A Deadly Pretext

Posted: Sep 20, 2012 11:03 AM

Below, Guy notes the fact that the anti-Islam film really had little to do with the deadly attacks of 9/11/12, and offers a variety of credible theories as to why the Obama administration kept on purveying that story to the media and the American people.

The problem? By its unwearying propagation of the story that the film was responsible for the violence, the Obama administration publicized the film and lent credence to the idea that it would justify the kind of attacks that occurred.  What's more, they unwittingly dignified and rewarded the attacks by repeatedly apologizing for and denouncing the film, and even taking the filmmaker in for "questioning" about a supposed parole violation in the middle of the night.

Now, not surprisingly, the attacks -- based on the film -- have spread. The Prime Minister of Iraq feels comfortable denouncing them. Pakistan has been hit by protests. There are demonstrations in Indonesia, Afghanistan and even Germany.

One wonders whether some of this couldn't have been avoided -- first, by an administration response that more robustly defends American freedom of expression if someone tried using the film as a pretext.  The whiff of weakness was so powerful in administration statements about the film that there's no surprise that the anti-American brigades are seizing the moment.  Second, if the administration had not been so quick to blame the massive security meltdown in Libya and Egypt on the film -- instead dismissing it as the pretext that it is -- perhaps the violence now wouldn't be so great or widespread now because they wouldn't have served as the film's most prominent publicists.

By insisting that the intiial attacks were in response to a film insulting Islam, the administration in essence made the discussion all about . . . insulting Islam.  Had it been more honest about the facts -- and more guarded in its insistencce that it was all about "spontaneous" eruptions in response to free speech -- the discussion could have centered instead on the complete unacceptability of terrorist attacks and other violence masquerading as religious sensibility.  The only problem for The White House, of course, would have been the tough questions on the hideously inadequate security measures that were in place.

Obviously, it never occured to anyone in the Obama administration that, by apologizing for the anti-Islam film and attributing the 9/11 violence to it, there would be a new, highly-publicized rationale for anti-American violence unwittingly dignified by the highest reaches of the US government.

Just another Obama administration FAIL, resulting from putting CYA politics before principle or policy.