Romney Gets It Right: It Was 'Disgraceful'
The accusation, delivered forcefully by the Obama campaign and gently by John Sununu., that Mitt Romney was being untowardly political when he stepped forward to call the Obama administration's response to the Libyan embassy attack "disgraceful" perfectly illustrates one major reason the West is in (final?) decline.
In this age when Islamists have made it a matter of policy to cite any unflattering mention of Islam as an excuse to kill as many non-Muslims as possible, the administration's initial apologies for the alleged insult to Islam delivered by an unknown movie were a de facto invitation to violence. To follow that up, once the murders had begun, by prefacing Hillary Clinton's "strongest possible" objection to the U.S. Embassy attack with yet another apology revealed either a clinical case of battered wife syndrome on a national scale, or something more sinister.
President Obama, using almost identical language, said:
Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, but there is absolutely no justification to [sic] this kind of senseless violence.
Romney, who has frustrated conservatives with his recent comments on other issues, finally got one right: the administration's response is indeed "disgraceful." The strongest word the President and the Secretary of State used in their official response was "deplorable" -- and this word was used not to describe the unprovoked murder and public humiliation of Ambassador Stevens -- which is judged merely objectionable, unjustified, and senseless (actually, it makes perfect sense, as Peter Wilson points out) -- but rather to describe the denigration of Islam in a movie.
What is truly deplorable is the instinct to qualify every "strongest possible" condemnation with expressions of sympathy for the killers' perspective, though disapproving of the extreme nature of their response. The constant emphasis on the word "unjustified" in describing the attacks, in conjunction with the repeated empathy regarding the "denigration" of Islam, carries a not so subtle message of moral equivalency and appeasement: "You overreacted, and we can't accept that, but of course we have to try to be more understanding and respectful, too."
This is the language of one trying to make his case while taking account of the other side's legitimate concerns. It is the language of civilized negotiation. But civilized negotiation requires civilized adversaries. Has anyone among the actively militant Islamists and their passively militant fellow travelers ever said, "If only you would stop denigrating our religion, we could happily live side by side in peace and harmony"?
Have you ever felt denigrated by someone's words, and considered responding by attacking an embassy, beheading a journalist and posting the video on the internet, or devoting decades, and millions of dollars, to trying to infiltrate a foreign nation's government and sway its public policy in your favor?
Has a verbal insult to your religion or personal practices ever provoked you to attempt to take over the world, to establish your religion or practices as the governing set of rules for all nations, and to kill or oppress everyone who would not submit to your law and convert to your faith?
Obviously not. Humans with even a modicum of sanity do not react to insults that way. By pretending that the "denigration" of Islam has any causal connection to the Islamists' "objectionable acts," America's sensitive leaders are inadvertently ascribing to the Islamists the psyche of the certifiably insane.
They are not insane. They are bent on establishing a global caliphate. They are prepared to kill to achieve their theocratic goals. They kill when they can, where they can, but not as an unhinged lunatic kills -- they kill when they believe killing will be effective. If they thought it practically feasible or useful, they would kill more -- many more. And, conversely, when they consider killing less effective than other means, they refrain from killing. (This explains the overt disapproval of the embassy attacks by certain Islamist political entities in the region. It reflects an internal dispute over tactics.)
To diminish and even sympathize with their position by reducing it to hurt feelings, even while "condemning" their methods as "objectionable," is to help pave the road to the global caliphate. More immediately, it is to belittle the individual pain and death of the Americans killed in the Benghazi embassy attack. It is to project the notion that Islam is somehow particularly unfairly treated in the world, thus justifying the Islamists' hatred of the West (though not their more "unjustified" responses). It is to commit a moral outrage against the millions of Arabs and North Africans who were encouraged to yearn for their first glimpse of something like freedom, only to find that Arab Spring was a sick euphemism for murder, mayhem, and the Muslim Brotherhood -- in short, for the gradual Talibanization of their countries.
The Obama administration's response is disgraceful, and Romney was right to say so. The accusation from various sources that this is "playing politics" is absurd. This is politics -- not "Politics, the TV Show," but the real thing. If there is to be a moratorium on criticizing one's opponent on sensitive issues during a presidential campaign, then this means Obama must get a free ride, at this most momentous of hours, on precisely those issues which make his defeat so important.
The suggestion that Romney's "campaign rhetoric" shows disrespect for the dead, or for the seriousness of the crisis, is outrageous: the disrespect was shown by the appeasers and apologists for Islamism who have promoted a climate that emboldens killers, and who then, when the inevitable happens, give heartless jack-in-the-box speeches about "objectionable" responses to "denigration."
Summation in the form of a post-script: in the days following the embassy attack, Secretary Clinton has described a stupid internet movie about Muhammad as "disgusting." Interestingly, Romney, along with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, used that same word, "disgusting" -- to describe Ambassador Stevens' murder. This simple juxtaposition illustrates the difference between those who look at the world and see reality, and those who look at the world in desperate search of vindication for their irrational theories of moral equivalency and systemic injustice. Those theories, if allowed to stand, will destroy Western civilization -- assuming they haven't already done so.