Via Mediaite. I’m not sure how to square this with the fact that in Tunisia today they were chanting, “Obama, Obama, we are all Osamas,” since I’m pretty sure the Egyptian Copt who produced the Mohammed movie isn’t named “Obama.” Oh well. Erick Erickson puts it nicely:
I long for the days before YouTube when our embassies weren’t stormed in the Middle East.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) September 14, 2012
Go look at the map of today’s protests assembled by the Atlantic. To the extent that anyone involved actually cares about the movie, what they care about is the fact that the U.S. government refuses to censor it. The government would like to censor it, clearly, but they’re barred by the First Amendment; Islamist totalitarians have trouble with that concept, though, so they’re holding the White House responsible for the film’s publication despite Carney’s obsequious stammering over how mean and disgusting and reprehensible and awful it is. They’re protesting the idea of free speech, in other words, which is supposed to be — supposed to be — “U.S. policy.”
But that assumes that you take their declared anger over the movie at face value. Why should you? According to U.S. intel, the attack on the Benghazi consulate was pre-planned and unrelated to the protest over the movie outside the building, except to the extent that it used the latter as a diversion for security. As noted the other night, the storming of the embassy in Cairo was quite likely tolerated by Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood not because they care about the movie but because they’re looking to impress Egyptians by defying America and to impress Salafists who think they’re not puritanical enough. Tellingly, after Obama phoned Morsi to complain and no doubt to remind him that Egypt still needs economic help from the U.S., the Brotherhood decided to cancel today’s planned protests. That’s how much they “care” about the movie. Islamist cretins have their own political agendas and know how to exploit pretexts to advance them; the movie may be in the mix as a way of getting people out into the street, but if they didn’t have that, they’d find something else. In an odd way, Carney’s shtick here gives the Morsis of the Middle East less credit than they deserve for being savvy political actors. And it gives Americans less credit than they deserve by thinking they’ll believe that if we could just do away with free speech that insults Mohammed, some of the anti-Americanism might go away too.