Obama insults Muslims by hiding OBL photos

Dan Dehner
Yesterday, President Obama decided not to release photos of a dead Osama bin Laden in part for fear that they will incite violence.  He neglected to mention by whom, so I will: Muslims.   Censorship, manifested in not printing the Danish cartoons, seeking to prohibit Koran burning, and the administration's abandonment of terms that reference Islam and terror in official speech should be considered by all observers, Muslim or otherwise, a condescending and belittling act far worse than intentional insult.

All of the above actions were either directly ordered or officially sanctioned by the Executive Branch of the United States government.  It is a matter of national policy to avoid offending Muslims.  How is this done?  They tell us what offends them, usually by rioting or sending death threats, and Obama tells us to stop it, sometimes by sending armed members of the FBI to the home of a private citizen who broke no law.

The problem with this type of behavior is that it assumes that certain other human beings have no capacity for moral agency.  In other words, they can only act one way when faced with "insult."  For example, many commentators, including a Supreme Court Justice, have likened Koran burning with yelling fire in a crowded theater.  To them, Koran burning means that a suddenly panicked (read: insulted) group of people turns into a free-for-all mob bent on escape (read: destruction).  Just like that.  They can't help themselves, they are so panicked (insulted)! 

President Obama fears the same thing:  that Muslims, unable to control their ire at seeing a picture of another Muslim (even one who supposedly "does not represent Islam"), will fling their bomb-laden bodies at American troops or suburban shopping malls in retaliation, much the same way a panicked theater-goer will trample a six-year-old to get to the exit.  They just can't help themselves.  Obama has decided for us what we, and the world, can and cannot handle.  One wonders if his daughters will ever get behind the wheel of a car or go on a date since the world is such a scary place.

This is a gross departure from our ideals.  Americans believe in the power of reason and rely on the concept of moral agency to govern freedom of choice and action.  We believe that citizens should be provided with the words and pictures that are important to the understanding of our world.
Yesterday, President Obama decided not to release photos of a dead Osama bin Laden in part for fear that they will incite violence.  He neglected to mention by whom, so I will: Muslims.   Censorship, manifested in not printing the Danish cartoons, seeking to prohibit Koran burning, and the administration's abandonment of terms that reference Islam and terror in official speech should be considered by all observers, Muslim or otherwise, a condescending and belittling act far worse than intentional insult.

All of the above actions were either directly ordered or officially sanctioned by the Executive Branch of the United States government.  It is a matter of national policy to avoid offending Muslims.  How is this done?  They tell us what offends them, usually by rioting or sending death threats, and Obama tells us to stop it, sometimes by sending armed members of the FBI to the home of a private citizen who broke no law.

The problem with this type of behavior is that it assumes that certain other human beings have no capacity for moral agency.  In other words, they can only act one way when faced with "insult."  For example, many commentators, including a Supreme Court Justice, have likened Koran burning with yelling fire in a crowded theater.  To them, Koran burning means that a suddenly panicked (read: insulted) group of people turns into a free-for-all mob bent on escape (read: destruction).  Just like that.  They can't help themselves, they are so panicked (insulted)! 

President Obama fears the same thing:  that Muslims, unable to control their ire at seeing a picture of another Muslim (even one who supposedly "does not represent Islam"), will fling their bomb-laden bodies at American troops or suburban shopping malls in retaliation, much the same way a panicked theater-goer will trample a six-year-old to get to the exit.  They just can't help themselves.  Obama has decided for us what we, and the world, can and cannot handle.  One wonders if his daughters will ever get behind the wheel of a car or go on a date since the world is such a scary place.

This is a gross departure from our ideals.  Americans believe in the power of reason and rely on the concept of moral agency to govern freedom of choice and action.  We believe that citizens should be provided with the words and pictures that are important to the understanding of our world.