please outline your plan to me. The one that convinces those “savages” that free speech ought to trump religious or political dogma?That magically convinces them that they just have to get over it in the name of free speech, because you and i can, when something they are obviously crazy about is defamed or insulted. I’d love to hear it. How much blood will it cost? And whose? Just the savages? Can you guarantee that?
        As for the rest of your post i’m lost. Where have i said that anyone should be censored or have their views of Islam made more “flexible”?
        Throwing gas on a fire is generally considered something to be avoided if at all possible, whether it is your right to do so or not. You do it at your peril and in this case unknown numbers of innocent lives.

        • I didn’t say there is much that we can do to begin with. There is no “plan”. The “solution” is not really in our hands. In fact it may take centuries of social progress before the Islamic world goes through a transformation the way Christians did. The point of the matter is that we should not bow down or be afraid to speak our views because somebody else may react in a violent manner. How many lives will it take? It doesn’t matter. 4 lives or 4 million lives. Freedom of speech is non negotiable and if we have to spill our blood to preserve it, then so be it. Our freedoms, our liberties, our social progress across much of the western world was fought very hard for tooth and nail ever since the times of the Inquisition. To suggest that anyone ever should give up their core freedoms in the vain hope that it’ll save people’s lives is some the most twisted defeatist thinking that is frankly dangerous to the very foundations of liberty. There is no such thing as “abuse” of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is a core universal tenet and principle espoused by civilized men, it does not take “sides” on political/social/religious issues. It is in and of itself a virtue because it allows for the civilized exchange of competing ideas.

          You are right that throwing gas on a fire is probably a bad idea. The creator of the film lit a camp fire, the Islamists decided it was a good idea to add gasoline to it instead of putting it out with water.

          What you are essentially arguing can be misconstrued in any number of ways into an excuse to take any number of liberties away for any reason, because almost any sort of freedom we take for granted probably somewhere, somehow provokes somebody.

          And the funny thing is, you’re talking to me about my lack of a “plan”. What is your plan? You really think getting people to stop insulting Islam will magically get Muslims to have a change of heart and magically compel them to stop persecuting everyone else for blasphemy? No, it’ll only embolden them to continue making additional demands about how we live our lives, “or else”.

          What you don’t understand is that many of these nutjobs, throughout their lives are completely unfamiliar and unaccustomed to dealing with anti-Islamic sentiment. It is simply surprising and shocking to them that somebody would dare insult their prophet or their religion in general. Most of these nutjobs do live after all in countries where blasphemy laws still exist and are strictly enforced. If anything ,the appropriate response in these scenarios would be to put out even more blasphemous content and to make it clear that their goal of imposing their theocratic controls are simply impossible. Over time, this may actually quell the violence, if insults to Islam become commonplace as opposed to rare events. You cannot riot in the streets for eternity. At some point they’ll be forced to put food on the table and go get a job. And maybe after a couple of generations they’ll learn that “insults” to their religion can simply be ignored and really aren’t that big of a deal after all.

          If people die as an unfortunate result of any conflict of ideas, then so be it. Progress isn’t made without sacrifices. As Thomas Paine said, give me liberty or give me death.

          • That wasn’t Tom Paine, you silly goose, it was Patrick Henry, grandstanding in the Virginia legislature. And the President’s choice isn’t liberty or death, it’s liberty or the deaths of many, many others.

          • He is also protecting the liberty of many many others by standing up for the principles of free speech, which should be universal. So it balances out. Thanks for playing, try again.

            If the president is worried about what may happen to diplomats in countries run by savages who slaughter people at the drop of a hat for the most mundane “offenses”, then maybe he should consider beefing up security at the embassies and consulates within those nations, and perhaps the US government should reconsider its failed foreign policy altogether and perhaps reconsider the state of their diplomatic ties with the regions that allow for such savages to breed.

          • Nicely put.And succint. Would you like to write my reponses…sigh?

          • “What you are essentially arguing can be misconstrued in any number of
            ways into an excuse to take any number of liberties away for any reason,
            because almost any sort of freedom we take for granted probably
            somewhere, somehow provokes somebody.”

            You can’t argue with a man who chooses to construe meaning where none was given.

            “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death. Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775″

          • I did not imply that you provided any central “meaning” into your argument, I said that your argument may be modified and manipulated in any number of ways to take away any liberty that we have acquired after centuries of struggle. Your litmus test for whether it is worth preserving and fighting for any our freedoms is based totally upon the level of bloodshed our enemies are willing to resort to in order to take them away from us. You are a useful apologist for the worst forms of totalitarianism in existence.

          • Fine. We’ve established that i’m not fit to share your absolutist view of liberty; so go get yourself elected and do something about it, rather than bleating to me about how only folks like you are fit to live in your world and enjoy our freedoms and liberties.

          • What we’ve established is that you value human life over any and all of the hard fought for freedoms that we’ve acquired from despots, theocrats and genocidal maniacs and that you’re willing to relinquish someone else’s first amendment rights at the drop of a hat instead of standing up for basic principles of a civilized society, and not only that, you’re willing to engage in witch hunts against fellow citizens for non crimes like speaking out about their personal views on contentious issues, which not only do they have an absolute right to do so, but should in fact be encouraged to continue to do so for the benefit and the hope of any social progress whatsoever. Radical Islam isn’t going to go away or be tamed if you start persecuting and condemning people for blasphemy and making the murderous, intolerant, theocratic ideology immune from any and all criticism.

          • You’re conducting a conversation with yourself. I don’t recognize anything i’ve said or advocated in that bilge.

          • It’s merely a logical extension of your own argument.

        • Plan? Push back. Read please about the systematic and well designed program that reformers in Quebec carried out. It was called the Quiet Revolution.

          I’d suggest simply that the media, government etc. treat Islam like they treat every other religion. Tell the truth, confront the stupidity, If some idiots make a threat, prosecute them vigorously.

          Very simple in fact. Do the exact opposite of what the Canadian government at all levels did, what the Canadian media did in reaction, what the publishing industry did, when the Mohammed cartoon issue came up a few years ago.

          Extremely simple, just ask the question. Am I willing to have an uneducated fool who dresses funny tell me what I am allowed to say?

          • Are you seriously conflating the quiet revolution with militant Islam? Some perspective please!
            No you don’t have to put up with an uneducated fool telling you what to think. But if you disseminate those so called thoughts[ in some cases] in his back yard don’t be surprised if he burns someone else’s house down – even if they are to blame for their actions – someone is still dead who needn’t be.
            Edit: Sorry if i misconstrued. On second or third look you seem to be arguing for the push back against Duplessis and the unhealthy relationship he had with the church.

          • Yes, someone is dead who needn’t be, because of the actions of a militant Islamist, which only justifies further punitive action, like a bullet to the face from a Navy Seal team. This isn’t too hard to comprehend or for that matter to put into practice. Maybe before we start stripping away the rights and liberties of your neighbors, you should consider stripping away the rights of those who want you dead or wish to turn the entire world into a theocratic state, rather than wailing about “war crimes” done by drone strikes.

            It is absolutely pathetic how people will go to the ends of the earth to ensure that some scumbag like Awlaki who commits acts of treason against his own country should be protected and given a fair trial, but are more than willing to go on a witchhunt, and make outrageous claims that a low budget youtube flick creator deserves to get charged with “manslaughter” for deaths on the other side of the world that he played no part in whatsoever.

          • Odd how you’ll defend to your dying breath your right to freedom of speech and yet think nothing of offing any one you don’t like without due process.
            Got the wrong guy bud. I haven’t suggested the film maker be banned or charged with anything…but then i’m starting to see a pattern of putting words in the mouths of opponents with you. If you can only make your case by misrepresentation take a hike.

          • No, you missed the point again. I am not saying Awlaki, as much of a scumbag as he is, does not deserve to have due process, but if we were to agree to suspend somebody’s rights in a battle of ideas, an unrepentant treasonous terrorist would certainly be near the top of the list, as opposed to a US immigrant coming from a historically persecuted religious minority group producing an inherently harmless budget flick.

            I did not mention you specifically in my response, I simply posited an observation in the different attitudes and takes people have on this “issue”. How ironic, bleating about “putting words in peoples mouths” and doing exactly that in the very same post. You’re a real piece of work buddy.

          • Now you’re getting tiresome. I have complained now on two or three occasions about you intentionally misrepresenting or ignoring my stated position. That fact that you didn’t do it explicitly here is immaterial. We obviously aren’t getting anywhere and i’m not prepared to go through this post after post. Go harangue someone else please.

  3. Good post Wells. Only Obama’s White House could make such a feckless and pathetic statement in the face of the assassination of an American ambassador and 3 other Americans. Only a clueless and spineless president could show such poor character.

    • Yet spineless enough to sanction the killing of US citizens[ first for a president] and seemingly be none too worried about collateral damage to first responders and innocents in drone attacks. Neither of which should be carried out under the exclusive political say so of a US president – Obama or not IMO.
      Whats more i suspect whoever did the killings better have a good hidey hole, cuz O is coming for them, and he’ll make political hay out of it too. I too have objections to Obama, but they aren’t yours. Frankly, some times the guy creeps me right out in ways even Bush didn’t.

  4. Just to play Devil’s advocate:

    On the one hand, it’s true that President Obama was unique in being the only leader to include that sentiment (1 sentence in a 12 sentence release) in his response to the attacks.

    On the other hand, he’s also unique in being the only leader to include 50 Marines and two warships armed with Tomahawk missiles in his response as well.

    Let’s face it, one person responding to this crisis is the President of the United States of America, and everybody else isn’t.

    • Well, it was 4 AMERICANS that were murdered by these savages, so perhaps it is appropriate for a US response.

      • Oh, for CERTAIN a rigorous American response is appropriate, and to be expected, and I for one think it’s coming. My point is that as that response comes the Romney Campaign’s focus on tone and rhetoric may begin to look even more silly.

  5. Surely condemning pathetic racist films while abhorring acts of violence is the proper response, though. is it just a matter of timing, then, as in it’s too soon to talking about it? If so, I can’t get worked up over a minor timing issue.

    • “Racist” is not the proper way of describing the film. It’s creator is a middle-easterner and he’s not condemning any “race” or ethnic group, he is criticizing a world-view, namely a religion. Bigoted and perhaps ignorant are proper terms to use, but racist it certainly is not. I cannot be “racist” against Islam any more than I can be “racist” against “Christianity” for mocking or poking fun at Jesus or “racist” against Russians for criticizing Soviet dictators.

      • To some extent that may very well be correct, but there’s a great deal of anti-arabic sentiment thrown into anti-islam sentiment. I tend to lump it all together and I will continue to do so for ease of terminology.

        • Then you will continue to be incorrect, because much of the Islamophobic sentiment is the result of certain aspects of their religion that are incompatible with civilized life. I do not see this “anti arabic sentiment” being any more prevalent against Arab Muslims any more so than against Pakistani, Indian, Indonesian, or Caucasian Muslims. It is especially stupid to condemn this film specifically as being racist when its creator is in fact himself an Arab. Did you even watch the trailer of the film? How the fuck is there any “anti arab” sentiment included in it? Use your head.

          Sure, some stupid southern Hicks may occasionally wail about “Aye-rabs” blowing stuff up, but there is nothing of the sort included in the content of this film, so it most certainly isn’t a “racist” film. I don’t see how it provides an “ease” of terminology. It doesn’t take much effort to replace the label “racist” with “bigot”.

          • Well, you certainbly managed to exhaust my ability to care after the third sentence.

          • Of course you’d “stop caring” when someone pokes irreparable holes in your pathetic argument. That is what happens when you don’t have the courage or the audacity to admit that you were simply wrong in your terminology. In fact, you were grossly inaccurate in your characterization of the film as being “racist”.

            It’s ok, I understand, you’re not for taking constructive criticism, you’re just here to vent nonsense. Feel free to respond when you have something more constructive to say besides “I stopped caring”. If you stop caring, might as well not post to begin with. It’s not like you had anything intelligent to share to begin with.

          • Care to rewrite or retract or simply shut up?

          • Why would I rewrite or retract anything I said. It is spot on. Feel free to demonstrate otherwise when you’re ready to say anything of value besides asking me to perform pointless tasks.

    • Racist? Was the film on the Boys of St Vincent racist? The problem is not that some criticize Islam, that is normal and I would expect it in the media (why we don’t see it we can wonder at). The problem is the unwillingness of us infidels to submit to the religious edicts.

  6. The movie by Goldberg(?) is responsible for the deaths of 4 Americans. Defend it as ‘Freedom of speech’ if you want but it was made to provoke a reaction and it did. Maybe Goldberg will claim unintended consequences and total ignorance of recent history.

    Goldberg should be charged with a hate crime and, at very least, involuntary manslaughter. Of course, the notion American exceptionalism will not allow that to happen.

    • The “movie” is not responsible for any deaths whatsoever. The only ones responsible for the deaths of the 4 Americans are the low IQ religious extremists who go out and KILL people because some random guy posted a youtube video insulting some 7th century religious nutjob that they revere so much. Nobody forced the hand of the religious fundamentalists to scale the walls of embassies, torch down consulates and slaughter innocent people because somebody on the internet “offended” them. All of the blame, and all of the responsibility and blood lays on the hands of the savages that committed these murders, period. Just because you are offended or provoked by some random stupid low budget flick on the internet does not give you the right to demand that someone else’s freedom of speech be limited or to use threats or acts of violence if your demands are not met.

      I find plenty of opinions and “content” across the internet (and in religious publications such as the Bible and Quran for that matter) to be “offensive” to me, but I acknowledge people’s right to express their views verbally and in writing because freedom of speech is a non negotiable central human right. If we’re going to persecute or make criminal charges against people simply because it is “offensive” to some savage’s religious sensibilities, then lets go ahead and get rid of free speech altogether. If someone’s “offended” because of a negative portrayal of their beloved prophet was published on the internet, its their right to be offended, and they can go ahead and use their own freedom of speech to engage in rational debate and condemn the film, but they have absolutely no grounds to demand that the film be censored or its maker be charged with “blasphemy”, or some other archaic medieval age nonsense. The Quran (and other religious books for that matter) portrays nonbelievers (such as myself and many people I know) as being condemned to hellfire. I personally find the fact that people out there believe that at this very moment, that people that I knew, loved ones and acquaintances who have passed are burning in the eternal fires of hell to be extremely disrespectful and offensive. However, I do not as a result demand for the extermination of all religious books on the grounds that it deeply offends me. Nor do I go around burning embassies and slaughtering ambassadors. And even if I were to do that, publishers of religious texts would hold zero responsibility for my crimes. Same principle applies here. Say what you want about the content of the film, but its producer holds ZERO responsibility for the actions of violent religious lunatics who chose by their OWN VOLITION to respond to it. There was after all another alternative, and thats for people to simply ignore an obscure low budget flick (as is done with millions of other stupid videos on the internet), and to never have brought it into the spotlight to begin with. They instead decided to resort to barbarism, and it is therefore their decision to react this way that holds 100% responsibility and blame for the tragic events that happened.

      • You are preaching to the choir. Now go and stand in tahrir square and make the same argument to a mob of people who are pretty ignorant by western standards. Of course if you go there it is entirely your own responsibility and no fault of theirs if they aren’t nice to you.[ actually if you went to the right coffee shops you might get a spirited argument, nothing more].But if you stood on the corner and shouted vile insults at the prophet, do you really think all you will get is a lively discussion about free speech?What would you expect if you even tried it in the hasidic quarter of Jerusalem? Obviously you would be a fool.
        Better yet have the film maker show the film there sothat he has a stake in his first amendment rights – one that might well cost him his life, instead of some Embassy staff.

        • Why would I go and stand in Tahrir square against an angry mob bronze age lunatics who are not interested in rational discourse? The internet is a great place for that, not a theocratic shithole like Egypt. If I were to pay a visit to Tahrir square, it would be with plenty of security and I’d surely be armed to the teeth. Of course it is no “fault” of theirs if they aren’t “nice” to me, they strongly disagree with my views, that goes without saying. However, if they make the decision to resort to violence and oppression to confront free speech, the decision is theirs, and hence so it the responsibility. This is pretty consistent logic, try to follow along.

          Your last statement is beyond bizarre, and basically states an outrageous notion that one should not have any rights whatsoever unless they’re willing to put their own life at stake for them. You are basically arguing for perpetual war.

          The appropriate response is not to censor to take down a video that is deemed “offensive” by a bunch of bronze age intolerant lunatics, but to send security reinforcements or cut of all diplomatic ties. Not an iota of liberty should be sacrificed to appease barbarism.

          • Bizarre is it, yet everywhere on this blog you’ve preached liberty or death – so you[ or the film maker] might want to live or die by those absolute principles.
            Of course that’s verging on satire. But that’s my point. There’s your absolute principles[ which are fine, i haven't disagreed with them anywhere] and there’s the street.
            You seem prepared to have others guilty or not die for those principles yet you seem oddly reluctant without security. Catching on yet?
            It is true that the mob has no excuse for their violence toward anothers free speech in an absolute sense, but they don’t require much of one anyway, so why give them one more?
            Look i’ll try one more time. I don’t believe on principle that the you tube video should be pulled down, or the author told to tone it down. But to say he bore no responsibility at all when he dubbed it in Arabic and virtually rubbed their faces in it is silly – free speech or not.You’re prepared to accept the ultimate consequeces of both their actions no matter how extreme, obviously the guys in the WH are not. And that’s all that matters. I submit they live in the real world – you don’t appear to.
            Must say i’m glad someone like you never had their finger on the nuclear trigger during the cold war. You would have won your argument but we would most likely be celebrating it in the next world.

          • Of course, I am willing to put others and myself in harms way to protect fundamental liberties. This does not mean that I am going to intentionally put myself in harm’s way whenever I wish present controversial views. If you’re the type of person that volunteers to be an “ambassador” to Islamic shitholes where the population can kill you at the drop of a hat, and do so without adequate security measures, then that’s upon you. I am not obliged to censor my views of beliefs to ensure your safety on the “street”. If you find that appalling, then maybe you should seek a career change instead of seeking to persecute filmmakers for simply expressing controversial views.

            As for why we should “give them one more reason”, that isn’t the point. The point is to put forth an argument that critically examines their religion. How else are we supposed to put forth a critique of an ideology that we find abhorrent? Any form of criticism of the prophet is considered, blasphemy, but if we ever want to garner attention to the problems prevalent within Islam today, there is no way to do it other than by discussing it, whether verbally or through any other medium of free speech. That is exactly what the author did, and there is NOTHING wrong with that. If, as a result, the response is a violent attack on a consulate, then it is only the perpetrators of that act that bear the full responsibility for the bloodshed.

            Feel free to inform me when radical Muslims have the capability to wipe out western civilization in a nuclear holocaust, and maybe then I’ll take your wailing about being “responsible” with free speech a little more seriously. The author is under no obligation whatsoever to give up his freedoms to protect the lives of those who voluntarily go into war zones unarmed.

            Sacrificing free speech to save humanity might be a bargain. To persecute or suggest that someone deserves to have criminal charges leveled against them because of a piece of electronic media they post on the internet sets off a firestorm amongst hordes of savages on the other side of the world that happens to kill 4 people who voluntarily have put themselves within feet of harms way their entire careers without the necessary precautions or security is just plain stupidity. It is not just stupidity, it is downright fascism.

            If 4 people get killed because of “blowback” for free speech, it only means one thing, that we need to beef up security at our overseas embassies, reevaluate our diplomatic ties with these regions, and adjust our foreign policy.

            If on the other hand, millions got killed because of a youtube video, that would probably be enough justification to pretty much wipe out these regions altogether and turn them into glass. Not letting them get nukes to have leverage over our freedoms is probably a good idea as well.

          • You do know by now who the said author of this film is don’t you? If you don’t i suggest you scale back your libertarian polemic and read some current news before you pen any more of this tripe.

          • When you are ready to construct an intelligent response, feel free to go ahead and demonstrate how the identity of the film’s creator bears any relevance or for that matter, negates anything I said above.

      • The only ones responsible for the deaths of the 4 Americans are the low IQ religious extremists who go out and KILL people because some random guy posted a youtube video insulting some 7th century religious nutjob that they revere so much.

        Thanks for correcting me on my misconceptions. I had no idea! I want to thank you and others for my misguided notion that that all people are equal and for revealing to me that western Christan culture is the road to redemption.

        • I didn’t say anything about “Christian culture”. I am not a Christian, nowhere close. You did not even make the argument that all people are equal, in fact you made the opposite point that some beliefs deserve to be insulated on a pedestal because the proponents of those beliefs lash out in violent acts of terror anytime somebody insults them, instead of engaging in rational discourse to settle differences. But as usual, you have no argument, just a bunch of strawmen and sarcastic jokes. You’re welcome on the corrections though, your misconceptions were numerous.

    • Nope, sorry, that’s crazy talk. Attacking the movie, deploring its contents and questioning the intelligence and/or morality of its producer is all well and good. However, YouTube videos don’t kill people, people kill people.

      I don’t even like the notion of taking the video down. Free speech gives you the right to mock and deplore the ideas of, say, the KKK, but it also gives the KKK the right (within very narrow, well-defined limits) to express those abhorrent ideas. (That said, I’m somewhat sympathetic to the difficult position of the governments of some countries where they have to balance their notions of freedom with the possibility that the response to the video may lead to more deaths).

      I’m also not totally convinced that the Libya attack was even about the video. We’ll see what emerges, but it seems to me that this was a pretty well coordinated attack, and it feels more like a planned terrorist attack using the protests over the video as cover than merely an example of a protest that got out of hand.

      • You a member of the NRA? Of course guns don’t kill people, it’s the people with guns who kill people. Any damn fool knows that. Why do those left wing nutjobs keep attempting to anthropomorphize guns and our right to bear arms against the greatest threat to our existence — government?

        And of course, Freedom of Speech trumps all, even if it other people die. Consequences be damned.

        Thanks for proving my point.

        • He didn’t prove your “point”. You never had any points to begin with, you were systematically debunked and now you’re upset about it, so you’re pompously beating your chest and declaring victory, pretending that your blithering defeatist diatribe here has somehow been vindicated. Its hilarious!

          • My apologies nonbeliever, In my haste to exercise my freedom of speech, I forgot to thank you as well for helping me prove my point..

            I don’t want to appear to be like one of those 7th century bronze age lunatics in need of an education. Who knows what might happen to me?

          • What was your “point” again? All I saw was a fuming tirade of nonsense and an iota of an intelligent argument. I would suggest you go back to school and learn to construct a proper thesis before you go around claiming to rack up “points” as if an internet discussion thread is some video game.


    • “Goldberg should be charged with a hate crime and, at very least, involuntary manslaughter”

      — So in your mind, a “hate crime” – which in this case is making an offensive movie – is worse than involuntary manslaughter? Hurting some people’s feelings is worse than ending a person’s life?

      • So in your mind, a “hate crime” – which in this case is making an
        offensive movie – is worse than involuntary manslaughter? Hurting some
        people’s feelings is worse than ending a person’s life?

        I never said that at all, I just proposed a couple of options. They could plea bargain away. There should be some consequence to such vile and clearly racist actions.

        Did you know not long ago there was a nation wide arrest warrant for some Calgary teenagers for the crime of spray painting swastikas and slogans on a bus shelter near a Jewish community? One of those racist slogans was “End Israeli Apartheid”. I’m quoting Jason Kenny here.

        Freedom of speech is a right. It is also a responsibility. All I’m saying is that Goldberg and his ilk should be reminded of what that responsibility is. The same rules should apply.

        • So anybody who’s ever made an anti-Christian movie should be charged with hate crimes also, I presume?

          Also, tough to call anti-Muslim sentiment “racist”, as Islam isn’t a race, it’s a religion.

          • That conclusion is your own. And so is the hair splitting. Go back under the bridge.

          • Oh, okay I get it. Offending and insulting Christians is OK, but when it’s Muslims, it’s Not OK. Thanks for clarifying that.

        • Canada does NOT have free speech and the teens defaced property.

    • People like you are scary. You want to remove our freedoms. Not only is that fundamentally wrong, you are also deluded to believe that the reference to the film was anything other than an excuse, a pretext, for the assailants to carry out their attacks.
      That is just extreme delusion. What those people really want, is what has achieved in most of the middle east: an expansion of the Muslim caliphate and sharia law to include all countries of the world. People like you are their “useful idiots”.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/documentaries/2010/07/100624_doc_useful_idiots_lenin.shtml

    • Maybe a hate crime where there’s jurisdiction – I haven’t seen it so I can’t comment but anything is possible. Manslaughter seems too much though.

  7. Sometimes I wish i was more culturally savvy. I’d love to know what the significance of the tittle – Benghazi Glen Ross – is. I didn’t see the film but i know roughly what it’s about, but i’m still stumped. Don’t write your own tittles do you PW? Well, they don’t in the movies about newsmen i have seen anyway.

    • Did you ever see the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross”? It is about aluminum siding salesman (slimy bunch), set in the middle of the 20th century….

      • Thanks.

  8. I’m not seeing the big deal here. I’m a pretty hard-core supporter of free speech, but I thought Obama’s response was fine. I also don’t see what he could have done to prevent the tragedy in the first place.

    Now, as to his fraying relationship with Israel (among others) – that is entirely due to his own ineptitude and ignorance. But that is a separate problem.

    • As to preventing the tragedy…it’s been a long known problem that there were security issues surrounding embassies, namely around the use of private contractors to provide security instead of US Marines. This is especially poignant in this case, where there are reports suggesting that the ambassador was in fact betrayed by his security team.

      Just add it to the ever growing pile of things the media might tell you if Obama wasn’t president.

        • Seriously? Blame Bush again? After 3 years of Obama neglect on this file?

          Read the damn article you twit:

          “The congressionally chartered Commission on Wartime Contracting issued a strong warning in 2009, saying the State Department’s reliance on lowest-priced contractors was jeopardizing security.”

          Who was president in 2009? Oh yeah. NOT BUSH.

          Here is that warning.

          Of note in that warning, which was issued October 1, 2009 (again, since you seem to have trouble with this concept…BUSH WAS NO LONGER PRESIDENT):

          The report, “Lowest-priced security not good enough for war-zone
          embassies
          ,” is posted on the commission’s Internet site,
          http://www.wartimecontracting.gov. The special report is the second in a series
          intended to highlight issues that the Commission believes warrant
          prompt attention by Congress or the Executive Branch
          .

          “The record is clear that hiring the wrong people for State Department
          security in a war zone can get innocent people hurt, undermine the
          security mission, and do terrible damage to America’s image. Congress
          needs to take a closer look at the potential unintended consequences of
          this statutory requirement. Based on our review, we recommend they
          modify it, at least for wartime settings.”

          Obama had this warning in October 2009. He launched a war in Libya in 2011 (without congressional approval) without heeding this warning, and an ambassador was murdered 3 years later, very possible due to betrayal by embassy security contractors. kcm2′s response? GEORGE BUUUUUSSSSHHHHH!!!!

          Look at that smoking trail of events, and try to imagine a world in which Bush does NOT get blamed if he’s the president when this happens. You’re already blaming him and he’s not even the president when any of this is happening.

          • Read ALL the article you twit. Some of the complaints were dated 2007. Seriously do you clowns think Obama is a time lord too.But you couldn’t be arsed to read that far could you?
            And i didn’t just blame Bush. I said it started in Bush’s time. So it’s institutional. That doesn’t let Obama’s admin off the hook, it merely provides context you “missed.”

            “Even before the POGO letter to Secretary Clinton, the ArmorGroup contract was under scrutiny. The State Department issued the first of eight “deficiency letters” in July 2007, the same month ArmorGroup took over embassy security”

            Some research there JG.

          • Dude, do you understand anything? There’s no missing context because I’m not saying Obama caused the problem.

            I’m saying he was warned of an existing problem in 2009 about embassy security in wartime, and did nothing about it after launching a war in 2011, and now somebody is dead because of it in 2012. Spin that any way you like, but that fail is on Obama and Obama alone.

            To contrast your ridiculous position, when New Orleans was destroyed by Katrina, Bush was blamed by the Democrat media for not having heeded warnings to fortify the levees. I’m quite sure you’ll agree that problem pre-dated Bush’s presidency.

            So why is Obama not held to the same standard?

          • The simple answer is he should be. Is the issue of not providing adequate funding for trained security or contracting out one that neither presidential administration has addressed – yes.
            Fine you have a point. From what i’ve read of those links there seems to be a lot of blame to spread around. Should Obama wear this – yes – will he? No because the problem seems to be institutional. You don’t have all the facts. You don’t know for instance if he did try a fix and run into some kind of institutional push back or outside lobbying.Maybe he even thought it was a risk worth taking? I don’t know and neither do you. Not a good enough excuse maybe. But the President isn’t god either – either one.

      • Well, yeah, obviously if Bush were still President the media and 90% of the commenters here would be screaming their brains out about how the Bush-chimp was responsible for the Embassy deaths and couldn’t find his ass with both hands and probably knew all about a secret plot to attack the Embassy but chose not to do anything about it so he could invade Iran, and other such brilliantly reasoned syllogistic arguments, complete with Hollywood documentaries and a few forged documents and what have you.

        *But*, the incontestable fact that the Left would have proceeded to collectively wet themselves and crap on everything else in sight if this had happened during the Bush Administration does not mean that Obama is any more responsible for it now than Bush would have been then.

        • You appear to be behind on the news. Read this to catch up and tell me if you still agree.

          • I probably am behind on the news, but I had heard this rumour. I think it’s a long way from being an established fact. Also, even if there was evidence known to the State Dept. that this attack was planned, I doubt the decision on how to address it (or fail to address it) would have gone all the way up the chain to Obama. More likely some State Dept. puke miscalculated and made a bad call from their cushy desk in DC.

    • Hahaha, I forgot that that is why you loved Steyn, the notion that whatever Israel does is right and anybody that goes against it’s government, even it’s own population, is wrong!

      • Hahaha, Yes, you got me, I adhere to the notion that whatever Israel’s government does is right. Because, like, I’m such a pro-government person. And also such a believer in moral relativism.

        Here’s a tip. Don’t make sh!t up. Here’s another tip: if you’re going to make sh!t up, at least make it sound remotely convincing.

  9. Obama’s main message to the Islamic world is his rain of drone bombing, where he is now also using the terrorist tactic of “double-tapping”, hitting the first responders and rescuers with a second missile.

    This is Obama’s real “new beginning”.

    The Americans and British are not in Iran, so the Canadian embassy and its occupants were sitting ducks, which is why Canada had to close the embassy there. How could Canada sit out a US-Israeli war against Iran if Canadians were being held hostage, or worse, murdered?

    • “First responders and rescuers” in places like Waziristan and tribal regions of southern Yemen? Okay buddy. Militant Islamists do not have that kind of luxury or support. Typically the “first responders” to these incidents are units of the Pakistani and Yemeni security forces, and those are rarely killed in this so called “double-tapping” nonsense you invented.

  10. Yawn. Another clueless pundit leaps to the unsubstantiated conclusion the deaths in Libya had anything to do with the film protestors.

  11. I don’t understand what point Wells is trying to make… The film that seems to be the spark that got the mobs going is something that should be addressed and he did; in the same way that when that crazy Pastor in Florida decied there was to be a burn a Quran day: if these kinds of events can provoke reactions by others that lead to killings, you need to address them.
    Is Wells trying to imply that the President mentionning the film is akin to admission of guilt?

    • Wells is saying that the way all these world leaders (with the exception of Obama) have worded their responses, implicitly indicates that free-speech is all encompassing in free societies. The filmmaker has every right to produce this film and as free citizens we have every right to dispute its merits in the public commons; to do so would be a balanced response. Our freedom does not extend to wanton destruction and murder, nor should it in ‘free’ countries such as Libya or Eygpt.

  12. Obama’s weakness is finally starting to show. He’s refused to demonstrate any strength on foreign policy for his entire term, and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

  13. If someone believes in a certain set of values,religious or otherwise,the strength of those beliefs need not be demonstrated by ones willingness to kill in defense of them. It should not matter if someone else doesn’t think the same as you.If it does, then maybe you are not so convinced of your beliefs and if so you can’t convince anyone else,especially through violent action. The embassy people were murdered by killers not defenders of their faith.

  14. Both the statements by world-wide politicians, and this thread, share the same problem with uber-partisanship and truth as suggestion only. If any world leader not based in the U.S. had mentioned anything about a film made in the U.S. as igniting the anger which then led to the mob and then the murder, they’d have become an enemy of the United States–at least in U.S. citizens’ opinion. Because it would be reported–no matter what they said before or after–as “Canadian [or other] leader blames U.S.” It is both very sad and gratifying that our world leaders understand this.

    • Good point Jenn. Missed that myself. At the very least it might be inappropriate in a US election year with things heating up.

  15. Romney’s statement was about the Cairo embassy attack which happened several hours before the Libyan murders. So to suggest that Romney was talking about Libya is not accurate. Look at the timeline again Wells.
    Does anyone honestly believe that Romney could get away without making some comments on the events of yesterday. He is running to be President of the United States. It would be expected that he would have something to say. What’s more important Romney’s presser revealed the pack mentality of the media in the United States which is much like here in Canada. The left wing media conspired together to portray Romney’s statement as a gaffe.

    • Maybe you need to look at the timeline again:
      http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/09/heres-a-timeline-of-the-confusing-statements-on-libya-and-egypt/262264/
      Specifically:
      7:51 p.m., 9/11/12. Reuters, citing Libyan government sources, reports “An American staff member of the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi has died following fierce clashes at the compound.”
      10:09 p.m., 9/11/12. The Romney campaign releases a statement “embargoed until midnight tonight” from Mitt Romney condemning the administration and the attacks: “I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” The U.S. Embassy statement from Cairo was issued before the attack in Libya.
      10:25 p.m., 9/11/12.The Romney campaign lifts the embargo on its statement, which now comes on a day historically seen as a time to refrain from the most pointed forms of political combat, in honor of those who died.
      As for the conspiracy of the left wing media, it appears that Romney wasn’t too well defended by his own party. In any case, it has been customary in US politics to support to C-in-C in these kinds of situations, for instance, Reagan did not use the failed Iranian hostages rescue attempt in his political campaign to criticize Carter.

      • Please continue your timeline to include the disavowal of the embassy statement by the White House. 16 hours later in case you can’t find it in the media. Do you think they would have done that had Romney not responded as he did?

        I for one think the responses from the administration thus far have been woefully inadequate, both diplomatic and on the ground, and Romney has been the only one with the courage to tell it like it is. Its Jimmy Carter all over again, and the world knows it. For Clinton to come out with ANOTHER reference to this stupid video is ridiculous. The video is inconsequential even if it were the cause of the attacks (which it was not obviously). How many “protesters” are sitting on the walls of the Russian embassies around the world?

        • Daryl:
          I was merely responding to the previous commenter (hollinm) who took the author (Wells) to task for what hollinm perceived to be some left-wing media bias. His perception was demonstrably inaccurate about Romney’s statement (hollinm claiming it was only about the Cairo embassy attack) as Romney’s statement mentioned attacks in Libya as well, and was made after the Libya attack. So, my aim was just a simple debunking of an assertion.
          Unfortunately such assertions happen all too often on these boards.
          Other posts by other authors at this site also point out similar kinds of outright fabrications being made by Canada’s government and its supporters, and by those in opposition.
          Now, what Romney said may have been valid as a political position, but that is a matter of opinion on which you will undoubtedly differ from others. Having a different position however does not give licence to baldly state falsehoods without being accountable for it.

          • Roger that. Well put.

  16. I’m a little surprised that the NDP and the Libs did not issue a pathetic mealy-mouthed response like the Obama administration. For that they deserve credit. I guess Obama’s White House is to the left of Canada’s leftist parties when it comes to foreign policy. Incredible but true.

    • Being to the “left” of the political spectrum has little to do with a person’s aptitude or desire to maintain a resilient foreign policy. By all accounts, I am farther to the “left” than most people, but I do not at all support paying lip service or apologizing to ultra-conservative religious zealots on the other side of the planet who epitomize the exact opposite of everything a true liberal stands for.

  17. The late Ambassador was proud to help the rebels, and counted on his friendship as a way to build bridges. At the end the US ambassador was murdered in the same manner as was Gaddafi, his body dragged through streets and apparently sodomized. No such thing, I believe has ever happened to a US (or any western) emissary in the past.

    • This is why the US should’ve never interfered in Lybia to begin with (or for that matter in any Arab country in the last 50 years). US foreign policy towards the MENA region has done everything possible to alienate and to destroy secular democratic forces in the region, and has bolstered Islamists and theocrats of all sorts in almost every intervention it’s been in. In the early to mid 20th centuries, secular arab nationalist and 3rd world socialists were the dominant political forces in the region. Islamists existed but they had nowhere near the monopolizing grip on power that they have today. The cold war climate and the anti colonial sentiment of many of these countries unfortunately made them “enemies” in the eyes of many short sighted US policy makers. Very few stopped to look at the unforeseen consequences of these interventions.

    • Your account is wildly at odds with what AP, for example, is reporting, i.e., that the US Ambassador died of asphyxiation, as determined by the Libyan doctor to whom he was brought. If you have other sources, please do share. if not, stop making up lurid, irresponsible crap.

  18. I am tired of
    anti-religious discrimination calls that fail to recognize how religion should not be a
    protected class in the same way as race, sexual orientation or gender.

    No, you shouldn’t fire
    someone over it for example – but cowing to a violent reaction effectively removes our right to question individuals’ personal
    opinions (even if the form is to belittle or harass). This is a limitation on free speech, not a matter of benefit to
    free expression of religious beliefs.

  19. Why would leaders in other countries make any reference to a film that had nothing to do with them?

    The perception of the film in the Middle East is that the U.S. government was directly involved in the production of the film, putting President Obama in the unique position of having to make such a distinction.

    Surely that is painfully obvious?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *