Sep 19 2012
I was in Israel when the attacks on the embassies occurred-and rather busy. I did not learn of the actual event until I got home to my hotel and had a chance to digest both Haaretz and the TV news. Thanks be to God-one cannot watch Fox at my hotel. But it absolutely appalled me how quickly all the usual suspects in the Liars Club came out to pounce on this tragic set of events-and as is typical, misrepresent it. So I have waited till I came home to comment on it. I regret the tragedy that occurred-but truth be told-I am not very surprised by it. It was going to probably happen eventually and was inevitable-especially as long as the United States persists with the myth that it can somehow change the course of history among a group of people who have proven themselves so unworthy of help as the Arabs.
By and large-your average American, and in particular your average conservative
douchebag commentator-like Mark Steyn, is pretty ignorant about the long and short term history of the Middle East. That, by the way, is one of the things that makes Steyn so called"great writing" so hard to tolerate. In particular what is hard to accept that Americans have such a one sided view of events, decrying the violence which is right to do, while being perfectly ignorant of the American actions that lit the fuse. As Connor Friedersdorf points out, imagine what it would be like if the shoe was on the other foot:
If a dozen French-Algerians gathered in Paris next year on Easter Sunday, erected side-by-side crucifixes painted red, white, and blue, flew a remote-control plane into them to evoke the 9/11 attacks, and afterward gave a press conference about how American Christians are filth who orchestrated the attack on the Twin Towers as a pretext for a Crusade-like campaign against Muslims, I wouldn't want the organizers of the protest arrested or charged with a crime. I wouldn't want them harassed by police either, being a partisan of free-speech rights, though I can't imagine that American conservatives would be bothered if French police questioned them.
(Am I wrong, conservatives?)
I myself wouldn't be bothered if the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., released a statement saying, "Although the right to free speech is inalienable, the insensitive jerks who conducted that anti-American protest on the Champ de Mars yesterday don't reflect the beliefs of the French government, or the vast majority of French people." Those conciliatory words would be accurate. It might still be a bad idea to release a statement like that. Once French diplomats establish the precedent that they render value judgments about the speech of French citizens, they might be pressured to do so in instances when the truth would not in fact prove conciliatory.
Americans would be outraged-or at least conservatives would be. Whether they would riot or not, is probably another matter. They probably would not for not only with being in the aggregate quite ignorant-are mostly to lazy to take the streets. They didn't even do so in large numbers when their own civil liberties were being stripped from them in the last decade.
Which is where the good Mr Steyn comes in. Issuing his talking points and marching orders to the wingnuts-he asserts that the violence is….wait for it………..all Obama's fault. Because he too was "lazy". And as is usual for him and the rest of his ilk-was perfectly content to get an insinuation in that the President does not care what happened. Even though he does and its been clearly demonstrated. That's never good enough for Steyn and his sycophants. They start from the premise that everything is always Obama's fault. Its a ludicrous proposition and down the page I will tell you why. But lets hear the little asshole say his piece: ( I won't link to him as a matter of principle-go read over at the National Review Online yourself-if you can stomach it).
The president is surrounded by delirious fanbois and fangurls screaming “We love you,” too drunk on his celebrity to understand this is the first photo-op in the aftermath of a national humiliation. No, no, a filmmaker would say; too crass, too blunt. Make them sober, middle-aged midwesterners, shocked at first, but then quiet and respectful.
The president is too lazy and cocksure to have learned any prepared remarks or mastered the appropriate tone, notwithstanding that a government that spends more money than any government in the history of the planet has ever spent can surely provide him with both a speechwriting team and a quiet corner on his private wide-bodied jet to consider what might be fitting for the occasion. So instead he sloughs off the words, bloodless and unfelt: “And obviously our hearts are broken . . . ” Yeah, it’s totally obvious.
And he’s even more drunk on his celebrity than the fanbois, so in his slapdashery he winds up comparing the sacrifice of a diplomat lynched by a pack of savages with the enthusiasm of his own campaign bobbysoxers. No, no, says the Broadway director; that’s too crude, too ham-fisted. How about the crowd is cheering and distracted, but he’s the president, he understands the gravity of the hour, and he’s the greatest orator of his generation, so he’s thought about what he’s going to say, and it takes a few moments but his words are so moving that they still the cheers of the fanbois, and at the end there’s complete silence and a few muffled sobs, and even in party-town they understand the sacrifice and loss of their compatriots on the other side of the world.
Interesting-albeit more than a little untrue. First of all -not that Steyn would note it-but Libya is 6 hours ahead of the United States. The attack in Benghazi occurred in the evening on Tuesday, Libya time — about midafternoon on the East Coast in the United States. This is important because it plays into the later events that followed. I suspect there was a lot of misunderstood reporting that goes on-and no prudent President reacts immediately to the first reporting. However only about 6 hours elapsed between the attack and the first Statement by the White House. Which was followed up by a statement the very first thing the next morning. Contrary to Steyn assertions its a quite respectful tone:
I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. 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.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya's transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.
And subsequent to that event a whole host of violence has broken out all over the Middle East-somehow Steyn thinks that Obama could have prevented all of that himself. Well I hate to tell you something, you arrogant little prick, they may see it coming, but for the most part they are powerless to prevent it without the cooperation of the local government. And to put it simply the local government in Libya is not that strong. And contrary to Steyn's logic-that has very little do with us, and everything to do with how truly worthless your average Arab is. Or it also ignores the corrosive effect of 30 years of a way too large presence in the region. Even Reagan recognized that for the most part we needed to give the area a wide berth. And contain it. Not so Mr Steyn and current crop of neocon cheerleaders. It is kind of sad they are so ignorant of the region's history:
The success or failure of a democratic experiment is almost wholly reliant on the historical circumstances under which it is carried. Egypt's recent history, like that of the entire Middle East, is ghastly and suggests that democracy can only produce more war, terrorism and hatred, not less.
After the war, the British adopted the monarchy as a figurehead government and trained and funded its secret police to destroy their enemies, among them, the then-moderate Muslim Brotherhood. After the 1952 revolution toppled the monarchy, the Soviets filled that role for Nasser. And then Sadat and Mubarak became the puppets of the Americans.
One thing that never changed was the foreign sponsorship of government terror and the regime's political enemies. Any organized, democratic opposition was jailed, tortured, murdered or exiled years ago, which was not only tolerated by the West, but funded by it as well. That leaves the dangerous radicals as the only organized alternative to the Mubarak regime.
The example of the Iranian Revolution is also instructive. The Revolution was actually a coalition between the Islamists and various Marxist groups. Within a year of the Shah's exile, the Mullahs simply had the democratic Marxists killed. Organization isn't just the most important thing in the aftermath of a revolution, it's the only thing.
Assuming that what's happening in Cairo and Alexandria is a democratic revolution, it almost certainly won't stay that way for very long.
For the moment both Egypt and Libya seem to be proving that statement wrong-but only just. Steyn seems to forget the turbulent forces that are in play in both Libya and Egypt. And the mechanics by which people get themselves elected. And the simple truth its not American "weakness"-but its rather, so called American strength that have gotten the Arabs all stirred up. And they all started before Obama became President:
As the Muslim protests subside, more and more people have come to realize that what seems to have sparked them–one of the worst YouTube videos ever, which is saying something–isn't what they were mainly about.
But what were they about? Here theories differ, and some of the best theories haven't been getting much attention, because they're not on the talking-points agendas of Democrats or Republicans–which means they won't be occupying much airtime on network or cable TV during an election campaign.
Ross Douthat, writing in Sunday's New York Times, embraces a theory that's true insofar as it goes: these protests often got a boost from local political jostling. For example, in Egypt the struggle "between the Muslim Brotherhood and its more-Islamist-than-thou rivals" is what led those rivals (Salafis) to call protestors onto the streets.
Fine, but since people aren't sheep (though they sometimes do a good imitation), we have to ask why the protestors responded to such calls in Egypt and elsewhere–and why sometimes the crowds swelled.
…..when a single offensive remark from someone you've long disliked can make you go ballistic, the explanation for this explosion goes deeper than the precipitating event. What are the sources of simmering hostility toward America that helped fuel these protests? Here is where you get to answers that neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney wants to talk about and that, therefore, hardly anybody else talks about.
Below are three examples, but first the customary disclaimer: I'm not excusing any violence that American policies may have helped cause and I'm not blaming America. But when American policies have bad side effects, Americans need to talk about them.
1) Drone Strikes
3) American troops in Muslim countries.
(Skippy-san note:Robert Wright goes into more detail on all of these-read the link for more details).
Of the last bullet, most long time readers know where I stand. In the Middle East-less is more. Our presence there is provocative in its numbers and appearance. Just ask anyone who has been to Ft. Apache in Bahrain.
Furthermore-Steyn, as usual, misses the obvious point-there is no evidence whatsoever the government of any of the nations are involved in this. Certainly not in Libya, not in Egypt or any of the other nations in the Middle East. So what exactly does he expect to gain by his so called "get tough" approach? They are still going to hate us-and as I suspect is the case-quiet efforts to strengthen our security posture in the area are being undertaken. People like Steyn are talking nonsense.
I saw a post up on another blog pointing out that when Americans died in 1986-the President bombed Libya. Yea, he did. But that same said Ronald Reagan also endured over 7 incidents of violence at the hands of extremists where he bombed no one. And he only bombed Libya after there was clear cut evidence the government was involved and thus had certifiable targets to go after. And in hindsight there is a clear cut link between his funneling arms to terrorists and the harm inflicted on US citizens in 1988. Steyn and his little band of moronic followers forget that.
But I'm not surprised. Steyn cares for no one but himself. And he makes money and fame for himself by being an ill informed liar. He does not care about Libya or the people who died. All the little prick wanted was yet more stupid way to attack the President. Steyn is as much a part of the problem as any Muslim-only he gets a free pass on his stupidity by the moronic conservative set. In a perfect world-Steyn deserves to suffer as much as any Muslim does.