Burning U.S. Flags - Obama’s foreign policy repudiated
by Barbara Donnelly Lane, Columnist
September 23, 2012 12:33 AM | 3925 views | 11 11 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Sept. 11, U.S. embassy walls were stormed in Egypt and the black flag of militant Islam was hoisted over what is sovereign American soil in Cairo. An American ambassador and three of his staffers were murdered in Benghazi in what US Ambassador Susan Rice called a “spontaneous” protest over the release of a minor movie. (Conversely, Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf has said this was a planned “criminal act” by militants, and after more than a week, the White House finally concedes was a “self-evident” act of terrorism.)

Since then, American flags have burned across the Middle East in countries like Pakistan where hundreds were subdued with tear gas while marching to the American Consulate in Karachi. Protesters in Morocco, a moderate Muslim country, chanted “Death to Obama.” In Kabul, crowds yelled, “Death to America.”

Rocks and bottle rockets were hurled outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta where the AP recorded a protester yelling, “We will destroy America like this flag!” In Sudan riot police have had to protect the American, British and German Embassies.

Still for more than a week, Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney insists, “This is not a case of protests directed at the United States at large or at US policy, but it is in response to [a] video that is offensive to Muslims…”

In regards to that perspective, one should note ABC News and other outlets have reported that the producer of Innocence of Muslims used an alias while promoting his film. While he claimed to be a Jewish real estate agent, he is actually an Egyptian who raised the money for his movie in Egypt. The American government did not fund or condone the creation of this movie mocking Islam, and the producer wasn’t even an American. Thereby it seems the movie’s only real relationship to the United States — apart from the location where it was filmed — is the cherished American value that purports even offensive speech is free.

This creates a problem for the Obama presidency. The Obama doctrine rests on the assumption the animosity that has long radiated towards the United States was in large part a reaction to a lack of American humility, military posturing and interference in the affairs of other cultures.

Yet after four years of a recalibrated relationship with the Middle East, a video has caused radical Islamists to yell such niceties as “Obama, we love Osama” and “Our dead are in paradise; your dead are in hell.”

Were such things said in a remote outpost of the Hindu Kush where radicalized sheepherders with Internet access are unable to differentiate You Tube videos from American endorsed positions?

Actually, the “Obama, we love Osama” folks were gathered in Sydney, Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald, the Herald Sun, and ABC News Australia reported police used batons and dog squads to repel the five-hour long protest conducted by violent radicals wearing Arabic scripted headbands that read, “We are your soldiers, Mohammed.”

In fact, while still in the “peaceful” stages of assembly, children were photographed holding signs that said, “Behead all those who insult the prophet.”

This gives pause for reflection.

Let’s assume that all of these protests really are the result of a movie.

Does Western culture condone the beheading of producers? Obviously not, so what can the United States do to appease Islamic fascists? Disavow such films? Stop them from being made?

To think about what this really means in the context of our own values, put aside for the moment a silly film produced by a fringe Egyptian for nefarious purposes.

If an author like Salman Rushdie were ever murdered and wider protests erupt around the globe because of his writing, should the United States respond by tweeting that Americans repudiate Rushdie’s highly acclaimed work?

If not, one has to consider the broader implications of how the Obama administration has handled the violent — and not isolated — reactions to a remote film.

Is it OK to continue to propagate the idea that insanely intolerant people have a reason to be mad? How do Americans live peacefully with extremists who are alive, well and so easily agitated despite President Obama’s “lead from behind” foreign policies?

It would be refreshing if someone seemed even remotely interested in analyzing what this crisis actually says about American security around the globe.

After all, the Commander-in-Chief’s primary duty is not to protect the feelings of fanatics. It’s to engage in policies that protect the people of the United States.

Barbara Donnelly Lane lives in east Cobb and blogs on the MDJonline.com web site.
Comments
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Samuel Adams
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September 27, 2012
Excellent column Barbara. And now we know that Obama continued to lie about the reality of the situation on the ground for over a week post-attack. Even while his spokesmen were finally admitting the facts.

What is that? If he lies about something like this, he's gotta be lying about everything else. He's a miserable failure and even though he thinks he's a Muslim buddy, they obviously still hate him. And they are laughing at us more every day.
Too Funny
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September 24, 2012
Well written piece. I highly recommend Sam Harris' The End of Faith if you haven't read it already for a serious examination of the central role religion plays in giving shelter to the delusions of a modern world.
Too funny
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September 25, 2012
But to follow up on KF's point, it's odd that you chose to express what religion the filmmaker wasn't (Jewish) without expressing what religion the filmmaker is (Christian).

Irrespective, this episode is simple religious nutjobbery...again.

That said, we must hold the line and call it what is is, religious inspired lunacy. And we certainly can't leave it up to the right wing religious nutjobs to be the only ones who criticize other religious nutjobs. They're all waving a book of crazy stories around claiming offense or the right to persecute/disenfranchise others on behalf of what's in their particular book's pages.
misterbill
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September 24, 2012
BDL,

On target again.

Foley:"Ms. Lane leaves out one very important fact. Obama didn't produce the movie, an Egyptian Coptic Christian did."

BDL:"To think about what this really means in the context of our own values, put aside for the moment a silly film produced by a fringe Egyptian for nefarious purposes."

Just like teh Obama administration, Foley does not see what he does not want to see.

Pete S
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September 23, 2012
Barabara, you nailed it! I don't think it could have been said any better! Now, how come you don't hear a peep from the main street media! Nothing but crickets! They are cowards and have no common sense. People better wake up and get educated before they vote or, I fear, America as we know it could be finished
Dr. Mike Donnelly
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September 23, 2012
The worst feature of the whole mess is the news that the reaction of this overwhelmed president saw fit to go to a fund raiser in Las Vegas rather than address the nation and the world at the death of an American diplomat. His appeasement policies are seldom deemed newsworthy by the mass media but his actions are leading us into a very dark future.
Concerned Citizen
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September 23, 2012
It is frightening to watch what is happening in countries around the world. I realize that the problem of dealing with people who are locked into a time from centuries ago is no easy matter, but I believe that our current administration is proving to be naive and inadequate for the task.
Chris Thiessen
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September 23, 2012
Excellent article!
Kevin Foley
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September 23, 2012
Ms. Lane leaves out one very important fact. Obama didn't produce the movie, an Egyptian Coptic Christian did. Coptic Christians are presecuted in Egypt and elsewhere in the mideast, so the producer had an ax to grind with Muslims.

Ms. Lane strains to make it a political issue but in reality, it's just more warfare spawned by religious hatred.

B D Lane
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September 24, 2012
I addressed this point when you made it on my blog post. While "the producer had an ax to grind with Muslims," this is utterly irrelevant.

First, the producer had the right to make any sort of video he wanted for any reason he wanted because we are a country in which free speech--even offensive free speech--is protected. Just ask Larry Flynt.

Second, I concede in my article that the Egyptian had "nefarious purposes," but so what? American flags are burning across the world at the moment. Is that not worthy of analysis?

Third, it is completely legitimate to question an administration that blames violent eruptions in the Middle East (and elsewhere) on a You Tube video at any time, but when an American ambassador is murdered in an embassy in what even the Obama administration has finally conceded was a pre-planned act of terrorism, it is no "strain" to state that the Obama Doctrine is failing.

Thinking people must question why the video narrative was ever used by the administration to explain murder and what the wider implications of the not-ending protests mean for the United States.

As always, thank you for reading my column.
Kevin Foley
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September 24, 2012
@ Ms. Lane- You left out the Coptic Christian angle in the column...deliberately? It's an important part of the story...I told you about it last week.

I don't know what all the conservative hysterics are about. Some religious crackpot shoots a hate film that offends Muslims around the world and it's Obama's fault? What's he supposed to do? Bomb the protesters? Defend an offensive hate film? That's where you're straining.

BTW, none of this anti-Americanism is new. American flags and death to America slogans go back to at least the late 19th century in many parts of Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.

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