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"We are heartbroken by this terrible loss."
September 12, 2012 4:36 AM   Subscribe

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens Killed in Consulate Attack in Benghazi: "Stevens, 52, was killed on Tuesday as 20 gun-wielding attackers stormed the U.S. consulate, angry about an American made film that depicts Prophet Mohammad as a fraud and womanizer."

"Anger over the film that some believe insults the Prophet Muhammad also provoked protests in Cairo Tuesday, where demonstrators climbed the walls of the U.S. embassy, took down the American flag and replaced it with a black flag. A senior U.S. senior official told ABC News they are on alert throughout the region and fear there could be more attacks to come." Romney and Obama are already warring over a statement released by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

Terry Jones, known for burning the Koran (previously) is behind the film that allegedly provoked the attack.

Secretary Clinton and the State Department: "Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind."

Stevens is believed to be the first U.S. ambassador killed on duty since Ambassador Adolph Dubs was killed in Afghanistan in 1979.
posted by sallybrown (1438 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
So let me get this straight: extremists storm a U.S. embassy and kill the ambassador. And the response of the State Department is to... apologize?
posted by valkyryn at 4:38 AM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


The U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued a statement saying, in part, that it condemns "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions." The statement, an apparent reference to the video, was posted hours before the American's death in Libya was reported.

In a statement Tuesday night, Romney said he was outraged by the attacks and the death of the American consulate worker. He added, "It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks."
Clinton was right, they don't know basic arithmetic or how to tell time.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:39 AM on September 12, 2012 [128 favorites]


Romney Campaign Attacks Obama Over Mythical Apology to Embassy Attackers
The embassy statement was not a response to the attacks because it was issued several hours before the attacks even occurred. The Washington Post helpfully passes along the actual first response to the attacks from the Obama administration:
“I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement. “As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered in this attack.”

....She added that although the United States “deplores” any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, “there is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”
posted by zombieflanders at 4:41 AM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Someone needs to send Terry Jones to someplace like this, on the ground. And make him stay there while he goes his thing.

(Also, sections of the Islamic world needs to chill the fuck out over stuff like this).
posted by Mezentian at 4:45 AM on September 12, 2012 [16 favorites]


And RNC Chair/Runner-up for Most Antebellum Name Ever tweets out this gem:
Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.
These guys aren't even bothering to make it a secret that they're itching to start as many wars with brown folk as they can as soon as possible if they get elected.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:46 AM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Christopher Stevens served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco and an international trade lawyer in Washington, DC before joining the Foreign Service.

According to CBS, three other Americans may have died in the attack, including two Marines and possible an embassy employee.
posted by sallybrown at 4:47 AM on September 12, 2012


That should have read "RNC Chair/Runner-up for Most Antebellum Name Ever Reince Priebus"
posted by zombieflanders at 4:49 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


UTerry Jones is just playing a "promotional role" in regards to the film. He didn't produce it or have anything to do with its production. It was made by a California real estate developer, Sam Bacile, who described himself as an Israeli Jew. It's a piece of shit, but you can view at least part of it here.
posted by item at 4:50 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think it's pretty important that Jesus makes his second coming right about now to put a stop to all this nonsense.
posted by mattoxic at 4:50 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


So... WWIII is shaping up nicely?
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 4:50 AM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


"So let me get this straight: extremists storm a U.S. embassy and kill the ambassador. And the response of the State Department is to... apologize?"
I'm assuming because your usual violent, crotch-grabbing, indiscriminate response doesn't seem to work any more.
posted by fullerine at 4:51 AM on September 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


"But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind."

But I guess those other kinds are OK if committed by the right people.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 4:51 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The embassy employee who was killed was an IT worker named Sean Smith. He was known to Something Awful users and EVE Online players as Vile Rat, a moderator of the SA Debate and Discussion forum and frequent poster in The Football Funhouse, our football forum. In EVE, he was one of the directors of Goon Fleet, possibly the most famous/infamous gaming group ever. On SA we have a thread for sharing stories and saying goodbyes stickied in GBS, and The Mittani, the leader of Goon Fleet, has written a touching tribute. In small communities and online, word spreads fast, and dozens of stations in EVE have been renamed in Vile Rat's honor
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:51 AM on September 12, 2012 [167 favorites]


You know, I am trying to keep my anger focused on the awful people who murdered our ambassador and possibly several other people, but the damned Republicans seem to want me to stay focused on hating them instead. At least four people are dead and they are telling lies to get their robotic asshole into office. There is truly no depth to which they will not sink.

The worst thing I can wish upon them is that they wake up in the middle of the night recognizing what awful human beings they have become.

Much sympathy to the families and friends of the people murdered tonight. I hope that the killers are brought to justice.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:53 AM on September 12, 2012 [80 favorites]


Maybe we should stop having our State Department apologize for what is essentially a free-speech matter. I haven't seen the film, maybe it's full of assholery, but you know what? In our majority-Christian country, we have people who present art of feces spread on religious figures, and people still don't kill people over it.They hold signs and shout and ask for defunding, but no death.

I'm sick of us apologizing for everything that someone might take offense to just because people try to kill people as a response. The fault is not with our selves.
posted by corb at 4:53 AM on September 12, 2012 [61 favorites]


Very sad news, of course, for all the friends and families of the murder victims.

But yikes, this is going to turn US embassies and consulates around the world into even more intensely fortified and heavily guarded little fortresses than they already are. Even here in peaceful ol' Tokyo, where virtually nothing ever happens, going to the US embassy is like crossing Checkpoint Charlie used to be, for chrissakes. By contrast, the Canadian embassy, for example, is open for people to actually just walk in. No big deal. It's a welcoming place, engaged in various community events and art shows and such, that make it seem a friendly beacon. They've got a welcome mat out, you know? The US embassy, on the other hand, has a gauntlet of checkpoints and metal detectors and a uniformed soldier staring you down behind bulletproof glass at the door. It's quite a difference.

But, of course, worldwide, the US increasingly shows its face as one of fear and paranoia, a place where you'd be much more a suspect than a welcome guest. It's a shame.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:53 AM on September 12, 2012 [17 favorites]


From my understanding, this is political grandstanding that got way out of hand - ultra-conservative factions in Cairo, opposed to the new government, translated and distributed the film to supporters, and then invited the local soccer hooligans to riot. (No, I'm not kidding.)

Allied political factions in Benghazi then took it to the next level, because they had heavy weapons and no soccer hooligans. The Libyan government and even most of the political parties in opposition in Libya are pissed, as they held Stevens in very high regard, even if their views on the US itself are complicated. If there's any kind of upside, it's that Libya may use this as a signal to start disarming the revolutionary militias.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:55 AM on September 12, 2012 [46 favorites]


In small communities and online, word spreads fast, and dozens of stations in EVE have been renamed in Vile Rat's honor

At my high school, there was a girl whose boyfriend killed her whose nickname was "Piggy." The school was (rightly) filled with tributes and things for months that said "RIP Piggy" which was touching, but a little weird. This is basically how I feel about people renaming things after someone calling themselves "Vile Rat."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:56 AM on September 12, 2012


Embassy attacks aren't about shit like movies or religion. They're a way to provoke a governmental response, get intel on security measures, and force the host country to support a small radical political group that they normally would line up against the wall and be quietly rid of.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 4:57 AM on September 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


Also, sections of the Islamic world needs to chill the fuck out over stuff like this.

I can't help but think of Salman Rushdie's beautiful piece on the infamous fatwa against him; someone here linked an article by Christopher Hitchens on the same topic arguing that that was the "opening shot" in a cultural battle that results in self-censorship of writers, artists, and others considering depicting the Muslim world and/or faith. ("We live now in a climate where every publisher and editor and politician has to weigh in advance the possibility of violent Muslim reprisal.")

On the other hand, Terry Jones has been warned repeatedly to stop stirring shit and to put him in the same category as Rusdie seems absurd.
posted by sallybrown at 4:58 AM on September 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


Heartbroken doesn't even begin to capture how awful this is. Ambassador Stevens worked tirelessly on behalf of those Libyans fighting for liberation under Qaddafi and was personally selected by Secretary Clinton to be her envoy. He was trying to evacuate staff in the consulate when they were hit by the rockets. This is an enormous loss to the United States. To see his death, and the others killed in the attacks, as pawns in political chess is absolutely deplorable.
posted by AndYouWillKnowUsByTheTrailOfBread at 4:58 AM on September 12, 2012 [53 favorites]


Someone needs to send Terry Jones to someplace like this, on the ground. And make him stay there while he goes his thing.

I don't think lecturing them about Chaucer would really help.

OH! You mean THAT Terry Jones.

I was pretty fucking confused.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:02 AM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


So let me get this straight: extremists storm a U.S. embassy and kill the ambassador. And the response of the State Department is to... apologize?

No, that's false. The State Department condemned the "incitement" on 9/11/12, before the protests began, let alone the ensuing violence.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:04 AM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


No, that's false. The State Department condemned the "incitement" on 9/11/12, before the protests began, let alone the ensuing violence.

Lying and taking advantage of nasty shit out of Obama's control to score political points? It's almost like that's the entire Romney campaign strategy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:06 AM on September 12, 2012 [75 favorites]


This is terrible on so many levels I don't even
posted by rtha at 5:08 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


.
posted by oneironaut at 5:09 AM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm sick of us apologizing for everything that someone might take offense to just because people try to kill people as a response...

The trailer isn't something you "might" take offense to. As someone who was raised Christian and who is pretty much non-religious now, I find the trailer offensive. There are no nuanced criticisms here; it is completely full of assholery. And if someone did the same thing about Jesus in the name of "satire," people would be pissed.
posted by snickerdoodle at 5:09 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


No, that's false. The State Department condemned the "incitement" on 9/11/12, before the protests began, let alone the ensuing violence.

You know that, and I know that, but the question is can the Republicans keep lying about it until November? I think we're about to find out.

Anyway, fuck Sam Bacile, fuck Terry Jones, and my condolences to the families of Christopher Stevens and Sean Smith.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:10 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Holy shit, vile rat? He was one of the best fleet commanders in Eve, from what I understand.
posted by empath at 5:12 AM on September 12, 2012


These Libyans have a strange way of saying thank-you
posted by Flashman at 5:12 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm sure Romney Ryan are wetting their pants with glee at the thought of how much political mileage they're going to be able to squeeze of of this tragedy.

I wonder if there could be some connection between the film and Karl Rove or maybe some other right wing operatives specifically with the goal of creating an confrontation between the hardline muslims and the U.S.?
posted by Skygazer at 5:13 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jeez, I woke up to this. I know someone who works at the Libyan embassy, and this was a scary thing to read bleary eyed and not entirely awake.
posted by X-Himy at 5:13 AM on September 12, 2012


What an absolute tragedy. Condolences to the families.
posted by undue influence at 5:15 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe we should stop having our State Department apologize for what is essentially a free-speech matter.

"The United States condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions."

C'mon Madame Secretary. You sound like Mitt Romney.

How about "The United States recognizes the right of all people to speak freely and doesn't engage in censorship of its citizens." And then no further comment.

Honestly spoken, if Mrs. Clinton really wanted "to condemn efforts to offend believers of religion," she should pay her five buck to Metafilter and take up the fight in her own back yard.

Or maybe the Christians need to take the lead from Muslims and get a bit more violent.
posted by three blind mice at 5:15 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Maybe we should stop having our State Department apologize for what is essentially a free-speech matter. I haven't seen the film, maybe it's full of assholery, but you know what? In our majority-Christian country, we have people who present art of feces spread on religious figures, and people still don't kill people over it.They hold signs and shout and ask for defunding, but no death.

I'm sick of us apologizing for everything that someone might take offense to just because people try to kill people as a response.


First of all, the embassy apologized, not Clinton and the State Department. And second, o diplomatic genius, what the hell would you have done as ambassador? Imagine: You're in a violent, politically unstable country that underwent rebellion last year. Your DSS chief has just come in and told you that, thanks to a crazy fundamentalist Christian asshole, the locals are planning on holding violent protests toute suite. It's also falling on a day that, by happenstance or not, where every single embassy is on high alert, especially those with large Muslim population.

What do you do?
posted by zombieflanders at 5:16 AM on September 12, 2012 [60 favorites]


How the hell did this self-produced piece of shit film gain traction in Libya in the first place?
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:17 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Btw, this just cost Obama the election. Way to pay him back for saving your fucking lives, you moronic idiots.
posted by empath at 5:17 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


In response to a firestorm of domestic controversy, the U.S. Embassy to Egypt deleted tweets standing behind a controversial statement from their official twitter account.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:18 AM on September 12, 2012


So, the US Embassy twitter account, hours before the attack, tweets that it "condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”

It's pretty damn obvious why they would send that tweet, given what came later, and it's not an apology--it's a condemnation of some inflammatory thing someone else did.

And, of course, you'd have to be a moron to think that Obama personally directs the twitter stream of US Embassies around the world.

But here comes Mitt Romney to claim that the first thing Obama dud after a US death was to issue an apology--based on a non-apology that happened hours before the attack that Obama had nothing to do with.

I hate Romney so much right now. His lies and distortions have annoyed me before, but this is unconscionable. That jackass doesn't need to be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office. He doesn't have the temperament or character for the job.
posted by Alexander Hatchell at 5:19 AM on September 12, 2012 [107 favorites]


"This assignment was only the latest in his more than two decades of dedication to advancing closer ties with the people of the Middle East and North Africa which began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco," Clinton said.

He "risked his own life to lend the Libyan people a helping hand to build the foundation for a new, free nation. He spent every day since helping to finish the work that he started," she said.

Stevens joined the Foreign Service in 1991 and spent his early State Department career at posts in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Israel. After working for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff for Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., Stevens was posted to Libya as deputy chief of mission.

In that post, Stevens wrote several confidential cables back to Washington, describing Gadhafi's bizarre behavior. During the 2011 revolt against Gadhafi, he was one of the last American diplomats to stay in Tripoli and after the embassy was closed, he was appointed to head the U.S. liaison office to the Transitional National Council.

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2012/09/12/2438020/obama-condemns-attack-that-killed.html#.UFB9PBhcSOg#storylink=cpy
posted by AndYouWillKnowUsByTheTrailOfBread at 5:19 AM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Maybe we should stop having our State Department apologize for what is essentially a free-speech matter.

Condemnation, not apology. Violent acts in response to the film are similarly condemned. There is no apology in that statement whatsoever.

The statement was an attempt to make it clear that the US itself was not the one behind the film. A futile attempt? It would seem so. Nonetheless, Terry Jones' First Amendment rights were not violated by his being so condemned.

As for Romney/Ryan, they are despicable for taking someone else's tragedy and twisting it into something that it is not. The world has enough problems as it is - we don't need to invent more of them.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:21 AM on September 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


empath: Btw, this just cost Obama the election.

No it didn't, calm down.
posted by spaltavian at 5:21 AM on September 12, 2012 [83 favorites]


Or maybe the Christians need to take the lead from Muslims and get a bit more violent.

If you haven't figured out yet that this stuff is highly correlated with the US blowing brown people's shit up around the world, and killing brown people, I don't know what to say.
posted by unSane at 5:21 AM on September 12, 2012 [67 favorites]


In response to a firestorm of domestic controversy, the U.S. Embassy to Egypt deleted tweets standing behind a controversial statement from their official twitter account.

Would it make you feel better if they left them up? It's obvious that people who do not understand the linear nature of time were either misinterpreting or outright lying about what those tweets actually meant?
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:23 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just to clarify, there are two different "apologies" in official U.S. statements that people are talking about it:

(1) A statement by the U.S. Embassy in response to the riots over the video, potentially (probably?) before the attack that killed Stevens occurred, which "condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims." This is the statement Romney pounced on.

(2) A statement by Secretary Clinton and the State Department after the attack occurred, which contains the line "The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others" (which some people may take as an apology).

My opinion is that these are less apologies and more rushed efforts to calm the madness and avoid additional violence.
posted by sallybrown at 5:23 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Btw, this just cost Obama the election.

Actually, I'm not entirely sure that a rash statement that is later withdrawn is going to do Romney many favours. Frankly, even if it does it just means Obama is going to push the whole OBL attempted arrest/execution a bit harder in the debates.
posted by jaduncan at 5:24 AM on September 12, 2012


And if someone did the same thing about Jesus in the name of "satire," people would be pissed.

People sell the Jackhammer Jesus dildo and Baby Jesus butt plugs. There's a musical on Broadway about the Book of Mormon which involves their holy book being shoved into someone's ass. Yes, there may be people pissed - but again I want to stress - nobody is dying over it.

How about "The United States recognizes the right of all people to speak freely and doesn't engage in censorship of its citizens." And then no further comment.

This, though I don't agree with your other contention that Christians should get more violent. And the Embassy should absolutely not be condemning Terry Jones' admittedly misguided video and the murder of their people and of two servicemembers in the same fucking breath.
posted by corb at 5:24 AM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Just to clarify, there are two different "apologies" in official U.S. statements that people are talking about it:

Neither of those statements are in any way "apologies." Condemnation is not apology.

And the Embassy should absolutely not be condemning Terry Jones' admittedly misguided video and the murder of their people and of two servicemembers in the same fucking breath.

This is false, and it has been shown repeatedly to be false. The Embassy statement came before the violence.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:27 AM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


People sell the Jackhammer Jesus dildo and Baby Jesus butt plugs. There's a musical on Broadway about the Book of Mormon which involves their holy book being shoved into someone's ass. Yes, there may be people pissed - but again I want to stress - nobody is dying over it.

The families of the dead Iraqis and various drone strikes thank you for your nuanced statement.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:29 AM on September 12, 2012 [26 favorites]


Dildos and butt plugs aren't personal attacks. This is more in line with Jesus Christ Superstar, only worse, and people were definitely pissed then.

Free speech is not sacrosanct in all cultures (not even America), and attacking people who are trying to defuse a situation in which their lives are in danger to score political points is sickening.
posted by snickerdoodle at 5:29 AM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Or maybe the Christians need to take the lead from Muslims and get a bit more violent.
posted by three blind mice at 20:15 on September 12 [+] [!]


Um, no. Really not a good idea. The whole thing about that being contrary to what Christians - or at least Jesus - teach aside, escalating would not be a good idea. Remember how 9/11 was met with a Islam/'Christian West' dichotomy? That didn't turn out well for anyone.
posted by undue influence at 5:30 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


[Just a reminder: This is a horrific situation and everyone is angry and upset; all efforts to avoid fanning the flames with violent rhetoric, attacking each other, or repeating non-verified information as fact would be very greatly appreciated. Let's do our best to keep this a spot for clear information and communication. Thank you all.]
posted by taz at 5:30 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is false, and it has been shown repeatedly to be false. The Embassy statement came before the violence.

The link shown above shows the tweets, which includes,
This morning's condemnation (issued before protest) still stands. As does our condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy.
Which, really? Are you kidding me? "unjustified breach"? Murder. Unjustified murder of your own people, and it deserves your full 140 character response, not to share time with your repetition of the condemnation of free speech of American citizens.
posted by corb at 5:30 AM on September 12, 2012


I'm so glad your first (and continuing thought) is to direct all your anger at the feet of the embassies where people are being killed while a major political party and the potential POTUS claim that Obama "sympathizes with people who kill Americans."
posted by zombieflanders at 5:31 AM on September 12, 2012 [27 favorites]


How the hell did this self-produced piece of shit film gain traction in Libya in the first place?

It's a convenient tool for the Egyptian Salafi movement to put a wedge between Egypt and more secular societies... I wouldn't be surprised to find out it was funded by the Salafis themselves. They sure as hell distributed it.

It gained traction in Benghazi because the Libyans have Salafis, too - remember the destruction of the Timbuktu monuments? Libyan Salafis were involved in that, too.

This was not "The Libyans" or "The Egyptians" - this isn't even "Conservative Islam." It's an ultra-conservative armed rebellion against even the hint of secularism, and it's about to get decked by the local authorities.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:34 AM on September 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


Which, really? Are you kidding me? "unjustified breach"? Murder

The murder came after, as they were fleeing. In a different country.
posted by empath at 5:36 AM on September 12, 2012 [16 favorites]


World, I apologize on behalf of the American people for the existence of the Republican party in 2012.

That's okay, we don't really care.
posted by Catfry at 5:36 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm going to trust that the people whose lives are stake right now have a reason for not saying "fuck you" to their host countries. Which is probably why they're diplomats and I'm just some person on the internet.
posted by snickerdoodle at 5:36 AM on September 12, 2012 [45 favorites]


Shorter Mitt: "Fuck those diplomats for being diplomatic."
posted by Alexander Hatchell at 5:37 AM on September 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


I really am shocked (no, really) that this is not considered a "hands-off" situation by Romney, even just for one day. It makes me very sad for the Ambassador's family, friends, and colleagues; not only have they lost him, but now they have to watch people play political football with his memory.

(And I agree this may backfire on Romney. I for one feel more disgust for him at this moment than I have at any point in the past.)
posted by sallybrown at 5:37 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


I guess politics doesn't stop at the water's edge any more.
posted by stevis23 at 5:38 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'd really like Romney to state publicly what he'd do differently. Instead of armchair quarterbacking, let me actually show some leadership. We all know he's capable of it, because at one point in his past he made people money.
posted by DigDoug at 5:40 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


.
posted by MarshallPoe at 5:40 AM on September 12, 2012


I really am shocked (no, really) that this is not considered a "hands-off" situation by Romney, even just for one day.

He actually claimed that this would be the case all of yesterday. The two campaigns agreed on no negativity for all of 9/11.

Romney's statement was issued at 10:09pm.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:42 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


I'm not normally one for handwringing about "staying classy," but if you can't hold back from nasty, opportunistic lies in the immediate aftermath of US diplomats being murdered, maybe you don't deserve to be president.
posted by gerryblog at 5:42 AM on September 12, 2012 [64 favorites]


Obama kills Americans with his military policies of unnecessary war and half-hearted troop movement - including failing to adequately staff, arm, and give reasonable Rules of Engagement to the Embassies so that this kind of shit doesn't happen.
Nearly a dozen Americans were inside the consulate at the time, guarded only by Libyan security.

And for those who are saying that they're shocked Romney commented politically on it, well, so did the Obama campaign, so no one's hands are clean at this point.

I'm going to trust that the people whose lives are stake right now have a reason for not saying "fuck you" to their host countries.

That's legitimate - but we should be pulling out that embassy until we can guarantee it better protection than Libyan security and two bodyguards. This is not acceptable in any way.

People are dead because we wanted to play nice and not have too large an armed presence in the country. And that is bullshit.
posted by corb at 5:43 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Obama kills Americans with his military policies of unnecessary war and half-hearted troop movement...

Please stop writing and walk away from this thread for a bit. Your comments are getting pretty out there..
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:46 AM on September 12, 2012 [36 favorites]


well, so did the Obama campaign,

The campaign, or the President of the United States and his administration? Kind of a difference there.
posted by stevis23 at 5:46 AM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Obama kills Americans with his military policies of unnecessary war and half-hearted troop movement - including failing to adequately staff, arm, and give reasonable Rules of Engagement to the Embassies so that this kind of shit doesn't happen.

What the actual fuck.

And for those who are saying that they're shocked Romney commented politically on it, well, so did the Obama campaign, so no one's hands are clean at this point.

Wait, I'm sorry, when did the Obama campaign attack Romney over this situation?
posted by zombieflanders at 5:47 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Libyan President on Al Jazeera: "We owe an apology to the US government, it's people and in fact to the whole world."
posted by zombieflanders at 5:48 AM on September 12, 2012 [44 favorites]


Right, I keep forgetting that when someone dies a violent death it's the victim's fault for not being armed well enough.
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:49 AM on September 12, 2012 [17 favorites]


I'd really like Romney to state publicly what he'd do differently. Instead of armchair quarterbacking, let me actually show some leadership.

You'd like him to be a completely different guy, in other words. (If one thing characterizes his campaign to date, it's the total and seemingly deliberate lack of specifics.)

We all know he's capable of it, because at one point in his past he made people money.

I don't see why the skills involved in successfully dismantling companies for profit or finessing financial regulations and tax laws for your personal advantage would translate to "leadership" qualities in diplomacy and international relations.
posted by aught at 5:50 AM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


And for those who are saying that they're shocked Romney commented politically on it, well, so did the Obama campaign, so no one's hands are clean at this point.

One of them is the sitting Commander-in-Chief and the other is not. If you don't see a difference there and what their expectations and responsibilities are, I don't know if there's a point arguing with you. One has the job and responsibilities; one is out to make a political statement on the matter.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 5:50 AM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'd rather die with my hand extended in friendship than stay alive locked in a fortress.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:50 AM on September 12, 2012 [93 favorites]


In much the same way modern Republicanism has rejected intellectualism and science as a distraction, so it has rejected diplomacy and nuance as weakness.

It's a wilful ignorance, borne of insecurity about their (the voter's) place in society and America's waning influence as a superpower. It is easier just to shut out complicated, inconvenient and unpleasant facts.

Mitt Romney's campaign strategy is very much in this mold. Which is probably a good thing for him, because he appears to have the same diplomatic savoir faire as a 3
Year old.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:51 AM on September 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


I think I have the solution... Joe Biden should come out and say he was behind the "apology".

Of course he wasn't, but the world is used to hearing such gaffes out of him, so it would be a harmless move for him, and would give the president more cover than if Obama himself were to say "hey, it came before the attack, and by the way it was a condemnation, not an apology."
posted by purple_frogs at 5:51 AM on September 12, 2012


Please stop writing and walk away from this thread for a bit. Your comments are getting pretty out there..

For disclosure: yes, I'm furious. Some of my friends are embassy guards, admittedly in other places. I have been hearing about the thin staffing and terrible ROE at embassies for many years. I've also lost a lot of friends over the past four years, through being killed or wounded in action, or to suicide after they came home with inadequate care. So yes, I'm upset - but I think that the assertion that Obama is, by virtue of being Commander-in-Chief, responsible for the actions of his poor military choices, is valid.

Wait, I'm sorry, when did the Obama campaign attack Romney over this situation?
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said in an email early Wednesday, "We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Gov. Romney would choose to launch a political attack."
So, attacking Romney for attacking, but still an attack.
posted by corb at 5:51 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'd rather die with my hand extended in friendship than stay alive locked in a fortress.
Amen, seanmpuckett.

What a shame, this tragedy appears to be an almost deliberate collaboration between extremists from all branches of the people of the book: an Israeli-American extremist, a Bible-thumping fringe Christianist, and fringe Islamic parties looking for any crazy excuse to cause violence. All three parties welcome this event, as it validates their world views and furthers all of their political goals, at the expense of innocent lives. The real conflict here appears to be extremism war-mongering vs. those who want to live in peace.

The only rational response to this is to stay calm and to avoid the rash statements that these actions were designed to elicit. Wanting more violence, wanting retribution, wanting to escalate this to the actions of many when it is the actions of a few, simply means walking into a trap that these odious thugs have laid for us.
posted by Llama-Lime at 5:53 AM on September 12, 2012 [31 favorites]


corb writes: Which, really? Are you kidding me? "unjustified breach"? Murder. Unjustified murder of your own people, and it deserves your full 140 character response, not to share time with your repetition of the condemnation of free speech of American citizens.

The whole point of *diplomacy* is to not to huff and puff and saber-rattle, but rather to, yes, bend over backwards, sometimes, to deliver your message in a way that might at least be received (hopefully) with some understanding and calmness from even the most enraged, militant and inflexible elements. Diplomatic language is almost always understated. That's what being *diplomatic*, in the global political realm, is all about.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:53 AM on September 12, 2012 [23 favorites]


Holy shit, vile rat? He was one of the best fleet commanders in Eve, from what I understand.

It's a hard thing to quantify, but I have heard from some of the best fc's I've flown with that he was up there. Fuck. This is some shitty news to wake up to. Also for the people who are fretting over how this will affect the election please just step away from your keyboard. In honor of Vile Rat.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:53 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said in an email early Wednesday, "We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Gov. Romney would choose to launch a political attack."

The folks earlier in the thread were talking about how Romney broke his commitment (which the Obama campaign also made) not to engage in partisan rhetoric on 9/11. Wednesday morning would be 9/12.
posted by aught at 5:54 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Libyan President on Al Jazeera: "We owe an apology to the US government, it's people and in fact to the whole world."

Oh man, the Libyan Republican Party is gonna crucify that poor guy.
posted by ghharr at 5:54 AM on September 12, 2012 [56 favorites]


So, attacking Romney for attacking, but still an attack.

Jesus Christ this is mendacious. That was several fucking hours after Romney stepped into an extremely tense diplomatic situation in the worst possible way.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:55 AM on September 12, 2012 [41 favorites]


So, attacking Romney for attacking, but still an attack.

So Obama's supposed to just let Romney say any stupid crap without responding?
posted by octothorpe at 5:55 AM on September 12, 2012 [22 favorites]


I'm sorry about your friends Cob, but seriously you are spouting a lot of emotional based crap right now.

Attacking Romney for attacking? I guess they should just ignore the fucking idiotic stuff Romney is throwing out of desperation eh?
posted by edgeways at 5:56 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


So yes, I'm upset - but I think that the assertion that Obama is, by virtue of being Commander-in-Chief, responsible for the actions of his poor military choices, is valid.

If you're going to give him the consequences, you need to acknowledge there's a difference between POTUS' response and Romney's. POTUS has the job and part of his job is to make a statement, with the Secretary of State, on the issue. Romney does not have that job.

You're looking at this through the most Romney friendly way you can and it's incredibly disingenuous. You can't argue that he's in office when it's convenient and on the trail when it's convenient.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 5:56 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


So, attacking Romney for attacking, but still an attack.

Eye roll. Big eye roll here. Can you see 'em rolling? They're rolling.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:56 AM on September 12, 2012 [30 favorites]


Libyan President on Al Jazeera: "We owe an apology to the US government, it's people and in fact to the whole world."

He did not look like a happy camper during that press conference. Between the mess and Mail and this, you better believe the hammer's about to come down... this guy's no joke.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:58 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's interesting to compare how the Bush Administration handled the roughly analogous situation of the controversy over Mohammed cartoons in 2006.

Per the New York Times
:
The State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, reading the government's statement on the controversy, said, ''Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images,'' which are routinely published in the Arab press, ''as anti-Christian images, or any other religious belief.''

Still, the United States defended the right of the Danish and French newspapers to publish the cartoons. ''We vigorously defend the right of individuals to express points of view,'' Mr. McCormack added.
While the Bush Administration condemned the cartoons, it also spoke up for freedom of speech, and specifically condemned the anti-Semitic and anti-Christian images that routinely appear in Arab media. I'm glad to be proven wrong, but I haven't seen the Obama White House, State Department or campaign clearly articulate their commitment to freedom of expression in this instance.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:59 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


[Once again, this can be a valuable place to come together to mourn and to actually share important information, analyses, and updates, or it can become a cesspit of personal attacks, flamewars and exploitation of a tragedy to score political points. Nobody's personal feelings should dictate that this whole discussion become useless crap. We're going to be deleting over- the-top and personal stuff, beginning now but this is in your hands. Do better.]
posted by taz at 5:59 AM on September 12, 2012 [18 favorites]


I mean, another totally political way that the GOP is treating this is how they are quick to respond when the terrorist issue is on foreign soil but were incredibly forceful on not politicizing the issue when it's a negative for them around school shootings and the need for a debate on gun control.

They're willing to politicize things when it's convenient for them, but a pox on anyone who does it when the issue is gun control on their own soil. In both scenarios, innocent civilians are dead at the hands of madmen, but depending on who those madmen were the GOP is willing to play moral relativism on the appropriateness of politicizing the issue.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 6:01 AM on September 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


I'm glad to be proven wrong, but I haven't seen the Obama White House, State Department or campaign clearly articulate their commitment to freedom of expression in this instance.

If the Obama administration hasn't waxed philosophical on freedom of expression, it may be because their focus, at the moment, seems to be the condemnation of the people being killed and all.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:01 AM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


This gives more background on the last killing of a U.S. Ambassador in the line of duty, Adolph "Spike" Dubs.
posted by sallybrown at 6:02 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


...I haven't seen the Obama White House, State Department or campaign clearly articulate their commitment to freedom of expression in this instance.

A US diplomat and three members of his staff were murdered. Maybe wait until the next afternoon before you try to exploit this for political gain.

This is not Carter's Iran raid, and it's never going to be. You guys -- directed at no one in particular per taz's request! -- should be ashamed of yourselves. You would be, if you actually believed any of the "Country First" line you've been pounding for the last decade.
posted by gerryblog at 6:02 AM on September 12, 2012 [26 favorites]


Corb, you are a bit misguided. I too know people who work in DSS and have one friend who was a US Marine posted to a US Consulate in Nigeria. Your assertion that the POTUS has ANYTHING to do with force posture for US Embassies and Consulates around the world is just FLAT out wrong.
posted by RedShrek at 6:03 AM on September 12, 2012 [22 favorites]


My heart goes out those who were killed and their families; I hope they get peace sooner than later. I hope those responsible, directly and indirectly, have the opportunity to realize what they've done.

I also hope everyone here will take a few minutes to put any anger they have aside, then respond.
posted by Mooski at 6:04 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm glad to be proven wrong, but I haven't seen the Obama White House, State Department or campaign clearly articulate their commitment to freedom of expression in this instance.

This comment includes links to official responses, which includes the following bit:
We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:06 AM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


If the Obama administration hasn't waxed philosophical on freedom of expression, it may be because their focus, at the moment, seems to be the condemnation of the people being killed and all.

Official State Department statement: "The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others."

It doesn't seem to me that the US government is simply "focus[ed], at the moment, [on] the condemnation of the people being killed and all."
posted by BobbyVan at 6:07 AM on September 12, 2012


We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

That's a horrible thing to say about freedom of speech. The right isn't "abused" when someone says something offensive.
posted by BobbyVan at 6:07 AM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


BobbyVan, it's clear you've already made up your mind and you're comfortable with that. Little purpose is served into trying to convince of something you seemingly don't want to believe. Perhaps we can move on, instead of focusing on youyouyou?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:10 AM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


It doesn't seem to me that the US government is simply "focus[ed], at the moment, [on] the condemnation of the people being killed and all."

I think that's because, they are focused, at the moment, on not getting more people killed.
posted by empath at 6:10 AM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Stevens is believed to be the first U.S. ambassador killed on duty since Ambassador Adolph Dubs was killed in Afghanistan in 1979.

Believed by whom? US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphel was killed in 1988 when President Zia-ul-Haq's plane exploded.
posted by bardophile at 6:10 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Some more commentary on this situation, particularly comparing it to the Carter situation.

The Daily Mail comments on the situation in view of the election. It also says there are photographs/video of one of the protesters with Ambassador Steven's body slung over his back - can anyone confirm/source this elsewhere?

Another article includes some more of the details of the attacks and includes security restrictions being lowered before them:
But security has been scaled back in recent months, with several roadblocks leading to the facility removed after legal court cases by residents.
posted by corb at 6:10 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to compare how the Bush Administration handled the roughly analogous situation

It's not even close to roughly analogous. This was a set-up by the Salafi faction to incite riots as a way to undermine a secular and democratic government. Yes, secular, for while Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood ar Islamist, they are also dedicated to an inclusive democracy. El Keib actually spent two decades in the US, and is firmly dedicated to a progressive democracy.

Supporting them over some shit-stirring tool who makes false-flag propaganda for armed Islamist factions is pretty sound policy.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:10 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


It doesn't seem to me that the US government is simply "focus[ed], at the moment, [on] the condemnation of the people being killed and all."

Sorry, was that the only part of the statement you read? Keep reading, there's more words, trust me.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:11 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Daily Mail is not a credible source in my opinion.
posted by RedShrek at 6:13 AM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Look, BobbyVan, if you were serious I'd say that freedom of speech isn't the right to never be criticized by anyone for anything you say. But if I said that, and somehow miraculously you listened, I suspect you'd just find some other reason why Obama Is Evil And That's What's Really Important Here.

The eagerness and desperation with which Republicans are trying to spin this really infuriates me. This isn't the magic bullet that will save Romney's campaign. You're free to relax and just be decent about what happened.
posted by gerryblog at 6:14 AM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


corb: I haven't seen the film, maybe it's full of assholery, but you know what? In our majority-Christian country, we have people who present art of feces spread on religious figures, and people still don't kill people over it.They hold signs and shout and ask for defunding, but no death.

I think what you're saying is: yeah, it's obnoxious to gleefully crap on other people's religious beliefs, but that doesn't justify killing people, and anybody who says it does is just plain wrong.

Since this is exactly what Clinton said, I'm not sure what you're finding to object to in her statement.
posted by escabeche at 6:15 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


The Daily Mail is not a credible source in my opinion.

Nor is Commentary Magazine, for that matter.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 6:15 AM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


That's a horrible thing to say about freedom of speech. The right isn't "abused" when someone says something offensive.

I'd say that in a case like this, the right is, in fact, being *abused*. This Jones asshole down in Florida knows full well that he's playing with fire, and in fact it's pretty obvious that fire is what he wants. This time it means that several innocent people are dead. Some of Jones's fellow citizens, in fact.

To me this is the very definition of the abuse of free speech.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:16 AM on September 12, 2012 [17 favorites]


To me, the Syria consulate invasion was scary, but in the distance. The Egyptian consulate invasion, however, hit home hard -- a good friend of mine was just posted there. He's currently OK -- the Embassy got word and essentially shut down, and most of the consulate staff was elsewhere.

So, yeah, to you people, it's a chance to score points. To me -- it's that close to another funeral I have to attend, and I am frankly over quota on those this year, and there is no assurance that this is over.

These are real people here. They have real people as friends, lovers, families.

And you guys have to stoop to scoring points. Screw you and the horse you rode in on.
posted by eriko at 6:16 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


These Libyans have a strange way of saying thank-you


Please go back and read some of the comments that were made in haste during other distressing threads about situations that have occurred during the last 12 or so years. It is important to realise that knee jerk reactions are rarely, so very very rarely, the right way to go.

It wasn't "Libyans" who did this. It was a fundamentalist faction who were responsible; a faction represented by those of any religion or nationality who are stupid enough to condemn an entire religion or country because of the actions of a few.

Please don't call down terror and destruction on an entire population because of the actions of an unrepresentative few.
posted by h00py at 6:16 AM on September 12, 2012 [21 favorites]


If, and hopefully when, a timeline graphic comes up that I can show to idiotic people who claim, with all seriousness, that Obama is in the pocket of murdering mobs and sympathizes with Satan himself on most issues could someone please post it here and hit me on my batphone.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:16 AM on September 12, 2012


Heartbreaking the loss of people who were committed to working to help Libyans into a new future.

Llama-Lime's point about this being due to a convergence of extremists seems right on. We don't need more extremists in the form of political aspirants piling on before all the facts are even known, not helpful in the least.

Didn't we have enough shoot-from-the-hip cowboy diplomacy under the Bush years? Give me nuanced diplomacy that seeks to calm the waters anytime.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:17 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Every once in a great while a Republican says something that I briefly think might possibly have some small grain of validity, and then more context comes along reminding me that no, it has no validity at all. I just need to be more like Leonard Shelby and tattoo "don't believe their lies" on some convenient body part.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:18 AM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm glad to be proven wrong, but I haven't seen the Obama White House, State Department or campaign clearly articulate their commitment to freedom of expression in this instance.

You don't have to say everything that you believe at every opportunity. You really don't. And there is a big difference between political cartoons in a newspaper and some whackadoodle bigot being intentionally inflammatory for kicks. The reason diplomats have to say that they condemn that video is because there is nothing else they can do but condemn it. The dude isn't going to be arrested, and no one is going to keep it from being distributed, because he's a dumb, bigoted American saying dumb, bigoted things in America, which is his right. And it's his freedom of speech and our national commitment to it, in part, that limits the range of possible responses here.
posted by Alexander Hatchell at 6:20 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


This Jones asshole down in Florida knows full well that he's playing with fire

For the record, this movie and its dissemination don't appear to be the work of Jones. This was originated as a claim by an Egyptian-American blogger and was picked up by American and egyptian news outlets.
Last week, an Egyptian-American Copt known for his broadsides against Muslims drew attention to the trailer in an Arabic-language blog post and an e-mail newsletter in English publicizing the latest publicity stunt of the Florida pastor Terry Jones, reviled in the Muslim world for burning copies of the Koran. Reached by telephone in Florida, a representative of Mr. Jones seemed unaware of the film, but hours later the pastor sent The Lede a statement by e-mail in which he complained of the attack on the embassy in Cairo and announced plans to screen the trailer for the film on Tuesday night. He said that it “reveals in a satirical fashion the life of Muhammad.”
posted by to sir with millipedes at 6:20 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


.
posted by lord_wolf at 6:21 AM on September 12, 2012


There are many stupid fucks in the U.S. I have no problem with the State Department acknowledging and apologizing for this with a huge side of we are all not stupid fucks. Otherwise, what, we say, stupid fucks, fuck on, America, fuck yeah?
posted by angrycat at 6:22 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bluster is not analysis; please calm down.

This is something that should be stapled to the forehead of everyone working in the news media.

Sorry to those of you working in the news media. We can use surgical staples or something, and local anesthetic, perhaps?
posted by aramaic at 6:25 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


> dozens of stations in EVE have been renamed in Vile Rat's honor

That change log, with the same message over and over from all the different alliances, was much more touching than I expected. Good for them.
posted by postcommunism at 6:26 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


spaltavian: The situation in Egypt and the situation in Libya are related. Also, if the Commander-in-Chief is not responsible for the operational posture put in place by the individuals he chose, then who is? He's not just the president - he's also a military commander. And a military commander must take responsibility for the actions of his subordinates, because they are bound to follow his orders.
posted by corb at 6:27 AM on September 12, 2012


I think it's no secret that violence brings out the worst in people's motivations. And by that I'm not just talking about Romney's deliberate deceitfulness in the timeline of events and their political opportunism. Their howling about how DARE the State Department even mention that they're not cool with fomenting religious hatred isn't purely political - in an attack like this, the very notion of letting cooler heads prevail is an anathema to how many human beings want to viscerally respond to violence.

Well, we tried that (most recently) for eight years of Bush. It was a miserable failure. When some jackass decides they're going to foment religious hatred, you don't respond by saying "Yeah, well fuck you - deal with it" - least of all if you're working in the diplomatic sphere. But it's also just proven to be poor foreign policy.

There are more people on the other side of this issue than the people who committed these attacks. These are people who are watching, wondering if the US is totally down with religious intolerance. There is absolutely nothing wrong with strongly condemning violence, reminding folks that everyone has the right to free speech and stating as an aside that stirring religious hatred is uncool.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:29 AM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


For the record, this movie and its dissemination don't appear to be the work of Jones.

Last I heard, it was done by Egyptian Copt activists in the US, funded by a Copt in Switzerland with financial ties to ultra-conservative elements of the Egyptian media. Considering the precariousness of the Coptic community in Egypt post-revolution, I'm almost happy the mob decided the US was to blame, and not the Coptic Christians.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:29 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or maybe the Christians need to take the lead from Muslims and get a bit more violent.

You don't think that at some level, us being in the Middle East in the first place isn't exactly what that is?

C'mon, how many people were calling for "bombing them towelheads back to the Stone Age" when they saw footage of some yutzes in a Middle Eastern street partying down over news of the 9/11 attacks, and how many of those people also say that "America is a Christian nation" in nearly the next breath?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:29 AM on September 12, 2012 [20 favorites]


And I didn't see the State Department's statement as an apology, only a clarification that "this does not represent the official view of The United States Government." Or, more officially, "yo, we think the guy made a shitty film too".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:31 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


More on the youtube clip here.
posted by mareli at 6:32 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd just read that FPP about the navigator in Libya, too. What a kick in the guts. Let's just hope that the Left speaks up clearly this time and doesn't give in to jingoistic aggression.
posted by h00py at 6:33 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some more commentary on this situation, particularly comparing it to the Carter situation.

Yeah I can see how it's exactly the same, except for the parts where the people in power in Iran were responsible (and claimed such) as opposed to an unorganized minority, and how it was in response to perceived insults from the US government as opposed to some random whackjob.

Just minor details, I'm sure.

Another article includes some more of the details of the attacks and includes security restrictions being lowered before them

If you have proof that these restrictions were under the control of the US government and embassies as opposed to the host country, by all means provide it.

He's not just the president - he's also a military commander. And a military commander must take responsibility for the actions of his subordinates, because they are bound to follow his orders.

Last time I checked, the State Department (and therefore the DSS) are civilian agencies, not military.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:34 AM on September 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


You have so far confused the timeline of events, confused the situation in Egypt with the situation in Libya, personally blamed the President for personnel decisions in a consulate, and willfully misinterpreted state department statements.

No, he has *lied* about the timeline of the event, deliberately conflated the event in Egypt with Libya, then personally blamed the President for decisions made remotely in a very chaotic situation with the Egyptian Consulate evacuating and then willfully misrepresented State Department statement.

And a military commander must take responsibility for the actions of his subordinates, because they are bound to follow his orders.

ATTENTION CORB.

THE US DIPLOMATIC CORPS IS NOT PART OF THE US MILITARY. PRESIDENT BARAK OBAMA IS NOT THEIR COMMANDER IN CHIEF, BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO COMMANDER IN CHIEF.

Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution says:
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;Not even Scalia reads the Department of State into the Military.
posted by eriko at 6:35 AM on September 12, 2012 [50 favorites]


FWIW, corb's profile identifies her as female.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:37 AM on September 12, 2012


The State Department's statement is only being framed as an "apology" because Romney's original response attacked Obama for "apologizing" for being attacked on the basis of something that actually happened before the attack. Since Romney can't be perceived to have been wrong, especially when it comes to a dead US diplomat, the latter, perfectly reasonable statement from the State Department must now be reframed as a sick and reprehensible apology.

In other words, it's complete bullshit, in the philosophical sense.

zombieflanders, eriko, stop bringing your facts in here! Can't you see we're mad?
posted by gerryblog at 6:39 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is tragic on so many levels: for the families and friends of the ambassador and Sean Smith, for the political situation in the area, and selfishly, for the political battle at home. So far, the President and Co. have kept it classy. A shame Romney and his people is using this as an opportunity to twist the truth and tragedy for short-term gain. The stakes are too high right now to play games with people's lives, and this shows just how little Romney cares about the larger picture when his own short term gain are at stake. ...But that's not terribly surprising.

.
posted by smirkette at 6:40 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Crappy situation made worse by a desire by some parties to politicize this event to the detriment of the Obama administration.

The initial response to the film was basically saying that the film does not represent the views of the US administration, in countries where all media expression is typically tightly control by state authorities the idea that any random nutjob can produce an inflammatory film without negative consequences is a somewhat foreign idea. The diplomatic comment was merely designed to defuse a tense situation before stuff got out of hand. In this case it failed to achieve it's objective.

Yes we believe in freedom of speech as a country but that doesn't mean that the Administration has to de facto condone the shit that people produce. Maybe the defense of the first amendment should've been stronger in the statement but honestly it didn't matter because there was a group of individuals that were going to use just about any pretext to start shit.

I don't know if our embassies are adequately protected or if that's the responsibility of the POTUS but I do think that armchair quarterbacking of this evident by the Romney administration on 9/11 is pretty sketchy.
posted by vuron at 6:41 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


.

One of the SA posters said it best for me: the internet makes the world smaller. I had no idea what Sean Smith (or Vile Rat, as I ever knew him) did for a living, and heard of his death on NPR. At the time I thought it was tragic, but it didn't really affect me. Then I got in front of a computer and found out that the stranger was actually an acquaintance I'd talked with a few times and an ally in a game I enjoyed. Such a weird feeling of loss.
posted by DynamiteToast at 6:43 AM on September 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


No, he has *lied* about the timeline of the event, deliberately conflated the event in Egypt with Libya, then personally blamed the President for decisions made remotely in a very chaotic situation with the Egyptian Consulate evacuating and then willfully misrepresented State Department statement.

Anyone who quotes the Daily Mail twice in a paragraph as a legitimate news source should be ignored as a troll.
posted by humph at 6:43 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Corb: spaltavian: The situation in Egypt and the situation in Libya are related.

Corb, please read this carefully before you respond. Your comment here was:

The link shown above shows the tweets, which includes,
This morning's condemnation (issued before protest) still stands. As does our condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy.
Which, really? Are you kidding me? "unjustified breach"? Murder. Unjustified murder of your own people, and it deserves your full 140 character response


The "unjustified breach" tweet was about the protest in Cairo; it was a tweet from the Cairo embassy. Which is in Egypt. The murder was in Libya. There are multiple events happening in different places very quickly. You need to stop reacting until you understand what is happening.

Also, if the Commander-in-Chief is not responsible for the operational posture

The US diplomatic corps is not part of the armed forces. There is not commander-in-chief in this situation. Stop feeling, start thinking.
posted by spaltavian at 6:45 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


THE US DIPLOMATIC CORPS IS NOT PART OF THE US MILITARY. PRESIDENT BARAK OBAMA IS NOT THEIR COMMANDER IN CHIEF, BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO COMMANDER IN CHIEF.

Oh good lord, I'm not sure what required all-caps for this. Yes, I'm aware that the Department of State is not part of the US military, though the US Marine Corps, which just lost two Marines, definitely is.

What I'm saying is that Obama is the Commander-in-Chief. As such, he takes on certain roles and responsibilities - and also expectations of character. I should be able to expect him to display, at the very least, the character that any garden-variety officer would - which includes taking responsibility for the actions of their subordinates, even if those subordinates are not military members.

I have certain moral expectations of my commander-in-chief. Accepting full responsibility for his orders and those he appoints is one of them.

If you have proof that these restrictions were under the control of the US government and embassies as opposed to the host country, by all means provide it.

Oh, I'm sure the host country requested that they be lowered, but I'm equally sure that the US government and embassy should not have accepted it. "You want us to live in unsafe conditions? Well, then you get no embassy until you are prepared to give us what we need to protect our people."

Anyone who quotes the Daily Mail twice in a paragraph as a legitimate news source should be ignored as a troll.

This is the second time I'm seeing the condemnation of the Daily Mail - is this a UK thing I'm missing? I know they and the Guardian often seem to have coverage of some stories before US outlets do - I just looked online for who was reporting on it.
posted by corb at 6:48 AM on September 12, 2012


Spaltavian, I appreciate what you're trying to do, but you maybe don't have to be quite so condescending in the manner you choose to do it. You can present information without accusing other people of being irrational or overly emotional. I don't think the latter is helping the tone of this thread.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:50 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's a horrid right wing tabloid that also has a slifhtlt less skewed and more SEO friendly online incarnation - something that's been a great success for them. It's difficult to take them seriously if you've encountered the print version though.
posted by Artw at 6:51 AM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


While the Bush Administration condemned the cartoons, it also spoke up for freedom of speech, and specifically condemned the anti-Semitic and anti-Christian images that routinely appear in Arab media.

Running to use the freaking Bush Administration as an example of the application of the principles of moderation and balance is not exactly your most winning argument.
posted by blucevalo at 6:51 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


The official position of the RNC is that Barack Obama sides with those who murder US diplomats. The tone of this thread was always going to be awful.
posted by gerryblog at 6:52 AM on September 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


I'll be so glad when the election is over.
posted by gerryblog at 6:53 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


[Some comments deleted; Bobby Van please back off the free speech thing -- maybe a different post can address that, but the derailing is getting out of hand. Corb and everyone, once again, let's not post statements that aren't backed up with some kind of factual info from reputable sources. People who are too emotional to post reasonably and/or civilly should take a break from this thread and come back when they are feeling more in control.]
posted by taz at 6:53 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Corb, do you have any concept of how host countries and foreign consulates work? I don't think you do at all. What happens within the walls of the US Embassy or Consulate is not the same thing as what happens outside such structures.
posted by RedShrek at 6:53 AM on September 12, 2012


" This is the second time I'm seeing the condemnation of the Daily Mail - is this a UK thing I'm missing? I know they and the Guardian often seem to have coverage of some stories before US outlets do - I just looked online for who was reporting on it."

The Daily Mail
posted by Blasdelb at 6:53 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Spaltavian, I appreciate what you're trying to do, but you maybe don't have to be quite so condescending in the manner you choose to do it. You can present information without accusing other people of being irrational or overly emotional. I don't think the latter is helping the tone of this thread.

posted by Narrative Priorities

Eponyperfect!
posted by Glomar response at 6:54 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, I'm aware that the Department of State is not part of the US military, though the US Marine Corps, which just lost two Marines, definitely is.

Do you have confirmed reports of this?

What I'm saying is that Obama is the Commander-in-Chief. As such, he takes on certain roles and responsibilities - and also expectations of character. I should be able to expect him to display, at the very least, the character that any garden-variety officer would - which includes taking responsibility for the actions of their subordinates, even if those subordinates are not military members.

Still a fundamental misreading of what the CinC is, and not the same as what you said earlier. And you've still yet to provide a single shred of proof that there's any responsibility he should be shouldering here.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:55 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Daily Mail is a pure propaganda outlet corb, they are about as impartial as using Glen Beck as a source.

There are several people in this thread that indicate that the diplomatic security procedures are not the responsibility of the POTUS in his role as Commander-in-Chief. Now if you want to make a general comment on whether the State Department should be better protected in countries where terrorist attacks are more likely then yes that might be a valid point. The State Department typically negotiates that sort of stuff with a sovereign nation which is why we have crazy levels of protection in some nations and very minimal in others. In this case yeah it might've been nice to have better protection but that's very much a hindsight is 20-20 situation and is probably more appropriately handled in a Congressional investigation several months from now in which we review security procedures.

I thin what people are rejecting is this simplistic idea that we can always have a company on marines on site in every country on the off-chance that a horrible event like this happens. Typically the warning signs come far enough in advance that the embassy can be evacuated but in this case it didn't.
posted by vuron at 6:56 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Let's imagine there's a pencil on the table. You are technically free to do almost anything you want with it. But stabbing it into your eye is still not the "correct" way to use a pencil.

Now... let's see if some of the brighter of you out there can figure out how that relates to free speech, along with rights and responsibilities.
posted by Blue_Villain at 6:56 AM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I thin what people are rejecting is this simplistic idea that we can always have a company on marines on site in every country on the off-chance that a horrible event like this happens.

Or that having a company of Marines onsite is an unmistakably aggressive policy, either towards the host government or its people, and oftentimes both. Which kind of defeats the entire purpose of diplomacy.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:58 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obama's response will determine the election.
posted by Brian B. at 6:59 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Terrible fpp so far. We should be discussing the underlying motives and forces leading up to these attacks, not respond to the ramblings of individual Mefites.

.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:00 AM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


Oh, and re: the Mohammed cartoons, I don't remember major Democratic political figures claiming that Bush "sympathized" with the attackers.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:00 AM on September 12, 2012


The Daily Mail online* is a hate-filled, spiteful, anti-women, anti-brownskinned, anti-working class, homophobic piece of crap. I don't know how they haven't been charged with inciting racial hatred.

It's 80% "she's lost the baby weight"/"she's still a fat cow after that baby" stories, 10% of stories copied from Reddit a week later and 10% political "commentary" slanted toward their white, male, middle class agenda. Oh and they despise the BBC.

* I wouldn't wipe my backside with the print edition so can't comment on that.

(Apologies for the derail but links to the DM have been appearing with increasing regularity on Mefi of late and it's making me very uncomfortable.)
posted by humph at 7:04 AM on September 12, 2012 [16 favorites]


My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims. Such loss is impossible in the 'best' of circumstances, nevermind at the centre of this maelstrom.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:06 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Klingons *only* understand violence.
posted by gerryblog at 7:07 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the four State Department officials killed also lived a double-life as an influential power broker in Eve Online.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:07 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It has been recently discovered that Klingons understand both violence and butterfly kisses
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:07 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Obama's response will determine the election.

I honestly doubt this. The Presidential election has not been substantially about foreign policy so far, and seems unlikely to become so. If it were about foreign policy then Romney, with his total lack of experience and several highly visible and embarrassing gaffes during the junket over the summer, would be double-digits behind Obama in the polls. My (sad) guess is that in two weeks this story will have disappeared completely from the media.

It's been pretty clear for some time now that the U.S. Presidential election will be determined by the perceived progress of the economic recovery (or lack thereof) in the minds of currently-undecided voters in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and maybe Wisconsin.
posted by aught at 7:09 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Noted Obama supporter John McCain via Twitter:
Just watched an excellent and moving stmt by Sec. Clinton- just the right message and tone.
Why is he sympathizing with American enemies?
posted by zombieflanders at 7:12 AM on September 12, 2012 [24 favorites]


[Hello and good morning fast-moving thread. Please stop making the argument personal and please stop making the discussion revolve around your personal analysis of the situation, your overgeneralizations about world religions or some other argument that you want to have that is not currently happening here. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:13 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Just watched an excellent and moving stmt by Sec. Clinton- just the right message and tone.

I had initially misread that as "stunt," which brought to mind an image of Sec. Clinton doing a poignant Evel Knievel routine set to "Farewell Dumbledore."
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:13 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Who the fuck cares about Romney. Let him say whatever he wants to say, because he isn't going to win and no one not already convinced the President is a islamofascist symp will believe a word of it anyway.

This is a tremendously sad day for the internet. Vile Rat was a good dude - I argued with him endlessly on D&D and used to be big into Goonfleet before real life took over. It's fucking shitty. That's all.
posted by downing street memo at 7:14 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Good for McCain, I think he's generally a tool when it comes to domestic issues but he definitely understands that foreign policy and diplomacy is a tricky territory that needs to be handled with care and sensitivity to the conditions on the ground.

It's that old mindset of we might bicker at home but when we got out in public we need to present a unified front that seems to be completely abandoned these days.
posted by vuron at 7:15 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


And FWIW, as of Clinton's speech, most of the elected GOP leaders (Boehner, Cantor, McConnell) have managed to make statements without once mentioning Obama or the administration's response. IMO that's a pretty telling statement in of itself vis-a-vis Romney.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:15 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and re: the Mohammed cartoons, I don't remember major Democratic political figures claiming that Bush "sympathized" with the attackers.

I think that's because Bush's State Department expressly condemned anti-Jewish and anti-Christian bigotry in the Arab world, and offered a robust defense of freedom of expression. The early statement from the US Embassy in Cairo (that suggested that free speech could be "abused") was horrible, which is why the Obama Administration wisely disassociated itself from it later in the day.

I hope that when President Obama speaks later this morning, he offers comforting words on the loss of our diplomats and servicemen, condemns the attacks, and affirms that Americans believe in freedom of expression in all forms, even those that are meant to cause offense and anger.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:15 AM on September 12, 2012


I hope that when President Obama speaks later this morning, he offers comforting words on the loss of our diplomats and servicemen, condemns the attacks, and affirms that Americans believe in freedom of expression in all forms, even those that are meant to cause offense and anger.

I honestly think this is a given. It's possible to believe in freedom of expression, but still have the right to say "but this was a shitty film".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:17 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


In our majority-Christian country, we have people who present art of feces spread on religious figures, and people still don't kill people over it.They hold signs and shout and ask for defunding, but no death.

No, we prefer to shoot people of other religions for no reason whatsoever.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 7:20 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think that's because Bush's State Department expressly condemned anti-Jewish and anti-Christian bigotry in the Arab world, and offered a robust defense of freedom of expression.

So as people are storming the embassy, you want the embassy to put out a statement about how much they support the anti-Mohammad film.

Thank Jeebus that you're not a US diplomat.
posted by goethean at 7:21 AM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


I think the Obama administration is anything but tone deaf, especially on sensitive and extremely emotional subjects like this. They'll come out with a highly nuanced statement that condemns the violence, asserts the right to free speech and speaks to the personal loss of friends and countrymen because that's what competently run administrations do. Chances are it will still be seen as being weak because you know he's "secretly one of them."
posted by vuron at 7:22 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


so that we may come together instead of farther apart I offer this:
Quran in English - Clear and Easy to Understand, with Audio.
posted by robbyrobs at 7:22 AM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


.

The derail in this thread is infuriating. Not every thread has to turn into electionfilter and angry, misinformed trolls should not be fed. Go to Fark or Reddit or 4chan, where they don't care if you shit in their threads. Metafilter is supposed to be different.

In other let's-remember-the-nice-people-who-died discussions, here is a touching eulogy by a long time fried of Vile Rat.
posted by Vysharra at 7:23 AM on September 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


Per Twitter, Romney's speaking now and sticking with his attack on Barack Obama (even though he's now isolated from basically every other Republican in the country). Maybe this will decide the election.
posted by gerryblog at 7:24 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know what, Pastor? Fuck the "wah wah free speech" bullshit. You have no idea what free speech is. You have no idea what responsibility is. You just think you're a brave person and you're not. It is a sentiment that is so full of shit I could compost my lawn with it.

We know this happens. We've seen it before. Terry Jones knew what he was doing. This isn't bravely exercising your First Amendment rights; it's being a shitheel little troll and bragging that tossing rocks at a bear resulted in the mean bear growling at you.

All while standing outside the cage bars and wondering why the zookeeper isn't doing more to protect you.

Fuck you, Terry Jones. Fuck you, people who care just enough about "free speech" to demand that other people need to die to make you feel like your right to have it, because lord knows how threatened the free speech rights of middle-aged, Christian, white male Americans are, is declared for television cameras.

I am so sick- sick to the point of anger, sick to to point of tears- of the pathetic, hypocritical insistence that through sitting on your ass and drooling onto a keyboard, you're in solidarity with the "expression" made by other people thousands of miles away.

Have the balls to say you're defending your right to be a coward. The dead deserve that at least.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:24 AM on September 12, 2012 [20 favorites]


A tweet from @studentactivism I found revealing: "Seventh question at Romney presser is the first not expressing shocked revulsion with him, if you're keeping score at home."
posted by gerryblog at 7:25 AM on September 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


Well, Romney called a press conference and just straight-up lied again to the press about the timeline and repeated that Obama sympathizes with the protesters and killers.

Wow.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:26 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I never really liked him much, but also never really hated Romney. Until today. This is unjustifiable bullshit. He doesn't know what he's doing, and it's dangerous.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:26 AM on September 12, 2012 [26 favorites]


Those poor people. I hope US embassies in other countries are safe.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:28 AM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


This is unjustifiable bullshit. He doesn't know what he's doing, and it's dangerous.

Mitt Romney's statement, translated: I'm not ready to be president

Romney fails critical leadership test

This entire election is a test if we actually have a news media anymore.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:28 AM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


"People sell the Jackhammer Jesus dildo and Baby Jesus butt plugs. There's a musical on Broadway about the Book of Mormon which involves their holy book being shoved into someone's ass. Yes, there may be people pissed - but again I want to stress - nobody is dying over it."

@corb: Christians protest different things, differently. Get back to me when the number of abortion doctors begins to increase in this country.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 7:28 AM on September 12, 2012 [19 favorites]


A note about the role of the Marines. The Marine Security Detachment in an embassy or consulate is under *direct* control of the senior diplomat there (i.e. STATE). He or she gives them their marching orders (literally).

Their primary responsibility is security of the inner grounds, classified info, and the like. They don't travel around with the ambassador or anything like that. No embassy has a huge number of marines stationed there - their responsibilities are quite circumscribed. I don't know of any circumstances where the MSD has fired weapons - although there must be some - it did not happen in Iran, and I do not believe it happened in Saigon.

The direct security of the Embassy is the role of the Host Nation Government. Full stop.
posted by scolbath at 7:28 AM on September 12, 2012 [20 favorites]


Romney campaign, 9/11/12: "It doesn’t surprise me that they’re raising foreign policy because it’s another distraction from the Administration’s terrible economic record"

Mitt Romney, 9/12/12: "Pres. Obama has demonstrated a lack of clarity on a foreign policy."
posted by zombieflanders at 7:29 AM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sorry, I had the wrong link about Romney doubling down above, but other people have caught it.
posted by gerryblog at 7:30 AM on September 12, 2012


I bet Romney knows exactly what he's doing. I'll stop there because I would rather focus on the dead and their families right now.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:30 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm really not shocked at Mitt, because you can basically completely lie these days and lead the news cycle with your lie and your "apology" if there is one will get buried in the background some days later as the factcheckers finally get off their asses.

I expect this sort of thing in regards to domestic policy but this is some of the most transparent faux outrage bullshit that I've seen in a while and Romney should know better. If you absolutely have to make an political issue out of this have your proxies do it for you man, but this is demeaning show more self-respect.
posted by vuron at 7:31 AM on September 12, 2012


I bet Romney knows exactly what he's doing.

Nope. He doesn't. He really, really doesn't.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:31 AM on September 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


Romney just got the 3 AM phone call and screamed Baba Booey into the receiver at the top of his lungs before hanging up.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:34 AM on September 12, 2012 [38 favorites]


Nope. He doesn't. He really, really doesn't.

And that's what's really dangerous.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:34 AM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Secretary Clinton just gave what I felt was a very good, powerful-yet-nuanced public statement on the attacks. I'm looking for a video / transcript to link but it just happened and I haven't found one yet. I didn't catch all of it but here are some key quotes I managed to write down:

"This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world."

"When the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post."

"Violence is no way to honor religion or faith."

And ThinkProgress Tweeted this quote:

"This was an attack by a small and savage group. Not the people or government of Libya."

I liked the way she repeatedly made a very clear distinction between the Libyan embassy attackers and the people / country of Libya. According to AP the Libyan president has already condemned the attack there as "cowardly" and apologized for it.
posted by BlueJae at 7:34 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


The events in Libya and Egypt totally confirm my preconceived notions, also I am an expert on the Middle East and North Africa.
posted by downing street memo at 7:34 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


I'm somewhat stunned that Romney's handlers have allowed him to go forward with this attack. Is this smartest-man-in-the-room CEO syndrome?
posted by gerryblog at 7:35 AM on September 12, 2012


I bet Romney knows exactly what he's doing.
Nope. He doesn't. He really, really doesn't.

I don't know which is worse.
posted by inigo2 at 7:35 AM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Romney is being willfully dishonest, but he has no idea how bad this is going to make him look in the long run.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:36 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Secretary Clinton just gave what I felt was a very good, powerful-yet-nuanced public statement on the attacks. I'm looking for a video / transcript to link but it just happened and I haven't found one yet.

Hillary Clinton's Moving Remarks Regarding The Attack In Libya (video @ Buzzfeed)
posted by zombieflanders at 7:37 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


[Folks, now is not the time to do that "I'll just leave this here" method of cryptic commenting, please do not do that. Have a conversation or don't but don't focus this on "what did they MEAN by that"]
posted by jessamyn at 7:37 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's an attempt change and wrest control of the political agenda in Libya.

Very true, KokuRyu. It's also a recurring pattern that often happens whenever a dictator is removed in a Middle Eastern country; a power vacuum is created and unfortunately violent Islamic fractions and sectarianism are the main forces competing for power. These dictators are in power for so long that we forget all the suffering, tension and hate that sometimes simmers below the surface. And obviously if your country has no tradition of democratic or non-violent conflict resolution it's going to succumb to civil war.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 7:38 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


hey I got it what about a Reverend Terry Jones Free Speech Day at Chick fil a!!!
posted by robbyrobs at 7:40 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would be interested to know why the embassy wasn't better defended. Honest question.
posted by MarshallPoe at 7:41 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure of the reason, but many of the citizens of Libya and Egypt believe that the US government has something to do with the production of the movie. What might get overlooked is that the statements like "The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others" are meant to clarify that the US government doesn't endorse the anti-Islamic movie. I'm sure it is the official position of the US government that they don't like the movie (even if they wouldn't do anything to stop it). Telling people this is not the same as being against free speech.
posted by demiurge at 7:41 AM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Romney just got the 3 AM phone call and screamed Baba Booey into the receiver at the top of his lungs before hanging up.

I hope to see a dramatic rendition of this in the next Obama ad.
posted by goethean at 7:41 AM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh, hey, Reince Prebius just now tweeted his condolences towards the families of Ambassador Stevens' and those that died alongside him.

Congratulations, Republicans, the guy officially representing your party took nearly 12 hours to do what the President and SOS did ASAP, but couldn't even wait until midnight of a day promised to be free of negative remarks to make a political attack.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:42 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


It also says there are photographs/video of one of the protesters with Ambassador Steven's body slung over his back - can anyone confirm/source this elsewhere?

Oddly enough, found that photo and others on The Drudge Report.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:42 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


MarshallPoe, it was the responsibilities of the host nation government to protect the embassy.
posted by scolbath at 7:44 AM on September 12, 2012


It also says there are photographs/video of one of the protesters with Ambassador Steven's body slung over his back - can anyone confirm/source this elsewhere?

Clinton said in her speech that Libyans carried Stevens to the hospital. I believe that is the scene depicted in that picture.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:44 AM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oddly enough, found that photo and others on The Drudge Report.

Clinton and Obama say that Libyans carried Stevens to the hospital, are we sure that's not what's happening here?
posted by zombieflanders at 7:45 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would be interested to know why the embassy wasn't better defended. Honest question.

Well, the Libyan embassy is in Tripoli, not Benghazi - that's a minor consulate, and generally a deployment of Marines with the equipment needed to fight off attackers armed with rockets and other heavy weapons isn't in the budget.

There was no warning of an attack, it just happened - this might be laid at the CIA's feet. It's clear now that Salafists in Egypt and Libya are co-ordinating their efforts.

The embassy in Cairo had plenty of warning, so everyone just evacuated, as shooting unarmed rioters to protect property may offend the host country, no matter what country that is.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:47 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


First Romney went birther, then he went atheist. Now's he's gone secret Muslim. This is what desperation looks like.
posted by dortmunder at 7:47 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


it did not happen in Iran, and I do not believe it happened in Saigon.

During the Tet Offensive, I am pretty sure the Saigon embassy guards did fight back with their full capabilities. That was a very different situation than the others, of course. If you were referring to the embassy evacuation, I think you are right. That evacuation was a case of allies trying to get in, though, not one of being under attack.
posted by BeeDo at 7:48 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure of the reason, but many of the citizens of Libya and Egypt believe that the US government has something to do with the production of the movie.

Obama being caught between people who are convinced that he is a secret Muslim terrorist and people who are convinced that he's funding anti-Islam propaganda while people suffer and die around him is pretty much a microcosm of his presidency so far.
posted by Copronymus at 7:48 AM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


Romney smirks after leaving the podium today. He thinks he's owning this.
posted by gerryblog at 7:49 AM on September 12, 2012 [16 favorites]


Interesting, BeeDo - I was referring to the evacuation. I didn't think of Tet - they were directly fired on there, and yes, it was a different story. The real takeaway is that with the possible exception of the Baghdad embassy during the war, embassies and consulates are not military bases and not protected as such.
posted by scolbath at 7:52 AM on September 12, 2012


Terry Jones: America's Bin Laden.

1. Religious fanatic.
2. Inspires others to launch attacks.
3. Those attacks kill Americans.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:54 AM on September 12, 2012


I watched the 9/11 West Wing episode "Isaac and Ishmael" last night. It's something I do every year. It's good to remind myself:
Josh Lyman: "You want to get these people? I mean, you really want to reach in and kill them where they live? Keep accepting more than one idea. It makes them absolutely crazy."
posted by Fizz at 7:54 AM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


it did not happen in Iran, and I do not believe it happened in Saigon.

>During the Tet Offensive, I am pretty sure the Saigon embassy guards did fight back with their full capabilities.


During Tet, attackers occupied part of the American embassy, cutting off staff on higher floors. There's actually video of soldiers tossing a handgun to embassy staff on the second floor.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:54 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Condolences to the families of ambassador Stevens, Mr. Smith and those who fell.

And a big, massive fuck you to Terry Jones.

If, after this, Romney somehow manages to be elected president come November, I will officially have lost my faith in the American people.

Be discontent with the recovery under Obama, sure. Hate the drone attacks, by all means. But if you as a country cut off your nose to spite your face, by voting for someone demonstrably, destructively worse for the job, what does that say about you? About the American project?
posted by flippant at 7:55 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Clinton and Obama say that Libyans carried Stevens to the hospital, are we sure that's not what's happening here?

Yep, that's what the photo caption to this photo says.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:55 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just an FYI, cause I keep seeing people make this mistake (including Dave Weigel!): Terry Jones didn't do this. Somebody asked him about the film, and he said he approved it. That's about it. This film was made by a California real estate developer who calls himself an Israeli. It was promoted by Salafis as a way to put pressure on the nascent political regimes in Libya and Egypt. This is about a lot more than just one idiot in Florida.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:56 AM on September 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


Yep, that's what the photo caption to this photo says.

I'm shocked that Drudge et al would claim otherwise.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:57 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Terry Jones, though an asshole, didn't make the film. A guy called Sam Bacile did. Let's not mix up our assholes, although it's easy to do.
posted by dortmunder at 7:58 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's not mix up our assholes, although it's easy to do.

This is why every orgy should have a ticketing system.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:00 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Two of four Americans killed in Libya on Tuesday died in a shooting during an attempt by U.S. forces to evacuate staff from a safe house, Libya's Deputy Interior Minister Wanis Al-Sharif said.

U.S. consular staff were moved to the safe house after an attack on the consul building in the eastern city of Benghazi in which the ambassador was killed, minister Wanis Al-Sharif told a news conference.

A plane with U.S. security units arrived from Tripoli to evacuate other staff but militants discovered the location of the safe house, he said.

"It was supposed to be a secret place and we were surprised the armed groups knew about it. There was shooting," he said.

Two American security personnel were killed in the shooting, Sharif said. Two other people were killed and between 12 and 17 wounded.


From Reuter's.
posted by Hobo at 8:01 AM on September 12, 2012


The Washington Post is reporting four killed, with two names being withheld pending notification. This may back the Daily's Mail's contention that two Marines were killed, as the military has a much greater burden regarding casualty notification of families- announcements cannot be made by phone, and must be made by trained, paired individuals.

In terms of security for embassies and the chain-of-command, for those who were confused about Obama's role:

The President (Obama in this case) chooses the Secretary of State (Clinton), who oversees the Department of State. The Department of State chooses and appoints Regional Security Officers, who among other things, oversee the Marine Security detachments. Marine Security detachment size is determined by the Marine Corps Security Group, which reports to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, who reports to the Secretary of the Navy, who reports to the Secretary of Defense, who is personally chosen by the President.

So essentially: both the Regional Security Officer and the Marine Security Detachment ultimately report to the President; he is thus ultimately responsible for their actions.

The President has the ability to increase or lower security at embassies, as can be seen by this Military Times piece explaining that Obama is now increasing security.
posted by corb at 8:02 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I hope that when President Obama speaks later this morning, he offers comforting words on the loss of our diplomats and servicemen, condemns the attacks, and affirms that Americans believe in freedom of expression in all forms, even those that are meant to cause offense and anger.

President Obama, like his predecessor Bush, is no great civil libertarian. Nonetheless, realistically speaking, the only possible reason I can see for imagining that Obama won't respond as you've "hoped" is sekrit muslin.
posted by threeants at 8:03 AM on September 12, 2012


We get it corb, you're upset at the President. And you can use Google. Do you have anything else to add?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:03 AM on September 12, 2012 [22 favorites]


So sad - Chris Stevens sounds like he was a remarkable person and this is a great loss to our country and to Libyans. This was from July: In Letter to Friends, Slain U.S. Ambassador Expressed Hope

It also explains a bit about the security situation:
The embassy building had actually been burnt down by regime loyalists during the Libyan revolt, “so we are now using the previous ambassador’s spacious Palm Springs-like residence as our chancery,” he had written to us.

All American staff lived on a gated compound a few minutes away: “It’s comfortable and resembles a cozy retirement community in Arizona, minus the golf carts.”

He acknowledged the security situation was still a bit uncertain: “We move around town in armored S.U.V.’s with security teams watching out for us.”

posted by madamjujujive at 8:04 AM on September 12, 2012


The President has the ability to increase or lower security at embassies, as can be seen by this Military Times piece explaining that Obama is now increasing security.

Congratulations. You've proven that the only step beyond what was already provided is to send a force in an aggressive posture. I'm totally sure that would have calmed things down and prevented this whole thing in the first place.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:07 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Romney smirks after leaving the podium today. He thinks he's owning this.

Wow, he's going to really regret that photo. It's a direct callback to Bush II's smirking self-congratulation.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:07 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Again with this Corb. The President has the authority to raise the security profile at any given consulate or embassy. That said, the Chief Security Officer and the Ambassador are delegated that authority and are normally the main individuals who are responsible for security not the President. We get it that you don't like Obama. Point taken but please let's stop with the semantic games.
posted by RedShrek at 8:07 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


This killing has me made me pretty angry.
I'm angry that there still exist people so mindless that they'd attack a mission and kill someone over a movie.
As a Libyan, I'm angry that these people exist in Libya and would choose to attack the US mission there, after the incredible help the US provided so recently.
I'm angry that the people in charge of security in Libya have still not got their act together, to the extent that they can't even properly defend important places properly.
I'm angry that once again I find myself having to make the distinction that "hey, these people are a small minority that don't represent the whole."

My condolences to Christopher Stevens family and friends. I'm sorry this ever happened.
posted by mulligan at 8:08 AM on September 12, 2012 [59 favorites]


Obama Present, provides statement, heads to Vegas.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 8:09 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yup... Presidents are responsible. Just like CEO's. Right?

Jesus Effing Christ the level of cognitive dissonance is at an all time... high, low, indescribable level of ridiculousness?
posted by Blue_Villain at 8:10 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Obama Present, provides statement, heads to Vegas.

Romney interferes in delicate political situation, lies 3 times and all but accuses President and Sec of State of treason, heads to 3rd house.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:14 AM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


Funny because the Wash Post has him going to the State Department.
posted by RedShrek at 8:14 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This just cost Obama the election? I couldn't think of a stronger reason to vote for the incumbent. I'm really looking forward to October 3rd.
posted by phaedon at 8:18 AM on September 12, 2012


When you're the Republican nominee for President and Mark Halperin and Peggy Noonan are calling you out for being a colossal dumbshit, then you're a colossal dumbshit. Complete failure of leadership on nearly every level.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:18 AM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


We can do better than this.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:18 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also: How many times did Obama mention Romney in his speech vs Romney mentioning Obama/administration?
posted by zombieflanders at 8:19 AM on September 12, 2012


Obama Present, provides statement, heads to Vegas.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 11:09 AM on September 12 [1 favorite +] [!]


He's also scheduled to go to Colorado today. Is that a problem too?
posted by aught at 8:19 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm really looking forward to October 3rd.

Is this is a typo, or am I missing something?
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:22 AM on September 12, 2012


I applaud anyone who insults people who might kill them over said insults.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:22 AM on September 12, 2012


First debate.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:22 AM on September 12, 2012


Jesus, there's something so visceral about seeing that picture of Libyians carrying Stevens, trying to get him help. It physically brings an ache to my chest. I know they're trying to help him, or so says the caption, but I hope his family doesn't see that. Or maybe it's just me. Seeing a picture of my loved one, unconscious, moments after being attacked and likely moments before death...I just couldn't handle it.
posted by aclevername at 8:23 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I AM SO OFFENDED THAT OBAMA WENT TO A PLACE

ROMNEY WOULD NOT EVER GO TO A PLACE
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:24 AM on September 12, 2012 [30 favorites]


Again with this Corb. The President has the authority to raise the security profile at any given consulate or embassy. That said, the Chief Security Officer and the Ambassador are delegated that authority and are normally the main individuals who are responsible for security not the President. We get it that you don't like Obama. Point taken but please let's stop with the semantic games.

Well, I was requested to provide sources and links for some of the things said earlier, so I did so. However, part of my statement was that the individuals listed take their cues from the President's administration and posture. Some people have noted that putting a larger force of Marines in place at embassies would have seemed "aggressive." Maybe so, but it also would have had the effect of protecting American lives, which I believe should be our priority.

I also wonder how different this situation might have been if the current commandant of the Marine Corps was General Mattis, who the SecNav opposed. The Obama administration has a history of passing over or removing strong, competent generals who happen to disagree with them.
posted by corb at 8:24 AM on September 12, 2012


I applaud anyone who insults people who might kill themother people while they sit safely at a computer a thousand miles away over said insults.

FTFY, hero.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:25 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Foreign Policy Hands Voice Disbelief At Romney Cairo Statement: “Bungle… utter disaster…not ready for prime time… not presidential… Lehman moment.” And that's just the Republicans.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:26 AM on September 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


When you're the Republican nominee for President and Mark Halperin and Peggy Noonan are calling you out for being a colossal dumbshit, then you're a colossal dumbshit.

Ask Sarah Palin if you should fuck with Dame Peggington Noonington. "Nay," she will reply, "I think'st not."
posted by octobersurprise at 8:27 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


corb can you please set aside that axe you are grinding? you are not helping to elucidate fact-based discussion. your opinions on the administration w/r/t generals is a derail.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:27 AM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Maybe so, but it also would have had the effect of protecting American lives, which I believe should be our priority.

That's a cowardly priority. It should be promoting democracy and peaceful ties with the new regimes.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:27 AM on September 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


I also wonder how different this situation might have been if the current commandant of the Marine Corps was General Mattis, who the SecNav opposed. The Obama administration has a history of passing over or removing strong, competent generals who happen to disagree with them.

Yeah, they demoted him to Commander of United States Central Command. Assholes.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:27 AM on September 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


[corb, seriously, please stop grinding on this. You've made your feelings clear and this is becoming A Thing.]
posted by cortex at 8:28 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


The President has the ability to increase or lower security at embassies, as can be seen by this Military Times piece explaining that Obama is now increasing security.

Because micro-managing a task delegated to others is the best use of a President's time. We all get it, you very badly want this to be all Obama's fault. But he's the head of the executive branch of a very large country. What you're doing here is like blaming a CEO when an assembly line worker puts a faulty part in a car. It's ludicrous.
posted by Mavri at 8:28 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


.
.
.
.
posted by Kevtaro at 8:29 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


You are wrong Corb and that's all I really have to say.
posted by RedShrek at 8:29 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


David Weigel gives an excellent timeline of Administration and RNC reactions to the situation.
posted by spaltavian at 8:31 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Romney quotation from the above Buzzfeed piece: "It's never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values."

When Romney is President, he will condemn attacks before they even happen. Because it is never too early.
posted by naoko at 8:31 AM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


This is an interesting discussion of the chain of events that led to a self-financed and produced film from California being circulated in Egypt and Libya.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:33 AM on September 12, 2012


Like a doctrine of pre-emptive condemnation?
posted by memebake at 8:34 AM on September 12, 2012


I'm having a hard time understanding why there wasn't more security at either Cairo or Benghazi.

My father was a US Foreign Service Officer who served in the Middle East in the 1950s and 1960s. I witnessed several mob scenes, including one instance in Yemen where a mob attacked and burned down the German embassy after a news report that the German government had paid reparations to Israel. At that time, the US Embassy had no security itself, other than local hired guards who carried antiquated rifles, plus handguns that Embassy personnel carried for personal protection. Many of my father's colleagues and their successors ended up dying on the job. I would have thought things would have improved a lot in the last 50 years, but apparently not enough.
posted by The Sprout Queen at 8:34 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Has anyone watched the 13 minute trailer? If you watch, every single mention of religion, mohammad, the Koran, is added in in post. It's really blatant. Why would they do that?
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:35 AM on September 12, 2012


Romney--so not ready. According to Josh Marshall's timeline, Romney began attacking Obama while the Ambassador and his party were actually under fire.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:35 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


I hereby condemn all attacks on anyone ever.

YOUR MOVE ROMNEY.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:36 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Has anyone watched the 13 minute trailer? If you watch, every single mention of religion, mohammad, the Koran, is added in in post. It's really blatant. Why would they do that?

Because they're schmucks. Schmucks with the right to be schmucks, for sure, but they're still schmucks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:36 AM on September 12, 2012


David Weigel gives an excellent timeline of Administration and RNC reactions to the situation.


Josh Marshall at TPM does the same (emphasis is mostly mine, except for 2nd "while"):
The statement from the Romney campaign was initially released by Romney press secretary Andrea Saul at 10:09 PM — but under an embargo until midnight on September 12th. In other words, it was embargoed until September 11th was over.

Then a few minutes later at 10:24 PM the embargo was lifted and reporters were told they could use the statement immediately. There was no clear explanation of the change.

Bear in mind, this was all happening while attacks on US personnel abroad were ongoing. According to a statement released this morning by the White House, the President was told last night that Ambassador Chris Steven was unaccounted for. Only this morning did he learn that Stevens had died in the attacks that were on-going last night.

The campaign also authorized Romney’s top foreign policy advisor to give a blistering interview attacking the president while the attacks were continuing.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:37 AM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


However, part of my statement was that the individuals listed take their cues from the President's administration and posture.

Uh huh. So then Todd Akin was taking his cues from Romney?

This is pathetic. You (and Romney) are stabbing the President in the back in the midst of an ongoing international crisis.

Romney and his partisan friends are putting their interests forward of our people on the ground and the country as a whole.

When the crisis is over, by all means, the President should have his actions reviewed by the public. While we are in it, we are a single country united.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:39 AM on September 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


Does anyone know, is the situation lessening/being contained or is there danger of similar attacks in other countries? If there was coordination between Egypt and Libya on this, are there other countries in the mix?
posted by sallybrown at 8:42 AM on September 12, 2012


(and by "coordination between Egypt and Libya" I mean between groups in those countries, not by the governments of those countries...sorry to keep muddying the water here)
posted by sallybrown at 8:43 AM on September 12, 2012


Some of my conservative friends on facebook are passing around a photo connecting this attack with the $1.5 billion Obama allegedly gave to the Muslim Brotherhood. The misinformation campaign is in full swing.
posted by jkafka at 8:44 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Btw, this just cost Obama the election. Way to pay him back for saving your fucking lives, you moronic idiots.

No way. Romney's in deep shit for this crap. Obama can, of course, still lose, but it won't be because of this incident.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:45 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know, is the situation lessening/being contained or is there danger of similar attacks in other countries?

There's some buzz out of Afghanistan. Marines are being sent (presumably from the existing Gulf forces) to embassies that might come under attack.

and by "coordination between Egypt and Libya" I mean between groups in those countries, not by the governments of those countries...sorry to keep muddying the water here

As pointed out above, these seem to be separate groups with individual beefs against both the US and their respective governments.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:45 AM on September 12, 2012


I didn't know the guy but amongst all the other sad this situation is generating

* for vile_rat

Unless I'm missing something, apparently he was online up until right before the proverbial shit hit the fan.

(2:40:22 PM) vile_rat: FUCK
(2:40:24 PM) vile_rat: gunfire

posted by RolandOfEld at 8:47 AM on September 12, 2012 [23 favorites]


In fairness to Corb, I did ask about the chain of command in embassy security, and he answered honestly. (Thanks, Corb!) I think it's an important question to investigate or at least think about, because something went wrong (IMHO). As for ax-grinding in this poor thread, Corb is hardly alone here.
posted by MarshallPoe at 8:48 AM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


There's practically no cognition occurring on any side. None of the news stories correctly place this tragedy in the context of almost one hundred years of military intervention in Libya. They don't even reach back to our celebration of Gaddafi in 2008 as an ally against the war on terror.

Are they going to place the revolution that put Gaddafi in power in 1969 as a part of Arab nationalism that we have long attempted to suppress and destroy? Are they going to touch on the similarities between the first and second modern Libyan revolutions as attempts to root out corruption that we were often a part of? Are they going to place his alignment with the Soviet Union as a consequence of our support of Israel and refusal to sell Libya arms in the 1970s? Are they going to connect our attempted assassination of Gaddafi in 1986 to his renewed support among the Libyan populace that gave him yet another excuse to suppress the national will of Libyans through another campaign of executions and torture?

There's not enough time between commercials to tell the truth anymore. All Americans hear is that "terrorists hate our freedom" and "Muslims only understand violence."

So what do Americans understand? What was our reaction to a tiny group of extremists being lucky enough to stumble across one of the most inept Presidential Administrations in American history? Diplomacy? Reconciliation? Working with governments to gather evidence and put terrorists on trial? Or was it a simple reflection of the bloodlust displayed by those terrorist groups?

When we kill a few dozen people across Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan, it's not even news. When the violence predictably crosses back in our direction, it's time for another round of national hysteria. And when anyone proposes that we stop traveling tens of thousands of miles to blow shit up because we think we have the right and the ability to control the destiny of the world with the military apparatus that is emptying our treasury and corroding our soul, they're accused of being lunatics.

I'm so fucking tired of the cycle I can barely stand living here anymore.
posted by deanklear at 8:49 AM on September 12, 2012 [59 favorites]


I'm really surprised that there was this little security at the US consulate at Benghazi (or that it was overwhelmed this quickly). Given how much of a fortress the US missions I'm familiar with have become, I find it rather surprising.

What I'm not surprised is the tweets by the US Embassy in Cairo. As someone who's seen you Americans from the other side of the fence, you should be proud of the manner in which your men and women advance American soft power in subtle, but significant, ways. The US consulate back home in (Muslim-heavy) Hyderabad regularly tweets on Muslim outreach efforts; its officers speak fluent Urdu, they talk about Ramzaan as it is celebrated in the US... Loads of positive messages reaching out to the Muslim community. None to apologize for America or anything, but to advance American soft power and its interests. Can't tell you how many embassy/ Diplomatic corps types from other countries have looked to these embassy outreach efforts with awe.

National loyalties aside, to assume even for a moment that that the poor staff at the Cairo were doing anything but advance American interests is just plain unfair and wrong. Think the Romney campaign just might have lost some significant support among my interlocutors who work in the strat space.
posted by the cydonian at 8:49 AM on September 12, 2012 [36 favorites]


http://www.state.gov/m/ds/index.htm
posted by RedShrek at 8:50 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have been absolutely losing my shit at Romney over this.

Here's the best summary: look at this face. Look at this fucking smug smirking fucking face.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:52 AM on September 12, 2012 [27 favorites]


Arab World: Outrage Over Killing of US Ambassador in Benghazi. It's important to remember just how many people in the Arab world do NOT support this sort of thing.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:53 AM on September 12, 2012 [29 favorites]


Here's the best summary: look at this face. Look at this fucking smug smirking fucking face.

Apparently it's on the video, too. I'd be shocked if at least one or two web videos, if not aired commercials, feature this.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:54 AM on September 12, 2012


I'm not sure of the reason, but many of the citizens of Libya and Egypt believe that the US government has something to do with the production of the movie.

I’m not sure that’s the correct conclusion. Many people simply don’t recognize freedom of speech in the same way, at least without overriding exceptions for blasphemy, so in a sense, they take issue with the US government in condoning such expressions by not cracking down on them the way they expect a government should. The way they would certainly expect their own government to.

And, of course, you'd have to be a moron to think that Obama personally directs the twitter stream of US Embassies around the world.

This is a perfectly reasonable observation yet one that sides can endlessly bicker about if previous controversies are any indication. I think the Republican response is a gift to Obama, actually, because of the time issue. If you’re going to put something forward as evidence of spineless kow-towing by the presidency, you probably don’t want to choose something that can be corrected in black in white terms in a about a half second. Anyone who parrots this is wearing a flat earth sandwich board. It outs them as ignorant at best, a liar at worst, in the starkest terms.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:54 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Many people simply don’t recognize freedom of speech in the same way, at least without overriding exceptions for blasphemy, so in a sense, they take issue with the US government in condoning such expressions by not cracking down on them the way they expect a government should. The way they would certainly expect their own government to.

That's precisely why the Obama Administration needs to articulate a positive defense of free expression in this instance. Because if all Obama does is condemn the film, and the producers keep walking the streets and putting out incendiary material, Obama appears either weak or complicit. He needs to explain what freedom means to us as Americans, and why people like Terry Jones are free in America to do vile and offensive things with impunity.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:00 AM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I honestly think this is a given. It's possible to believe in freedom of expression, but still have the right to say "but this was a shitty film".

No--it is absolutely mandatory that if you believe in freedom of expression (as opposed to merely believing in the mandatory/compulsory expression of every fleeting idea or passing impulse) then you have to believe both in the right to not express a particular opinion or belief (freedom includes the freedom to not express an idea, and this was a key part of the original American understanding of the freedom, too, since people throughout history have been forced to "confess" things or to testify against themselves and we wanted to guard against those aspects of lack of speech freedom too, once upon a time) and you have to believe in the absolute right to criticize any speech act. Period.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:02 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Many people simply don’t recognize freedom of speech in the same way, at least without overriding exceptions for blasphemy, so in a sense, they take issue with the US government in condoning such expressions by not cracking down on them the way they expect a government should.

Exactly. News story today in Oregon, the Chinese consulate in San Francisco demanded that the mayor of Corvallis have a mural on a private restaurant removed, because it shows independence efforts in Tibet and Taiwan. The mayor had to respond "Uh, doesn't work that way here."
posted by msalt at 9:02 AM on September 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


Saul: what exactly about what I said makes you think that I DON'T think that we deserve the right to criticize any speech act?

I was responding to BobbyVan, who is giving me the impression that we SHOULDN'T criticize speech acts, and is in fact calling for a presidential SUPPORT of a speech act that deserves that very criticism.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:04 AM on September 12, 2012


Why should the US State Department have to expend tax money defending some little shit's deliberately provocative film when that film has directly cost them their own people's lives? This is not a free speech issue.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:05 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guardian article about the making of the film that TheWhileSkull linked is interesting. Here's the timeline:

Summer 2011: Sam Bacile makes $5m amateur movie. Sam Bacile says he is Israeli and the film was funded by 100 jewish donors. However, all those details are being questioned.

An associate of Bacile says Bacile knew the film would lead to violence.

Earlier this year: Film is shown once, in a mostly empty theater in Hollywood.

Early July: Bacile posts a 13 minute extract to YouTube

Sometime after that: A version of the extract dubbed into Egyptian Arabic appears, source unknown

Last week: Morris Sadik, Egyptian Coptic Christian based in California, who leads a group described as 'virulently Islamophobic', promotes extract, it starts going viral

08/Sep/12: Firebrand Cairo television host, Sheikh Khaled Abdallah, shows clips on TV

Earlier this week: Terry Jones announces he wants to screen the film

Since last week: Arab views of the extract snowball exponentially, militant Islamists call for a mass protest at the US embassy in Cairo

Tuesday night: Cairo embassy protest, a few dozen protestors get inside the compound

Later tuesday night: Benghazi, Libya: According to al-Jazeera, an extremist militia called Ansar al-Sharia heard about the storming of the Cairo embassy and the American film. They head "into the streets calling on people to go ahead and attack the American consulate". Rocket-propelled grenades were reported to have been fired from a farm next door to the consulate.
posted by memebake at 9:06 AM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


I was responding to BobbyVan, who is giving me the impression that we SHOULDN'T criticize speech acts, and is in fact calling for a presidential SUPPORT of a speech act that deserves that very criticism.

Sorry if I was unclear. I think it's absolutely appropriate to criticize speech acts, especially in this case. But if that criticism isn't accompanied by an articulation of the value of free expression - of all kinds - in a liberal democracy, listeners in other cultures will be confused as to why something isn't done about blasphemy.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:06 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Filmmaker. The question of the day is whether Sheldon Adelson was one of his 100 donors?
posted by Xurando at 9:06 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


BobbyVan: Terry Jones DID NOT MAKE THIS FILM!
posted by humph at 9:06 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


if all Obama does is condemn the film, and the producers keep walking the streets and putting out incendiary material, Obama appears either weak or complicit.

This is a fair point. If you play into the expectation, born of a political culture of censorship, that the government will take public stands against odious speech, you're not actually contradicting the idea that the government is also supposed to stop that speech.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:07 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


BobbyVan: You're condemning the state department for not defending the film on free speech grounds. Why should they when it's a crappy film that doesn't advance the cause of free speech but actually helps to subvert it by giving autocratic regimes one more example to point to of a free speech act directly causing violence and civil unrest?
posted by saulgoodman at 9:07 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know. I just threw his name out as an example.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:07 AM on September 12, 2012


if all Obama does is condemn the film, and the producers keep walking the streets and putting out incendiary material, Obama appears either weak or complicit.


...In all honesty, how? Condemning the film personally is the only thing Obama can do without violating the producers' First Amendment rights. The only way he could do anything further would be to violate the law.

Being "weak or complicit" would be if he didn't say anything at all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:09 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


It would seem that just as Clint Eastwood showed us that Republicans can see a President Obama none of the rest of us can see, this thread is showing that they can see apologies that none of the rest of us can see. Not to mention a tradition of robust defense of First Amendment rights in relation to artistic expression on religious topics.

I'm not sure that shameless lying is quite the crackerjack political tactic that the Republican party (and its supporters) clearly hope it will be, but at least this election's going to be a damned good test of the hypothesis.
posted by yoink at 9:12 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Why should the US State Department have to expend tax money defending some little shit's deliberately provocative film when that film has directly cost them their own people's lives? This is not a free speech issue.
Dude... seriously? Freedom isn't free. Just stop by your local VFW and see for yourself.
posted by Blue_Villain at 9:13 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Blue-Villain, what precisely are you getting at here?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:14 AM on September 12, 2012


Oh one more thing: as the famous Indian psychologist and social commentator once said, sectarian riots (in India, but equally applicable here) are often very secular in nature. Which is to say, its more correct to say people use films such as this as an excuse to riot, than an actual incitement or anything. Seen in that sense, and given that the American missions in Benghazi and Cairo are American territories, this legally, realistically and truly was an attack on America.
posted by the cydonian at 9:14 AM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Because there is a strong expectation in many states, including the Islamist ones, that the government will actively stop bad speech. That's where these protests come from in the first place – the idea that the American government must support these attacks on Islam, because if it didn't it would do what the Middle Eastern governments do to “blasphemous” speech and repress it.

For Obama to condemn the film but not take any legal action against its makers is completely obvious to somebody who has internalized the First Amendment. But when you're coming from a perspective where the government stomps on speech it doesn't like, for a head of state to say the movie is odious but not do anything about it, without a serious treatment of free speech to recontextualize the thing, makes him look like a liar.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:18 AM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Condemning the film personally is the only thing Obama can do without violating the producers' First Amendment rights.

You and I know that. The people who support the attacks on our diplomatic posts probably don't.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:18 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mitt Romney Response To Libya, Egypt Attacks Called 'Irresponsible,' 'Craven,' 'Ham-Handed'.
posted by ericb at 9:20 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


You and I know that. The people who support the attacks on our diplomatic posts probably don't.

Then, as with most else in this sorry affair, it becomes a task of curing ignorance, versus response in kind.
posted by Mooski at 9:21 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The repeated attacks from Romney about Obama sympathizing with the attackers are already feeding into the internal conservative narrative of Obama as a crypto-Muslim. Given Romney's tacit endorsement of the birther movement, I'm finding it extremely difficult to believe that's an accidental or unintended effect.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:23 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blue-Villain, what precisely are you getting at here?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:14 AM on September 12 [+] [!]

? I'm confused... I copied the exact post that I was responding to. I can google the way that Freedoms are protected, and then list them one by one until I reach a specified target to place blame... but that didn't seem necessary.
posted by Blue_Villain at 9:25 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


From a comprehensive NYT article on the situation:
The trailer was uploaded to YouTube by someone identified as Sam Bacile, whom The Wall Street Journal Web site described as a 52-year old Israeli-American real estate developer in California. He was quoted as telling the Web site he had raised $5 million from 100 Jewish donors to make the film. “Islam is a cancer,” Mr. Bacile was quoted as saying.

The Israeli government moved quickly to distance Israel from the creator of the film. Yigal Palmor, the spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said in a telephoned statement that “Nobody knows who he is. He is totally unknown in filmmaking circles in Israel. And anything he did — he is not doing it for Israel, or with Israel, or through Israel in any way.” Mr. Palmor also called Mr. Bacile “a complete loose cannon and an unspeakable idiot.”
Strange to think that this schmo could have a role in influencing American foreign policy going forward, the presidential election, security policy at embassies etc, not to mention the death of a number of people, all because of some shitty video. It's unfairly easy to make a backwards, polemical video and upload it to the internet, and so far it seems we haven't been able to stop others from reacting in outsize ways to thinks like Terry Jones burning the Koran (not that taking offense to that is unjustified, but doing so in a violent way is). I don't really know what the solution is here.
posted by sallybrown at 9:26 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


The smirking Romney picture is already becoming a thing on Twitter.

Everything I've heard about the Ambassador makes this a terrible public loss as well as the private losses of the friends and loved ones of the victims. When I went to bed last night, it was Cairo, now it's Benghazi, and I'm hoping there won't be more later today.
posted by immlass at 9:29 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good dog almighty I thought my opinion of that shit sack sucking bastard could not get any lower, I hope this causes Romney to be roundly shunned and the ground before him spat upon. He is not fit to run a soil conservation post let alone be in a position where diplomacy is even remotely a part of the job description. I hope this hounds him away from public office forever and ever and the name Willard is no longer bestowed upon babies for the same such a moniker brings. I hope he looks back upon this day and feels shame and regret.

I have been... less then kind... regarding Romney in the past, but frankly all I hoped for then was that he would lose the presidential election, I actually kind of wish (non physical) ill upon him right at this moment.

Fucking idiot.
posted by edgeways at 9:31 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


BobbyVan: "That's precisely why the Obama Administration needs to articulate a positive defense of free expression in this instance. Because if all Obama does is condemn the film, and the producers keep walking the streets and putting out incendiary material, Obama appears either weak or complicit. He needs to explain what freedom means to us as Americans, and why people like Terry Jones are free in America to do vile and offensive things with impunity."

You might, you know, give the man a little time.
posted by wierdo at 9:31 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Blue_Villain: "? I'm confused... I copied the exact post that I was responding to. I can google the way that Freedoms are protected, and then list them one by one until I reach a specified target to place blame... but that didn't seem necessary."

Are you perhaps confusing the State Department with the military in some fashion? In any case, actually outlining your point rather than expressing confusion over people's uncertainty about your comment might be more helpful than telling us that you're not googling something.
posted by boo_radley at 9:33 AM on September 12, 2012


That smirk pic might as well have been Mitt riding in a tank, wearing a giant helmet.
posted by drezdn at 9:35 AM on September 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


Here's Noonan's appearance on Fox News. Watch the announcer try and help Romney out.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:37 AM on September 12, 2012


BobbyVan: Terry Jones DID NOT MAKE THIS FILM!
Neither did Terry Jones.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:37 AM on September 12, 2012


cue Romney complaining his statement is being "politicized" in this crisis and going full Rove saying that the prez is doing this in 5 . . 4 . . 3 . .
posted by Ironmouth at 9:39 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Condemning the film personally is the only thing Obama can do without violating the producers' First Amendment rights.

You and I know that. The people who support the attacks on our diplomatic posts probably don't.


The people who "support the attacks on our diplomatic posts" are a handful of wack-nut zealots who probably wouldn't CARE what Obama had to say on the matter because they've already written us off. Obama making a statement about what we believe about free speech would probably just make them say "and that leads to even greater perversion in their society, see?" I'm not seeing how it'd help.

? I'm confused... I copied the exact post that I was responding to. I can google the way that Freedoms are protected, and then list them one by one until I reach a specified target to place blame... but that didn't seem necessary.

Okay, let me rephrase the question thusly: someone said that the producers of this film don't deserve protection under the First Amendment. But your response was "freedom isn't free, go talk to a vet". How did you interpret "the producers of the film are dicks" as an attack on the military?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:39 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is how you issue a statement.
posted by Vysharra at 9:40 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Report: Maker of anti-Islamic film 'Innocence of Muslims' goes into hiding.
posted by ericb at 9:42 AM on September 12, 2012


Sally Brown: ... I don't really know what the solution is here.

Your post sums it up well. What we have here - stripped down - is someone doing something that makes some other people very angry. And thats happening all the time all over the place. Angry people are protesting about things right now all over the world, but mostly it doesn't lead to bloodshed.

Whats happened in Benghazi (and to a lesser extent, Cairo) is armed factions who have something to gain from unrest and violence fanning the flames of peoples genuine anger and using it as a cover to attack. That's taking the religious anger and leveraging it for power/political reasons.

The only thing a modern state (i.e. US) could do about that is hope to keep an eye on the factions and try to handle each situation as it arises (because permanent very-high security can send the wrong message). Unfortunately, in unstable places and very volatile rapidly changing situations this cannot be done perfectly.
posted by memebake at 9:43 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, let me rephrase the question thusly: someone said that the producers of this film don't deserve protection under the First Amendment. But your response was "freedom isn't free, go talk to a vet". How did you interpret "the producers of the film are dicks" as an attack on the military?

How I read his response is that freedom is hard - both hard to win, and hard to preserve. That one of the requirements for being a country that cares about freedoms is to defend them even when the individuals pressing them may be reprehensible. Just as soldiers must fight to defend freedoms, so too must individuals. And it's hard - hard emotionally, hard physically - but it needs to be done.
posted by corb at 9:44 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The people who "support the attacks on our diplomatic posts" are a handful of wack-nut zealots who probably wouldn't CARE what Obama had to say on the matter because they've already written us off. Obama making a statement about what we believe about free speech would probably just make them say "and that leads to even greater perversion in their society, see?" I'm not seeing how it'd help.

If that's the case, why did Obama and the rest of the US government condemn the "denigration" of another religion? Surely there's a calculation that this will soothe the hard feelings...
posted by BobbyVan at 9:44 AM on September 12, 2012


Romney hooks himself off the stage.
posted by gaspode at 9:45 AM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


After Embassy Attacks, Romney Doubles Down On Obama Criticism.
posted by ericb at 9:45 AM on September 12, 2012


How I read his response is that freedom is hard - both hard to win, and hard to preserve. That one of the requirements for being a country that cares about freedoms is to defend them even when the individuals pressing them may be reprehensible. Just as soldiers must fight to defend freedoms, so too must individuals. And it's hard - hard emotionally, hard physically - but it needs to be done.

Do you agree or disagree with the sentiments expressed in the movie?
posted by Ironmouth at 9:46 AM on September 12, 2012


From above: Foreign Policy Hands Voice Disbelief At Romney Cairo Statement: “Bungle… utter disaster…not ready for prime time… not presidential… Lehman moment.” And that's just the Republicans
"They were just trying to score a cheap news cycle hit based on the embassy statement and now it’s just completely blown up," said a very senior Republican foreign policy hand, who called the statement an "utter disaster" and a "Lehman moment" — a parallel to the moment when John McCain, amid the 2008 financial crisis, failed to come across as a steady leader.

He and other members of both parties cited the Romney campaign's recent dismissals of foreign policy's relevance. One adviser dismissed the subject to BuzzFeed as a "shiny object," while another told Politico that the subject was the "president's turf," drawing a rebuke from Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.

"I guess we see now that it is because they’re incompetent at talking effectively about foreign policy," said the Republican. "This is just unbelievable — when they decide to play on it they completely bungle it."
Ouch!
posted by ericb at 9:48 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


If that's the case, why did Obama and the rest of the US government condemn the "denigration" of another religion? Surely there's a calculation that this will soothe the hard feelings...

All persons in favor of not denigrating other people's religions, please raise your hand.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:49 AM on September 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


And it's hard - hard emotionally, hard physically - but it needs to be done.

Nah, the producers of this film are dicks who lack common sense.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:49 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


If that's the case, why did Obama and the rest of the US government condemn the "denigration" of another religion? Surely there's a calculation that this will soothe the hard feelings...

If you were a moderate Muslim in Egypt, wouldn't you hope he'd at least say something to that effect? Wouldn't it stick in your craw a bit if he didn't?

The handful of zealots who did this probably wouldn't listen to a rational defense of free speech. But the vast majority of moderate Muslims, and the rest of us Americans, probably appreciate the reminder that "Hey, I know we've got free speech and all, but using that freedom to slam another religion is a pretty dick move". (And, the guy that PRODUCED the film sure needs to get that memo.)

How I read his response is that freedom is hard - both hard to win, and hard to preserve.

Still not seeing the connection to the statement that prompted it. I'd like to have Blue-Villian clarify directly, also.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:50 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


BobbyVan: "If that's the case, why did Obama and the rest of the US government condemn the "denigration" of another religion? Surely there's a calculation that this will soothe the hard feelings..."

This is diplomacy, yes?
posted by boo_radley at 9:51 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Quilliam Foundation suggests that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya would have happened regardless of the demonstration against the film.
We at Quilliam believe the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi was a well planned terrorist attack that would have occurred regardless of the demonstration, to serve another purpose. According to information obtained by Quilliam – from foreign sources and from within Benghazi – we have reason to believe that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi came to avenge the death of Abu Yaya al-Libi, al-Qaeda’s second in command killed a few months ago.

The reasons for this are as follows:

24 hours before this attack, none other than the leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, released a video on Jihadist forums to mark the anniversary of 9/11. In this video, Zawahiri acknowledged the death of his second in command Abu Yahya and urged Libyans to avenge his killing.

According to our sources, the attack was the work of roughly 20 militants, prepared for a military assault – it is rare that an RPG7 is present at a peaceful protest.

According to our sources, the attack against the Consulate had two waves. The first attack led to US officials being evacuated from the consulate by Libyan security forces, only for the second wave to be launched against US officials after they were kept in a secure location.
posted by gladly at 9:52 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Marines Head to Libya After Mob Kills Ambassador
posted by homunculus at 9:53 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been looking at the right leaning news sites and why they're less than pleased with Obama's foreign policy, they generally aren't jumping up to defend Mitt's antics in this mess. At most, they tend to acknowledge he's walking a dangerous line and needs to be careful. Most agreed that at times like this there isn't a Democratic or Republican President, just an American one.

My gut tells me that Romney's actions here won't play well with independents. The man had a chance to be a statesman and went for the cheap shot. It's similar to McCain's immature antics when the financial crisis hit i.e. wanting to call off the debates and race to Washington to do...something.

So politics wise, it remains to be seen how this plays out in terms of the US election.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:54 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is diplomacy, yes?

Yes, but maybe not good diplomacy. A message that the US government doesn't share the filmmakers' viewpoint, and in fact strongly opposes it, may not actually help calm the people who riot over things Americans say on American soil, because they expect governments to throw people in jail for saying things they strongly oppose. (The ones who do know how free speech works know what he means but aren't the target audience.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:56 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This attack appears to be not related to the movie at all. It is Al Qadea.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:58 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Quilliam Foundation suggests that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya would have happened regardless of the demonstration against the film.

Which now means Romney has said Obama sympathizes with actual terrorists. I imagine that will go over well.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:59 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, the Quilliam Foundation always reminds me of Squidward's nemesis, Squilliam. Just had to say.
posted by scolbath at 10:03 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"There is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence — NONE." (from Pres. Obama's statement)

Probably won't satisfy Republican concern trolls, since he didn't mention the First Amendment, but I thought it was a very good statement (in general, not just this bit).
posted by Eyebeams at 10:05 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Because if all Obama does is condemn the film, and the producers keep walking the streets and putting out incendiary material, Obama appears either weak or complicit.

Maybe he should point to D'Souza's 2016 as evidence of how we have learned to tolerate our own incendiary zealots.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:05 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ironmouth: This attack appears to be not related to the movie at all. It is Al Qadea.

Yeah, looking at that Quilliam info, and given that Rocket Propelled Grenades were involved, and the date, and that somebody knew where the safe-house was, this could well be a pre-planned attack that opportunistically whipped up some protestors as a cover/smokescreen/confusion tactic.
posted by memebake at 10:05 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, so, this was a coordinated attack by Al Qaeda? Which means the robot planes are now currently in orbit, patrolling Eastern Libya? And soon, a crack team of special forces will blow the shit out of some desert terrorist training camp? Then Obama will hit the airwaves and deliver a prime-time speech about how those who seek to harm our citizens and ambassadors abroad will soon find the full force of our military at their door?

And Romney wanted to get out in front of all that to let the world know he disagrees?

I cannot express how shocked I am today to see - really, truly see - just how stupid Mitt Romney is.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:08 AM on September 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


Blue-Villain, what precisely are you getting at here?

I assume he's making an ironic parody of a dumb comment someone might make.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:09 AM on September 12, 2012


I wonder if the Ambassador was scheduled-in-advance to visit Benghazi that day, and whether the attackers knew that.
posted by memebake at 10:10 AM on September 12, 2012


If that's the case, why did Obama and the rest of the US government condemn the "denigration" of another religion?

Yes. It's so offensive that they would say this, those cheese-eating surrender-monkey Democrats. I was particularly offended by this line:
''We find them offensive, and we certainly understand why Muslims would find these images offensive.''
Oh, no, wait. That was the Bush administration referring to the Danish Muhammed cartoons. Now that I look at that statement again, it's a model of reasoned diplomacy in a tense situation. Why couldn't the Obama administration do something like this?
posted by yoink at 10:12 AM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


The ones who do know how free speech works know what he means but aren't the target audience.

Hey, "moderate" Muslim here (the quotes are because people like me are not supposed to exist). I don't even want to go see the trailer for that movie, since it sounds like it would make me very angry. It is absolutely important for me to hear that my President thinks it's not okay to denigrate my religion, even as I understand that the law prohibits him from punishing the film-maker in any way. Also that the prohibition against punishing him is a good thing. I still like that my President thinks that courtesy is a good thing.

What makes you think that I'm not part of his target audience?
posted by bardophile at 10:13 AM on September 12, 2012 [59 favorites]


Do you agree or disagree with the sentiments expressed in the movie?

Ironmouth: I haven't actually watched the movie. I'm an atheist, so I don't really think that anyone's religion is correct, or happens exactly the way they say it is. I don't really know much of the content there. I think poking people in the religion isn't nice, but thus far all I've heard about the summary is that it references Mohammed having child brides? Which, lots of ancient religions did the child-bride thing. I don't approve of that, but I don't think Islam should have special hate directed against it for that.

I'm not really sure where you're going, here.
posted by corb at 10:14 AM on September 12, 2012


I cannot express how shocked I am today to see - really, truly see - just how stupid Mitt Romney is.

I'm just waiting for the Adelson-funded "Obama apologized to Al-Qaeda!!!!" attack ad.
posted by sallybrown at 10:14 AM on September 12, 2012


I wonder if people would be so worried about the filmmakers and those who are promoting it's viewpoint if it was Fred Phelps who was backing it. Or the Klan.

Because really that's who Terry Jones is, only better funded. I'm not saying that he doesn't have the rights of free speech. But be careful who you're defending. This is a hate group - pure and simple. The only reason he's not just as much a terrorist as those militants who sadly prove his incorrect and prejudiced point is because he's from a country where the level of security makes that much harder.

(To say that Sam Bacile is separate from them just because he's the one who directed and funded it, when it is Jones's promotion and association that has turned it into what it is blatantly ignoring just about every thing about the reality of the situation to an almost Romney-like level.)

All that being said, I agree with Ironmouth. I don't think the attack really has much to do with the movie at all.

The stupidest thing, from a political perspective, that Romney has done is not just proven that he isn't ready for the big chair by being non...almost anti... presidential; it's that he didn't just stay out of the way and let the Middle East policy story that could actually hurt Obama get more traction.

Looking at how successful Mitt Romney has been but how stupid he has seemed as a presidential candidate makes me think that, beyond being born on third base and thinking he hit a triple... something something.. What I mean is at least G.W. Bush knew, occasionally, when to shut the fuck up. Romney isn't even aware how bad he seems.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:15 AM on September 12, 2012


Don't Give Up on the Arab Spring: Why America did the right thing in Libya -- and freedom will eventually win.
posted by homunculus at 10:18 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


And here comes the inevitable Smirking Mitt Tumblr.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:19 AM on September 12, 2012


Again - Terry Jones had nothing to do with this film.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 10:19 AM on September 12, 2012


Er, here.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:19 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Terry Jones had nothing to do with this film.

You mean, other than endorsing it and planning a public showing of the trailer?
posted by bardophile at 10:22 AM on September 12, 2012


Oh, wait, now I've found the Obama State Department statement that really infuriates me and which BobbyVan will join me in condemning heartily:
We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable
This is just outrageous! I mean, how dare they suggest that freedom of speech still leaves any room for judgment as to whether speech is reasonable, responsible or "acceptable"? This is just craven and disgusting!

Wait, what's that? That's the Bush State Department responding to the Danish cartoons AGAIN? SON OF A B.....

O.K., wait, now I re-read that I can see I missed a few things the first time. It's obviously a masterly example of tempered diplomacy. Damn you Obama! Why couldn't you just follow this sterling example?
posted by yoink at 10:22 AM on September 12, 2012 [27 favorites]


SON OF A B.....

Jon Stewart... is it really you?
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:24 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yoink, I....think you're trying to be satirical, but it may be on a level the rest of us need a boost to come up to.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:25 AM on September 12, 2012


Do you agree or disagree with the sentiments expressed in the movie?

Ironmouth: I haven't actually watched the movie. I'm an atheist, so I don't really think that anyone's religion is correct, or happens exactly the way they say it is. I don't really know much of the content there. I think poking people in the religion isn't nice, but thus far all I've heard about the summary is that it references Mohammed having child brides? Which, lots of ancient religions did the child-bride thing. I don't approve of that, but I don't think Islam should have special hate directed against it for that.

I'm not really sure where you're going, here.


Its a movie denigrating Islam, made by a guy who called Islam a cancer. The proper response is to denounce it. To do anything less is to make it sound like we are in favor.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:28 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Members of both the House and Senate Intelligence committees are apparently leaking that this was Al Qaeda, not the protesters.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:30 AM on September 12, 2012


Just more proof that republicans cannot be trusted with national security or foreign policy.

Freedom of religion is just as important as freedom of speech. We are, after all, a country founded by people fleeing religious persecution. I imagine the founders thought much of the speech the constitution is protecting would be religious. It is only right that Obama would confirm our dedication to religious freedom.

This is Romney's riding in a tank, picking Palin, and Kitty Dukakis question rolled into one. Someone should float the idea that there should be a psych evaluation before he can hold the office. We need the long form evaluation as well.

Mr Romney, If there is a ticking time bomb, would you toture the suspect to find out the location or stand around tweeting "obama sux". They always hit dems with no-win questions we are just too polite to do it back.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:31 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the video on this page is what Romney is going to sound like should he be elected President, I'm going to go crazy from his delivery, and deaf from all the lip smacking.
posted by NationalKato at 10:31 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nah, the producers of this film are dicks who lack common sense.

It's a problem of global cultural norms - there are plenty of "dicks who lack common sense" who express themselves in American entertainment every day. We take free speech seriously enough to have basically given up on any hope of propriety or decorum :) - just about anything goes. Other cultures have different standards, and don't see free speech as that important, at least not in the same way (and if you ask an 18th century American if free speech included selling sex toys that looked like Jesus... well, it was a different time)

sell the Jackhammer Jesus dildo and Baby Jesus butt plugs. There's a musical on Broadway about the Book of Mormon which involves their holy book being shoved into someone's ass. Yes, there may be people pissed - but again I want to stress - nobody is dying over it.

The families of the dead Iraqis and various drone strikes thank you for your nuanced statement.


What are you suggesting? American Christians upset at American heathens are taking it out on Iraqis? I don't get it.
posted by mdn at 10:33 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council: "I don't think the president sympathizes with those who perpetrated these attacks"

When you've lost Tony Perkins...
posted by zombieflanders at 10:35 AM on September 12, 2012 [16 favorites]


From above: Mitt Romney's statement, translated: I'm not ready to be president.
"I also believe the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing" with the attackers "instead of condemning" the attackers. Two sentences later, Romney says the administration "distanced itself" from the statement that he just said it had stood by. Romney can't even keep his story straight from sentence to sentence. But he's standing by his attack.

... Did Romney jump the gun? "I don't think we ever hesitate when we see something which is a violation of our principals."

... Then he says he won't respond to hypotheticals about what he would have said had he actually known what has happening in Egypt.

... I'd like to see a reporter ask Romney to quote from a statement issued by the administration and say specifically what he disagreed with. Because so far as I can tell, everything he is saying he's making up out of thin air.
All air and no substance. Can't/won't give specifics. Empty-headed, opportunistic flip-flopping robot, indeed.
posted by ericb at 10:38 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it's true that this was al Al Qaeda and not an angry mob, Mitt Romney's day just got a whole lot worse.
posted by gerryblog at 10:39 AM on September 12, 2012


Yeah but Jim DeMint has Romney's back, so there!
posted by edgeways at 10:39 AM on September 12, 2012


Timeline: How U.S. Politicians Reacted To Unfolding Events Abroad
posted by homunculus at 10:41 AM on September 12, 2012


Yoink, I....think you're trying to be satirical, but it may be on a level the rest of us need a boost to come up to.

EC, I think you must have misread something in my posts if you find the very heavy-handed and straightforward satire difficult to parse. On the other hand, I'll happily say plainly what I'm saying a little indirectly in those posts: BobbyVan, Corb and the rest of those around the place gaily parroting the Republican Party's talking points about this tragedy in the hopes of cynically squeezing some political advantage out of it are being blatantly and disgustingly hypocritical. There is not a single honest word in their criticisms of the administration's responses, which are entirely opportunistic. Had the administration lead by stressing the rights of freedom of speech, they would as happily have seized on that as proof that the Democrats were mishandling the diplomatic situation and that they were inadequately sensitive to religious insult in general.

The particular vehicle of my satiric comment is simply to underscore their hypocrisy by showing that a Republican administration's response to a related crisis concerning defamatory representations of Muhammed were very similar to what they are currently objecting to from a Democratic administration.
posted by yoink at 10:42 AM on September 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


Do you agree or disagree with the sentiments expressed in the movie?
I think the answer to that question is a moot point. They had a right to make whatever movie they want. That's part of the freedom of religion/speech/et al. we ALL have as Americans.

Was it an extreme viewpoint? Probably. I didn't watch it so I wouldn't know, but we all have our own views, and it's our right to both have and express them.

Part of that freedom is the ability and/or necessity to protect those who say things we might not agree with. Sometimes that comes in the form of military action.

Call me cray cray, but I figured this was part of that whole "self evident" thing that people learn about in like the fifth grade.
posted by Blue_Villain at 10:42 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


What zombieflanders said. And remember, Rmoney is supposed to be (or was supposed at one time have been at one point) a moderate Republican.

RESOLVED: The modern Republican Party is the worst political party in U.S. history.
posted by Eyebeams at 10:43 AM on September 12, 2012


He is saying, mayhaps if there were a war, or several wars specifically going on against "the terrorists only of the christian faith", as there is on(specifically, and directly, with casualties, and innocent side-victims) "Islamic terrorists", that those christians would not be so silent/non-violent, and that going all "oooo, look, we poke christians with dildoes, and they don't even shoot us, so there neeners, christians are sooo much cooler than Islam, Emirite"...

The 'point' is that all the times people do this, they raise false equivalencies... where one group has concerted war efforts against them, this other "comparable" group is left alone (it's "too soon" to talk about this) when members go on rampages and murder other people in mass shootings and bombings.

The war's on Christians and Muslims are not "equal", one is made up, as in a war on christmas, the other is part of an ongoing full scale, actual military, social, and political conflict, and to pretend that they are equivalent, or give "props" to the Christians for not doing 9/11 when people (who are christian [by the way]) make art like Piss-Christ... is... well, sad on such a day of tragedy.
posted by infinite intimation at 10:43 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


("he" being in response to the question asked here)
posted by infinite intimation at 10:45 AM on September 12, 2012


Was it an extreme viewpoint? Probably. I didn't watch it so I wouldn't know, but we all have our own views, and it's our right to both have and express them.

Part of that freedom is the ability and/or necessity to protect those who say things we might not agree with.


Who is infringing that right in any way whatsoever?

The right to free speech does not include immunity from criticism. You have a right to say whatever you want to say (short of some common sense boundaries--libel, slander, "fire in a crowded theater" etc.). I have a right to say that what you're saying is disgusting, irresponsible and that you should be ashamed for having said it. That's how free speech works.
posted by yoink at 10:45 AM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


RESOLVED: The modern Republican Party is the worst political party in U.S. history.

Well...do remember there was an actual American Nazi Party!
posted by yoink at 10:47 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Steve Benen: Romney digs deeper after Libya debacle

A 'Lehman moment'
posted by homunculus at 10:48 AM on September 12, 2012


Well...do remember there was an actual American Nazi Party!

Say what you will about the tenets of the American Nazi Party, but at least its an ethos.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:49 AM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Who is infringing that right in any way whatsoever?
Seriously? I wish there was another context I could take that in so as to possibly imagine that I might be on the wrong side of this argument.

Criticism !== RPG fired into buildings where human beings occupy.

We can criticize the movie all we want. But it's our responsibility to defend the rights of the people who say crazy things, mostly because one day the things we say will make other people think we're crazy. And we'll need people to defend our rights then too.
posted by Blue_Villain at 10:49 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ok, so the film wasn't made by an Israeli named Sam Bacile. Curiouser.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:50 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


There is not a single honest word in their criticisms of the administration's responses, which are entirely opportunistic. Had the administration lead by stressing the rights of freedom of speech, they would as happily have seized on that as proof that the Democrats were mishandling the diplomatic situation and that they were inadequately sensitive to religious insult in general.

Yoink, you stepped over the line with that comment. "Not a single honest word" in my criticisms? Fuck that. Apologize.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:50 AM on September 12, 2012


we all have our own views, and it's our right to both have and express them.

Yeah, and that includes the right to say "I think your opinion is bullshit." Which is all that happened.

Part of that freedom is the ability and/or necessity to protect those who say things we might not agree with. Sometimes that comes in the form of military action.

So...you think that us saying "the guy who made this video is a fucktard" is exactly the same as saying "troops home now".

Ohhhhhh-kay.

Call me cray cray, but I figured this was part of that whole "self evident" thing that people learn about in like the fifth grade.

I think people may not be calling you crazy for quite the reason you think they are.

EC, I think you must have misread something in my posts if you find the very heavy-handed and straightforward satire difficult to parse. On the other hand, I'll happily say plainly what I'm saying a little indirectly in those posts: BobbyVan, Corb and the rest of those around the place gaily parroting the Republican Party's talking points about this tragedy in the hopes of cynically squeezing some political advantage out of it are being blatantly and disgustingly hypocritical.

....I wasn't taking BobbyVan's responses as "parroting the Republican response" in any way, actually; he seemed to be coming from more of a progressive-left perspective. Which may be where your "straightforward" satire backfired a bit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:50 AM on September 12, 2012


The right to free speech does not include immunity from criticism. You have a right to say whatever you want to say (short of some common sense boundaries--libel, slander, "fire in a crowded theater" etc.). I have a right to say that what you're saying is disgusting, irresponsible and that you should be ashamed for having said it. That's how free speech works.

Perfectly said, and I can't understand why it keeps needing to be said. Since we're talking about things that we learned in fifth grade or whatever, I learned a long time ago what free speech is and isn't and it irritates me so much that people think free speech = say what you want with no criticism. The criticizers are exercising their right to free speech as well.
posted by sweetkid at 10:51 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, and that includes the right to say "I think your opinion is bullshit." Which is all that happened.
/facepalm

No. No it's not ALL that happened. People died. Perhaps you missed that part of the news today.
posted by Blue_Villain at 10:51 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Criticism !== RPG fired into buildings where human beings occupy. We can criticize the movie all we want. But it's our responsibility to defend the rights of the people who say crazy things, mostly because one day the things we say will make other people think we're crazy. And we'll need people to defend our rights then too.

Who the fuck is firing RPG'S into Terry Jones or Sam Bacile's houses, though? Or do you know something the rest of us don't?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:52 AM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Terry Jones had nothing to do with this film

That's misleading. Jones did not create the film, but it was one of his allies who decided last week was a good time to publicize it, as described in the NYT link you posted this morning:

Last week, an Egyptian-American Copt known for his broadsides against Muslims drew attention to the trailer in an Arabic-language blog post and an e-mail newsletter in English publicizing the latest publicity stunt of the Florida pastor Terry Jones, reviled in the Muslim world for burning copies of the Koran. Reached by telephone in Florida, a representative of Mr. Jones seemed unaware of the film, but hours later the pastor sent The Lede a statement by e-mail in which he complained of the attack on the embassy in Cairo and announced plans to screen the trailer for the film on Tuesday night. He said that it “reveals in a satirical fashion the life of Muhammad.”

The Coptic activist, Morris Sadek, did not respond to a request for an interview, but he is an ally of Mr. Jones and his blog post features a photograph of the two men at a tiny, anti-Islam protest outside the White House in June. Later, he told The Associated Press that he planned screenings of the film.

Although Mr. Sadek never claimed in his e-mail promoting Mr. Jones to have produced the movie — which dramatizes the life of Muhammad, incorporating scenes based on slurs about him that are often repeated by Islamophobes — three days after he passed around a link to the film’s trailer, a Cairo newspaper reported that the leader of an Egyptian political party had “denounced the production of the film with the participation of vengeful Copts, accompanied by the extremist priest Terry Jones.”

The same day, a scene from the film — in which an actor playing a buffoonish caricature of the prophet Muhammad calls a donkey “the first Muslim animal” — was broadcast on the Egyptian television channel Al-Nas by the host Sheikh Khaled Abdalla.


That Jones immediately jumped to schedule a showing of the film is the rest of the story, but the first part is worth keeping clear as well.
posted by mediareport at 10:52 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


No. No it's not ALL that happened. People died. Perhaps you missed that part of the news today.

But the people who died are not the same people who made the film. You're talking about two separate incidents.

Perhaps YOU missed that part of the news today.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:53 AM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


The right to free speech is so that you won't get your head kicked in for writing that Obama is a "secret muslim communist", it's not a blanket freedom from getting condemned for what you are saying card. Obama has first amendment rights himself right? He can condemn or condone whatever he wants knowing full well that might cause political and diplomatic blowback.

The Obama administration is saying that it regrets this sort of obvious trollbait material and does not condone it and that it doesn't reflect the position of the Administration. That seems like an imminently reasonable thing to say. The lack of right wing talking heads being rounded up and imprisoned seems to suggest that there is still a pretty basic acceptance of the first amendment within the Obama administration.
posted by vuron at 10:53 AM on September 12, 2012


What the eff are you guys talking about... the FPP is about an embassy being attacked, and at least four people were killed.

Or have we somehow left that topic behind?
posted by Blue_Villain at 10:53 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The right to free speech does not include immunity from criticism. You have a right to say whatever you want to say (short of some common sense boundaries--libel, slander, "fire in a crowded theater" etc.). I have a right to say that what you're saying is disgusting, irresponsible and that you should be ashamed for having said it. That's how free speech works.

Absolutely, I completely agree with you. What I was disagreeing with was someone upthread who was referencing someone else having said the filmmakers had no right to free speech rights.

There is not a single honest word in their criticisms of the administration's responses, which are entirely opportunistic.

Speaking for self, and not for BobbyVan, I would also disapprove of the Bush administration's response to the cartoons. I'm an equal-opportunity free-speech advocate.
posted by corb at 10:54 AM on September 12, 2012


Who is defending those who are murderers today??

I just don't see them.

Defend the "rights" of people to express... not to defend what they say. No one is agreeing with murder. People DO, however feel that the movie is a bad thing for diplomacy, and for peace prospects, and for basic common humanity. No one, here, is protecting, promoting, or agreeing with murderers today.
posted by infinite intimation at 10:54 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Was it an extreme viewpoint? Probably.

Okay, suppose as with Fred Phelps' (as according to published accounts by one of his own children after his "escaping" the church) that the sole purpose of one's speech is not to express a sincerely held viewpoint, but only to incite violence, in order to profit off it politically or economically--not in commitment to a heartfelt political conviction, but merely as a mechanism for profit or political gain from the misuse of what's supposed to be one of our most sacred and powerful rights?

Phelps, according to his own son, has for years had a successful free speech racket going on in which Phelps deliberately offends people and pushes them to overreact against him specifically so that he then has grounds to turn around and sue those same people for curtailing his free speech rights. According to Phelps' own son, this is literally how Phelps operates, and this is the only real business the "church" is or ever has been in.

With great power come great responsibility, as Spider Man would say; free speech is a right, sure, but it's a right with potentially serious social and legal consequences and like any other power or right, of course it can be abused!
posted by saulgoodman at 10:55 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blue_Villain, I think people are confused as to why you think that supporting freedom and criticising the film are mutually exclusive.
posted by memebake at 10:55 AM on September 12, 2012


I just got to see the whole Romney press-conference. Holy fuck! That may just be the most tin-eared, obviously-self-serving, unAmerican thing I've ever listened to. His ONLY concern was in supposed drawing some kind of distinction between himself and Obama. That's it; it's obvious (to me, anyway) that he doesn't give two shits about the "hired-help" in those two compounds. Scoring political points is all that matters.

He put his real character on wide display here. I don't think it's going to achieve what he thought it would.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:55 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


We can criticize the movie all we want. But it's our responsibility to defend the rights of the people who say crazy things, mostly because one day the things we say will make other people think we're crazy. And we'll need people to defend our rights then too.

And, again, who--among the people who are in any way responsible for the defense of those rights (i.e. NOT including loony Islamic terrorists who we all agree did something utterly indefensible)--is failing to defend those rights? Has the film maker been imprisoned? Will he be denied police protection if he is threatened? Has anyone in any position of responsibility in the US suggested that he does not have the right to make his stupid, hate-filled film?

What the heck is your point?
posted by yoink at 10:56 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Obama administration is saying that it regrets this sort of obvious trollbait material and does not condone it and that it doesn't reflect the position of the Administration.

And the Obama administration is also saying, in unequivocal terms, that crappy, insulting, blasphemous statements or media NEVER justify the kind of response we saw in Libya.
posted by Mister_A at 10:56 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Romney campaign gets desperate
posted by Artw at 10:56 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


My apologies, I wasn't participating in that particular derail. I was commenting on the original topic... with much earnestness. For clarification, I do not think that supporting freedom and criticizing the film are mutually exclusive, and to be honest I do not see anywhere where I indicated such.

My point is still: Freedom isn't free. People pay with their lives for yours, mine, and whatshisname to make extremist movies. We don't have to agree with the mindset of the filmmaker to know that protecting the filmmakers rights is the "big picture" here.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.
-Voltaire
posted by Blue_Villain at 10:56 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


What the eff are you guys talking about... the FPP is about an embassy being attacked, and at least four people were killed. Or have we somehow left that topic behind?


Dude, we haven't overlooked the fact that people died.

But there have been plenty of people who have said that "Obama needs to say something about the film that pissed the mob off enough for them TO do that," and there's been disagreement about what Obama should have said ABOUT that film. For the life of me I can't see how you're getting an "our troops suck" message about that issue.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:57 AM on September 12, 2012


Yoink, you stepped over the line with that comment. "Not a single honest word" in my criticisms? Fuck that. Apologize.

I'll gladly apologize, BobbyVan, if you can point out a single material difference between the criticisms voiced by the Bush administration of the Danish anti-Muslim cartoons (which you endorsed) and the criticisms voiced by Obama administration people of the recent anti-Muslim film (which you so extravagantly deplore in this thread).
posted by yoink at 10:59 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


For clarification, I do not think that supporting freedom and criticizing the film are mutually exclusive, and to be honest I do not see anywhere where I indicated such.

I'll show you where:

My point is still: Freedom isn't free. People pay with their lives for yours, mine, and whatshisname to make extremist movies. We don't have to agree with the mindset of the filmmaker to know that protecting the filmmakers rights is the "big picture" here.

Right here. Because no one is saying we should NOT "support freedom militarily." In fact, the only one who seems to be saying anything about whether freedom should be supported militarily is you -- the rest of us are just wondering why you're saying that over and over all of a sudden.

Clearly you think someone said we shouldn't support freedom militarily, and the rest of us are at a loss to comprehend who you thought said that. Can you explain?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:59 AM on September 12, 2012


Romney gets capital of Libya wrong in press conf criticizing Obama's foreign policy experience
Romney referred in his statement to the "embassies" and particularly to "our embassy at Benghazi, Libya." He made the mistake three times, so it wasn't just a slip of the lip.

Any first year international relations student knows that our diplomatic offices in the capital are "embassies," and our offices in cities that are not the capital are "consulates."

This means that Romney either had no idea what the capital of Libya was when he said it was Benghazi (it's Tripoli, obviously), or he had no idea what the difference was between "embassies" and "consulates," which is so basic Diplomacy 101 that it's frightening that Mitt Romney wants to be commander in chief in four months and had no idea about the difference.

I did my graduate studies international public policy at Georgetown. This is no small matter. Or rather, it's such a small matter, such an obvious point, that it's frightening Romney had no idea that he was making the error.

It's a rookie mistake to confuse embassies and consulates, and it's the kind of thing that anyone with any training in diplomacy and international relations would immediately look out for, and notice. Romney should have seen this speech and immediately said "Libya's capital isn't Tripoli, and our embassy isn't in Benghazi." But he didn't. Because Mitt Romney simply has no background in foreign policy. But that didn't stop him from weighing in immediately on a major national security crisis, with the presidential backdrop and all.

Let's hope a future "President Romney," God forbid, does a fact-check before he starts bombing the wrong city.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:00 AM on September 12, 2012 [24 favorites]


We don't have to agree with the mindset of the filmmaker to know that protecting the filmmakers rights is the "big picture" here.

And, again, WHO IS FAILING TO PROTECT THE FILMMAKER'S RIGHTS???
posted by yoink at 11:00 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


What the eff are you guys talking about... the FPP is about an embassy being attacked, and at least four people were killed.

Or have we somehow left that topic behind?


I stopped flagging comments hours ago; this thread was hijacked from the start. We could have had a serious reflection on the lives that were lost, the surprising reveal that EVE Online's Vile Rat was the Embassy IT expert who died during the attack on the Embassy, the extraordinary contributions of Ambassador Stevens and the loss that his death represents.

It was inevitable that politics would have been mentioned, but between the politicizing and the free speech semantics being discussed, we have lost sight of the intent of the thread.

/stay on target, red-one!
posted by Vysharra at 11:02 AM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


I approve of the Bush Administration's handling of the cartoons, as expressed by its State Department spokesman (and quoted in the New York Times):
The State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, reading the government's statement on the controversy, said, ''Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images,'' which are routinely published in the Arab press, ''as anti-Christian images, or any other religious belief.''

Still, the United States defended the right of the Danish and French newspapers to publish the cartoons. ''We vigorously defend the right of individuals to express points of view,'' Mr. McCormack added.
See what happened here? The Bush Administration condemned the cartoons, but did so in such a way as to not be solicitous of the mob. It specifically mentioned Christians and Jews in addition to Muslims, and said that while these particular images were "unacceptable," the US government will also "vigorously" defend free speech rights.

Thanks for the apology.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:02 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wish to amend my earlier comment which was typed in anger. I accused all Republicans of trying to politicize this. After a night of sleep and some research, it appears that the vast majority of Republican politicians responded to this crises in a measured and appropriate way. Even their Vice Presidential candidate focused on this being "a time for healing" today.

It was only the Republican presidential candidate and head of the RNC - as near as I can find - who publicly behaved in a reprehensible way. While I still find plenty to dislike about the current Republican party, this was not a reason for me to rain hate upon a whole group of people. I will keep my anger focused on the criminals who murdered our embassy staff and simply regard Priebus and Romney with general disgust.

Once again, my heart goes out to the victims of this tragedy and their families and friends. It is unfortunate that some ill-timed comments from Mitt Romney took the focus away from them and onto himself.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:04 AM on September 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


You're right mediareport. That's a very good point.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 11:04 AM on September 12, 2012


When you're the Republican nominee for President and Mark Halperin and Peggy Noonan are calling you out for being a colossal dumbshit, then you're a colossal dumbshit.

Mark Halperin, Time Magazine:
“Unless the Romney campaign has gamed this crisis out in some manner completely invisible to the Gang of 500, his doubling down on criticism of the President for the statement coming out of Cairo is likely to be seen as one of the most craven and ill-advised tactical moves in this entire campaign”.
Peggy Noonan on Fox News:
“Trying to exploit things for political gain . . . Mitt Romney hasn’t been doing himself any favors the past few hours”.*
posted by ericb at 11:04 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


And, again, WHO IS FAILING TO PROTECT THE FILMMAKER'S RIGHTS???
posted by yoink at 11:00 AM on September 12 [+] [!]

Nobody... but somebody did say that it wasn't the governments job to do so.

From the quote in my original post:
Why should the US State Department have to expend tax money defending some little shit's deliberately provocative film when that film has directly cost them their own people's lives? This is not a free speech issue.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:05 AM on September 12
posted by Blue_Villain at 11:06 AM on September 12, 2012


Unfortunately Vysharra the truth of the matter is that the story is now just as much the response of the political campaigns to this event as the event itself. That this is undeniably a horrible event and a tragedy for those involved and the nation as a whole is a given. For some reason this event became an excuse for partisanship both here on Metafilter and in the greater community in a way that could quite possibly shape the November elections. All events leave ripples but for some reason this event could quite possibly help decide the course of our country's future as such it seems reasonable for the discussion to expand from the initial events to the reprecussions of that event.
posted by vuron at 11:08 AM on September 12, 2012


The terrorists have won.
posted by tommasz at 11:08 AM on September 12, 2012


"All persons in favor of not denigrating other people's religions, please raise your hand."

Umm, Hi. *Waves hand*
posted by Blasdelb at 11:08 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


They have an obligation to protect the rights of the filmmaker to make the film, not the merits of the film itself.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:08 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which is to say that it is kind of universally a shit move, and regardless of the situation there is always a better one.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:09 AM on September 12, 2012


Ohhhhhh.

Well, setting aside my question "why didn't you tell us that however many comments ago," I'll say that I think Saul was responding to BobbyVan's calling for Obama to expressly state that we support free speech. I don't think he was implying "we shouldn't send troops to support free speech".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:09 AM on September 12, 2012


Right, and they don't have an obligation to defend the film while they, the embassy staff in Cairo, are being invaded and attacked by an angry mob! Who are angry about just exactly that film.
posted by Mister_A at 11:10 AM on September 12, 2012


Ohhhhhh.
Heh... no worries. I was terribly curious as to why people were all of a sudden on my case for what I thought was stating the obvious here.
I think Saul was responding to BobbyVan's calling for Obama to expressly state that we support free speech. I don't think he was implying "we shouldn't send troops to support free speech".
Looks like we've all misinterpreted at least one or two posts on here then.
posted by Blue_Villain at 11:12 AM on September 12, 2012


15 Photos of Romney's smirks during his press conference today.
"Is this the expression of a head of state publicly honoring the deaths of American citizens?"
posted by ericb at 11:13 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


I mean, if someone pulls a gun on me, I'm not going to ask him whether he has a carry permit! I'm going to be very polite, and try to behave in such a way as not to get myself killed! And that's the crazy thing - this tweet was a diplomatic communication, an attempt to calm angry Egyptians, to say, "hey, we don't like that movie! We think the guys who shot it are total shits!" That's what they're supposed to do! Defuse tension, not pour gas on a fire.
posted by Mister_A at 11:13 AM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


See what happened here? The Bush Administration condemned the cartoons, but did so in such a way as to not be solicitous of the mob. It specifically mentioned Christians and Jews in addition to Muslims, and said that while these particular images were "unacceptable," the US government will also "vigorously" defend free speech rights.

Apparently you are not aware what a "material difference" consists in. The statement from the Egyptian embassy that you and other Romney apologists have giddily attacked refers to a "universal right of free speech" (defense of free speech? Check) and deplores that that right has been "abused" in this instance to "hurt the religious belief of others" (you may be able to see a "material difference" between that statement and the statement that "anti-muslim images are...unacceptable"--I can not). If the entirety of your objection to the Obama administration's response comes down to the fact that so far--less than 24 hours after the fact--no one has specifically mentioned Christians or Jews (Obama simply saying this: "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 this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.") then I am embarrassed for the pettiness that reveals.
posted by yoink at 11:14 AM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Libyan ambassador: “It is sad to see some people trying to take advantage of the situation for political issues"
Ali Aujali, Libya’s Ambassador to the U.S., spoke movingly of his late counterpart, Christopher Stevens, and said it was “sad” to see some in the U.S. politicizing the tragedy. Speaking with Salon after a press conference in Washington organized by the Islamic Society of North America, Aujali also said he thought the U.S. Embassy in Cairo did the “right thing” by issuing a statement condemning an anti-Islamic video, a statement that has since been disavowed by the Obama administration and sparked bitter condemnation from Mitt Romney.

Asked about the U.S. political fracas that has erupted since Romney attacked Obama’s handling of the protests in Cairo and Benghazi, Libya last night, Aujali said he hoped it would be a time for unity. “I’d like to see very much the American people come together and help the Libyan people together, either Republican or Democratic,” said Aujali, who called Stevens a dear friend and his tennis partner.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:15 AM on September 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


"All persons in favor of not denigrating other people's religions, please raise your hand."

*Waves hand* I'm another spineless, bleeding-heart, radical liberal with no respect for freedom of speech.
posted by stroke_count at 11:16 AM on September 12, 2012


I'm saddened for the loss of life, especially (as an EVE player) Sean Smith and (as an American) Ambassador Stevens.

I'm appalled ar Romney's ham-handed opportunism. The Republican Party has made clear that they consider this race to be a replay of 1980, and it's abundantly clear that they want very badly to see this incident as Obama's Tehran hostage situation.

I don't think the American people are going to see it that way, though, and based on the reaction of the Republican establisment (to say nothing of everyone else), I suspect they agree. Shame on Romney.
posted by Gelatin at 11:18 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why should the US State Department have to expend tax money defending some little shit's deliberately provocative film when that film has directly cost them their own people's lives? This is not a free speech issue.
Blue_Villain : Dude... seriously? Freedom isn't free. Just stop by your local VFW and see for yourself.

Blue_Villain, I got it. It is a free speech issue.

If the speech (in this case, movie) was actionable under the "crowded theatre" theory, then the justice department, in theory, can deal with it. Veterans disagree about politics, but nobody I know believes our free speech did not come at a horrific cost.

My heart goes out to the families of the killed and wounded.

Romney is a pig.
posted by mule98J at 11:19 AM on September 12, 2012


I'm another spineless, bleeding-heart, radical liberal with no respect for freedom of speech.

Thinking we should avoid denigrating others' religions =/= disrespecting freedom of speech.

In fact, Freedom of/from religion is also part of the First Amendment.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:19 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nobody... but somebody did say that it wasn't the governments job to do so.

Where? I suggested it might not be specifically the US diplomatic core's responsibility to do so by issuing weird, inappropriate defenses of free speech rights in the immediate aftermath of a seemingly speech related violent incident (which we now know may well have been a coordinated terrorist attack rather than a spontaneous outburst of violence in response to a speech act anyway) that got their people killed. Just maybe, the diplomats in question have a right to be pissed at the little sons of bitches who've been plotting this little stage show for however long now.

The "government" is not a monolithic, top-down entity that dictates every aspect of how its various parts behave here in the US, and yet, we all walk around shooting our mouths off as if that's how it works nowadays.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:19 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The smirk is going to live forever. People will remember the smirk in November and cringe a bit in the booth. It is hard to vote for a person who is so revoltingly (and incorrectly!) self-congratulatory about his attempt to play tragedy and international crisis for political points. Even if he had been 'right' the smirk would be a killer, but now, holy hell there's just no redeeming that.
posted by Mister_A at 11:20 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Looks like we've all misinterpreted at least one or two posts on here then.

I think this is certainly the case, for a lot of us. Everyone's tempers are up. This is not getting any better.

That said:

1) Does anyone have a summary of the movie itself?
2) Earlier I saw that there were some leaks about Al-Qaeda. Does anyone have any links on this?
posted by corb at 11:20 AM on September 12, 2012


(Saul, I think your use of the phrase "tax dollars" got misinterpreted as being about the military specifically. I know what you DID mean, but I have to admit I'm not sure how tax dollars comes into play with what you ARE talking about specifcally.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:20 AM on September 12, 2012


Aujali, who called Stevens a dear friend and his tennis partner

It's little details like this that will hopefully remind people Stevens is -- was -- more than a pawn in election politics.
posted by sallybrown at 11:21 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


One of President Romney's first acts will be to name Terry Jones the new Ambassador to Libya.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:22 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Evidence is building that the film was propaganda designed to incite, a false-flag operation funded by Al Qaeda or those aligned with them. The sort of thing got Mildred Gillars a long stint in the Federal Can, and William Joyce hanged outright.

Still want to hold the noble beacon of freedom aloft for 'em?
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:22 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does anyone have a summary of the movie itself?

From what I've read, the film is a "mock trial" of Muhammed, and the bulk of the "Evidence against" seems to be your standard Jack-Chick-tract propaganda and misinformation. It seems to have been made by a realtor who was speaking from a pro-Israel perspective.

The only reason Terry Jones' name has come up in all of this is: the film actually got made a year ago and was sort of just lurking on YouTube, but then Terry Jones decided that the way he was going to observe 9/11 was by telling everyone about the film and he unleashed this huge promotional push.

And someone in Egypt got wind of that, watched it, got pissed, came up with a subtitle track for the trailer and posted that as well as a sort of "can you believe the crap people are saying about Islam" and that's what started the whole thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:24 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Insightful commentary putting this all in context from Prof. Daniel Nexon over at Duck of Minerva:
"This cannot be emphasized enough: there are individuals and movements, both in the United States and the Middle East, who want nothing more to collapse multiple sites of difference, conflict, and cooperation into a single pivot point: the 'American-led West' against 'Islam.' What we're seeing now in the fallout of the attacks is what has been going on for a long time: numerous officials, regimes, movements, and individuals struggling to forward or avoid this kind of polarization."
posted by Wretch729 at 11:24 AM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


1) Does anyone have a summary of the movie itself?

What's actually in the Mohammed video?


"So you don't have to watch it, "highlights" include:

An introduction featuring a Muslim mob in fake beards slaughtering Christians in modern-day Egypt as police look on. The rest of the film seems to be a flashback in which a father explains the roots of Islamic extremism to his daughter.

The insinuation that Mohammed is a "bastard of an unknown father"

Khadija comforting Mohammed by placing his head between her legs

Mohammed calling a donkey "the first Muslim animal"

Mohammed telling his followers they should feel free to molest children

Mohammed having sex with the wives of his followers

Mohammed also being gay. (When a follower asks if he is "dominant or submissive," he replies, "both.")

An old lady -- with a mysterious New York accent -- being drawn and quartered by camels

Lots of terrible overdubbing, cheesy green screen backgrounds, and The Room-level dialogue and acting. "

Shit man, I'M offended and I'm an avowed atheist.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:25 AM on September 12, 2012 [23 favorites]


*Waves hand* I'm another spineless, bleeding-heart, radical liberal with no respect for freedom of speech.

I have the utmost respect for the power of speech and the value of its freedom. Unlike you, I actually believe that right means something and gives real power with potential consequences to its holders: All rights and powers come with corresponding responsibilities and obligations to exercise them in the best interest of ones society. Those responsibilities are supposed to be recognized and taken seriously by each of us as individuals. But some people just want to play games.

That said, this is not a free speech issue. The evidence now is this wasn't a spontaneous response to the video at all, but a coordinated terrorist attack, probably meant to among other things fuel exactly this kind of faux free speech argument back here in the US, to divide the political code warriors up once more under their various colored banners.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:25 AM on September 12, 2012


Yoink, that's a nice effort, but it doesn't hold water. The Cairo statement says that a person's free speech rights can be "abused" -- which implies that the abuser will be held to account for his or her actions. The Bush statement states positively that the US government will "vigorously" defend individual expression. That's a big material difference.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:25 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Very true, vuron. In fact, I enjoy most political discussion on Metafilter because most people are well-informed and well-spoken. I also agree that the events are now intricately linked with the response from politicians immediately after.

However, the current thread is overwhelmed by a discussion that began as an attack against our President's "response" to the attacks. After we discussed the actual origin of the response, we then moved to the real responses and what they mean. Since then, the salient posts which relate to the thread have been drowned-out by a fruitless discussion about the nature of free speech in the US consisting of attacks on current and past administrations, personal attacks and baiting hypotheticals.

Today, for the first time ever, I have been getting the facts from Fark and the noise from Metafilter.
posted by Vysharra at 11:27 AM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


With all due respect, Vysharra, I'm not certain what people could be saying about the embassy killings other than a series of expressions of horror and dismay.

If you are doubting that people are upset about the loss of life, I can state that I am at least confident that most in here would agree that the loss of life is a horribly distressing thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:31 AM on September 12, 2012


Lest anyone think that oneswellfoop was only joking, remember that the guy the Repugs named as their ranking member on the Senate Committee on the Environment believes that global warming is a hoax because it says so in the Bible.
posted by Eyebeams at 11:32 AM on September 12, 2012


The Cairo statement says that a person's free speech rights can be "abused" -- which implies that the abuser will be held to account for his or her actions

Balls. You are simply inventing a meaning for the word "abuse" that does not exist. We "abuse" things all the time with no expectation or implication that we will be "held to account." All it means is "improper use." When your argument reaches the point of inventing meanings for words, BobbyVan, it's time to take a long hard look in the mirror.
posted by yoink at 11:32 AM on September 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


stroke_count: "*Waves hand* I'm another spineless, bleeding-heart, radical liberal with no respect for freedom of speech."

saulgoodman: "I have the utmost respect for the power of speech and the value of its freedom. Unlike you, I actually believe that right means something and gives real power with potential consequences to its holders: All rights and powers come with corresponding responsibilities and obligations to exercise them in the best interest of ones society."
WOOOOOOOOSSSSSHHHHHHH---------------------------------------------------------------------
posted by Blasdelb at 11:34 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


showbiz_liz: Thanks for confirming that my decision not to watch the film was a good one.
posted by bardophile at 11:35 AM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's worth noting that the Cairo embassy tweeted the following after protesters breached their walls:

"1) Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. 2) Of course we condemn breaches of our compound, we're the ones actually living through this. 3) Sorry, but neither breaches of our compound or angry messages will dissuade us from defending freedom of speech AND criticizing bigotry." 5:58-59 p.m., 9/11/12.
posted by schoolgirl report at 11:36 AM on September 12, 2012 [36 favorites]


the surprising reveal that EVE Online's Vile Rat was the Embassy IT expert who died during the attack on the Embassy,

There could also have been a hijack into SA forum politics/drama about the more controversial aspects of his modding, as well as certain statements he made about colonialism.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:37 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jon Huntsman: "This is above all a reminder that politics should end at the waters edge."
posted by zombieflanders at 11:38 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


WOOOOOOOOSSSSSHHHHHHH-

Oops. You're right, Blasdelb. That's what I get for only half paying attention and posting while distracted.

Sorry stroke_count. Irony meter must have been on the fritz when I read and responded initially.

posted by saulgoodman at 11:38 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Shit man, I'M offended and I'm an avowed atheist.

The necessity of Americans to "vigorously defend" a pornographic Mohammed movie to Muslims in a Muslim country is imperative. OTOH, the substitution of "Happy Holidays" for "Merry Christmas" in our secular one is wicked and means you hate the Baby Jesus.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:44 AM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


The Cairo statement says that a person's free speech rights can be "abused" -- which implies that the abuser will be held to account for his or her actions.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:25 PM on September 12


You are making stuff up now.
posted by goethean at 11:44 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


The evidence now is this wasn't a spontaneous response to the video at all, but a coordinated terrorist attack...

Well, unless I've missed something above, "the evidence now" consists of one blog post at the Quilliam Foundation web site that uses "according to our sources" a couple of times. "The evidence now" still seems relatively unclear to me, anyway.
posted by mediareport at 11:44 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


neither breaches of our compound or angry messages will dissuade us from defending freedom of speech AND criticizing bigotry.

Wow. If ever a tweet could be tagged as #heroic.
posted by clearly at 11:44 AM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


House conservatives consider stripping aid to Libya, Egypt from spending bill
posted by zombieflanders at 11:45 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry... you lost me at "House conservatives consider".
posted by Blue_Villain at 11:46 AM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Balls. You are simply inventing a meaning for the word "abuse" that does not exist. We "abuse" things all the time with no expectation or implication that we will be "held to account." All it means is "improper use." When your argument reaches the point of inventing meanings for words, BobbyVan, it's time to take a long hard look in the mirror.

We're going in circles now. President Obama and the US State Department need to make clear that while they condemn the violence and the acts of intolerance, they will also protect freedom of expression. Yes, singling out someone as an abuser of their freedoms does suggest that some action could be taken against them. To use a hoary cliche, free speech is abused when someone yells "fire!" in a crowded theater. The US Government needs to explain clearly that expressions of blasphemy are not the same as shouts of "fire!"

The tweet schoolgirl report quotes above is a good step in the right direction.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:47 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


BobbyVan, just because alcohol use is legal and protected, doesn't mean you can't abuse it.
posted by arveale at 11:48 AM on September 12, 2012


On second thought... the unstated implication there is that anybody that stands up with some sort of logic (i.e. we should not be so hasty in our decision making process) would then be branded as being pro-terrorist.

It's either a prototypical conservative move, or an astoundingly brilliant one.
posted by Blue_Villain at 11:48 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Larison: The extraordinary thing is that Romney may have been losing yesterday, but he wasn’t being widely ridiculed and attacked for having practically disqualified himself from consideration.
posted by lalex at 11:49 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


"So you don't have to watch it, "highlights" include... [t]he insinuation that Mohammed is a "bastard of an unknown father"

That sounds just like another story I know.
posted by tzikeh at 11:50 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


We're going in circles now

You have been for a while now. Is it possible that you just have to agree to disagree?
posted by Vysharra at 11:51 AM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


That sounds just like another story I know.

The bonus of being objective about such things is that you'd see that all Christians, Mulsims and Jews pray to the same idol/being/whatever, with different ceremonies and stories surrounding them. But the inherent "father figure" is almost identical in all three.
posted by Blue_Villain at 11:52 AM on September 12, 2012


"So you don't have to watch it, "highlights" include... [t]he insinuation that Mohammed is a "bastard of an unknown father"

That sounds just like another story I know.


Responding to Embassy Attacks, Romney Goes the Full D'Souza
The president is never immune from criticism, even in moments of tragedy. But even in a polarized age, Romney's comments are shocking. They don't merely assign responsibility for the incident to, say, poor leadership or a failed foreign policy. Instead, Romney's remarks suggest that Obama has very specific personal motivations: When violent religious radicals slaughter Americans, Obama is on the side of the radicals. As it happens, Romney's statement isn't coming out of nowhere: It comes out of a very well-developed narrative, popular on the fever swamps of the right where questions about Obama's citizenship or faith linger. The idea that Obama is driven chiefly by hatred of America and the West and harbors a desire to make America pay for its transgressions is the thesis of Dinesh D'Souza's recently released film, 2016: Obama's America. The film is a "documentary" version of various articles D'Souza has written over the past few years alleging that Obama can only be understood through the lens of "Kenyan anti-colonialism," an ideology bestowed on Obama by the father he hardly knew.

D'Souza's film, which has been successful at the box office, is meant to provide a scholarly sounding argument that reaches the same conclusions about Obama's nature implied by the right-wing conspiracy theories that have dogged the president since 2008: That he is a secret Muslim who wasn't born in the United States and is therefore hostile to America and its ideals. (Though there's nothing wrong with being a Muslim, many Republicans believe otherwise.) D'Souza's theory provides the cultural and political context for Romney's belief that Obama sympathizes with those who attacked the US consulate in Benghazi. If the Obama envisioned by D'Souza is real, then of course he sympathizes with those who assaulted a US consulate over an internet video offensive to Muslims, because that Obama believes America needs to be taken down a peg or two.

D'Souza and Romney's Obama is about as real as the one sitting in the empty chair Clint Eastwood yelled at for 12 minutes at the Republican National Convention. Nevertheless, when the Romney campaign chose to express the conflict in these terms, with the president on the side of those who murdered Americans in Benghazi, his supporters knew he was invoking their imaginary, Kenyan anti-colonialist Obama. It's naive to think that the Romney campaign didn't know it, too.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:58 AM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


The US Government needs to explain clearly that expressions of blasphemy are not the same as shouts of "fire!"

But what purpose would that realistically serve? The people who you think would most benefit from hearing that won't listen, and the people who WOULD be in a position to listen to that already know this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:04 PM on September 12, 2012


Andrew Sullivan: Unfit For Government.
posted by ericb at 12:11 PM on September 12, 2012


House conservatives consider stripping aid to Libya, Egypt from spending bill

All is well in opposite-land, I see. We want to spread democracy to the Middle East, unless we don't. Our government is overrun with fucking five-year-olds.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:11 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Southern Poverty Law's write-up of Steve Klein, one of the producers of the film
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:11 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


This was clearly a coordinated, pre-planned terrorist attack and has only a tangential connection to blasphemy (and freedom of speech).
posted by KokuRyu at 12:12 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


If Obama wins the election, nobody will be out on the streets celebrating. It's almost irrelevant anyway, either administration will pretty much continue with the exact same foreign policy.

I also wonder how many posts and comments the us drones flying over libya to take out 'jihadist training camps' will generate - if they'd stormed an embassy because of that, it would be less bizarre.
posted by sgt.serenity at 12:14 PM on September 12, 2012


Bush Homeland Security Secretary Disagrees With Romney’s Remarks On Libya
ThinkProgress spoke with [Tom] Ridge, who served under President George W. Bush from 2003 to 2005 and endorsed Romney earlier this year, on Capitol Hill today to get his reaction. He was unwilling to criticize Romney directly — “I don’t want to get in the he said, she said” — but rebuffed his charge that Obama’s sentiments were with those who carried out the attacks. “I don’t think President Obama sympathizes with those who attacked us,” Ridge said. “I don’t think any American does.”
posted by zombieflanders at 12:15 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


If Obama wins the election, nobody will be out on the streets celebrating. It's almost irrelevant anyway, either administration will pretty much continue with the exact same foreign policy.

Do you really believe this? Why?
posted by lazaruslong at 12:16 PM on September 12, 2012


If Obama wins the election, nobody will be out on the streets celebrating.

I don't know about that. Sort of depends on how many IPAs I pound.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:17 PM on September 12, 2012 [18 favorites]


Trigger/head asplode warning just in case:

Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl Says Cairo Embassy's Comment Is Like Blaming a Rape Victim
posted by zombieflanders at 12:20 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


....so he supports it wholeheartedly?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:21 PM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


either administration will pretty much continue with the exact same foreign policy.

Riiiiiiight.
posted by Artw at 12:21 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


If Obama wins the election, nobody will be out on the streets celebrating.

sgt.serenity—wrong on Obama; wrong on celebrations. In the wrong thread and possibly on the wrong street.

I'm starting to wonder if you're even really a sergeant.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:23 PM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


New York Times: U.S. Suspects Libya Attack Was Planned.
posted by ericb at 12:24 PM on September 12, 2012


Someday, I hope to have a button on my desk that will open a trap door under wherever Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl is standing at any given moment.
posted by delfin at 12:25 PM on September 12, 2012 [22 favorites]


Currently reading through the SPLC's dossier on the Kaweah Church and Steve Klein, and it strikes me as at least somewhat humorous that this Steve Klein fella founded an organization called Courageous Christians United that, among other things, hosts "respectful confrontations" outside Mormon temples and is responsible for this website. Fox News, please get this guy on air ASAP.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:25 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know what, I just don't think it plays except to the fringe. People trust Obama more than they do Romney on foreign policy. It just makes Romney look slightly unhinged, to steal what I thought was a kind of brilliant adjective the O campaign pulled out earlier.
posted by angrycat at 12:25 PM on September 12, 2012


I also wonder how many posts and comments the us drones flying over libya to take out 'jihadist training camps' will generate - if they'd stormed an embassy because of that, it would be less bizarre.

The embassy was stormed because of a drone attack that took out al Libi.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:26 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl Says Cairo Embassy's Comment Is Like Blaming a Rape Victim

This must be some kind of legendarily trollish performance art piece. Step 1: Get a GOP congressman to expose and defend the ugly GOP attitude towards rape victims, alienating women in the process. Step 2: Get Mitt Romney to shove his foot in his mouth over a potential terror attack, alienating most functioning human beings in the process. Step 3: mix and watch the explosion!
posted by sallybrown at 12:26 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


CNN: Pro-al Qaeda group seen behind deadly Benghazi attack.
posted by ericb at 12:26 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I feel like I should point out that Jon Kyl is one of the guys protesting reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, falsely claimed that performing abortions is "well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does" and then said that "was not intended to be a factual statement," and refuses to allow for abortion exceptions in the case of rape and incest.

Or in the conservative mindset, the perfect spokesman to use that language.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:27 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


This was clearly a coordinated, pre-planned terrorist attack and has only a tangential connection to blasphemy (and freedom of speech).

That's my thought. I don't buy the idea that a score of angry strangers just happened to get their hands on a mess of automatic weapons, mortars, and rocket-grenade launchers over the course of a day and spontaneously coordinated an attack on a compound with a private security force.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:30 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


If Obama wins the election, nobody will be out on the streets celebrating.

Well, he probably won't get another Nobel Peace Prize for it.
posted by ceribus peribus at 12:30 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


[Take the completely unhelpful annihilation talk out of here and act like you want to be having this discussion here, on MetaFilter. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 12:35 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jake Tapper of ABC News passes along report from ABC's Pentagon producer: "Chairman of Joint Chiefs Gen. Dempsey called Pastor Jones + asked him to consider withdrawing his support for the film, per @LMartinezABC"
posted by BobbyVan at 12:38 PM on September 12, 2012


either administration will pretty much continue with the exact same foreign policy.


I can think of one potential difference- just a tiny one, though. Rhymes with "Shmombing Shmiran."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:38 PM on September 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Yeah, Bacile's disappearance "into hiding" just gets curiouser and curiouser: Muhammad Film Consultant: 'Sam Bacile' is Not Israeli, and Not a Real Name

Klein told me that Bacile, the producer of the film, is not Israeli, and most likely not Jewish, as has been reported, and that the name is, in fact, a pseudonym. He said he did not know "Bacile"'s real name. He said Bacile contacted him because he leads anti-Islam protests outside of mosques and schools, and because, he said, he is a Vietnam veteran and an expert on uncovering al Qaeda cells in California...

He said the man who identified himself as Bacile asked him to help make the anti-Muhammad film. When I asked him to describe Bacile, he said: "I don't know that much about him. I met him, I spoke to him for an hour. He's not Israeli, no. I can tell you this for sure, the State of Israel is not involved, Terry Jones (the radical Christian Quran-burning pastor) is not involved. His name is a pseudonym. All these Middle Eastern folks I work with have pseudonyms. I doubt he's Jewish. I would suspect this is a disinformation campaign."

I asked him who he thought Sam Bacile was. He said that there are about 15 people associated with the making of the film, "Nobody is anything but an active American citizen. They're from Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, they're some that are from Egypt. Some are Copts but the vast majority are Evangelical."

posted by mediareport at 12:46 PM on September 12, 2012


Romney is now condemning the movie:
Don’t you think it was appropriate for the embassy to condemn the controversial movie in question? Are you standing up for movies like this?

– Governor Romney rejects the reported message of the movie. There is no room for religious hatred or intolerance.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:48 PM on September 12, 2012


Romney Camp’s New Explanation Of Libya Reaction: W.H. Actions Prove We’re Right
posted by zombieflanders at 12:49 PM on September 12, 2012


Jon Huntsman: "This is above all a reminder that politics should end at the waters edge."

Mexico & Canada: "Oh, well that's just great."
posted by gompa at 12:52 PM on September 12, 2012 [17 favorites]


Anti-Muslim movie may not be a movie at all.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:57 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


My money's on Mel Gibson.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 12:57 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Or 4chan.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:59 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


“If Gov. Romney ‘jumped the gun’ why were White House officials also distancing themselves from the statement?” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement. “Why didn’t President Obama take any questions from the press this morning to explain?”
Honestly, the Romney camp would be doing a better spin job today if they just said, "Hey, look over there," and then ran off behind the nearest tree. And doing so would be a step up in terms of maturity and poise.

(By the way, Andrea Saul, they "distanced" themselves because it wasn't their fucking statement. It was a TWEET from a diplomatic mission UNDER SEIGE!)
posted by gompa at 1:00 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


No American administration is going to make the first move against Iran. This is as true now as it was in 2005, and as true as in a hypothetical Romney administration. As far as foreign policy goes, Romney would likely not be too different from Obama.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:01 PM on September 12, 2012


Inflammatory Anti-Muslim “Movie” May Not Be A Real Movie

Wow. Quality trolling.
posted by Artw at 1:01 PM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


It won't take an American administration to make the first move, it would take an Israeli one with the American Admin backing them up.
posted by edgeways at 1:03 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


gompa: "It was a TWEET from a diplomatic mission UNDER SEIGE!"

Clearly, this is a job for Steven Seagal.
posted by wierdo at 1:04 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's back in his most dangerous mission yet: BELOW THE BELT (a Mitt Romney joint)
posted by gompa at 1:06 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


"It was a TWEET from a diplomatic mission UNDER SEIGE!"

Clearly, this is a job for Steven Seagal.


Or Rockin' Robin.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:07 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


DIRTY (HORSE) DANCING
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on September 12, 2012


Anti-Muslim movie may not be a movie at all.

My first thought on reading about the 13-minute youtube video was that that was all there was.
posted by immlass at 1:09 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe if homophobic conservatives hadn't forced out Romney's foreign policy spokesman because said expert was gay (gasp), Romney would have had a less incompetent strategy here.
posted by sallybrown at 1:13 PM on September 12, 2012 [21 favorites]


tl:dr The offending video linked in the OPs post is "Private", where can it be viesed?
posted by DBAPaul at 1:13 PM on September 12, 2012


Independent filmmaker here.

$5 million? $5 million.

Five million dollars.

FIVE MILLION DOLLARS! FOR THAT? WHAT THE LIVING FUCK?

Five million dollars.

All of the movies I have made for the last ten years, plus all of the movies most of my friends have made for the last ten years, don't add up to $1 million, total. And they got $5 million to make that movie. And it looks like that.

I am clearly in the wrong racket.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:20 PM on September 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


Maybe if homophobic conservatives hadn't forced out Romney's foreign policy spokesman because said expert was gay (gasp), Romney would have had a less incompetent strategy here.

Do Republicans even give a shit about foreign policy? Bush and Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld were all about creating their own reality, and damn the consequences. Same thing here. For this gang, the only good foreign policy is where you a) blow up other countries or b) threaten to blow up other countries, including allies.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:21 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, hold on. Check out the link about the movie being fake. "They" probably didn't get $5 million, they probably didn't make a real movie, and there probably isn't a real "Sam Bacile."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:23 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


U.S. Drones Never Left Libya; Will Hunt Benghazi Thugs
posted by homunculus at 1:23 PM on September 12, 2012


vibrotronica: "I am clearly in the wrong racket."

You need clients with deeper pockets. I'm constantly amazed by just how fluid the rates are that professional filmmakers are paid.
posted by schmod at 1:24 PM on September 12, 2012


Anti-Muslim movie may not be a movie at all.

No shit!

This does not disprove the hypothesis that I may be in the wrong racket, however.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:26 PM on September 12, 2012


I'm starting to wonder if the whole movie thing wasn't just an al qaeda (or affiliate) trojan horse, to serve as pretext
posted by edgeways at 1:26 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Obama's response to Romney:
"There's a broader lesson to be learned here: Gov. Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later and as president one of the things I've learned is you can't do that," Obama told CBS News Wednesday."It's important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you've thought through the ramifications before you make them."
posted by edgeways at 1:31 PM on September 12, 2012 [33 favorites]


A note about the role of the Marines. The Marine Security Detachment in an embassy or consulate is under *direct* control of the senior diplomat there ...

The Marine Corps Embassy Security Group, formerly Marine Security Guard Battalion, and also known as Marine Security Guards, Marine Security Detachment or Marine Embassy Guards, are members of the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group..

Marine Corps Embassy Security Group
Mission: "The primary mission of the Marine Security Guard (MSG) is to provide internal security at designated U.S. diplomatic and consular facilities in order to prevent the compromise of classified material vital to the national security of the United States.
posted by ericb at 1:36 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm starting to wonder if the whole movie thing wasn't just an al qaeda (or affiliate) trojan horse, to serve as pretext

It doesn't seem to add up...my instinct is too many pieces needed to fall into place for this video to be a worthwhile tool in Al Qaeda's plan (for example, if they planned to use the video to generate protests dangerous enough to force Stevens to flee to a safe house, the location of which Al Qaeda knew). Something still seems off. Maybe Al Qaeda just wanted to troll Terry Jones.
posted by sallybrown at 1:36 PM on September 12, 2012


"Asked if Romney's remarks were irresponsible, Obama responded: 'I'll let the American people judge that.'" *
posted by ericb at 1:38 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe if homophobic conservatives hadn't forced out Romney's foreign policy spokesman because said expert was gay (gasp), Romney would have had a less incompetent strategy here.

That incident symbolizes what has, on a much larger scale, happened to the Republican party. Over the years, they became lazy when they figured out all they had to do to win elections was to pander to the bigots and stir the emotions of the angry and bitter (taking into account that they could always count on what I call Establishment Republicans -- upper- and upper-middle class white conservatives). They weren't playing the long game though, because the Republican anti-intellectualism and platforms consisting of thinly veiled racism and nationalism that ultimately took root slowly squeezed out the pro-business but level-headed voters who used to be Republicans, but aren't anymore. It's what makes Onion headlines like Romney Courts Hispanic Vote with Animated Sombrero Wearing Parrot so hilarious; the Republicans have become so used to being patronizing their base, that they have forgotten that many millions of Americans are reasonably minded moderates. Basically, I think the party is sinking like the Titanic. Or, rather.
posted by gagglezoomer at 1:39 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Asked if Romney's remarks were irresponsible, Obama responded: 'I'll let the American people judge that.'" *

"Are you calling me an idiot?"
"Nobody needs to."
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:39 PM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm starting to wonder if the whole movie thing wasn't just an al qaeda (or affiliate) trojan horse, to serve as pretext
posted by edgeways at 4:26 PM on September 12 [+] [!]


There is a whole genre out there that might be called "Christian Movies", low-budget films made specifically to be shown in churches, to youth groups, etc. The trailer (at least the clips on Buzzfeed) certainly have the look of those. I would be willing to bet that if one knew this genre well enough, it would be fairly easy to hunt down the source films from which this "movie" was built, if indeed its merely an assemblage rather than an actual film.
posted by Chrischris at 1:39 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Occasionally one of those gets wider distribution.
posted by delfin at 1:41 PM on September 12, 2012


Former Romney Adviser on Libya: "They Stepped in It"
What was Team Romney thinking? I’m not really sure, but I happened to speak this morning to a senior Romney adviser from a previous campaign who offered his own theory. According to this person, Romney may have been feeling defensive over the hazing he took in Charlotte last week--“my opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy,” the president tweaked him—and was primed to hit back. “They set him up Thursday night at the convention with the smack down on foreign policy,” says the former adviser. “They called him naïve, Palin-esque. Then he got his back up about it and was waiting for opportunity to show, ‘I’m strong, too.’”

The adviser has no direct, inside knowledge of the campaign’s thinking on this matter. But he does have a good read on Romney--a man with a healthy sense of pride, and who's already invested in the idea of Obama as an appeaser. It was the only plausible explanation the adviser could think of for how “they stepped in it,” in his words. “I always thought it was a one-two punch [by the Obama campaign],” the adviser continued. “Punch one was Thursday night. Punch two would be in the foreign policy debate. To cast Romney as naïf, an empty suit on foreign policy, and tie him to Bush—as a puppet of the bow-tied hawks of the Bush administration. … This intervening event was gravy.”
posted by zombieflanders at 1:41 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


zombieflanders: This intervening event was gravy.

Wow. No.
posted by gilrain at 1:44 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


... we have reason to believe that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi came to avenge the death of Abu Yaya al-Libi, al-Qaeda’s second in command killed a few months ago.

As well as the killing of Saeed al-Shihri this week:
A U.S. source told CBS News investigative producer Pat Milton that authorities were "leaning" toward the theory that al Qaeda planned the attack and that the protest seems to have been a fortuitous coincidence for the militants. The fact that some of the attackers were armed with rockets and grenades is one of the factors leading to that initial conclusion.

Rogers told Jackson there was a "high likelihood" that the attack had an affiliation with "al Qaeda elements in Libya."

Wanis al-Sharef, a Libyan Interior Ministry official in Benghazi, said there had been threats that Islamic militants might try to take revenge for the death of al Qaeda's No. 2 commander Abu Yahya al-Libi, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan in June, and he said the U.S. consulate should have been better protected.

Confirming al-Libi's death for the first time in a video posted online Monday, al Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahri called on Muslims in al-Libi's native Libya to take revenge for his death.

Some authorities are looking at the possibility that the attack may have been planned to coincide with the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and this week's killing in Yemen of Saeed al-Shihri, who was second in command of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Milton reports.

U.S. officials believe the militants were using the demonstration against the video as a cover to get into the consulate and then take as much revenge as they could on Americans, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports. *
posted by ericb at 1:46 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


On the one hand, I find myself desperately interested in all the politics surrounding this event... on the other hand, I am disgusted and insulted by the politics surrounding this event.
posted by meese at 1:47 PM on September 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


Mitt Romney Can't Learn Foreign Policy on the Job
According to a recent Ipsos/Reuters poll, voters believe President Barack Obama is stronger on foreign policy than Mitt Romney by 51-35 percent. The president also enjoys a 47-38 percent advantage on national security and has a 50-35 percent advantage on the war on terror.
posted by ericb at 1:50 PM on September 12, 2012


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: "Sam Bacile"
S.A. Imbecile?
posted by boo_radley at 1:56 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tim Dax appears in the clip on buzzfeed. Someone should contact him and ask about the details of this film, as the role he plays does not appear to be listed in hi IMDB profile.
posted by Chrischris at 1:56 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


zombieflanders: This intervening event was gravy.

Wow. No.


Yeah. Politics is pretty damn crass.
posted by history_denier at 1:59 PM on September 12, 2012


Just to be clear, I didn't say it, that's from an interview quoting a former Romney official.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:04 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Right, didn't mean to obfuscate.
posted by history_denier at 2:06 PM on September 12, 2012


I called it early this morning. This smells to high heaven...

Can't wait for the ratfuckers to be flushed out.
posted by Skygazer at 2:06 PM on September 12, 2012


Sam Bacile

A bile scam?
Cabal is me?
Camel bias?
C Islam Bee?!
posted by cortex at 2:07 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


.
posted by raccoon409 at 2:07 PM on September 12, 2012


The overdubbing, the use of a guy from gay porn, the nonsensical plot, the wretched production values are definitely shaping up to make this movie seem like a amateur hour trolling attempt that paid big dividends for someone looking to increase tensions.
posted by vuron at 2:08 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


C Islam Bee?!

Wait, swapped an a for an e on that one.

ISLAM B ACE!
posted by cortex at 2:08 PM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


So I've now watched the horrible thing- it really is absolutely surreal, in a totally half-assed way, while also being incredibly offensive on multiple levels. I agree that it seems to have been cobbled together from at least two other projects, although the central one may still have been anti-Islam propaganda (I also think I saw some b-roll from Lawrence of Arabia in there). Certainly, some attempt was made to up the ante in terms of provocation with the overdubbing, although some of it seems to have been done by the original actors.

Surely there must be a way to identify some of the actors involved, and to get more information on the production. The one thing that caught my attention was the dude with the full face and head tattoo. Not only is this a rather striking look, but it can also signify attempts to cover up other, more regrettable tattoos (particularly when combined with fully black half-sleeves). I have seen this used to cover tattoos with gang associations, as well as white power imagery, which is interesting in its own right.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:11 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


A statement released on the behalf of the 80 cast and crew members of "Innocence of Muslims," a film that reportedly prompted Tuesday protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, indicates that they are not happy with the film and were misled by the producer.

"The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer. We are 100% not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose," the statement says. "We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred."
from CNN.
posted by sallybrown at 2:12 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Surely there must be a way to identify some of the actors involved, and to get more information on the production. The one thing that caught my attention was the dude with the full face and head tattoo. Not only is this a rather striking look, but it can also signify attempts to cover up other, more regrettable tattoos (particularly when combined with fully black half-sleeves). I have seen this used to cover tattoos with gang associations, as well as white power imagery, which is interesting in its own right

Ahem. Tim Dax. Not a gangster or a white power dude. Just an actor.
posted by Chrischris at 2:13 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The actor you are talking about is Tim Corscadden aka Tim Dax aka Titus, Whiteskull.

Here's an interview with him here Tim Dax Interview.

I don't know but the fact that he's got an Obama T-shirt on in the interview kinda makes me think he didn't sign up for this.
posted by vuron at 2:15 PM on September 12, 2012


TheWhiteSkull: " I have seen this used to cover tattoos with gang associations, as well as white power imagery, which is interesting in its own right."

What the hell, man.
posted by boo_radley at 2:16 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ahem. Tim Dax. Not a gangster or a white power dude. Just an actor.

Well that is interesting. I wonder what he has to say about this whole thing. And I apologize for insinuating that he has unsavory connections.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:21 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Shit man, I'M offended and I'm an avowed atheist.

I watched the beginning of it, but got bored. There were clearly moments that were meant to be offensive, but honestly it was way more tame than your average episode of South Park...

The culture clash still seems like the big issue to me. Due to my background I cannot even imagine getting so angered over imagery and opinions, but in a different culture it is a question of honor, dignity and sanctity, which are hard to compromise over... So it ends up being who wins the culture war - in the end the open culture has the better chance but it's not an easy transition.
posted by mdn at 2:24 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's an interview with him here Tim Dax Interview.

Note for the SFW crowd: dong in a sock prominently featured.
posted by cortex at 2:29 PM on September 12, 2012


These ESL signs made by Libyans are adorable. (from here)
posted by dobi at 2:31 PM on September 12, 2012 [23 favorites]


There's reports coming in that up to 10 Libyan security personnel died in the attacks as well. Important to remember when we're talking about allegedly lax security and who was hurt by it.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:35 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


‘It Makes Me Sick’: Actress in Muhammed Movie Says She Was Deceived, Had No Idea It Was About Islam
posted by zombieflanders at 2:36 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm just waking up, and so have eight hours worth of thread to still read, but having seen the reaction on cable news to Romney's cack-handed handling of this situation, I'm left with the impression that it really is amateur hour in the Romney camp.

A Timeline Of The Attacks In Libya And Egypt — And The Responses, Brian Beutler, Talking Points Memo, 12 September, 2012
posted by ob1quixote at 2:38 PM on September 12, 2012


‘It Makes Me Sick’: Actress in Muhammed Movie Says She Was Deceived, Had No Idea It Was About Islam
After the protests erupted and Bacile appeared in the media, Garcia called him up to express her outrage at his deception. "I called Sam and said, 'Why did you do this?' and he said, 'I'm tired of radical Islamists killing each other. Let other actors know it's not their fault.'" Garcia isn't satisfied simply knowing it wasn't her fault. "I'm going to sue his butt off."
posted by sallybrown at 2:40 PM on September 12, 2012


Not to depress anyone, but not all of the media are reporting this as a colossal fuckup for Romney. The centrist Globe and Mail has a breakdown of how events unfolded, starting with the Tweet or whatever from the Egyptian embassy to the pair of statements from Obama and Clinton; it's not particularly critical of Romney.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:44 PM on September 12, 2012


From the Globe article:

The intent of the embassy statement was to calm the situation ahead of expected protests on Tuesday. The Romney campaign was unaware of the timing of the embassy statement and interpreted it as sympathizing with the protesters behind the attacks and apologizing for American values of free speech.


That's still pretty damning right there. They also do call out the early tweet made by the odious Reince Priebus (who seems to have managed to duck a lot of the criticism in this).
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:49 PM on September 12, 2012


Sam Becile: C. Islam Bee

Needs a palindrome:

"I made it! I preen." Sam Bacile: relic, a BM, a sneer. "Pitied, am I?"
posted by msalt at 2:54 PM on September 12, 2012 [17 favorites]


Besides, Obama will most likely win the election. He's leading Romney in electoral vote projections.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:55 PM on September 12, 2012


I trust nothing.
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Top U.S. Military Officer Calls Pastor Over Film, Phil Stewart and David Adams, Reuters, 12 September, 2012
General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with Pastor Terry Jones by phone on Wednesday and asked him to withdraw his support for a film whose portrayal of the Prophet Mohammad has sparked violent protests - including one that ended with the death of America's envoy to Libya.


Libya Attack May Have Been Planned and Organized, Mark Hosenball, et al., Reuters, 12 September, 2012
A London think-tank run by a former Libyan militant leader suggested on Tuesday that not only was the Benghazi attack "well planned," but that it may have been retaliation for an American drone attack which killed a Libyan leader of al-Qaeda's core command group earlier this year.

The Quilliam Foundation said that 24 hours before the Benghazi incident, al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, distributed a video to militant websites in which he confirmed the death of his second in command, known as Abu Yahya al-Libi, and urged Libyans to avenge his killing.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:58 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is disgraceful.
Martin Dempsey, the chairman of President Obama’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke Wednesday morning by phone with Terry Jones, pleading with the Florida-based anti-Islamic pastor to stop promoting a film that protesters have cited in the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed at least four American diplomats.

“This was a brief call,” an Obama administration official told reporters Wednesday, adding that Dempsey discussed the “tensions it could inflame and the violence it could cause.”

“He asked Pastor Jones to consider withdrawing his support for the film,” the administration official said, adding: “Mr. Jones did hear the chairman’s concerns but he was non-committal."
posted by BobbyVan at 2:58 PM on September 12, 2012


Disgraceful in what way?
posted by lazaruslong at 2:59 PM on September 12, 2012


This is disgraceful.

Really? Why?
posted by lalex at 3:00 PM on September 12, 2012


BobbyVan has made his views on the matter pretty clear in the thread. Clearly most people disagree with him. Does it really require more belaboring?
posted by Bookhouse at 3:02 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


That is the opposite of disgraceful.
posted by Aizkolari at 3:03 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Today has really emphasized to me how much I'm going to miss the Hilldawg when she steps down. Knowing that she is involved in handling this has been an immense comfort to me all day. I don't know how Obama is going to replace her.
posted by sallybrown at 3:04 PM on September 12, 2012 [22 favorites]


This is disgraceful.

Agreed. Most people, when they realize that their behavior is causing harm to other people, agree that they should alter their behavior. Pastor Jones clearly lacks some sort of basic moral compass. Well, in America, he's free to ignore the urging of a more sensible person, but its disgraceful that he claims to be serving Christ.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:05 PM on September 12, 2012 [28 favorites]


Other people that had the exact same sentiments towards Terry Jones that BobbyVan describes as "disgraceful" when this happened in 2010 include such liberal luminaries and Obama lackies as John Boehner, Sarah Palin, Mitch McConnell, and John McCain.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:07 PM on September 12, 2012


At this point it hardly seems certain that the reaction to the film was anything more than a convenient excuse for a pre-planned attack on the consulate. Not that Terry Jones is anything less than an asshole who sullies the name of a perfectly good Python, but it may well be that his assholery has had no more in the way of practical consequences now than it did two days ago.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:08 PM on September 12, 2012


Considering the actors in the film have already spoken up about how Sam Becile or Imbecile or whatever his real name is misled them and used their images in ways they did not consent to, not to mention the fact that the film has been implicated in what increasingly looks to be an Al Qaeda plot, I find it disgraceful that Pastor Jones feels no moral responsibility to withdraw support for it or go further and speak out against it.

I consider myself a pretty strong proponent and defendant of free speech, but I see nothing troubling about that call. It was a request and plea, not a threat or demand, and it was publicly admitted to by the Administration. It's going down in the public square, not being covered up in some backroom deal.
posted by sallybrown at 3:09 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


And re: the possibility that the film itself was a false-flag production, that just makes me want Jones to stand his ground until there's conclusive proof because the public comeuppance that would ensue will do more than a thousand phone calls from the President to show what kind of behavior actually supports terrorism.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:11 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Really? Why?

It's disgraceful because it sends a message to all religious wackos that if you support inflammatory anti-Islamic films or stage stunt Koran burnings, you too might become a national figure and get to talk to top American generals about your views. US generals should not be in the business of telling Americans what views they should or should not express.

And for the record, it was horrible when top Republicans pleaded with him in the past. Shame on anyone who legitimizes the decisions this man makes.
posted by BobbyVan at 3:12 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Donald Rumsfeld: "Attacks on our embassies & diplomats are a result of perceived American weakness. Mitt Romney is right to point that out"

Under Bush there were at least 11 embassy attacks, 7 of which happened when Rumsfeld was a member of the administration..
posted by zombieflanders at 3:13 PM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


Under Bush there were at least 11 embassy attacks, 7 of which happened when Rumsfeld was a member of the administration..

You're playing into a liberal media narrative. There was no Bush administration.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:14 PM on September 12, 2012 [22 favorites]


I didn't realize that it was disgraceful for the government to give its citizens advice about how their behavior might impact themselves or others. This changes everything though!
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:16 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Rumsfeld is another guy about whom it is disgraceful to dignify with attention.
posted by stevis23 at 3:17 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's disgraceful because it sends a message to all religious wackos that if you support inflammatory anti-Islamic films or stage stunt Koran burnings, you too might become a national figure and get to talk to top American generals about your views. US generals should not be in the business of telling Americans what views they should or should not express.

First of all, he was asked, not told. Second of all, he was a "national figure" before Gates or Dempsey or anyone else ever talked to him. And finally, as a direct result of his 2010 actions 14 people died, and yesterday gave cover for another 14. It seems that maybe the people who are asking him not to do this might have, y'know, a point.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:18 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


To put it another way, I think if you screw up so catastrophically that your name ends up being attached to something that was used as the pretext to murder a US Ambassador, a phone call from relevant government officials seems pretty reasonable.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:18 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Loose lips sink ships" must have been pretty disgraceful too then, eh?
posted by lazaruslong at 3:19 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I mean HOW DARE the government ask citizens to perhaps reconsider speech that directly results in the deaths of other citizens. And on the phone! Pleadingly! The audacity!
posted by lazaruslong at 3:20 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I bet they didn't even ask nicely.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:22 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seriously though, the notion that the government giving advice to its citizens on any subject could be disgraceful strikes me as a pretty nice encapsulation of the current American political divide.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:23 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


[Knock it off folks, don't want to talk about someone just Don't Talk About Them. Juvenile name-calling not okay and a waste of everyone's time.]
posted by jessamyn at 3:26 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know if it's disgraceful, but it's obvious a phone call like that would be pointless. We're not dealing with sane or reasonable people who promote ridiculous things like this. If we were, folks like Fred Phelps would have backed down a long time ago. I don't agree with most of what BobbyVan has said here, but the pile-on is a bit much. I can see his point here - top level officials paying any credence to this whacko is a bit out of order.
posted by blendor at 3:27 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seriously though, the notion that the government giving advice to its citizens on any subject could be disgraceful strikes me as a pretty nice encapsulation of the current American political divide.

Remember, we're talking about a mindset that unironically claims that the current administration is being facist when the First Lady suggests to parents that maybe they shouldn't give their kids that third helping of fried food and sugary snacks at every meal.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:28 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Today has really emphasized to me how much I'm going to miss the Hilldawg when she steps down. Knowing that she is involved in handling this has been an immense comfort to me all day. I don't know how Obama is going to replace her.

With Kerry if rumors are to be believed. Somehow I don't think we'll be calling him K-dawg though.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:28 PM on September 12, 2012


Pictures from the Pro-American rally in Benghazi condemning the attacks on the US Embassy.
posted by crunchland at 3:31 PM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


From the HuffPost live blog, it looks like the Romney campaign is tripling-down rather than try to shift strategy:
"I disagree with the original statements that the embassy put out -- that the administration put out in Cairo sympathizing with the people who were storming the embassy," Ryan said in the Fox interview Wednesday. "We should stand up for our values. We should stand up for our free speech rights and so I think that statement was wrong and the administration was right to walk it back after they had stood by that statement a couple of times."...

Still, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney stuck to an attack that Obama was expressing sympathy with the attackers. Ryan did not make the same statement during a Wednesday afternoon appearance in Wisconsin, instead talking about the need for stronger leadership abroad -- a hit on Obama, but a softer one. But Ryan spoke to van Susteren just after that town hall, and apparently decided to echo Romney by criticizing the embassy statement.
posted by sallybrown at 3:33 PM on September 12, 2012


"I disagree with the original statements that the embassy put out -- that the administration put out in Cairo sympathizing with the people who were storming the embassy," Ryan said in the Fox interview Wednesday.

Wow. Did he really correct himself mid-truth?
posted by crackingdes at 3:35 PM on September 12, 2012 [25 favorites]


Somehow I don't think we'll be calling him K-dawg though.

No, he falls in the same category as Condoleezza Rice for me, where I can admire their accomplishments and credentials but not really warm to them as people. For some reason both Clintons and Obamas transmit charisma through the TV screen in a way a lot of other political figures don't--there's more authenticity there or something, at least to me.
posted by sallybrown at 3:38 PM on September 12, 2012


Romney's Embassy Attack Response in 2012: A Far Cry from Reagan in 1980
Former President Carter's handling of the Iranian hostage crisis helped torpedo his reelection hopes. But when news broke in April 1980 that an attempt to rescue Americans held hostage at the Tehran embassy had failed, the immediate response from the campaign trail was more supportive than critical.

Former California Governor Ronald Reagan told reporters it wouldn't be appropriate for him to express an opinion at that time. "This is the time for us as a nation and a people to stand united" and to pray, Reagan said, according to United Press International.

George H.W. Bush, also campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, went further. "I unequivocally support the president of the United States -- no ifs, ands or buts -- and it certainly is not a time to try to go one-up politically. He made a difficult, courageous decision," Bush said in Michigan, UPI reported.

Democratic challenger Senator Edward Kennedy of Massaschusetts also called for unity. The strongest criticism of Carter came from a Democratic long-shot: then-Rep. Henry Reuss, D-Wis., who said that Carter should withdraw his candidacy and "quietly serve out his term without any more impulsive actions," UPI reported.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:39 PM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


Romney just got the 3 AM phone call and screamed Baba Booey into the receiver at the top of his lungs before hanging up.

James Fallows: Mitt Romney Drops His 3 a.m. Phone Call
posted by homunculus at 3:56 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


From reddit regarding the "smirk":

That's the first time I saw him smiling genuinely, and I really hope I will never see it again.

posted by futz at 3:57 PM on September 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


'This Does Not Represent Us': Moving Photos of Pro-American Rallies in Libya
posted by homunculus at 3:58 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I hate to say it but that looks so staged.
posted by Big_B at 4:02 PM on September 12, 2012


'This Does Not Represent Us': Moving Photos of Pro-American Rallies in Libya

That is cool and touching.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:04 PM on September 12, 2012


More reddit. Top comment for this link.

After saying earlier that Sept. 11 was not the day to criticize President Obama on foreign policy matters, Mitt Romney late Tuesday issued a statement blasting the Obama administration for sympathy for Muslims

My favorite part is when Obama had Osama bin Laden sympathetically shot in the face.

posted by futz at 4:08 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I gotta say, I'm a bit uneasy about the general calling Terry Jones as well. It'd be different if someone called him out in a public statement or something, but the phone call feels sort of....like crossing a line somehow.

Much as I think Terry Jones is a ratbag and much as I think he deserved a callout, I think the private phone call just is hinky.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:09 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Probably staged by people terrified of being blamed and punished for things done by murderous arseholes who do not represent them.
posted by h00py at 4:09 PM on September 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


....but the phone call feels sort of....like crossing a line somehow.

What line is that?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:10 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Assange: US has “given tacit approval for attacks on embassies”
posted by Artw at 4:10 PM on September 12, 2012


Assange: US has “given tacit approval for attacks on embassies”

Isn't he currently holed up in an embassy?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:13 PM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


What line is that?

If a government official calls someone to persuade them to reconsider something they said, I'd really be more comfortable knowing what methods of persuasion they used. Right now, I only have the general's word he didn't issue any kind of veiled threat, and I'm not sure I like that. If, instead, the general made this kind of request in a public statement, then I'd know what he said.

Mind you, it's only the fact that it's a government official making this call that makes me feel this way. If it was Terry Jones' neighbor Sid calling him up, that'd be different.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:13 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Putin loves Romney.
posted by Sailormom at 4:15 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Gawker interview with an actress that was part of the film added a second update, quoting from a Craigslist post that appears to be related to casting the film. Among other characters, it describes:
Female Roles: CONDALISA (featured) 40, attractive, successful, strong willed; HILLARY (featured) 18 but must look younger, petite; innocent...
Uh, weird coincidence?
posted by sallybrown at 4:17 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think it's kind of convenient that the story about this call doesn't clarify whether or not it was the administration or Jones who made it public. If the administration did not make the call public and Jones was the source, it speaks to their intent to intervene in a low profile way that wouldn't end up being used as further ammunition for extremists to use to whip up their followers. If the administration did make the call public, I would expect that to have been mentioned. It's possible this has been clarified elsewhere/in the time since I read it and you read this/etc.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:19 PM on September 12, 2012


Assange: US has “given tacit approval for attacks on embassies”

Because this is all about you, Julian.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:22 PM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


If a government official calls someone to persuade them to reconsider something they said, I'd really be more comfortable knowing what methods of persuasion they used. Right now, I only have the general's word he didn't issue any kind of veiled threat, and I'm not sure I like that.

The pastor probably wouldn't be silent if threatened, just because he's that kind of guy.

Though seemingly odd, the act of making the plea over the phone doesn't strike me as wrong or worrisome at this point. It rarely hurts to try a soft diplomatic approach.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:25 PM on September 12, 2012


Norm Coleman is on the PBS Newshour right now, tripling down on Romney's stance. Unbelievable.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:27 PM on September 12, 2012


I hate to say it but that looks so staged.

If the Libyan people in my Twitter feed are accurate, 10 Libyans died defending the consulate.

Considering how grateful the people of Benghazi were for the US saving them from destruction, I can easily believe the counter protests + apologies are genuine and that Libyans made an effort to protect the consulate from attack.
posted by honestcoyote at 4:28 PM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Romney is pathetic. I can't believe he is betting all of his cards on this.
posted by empath at 4:28 PM on September 12, 2012


It seems 50 Marines have been sent to reinforce the embassy in Tripoli and the U.S. is moving two Navy destroyers to the coast of Libya. Also, surveillance drones.
posted by lullaby at 4:48 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Norm Coleman is on the PBS Newshour right now

Well, if anyone can embody the best-case scenario for that campaign, it's him.
posted by psoas at 4:56 PM on September 12, 2012


And for the record, it was horrible when top Republicans pleaded with him in the past. Shame on anyone who legitimizes the decisions this man makes.

I have never understood this weird GOP idea that to talk to someone directly, even if it's too tell them that they are really messing up, or they are violating human rights in ways we can't ignore or whatever, somehow legitimizes their decisions. That's just bizarre to me. Open communication is good. Open communication with dictators in the hopes of shaping their mindset is good. Open communication with bigots in the hope that you might persuade them to see a little reason, or become aware of the costs of their actions, is good. Cutting off contact never changes anyone.

Seriously--it's okay to talk to people. Any people. All the people. Change requires communication.
posted by Alexander Hatchell at 4:58 PM on September 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


I can't believe he is betting all of his cards on this

He is basically scraping the bottom on this. He is unwilling or unable to address key issues with clarity, so things continually bounce back to the inflammatory stuff.

IDGI either.
posted by lampshade at 4:59 PM on September 12, 2012


Sarah Palin: Libya, Egypt Attacks On American Facilities Show Obama Needs To Grow 'Big Stick'
posted by homunculus at 5:01 PM on September 12, 2012


I can't believe he is betting all of his cards on this.

When your chips are low enough, sometimes the best you can do is go all-in with 6-7 off suit.
posted by meinvt at 5:02 PM on September 12, 2012


It should really, really comfort scare the fuck outta Romney that Palin agrees with him.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:06 PM on September 12, 2012


Sarah Palin: Libya, Egypt Attacks On American Facilities Show Obama Needs To Grow 'Big Stick'

Gov. Rick Perry's statement (emphasis mine):
"Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans are now dead in the chaos of a destabilized Middle East. President Obama said he "rejects" these brutal acts, and condemns them in "the strongest terms" - yet still acknowledges our attackers' supposed justification. This kind of language broadcasts an impotent foreign policy that fostered this crisis in the first place.
posted by sallybrown at 5:06 PM on September 12, 2012


Quick! What do Hermann Cain, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum say! Its good to be reminded that Romney was the second most sane of the candidates, crazy as he is.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:15 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jeez. He ain't born here. He ain't American. He is a terrorist sympathizer and a muzlim to boot. Now he has a limp dick.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:16 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, third most sane. I forgot about Ron Paul.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:17 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It would be awesome if Perry and Palin starred in some sort of reality tv show or maybe a conventional sitcom. They play real estate agents who are both seeking to get elected to the school board or something like that. An Obama or Clinton-like character (a more successful real estate agent plays their nemesis - a smooth, polished, successful person who barely knows they are alive, gently makes fun of them in interactions.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:19 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


So, I wonder what the odds are on how long until 1) Romney shakes up the campaign staff, or, 2) people start quitting. Because if his attacks in the last 24 hours fall flat, or even worse, drive his numbers even lower the rats are going to start bailing on him. If this turns into a political landmine for Mittens, we might as well just call the elections right now, seriously.

55 days


Entirely seperate, and with heartfelt sincerity, Stevens sounded like a fantastic person and a great diplomat. We need more like him to counter the fuckedness of past American policies.
posted by edgeways at 5:24 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, it looks like we have our September surprise, anyway.
posted by jamjam at 5:32 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sarah Palin: Libya, Egypt Attacks On American Facilities Show Obama Needs To Grow 'Big Stick'

I forget, is Osama bin Laden alive or dead?
posted by Aizkolari at 5:34 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Also, for my fellow liberals who are concerned with Obama's approach to drone strikes and civil liberties (I too am concerned with these things, FWIW) don't forget when November 3 rolls around that the other option thinks that we should have more drone strikes, more rendition, and fewer civil liberties.
posted by Aizkolari at 5:37 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


So basically, Putin thinks Obama will again in 2012 and that he needs to craft Russia's foreign policy to protect himself from the crazies in GOP. This is on top of Romney pissing off the Brits and the Palestinians, and having very likely pissed off the entire US diplomatic corps.

I mean, seriously, this is approaching Palin-levels of cluelessness.
posted by the cydonian at 5:37 PM on September 12, 2012


I have never understood this weird GOP idea that to talk to someone directly, even if it's too tell them that they are really messing up, or they are violating human rights in ways we can't ignore or whatever, somehow legitimizes their decisions. That's just bizarre to me. Open communication is good.

Open communication is dangerously close to empathy, and thus threatens epistemic closure. A Slacktivist post that remains one of my all-time favorites and I would really like it to stop being relevant at some point--but I don't see that happening any election cycle soon.
The recent conservative opposition to empathy might seem like a symptom of this epistemic closure, but I think it's more than that. I think it's a cause — maybe even the root cause.

Empathy, at its most basic level, is epistemic. It is sometimes discussed as though it is identical to love, respect or regard for others, but really it precedes that. It is what makes such love, respect or regard for others possible — what informs it. Empathy is a way of seeing, and therefore a way of knowing. To avoid empathy is to limit one's own perspective to only one's own perspective — to choose not to see and therefore to choose not to know. Worse than that — it is to choose not to be able to know.

Empathy, in other words, makes you smarter and wiser. Rejecting empathy makes you dumber and more foolish. To choose not to see what empathy shows us is to choose stupidity.
Pretty much.
posted by Drastic at 5:37 PM on September 12, 2012 [39 favorites]


It appears Sam Bacile's true identity may be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula:
Nakoula denied he directed the film and said he knew the self-described filmmaker, Sam Bacile. But the cellphone number that AP contacted Tuesday to reach the filmmaker who identified himself as Sam Bacile traced to the same address near Los Angeles where AP found Nakoula. Federal court papers said Nakoula's aliases included Nicola Bacily, Erwin Salameh and others.
Note that he denies he is Sam Bacile.
posted by sallybrown at 5:40 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Donald Trump: "As bad as they were, I don't remember our embassies being attacked when Mubarak and Gaddafi were in power."

Hey, America, this is a guy Romney enjoys being seen in public with.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:45 PM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Donald Trump: "As bad as they were, I don't remember our embassies being attacked when Mubarak and Gaddafi were in power."

And the trains ran on time, too.

This idea that condeming the film as inflammatory is sympathizing with the attackers is just nuts. Honestly, if Obama suggested that people not poke sticks into bees nests, Romney would accuse him of sympathizing with the bees.
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:00 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Alexander Hatchell: "I have never understood this weird GOP idea that to talk to someone directly, even if it's too tell them that they are really messing up, or they are violating human rights in ways we can't ignore or whatever, somehow legitimizes their decisions. That's just bizarre to me. Open communication is good. Open communication with dictators in the hopes of shaping their mindset is good. Open communication with bigots in the hope that you might persuade them to see a little reason, or become aware of the costs of their actions, is good. Cutting off contact never changes anyone."

Sometimes, when you're a grown-up, you have to talk to people you don't like.
posted by notsnot at 6:01 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


"I disagree with the original statements that the embassy put out -- that the administration put out in Cairo sympathizing with the people who were storming the embassy," Ryan said in the Fox interview Wednesday. "We should stand up for our values. We should stand up for our free speech rights and so I think that statement was wrong and the administration was right to walk it back after they had stood by that statement a couple of times."...


There is something about this that is making my brain hurt-- it is like trying to wrestle jello. Does anyone else think Ryan doe not have a fucking clue as to what is going on? I think he was given lines to memorize and he fucked up.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:06 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's classic Romney campaign speak... ascribe to others the faults and actions of yourself.
posted by edgeways at 6:10 PM on September 12, 2012


Christopher Stevens was a Bay Area native whose parents currently live in Oakland. It's appalling to me that Romney and his ilk have politicized this issue in such a craven and morally bankrupt way. I absolutely cannot imagine either Joe Biden or Barack Obama doing the same if the situation was reversed- can anyone? I really hope it burns the Rs come election time. There should be societal repercussions for this kind of foul behavior from people who want to run the country.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:20 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is something about this that is making my brain hurt-- it is like trying to wrestle jello. Does anyone else think Ryan doe not have a fucking clue as to what is going on? I think he was given lines to memorize and he fucked up.

For once, I have sympathy for the man. If you're given talking points about how Obama did bad with regards to this horrible event, would you [general you] have a fucking clue what was going on? I sure as hell wouldn't. He's forced to attack but knows that it's a bad idea.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:21 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen," [Steve] Klein said.
So Klein is cognizant of his role in inciting the hatred that resulted in American and Libyan deaths and Romney and his apologists think that these are the people who need to be "vigorously defended." Romney/Ryan: zealously defending the right to play with fire in a powder keg.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:32 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


so it's sarah palin's considered opinion that obama needs to get an erection in order to fight terrorism? what would he... wow, you know what? i'll just leave it there.
posted by indubitable at 6:33 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Donald Trump: "As bad as they were, I don't remember our embassies being attacked when Mubarak and Gaddafi were in power."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1979_U.S._Embassy_Burning_in_Libya
posted by Guy Smiley at 6:34 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


It appears Sam Bacile's true identity may be Nakoula Basseley Nakoula:

Nakoula denied he directed the film and said he knew the self-described filmmaker, Sam Bacile. But the cellphone number that AP contacted Tuesday to reach the filmmaker who identified himself as Sam Bacile traced to the same address near Los Angeles where AP found Nakoula. Federal court papers said Nakoula's aliases included Nicola Bacily, Erwin Salameh and others.

Note that he denies he is Sam Bacile.


Sam Bacile is just an alias. His real name is Im Bacile.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:36 PM on September 12, 2012


Why do people keep posting facts here? Romney et al have established they don't care about facts.
posted by inigo2 at 6:38 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh one more thing: as the famous Indian psychologist and social commentator once said, sectarian riots (in India, but equally applicable here) are often very secular in nature.

iPhone ate up my words a trite. Meant to say I was quoting the famous Indian psychologist Ashish Nandy.
posted by the cydonian at 6:43 PM on September 12, 2012


How the Cairo Embassy statement got released.
posted by gladly at 6:49 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think this is a Republican dirty trick just the way promising the Iranians arms and money to hold onto the American hostages was back before the 1980 election.

According to Kevin Phillips, pre-eminent Republican strategist of the Nixon and Reagan years (architect of the GOP's Southern Strategy, and coiner of 'silent majority'):
In essence, there were ties sought, and then relationships opened with the Ayatollahs and the revolutionary government of Iran, and the allegation is, in these several books, that basically, contact was made by George Bush and Bill Casey, who later became the next CIA director, and had been in the OSS in World War II; and the point was that the Iranian government was being offered money and arms if they held onto the hostages. In other words, you don’t free the hostages before the election. You hold onto them.
...
But in December of 1992 and January of 1993, the congressional informal investigation had received material from the French and from the Russians that related to the fact that they had observed and noticed that these negotiations were in fact held. A book was later published by Pierre Salinger, who was with ABC news in France at the time, that made mention of these negotiations, and the French intelligence people had helped Bill Casey arrange them. So, there was confirmation from the French. It did not say that George H.W. Bush was involved. The Russians sent back a communication that their intelligence services had in fact observed, and been reported to, that the Republicans talked to the Iranians in Paris, and that both George Bush and Bill Casey were there. An Israeli agent named Ari Ben-Menashe said the same thing in a book, but he was essentially repudiated by the Israeli government. He said he wasn’t anybody, he didn’t know much, and that sort of dragged along. Nobody credited him, but in 1998 an examination came out, the history of the Israeli Mossad, by an English writer, that said basically, he was subject to a disinformation campaign. This did in fact happen. So, there you are. There’s recent material from the French, from the Russians, and from the Israelis, that the odds are much higher that this did in fact take place. ...
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice.....don't get fooled again."
posted by jamjam at 6:51 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


gladly: "How the Cairo Embassy statement got released."

Wow is the only comment I can possibly have on that piece. And don't take that to mean that I'm blown away by the quality of the reporting.
posted by wierdo at 6:54 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is disgraceful.

There was a time when it looked like a firm hand and stern resolve were what was needed, an unshakable self-assurance. Make them recognize our might, and fear us... and once they fear us, they will obey us, and recognize us as being right.

That time was 2003. It didn't work for Bin Ladin, and it didn't work for Bush, and it won't work now.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:55 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Friends and allies of Vile Rat are holding a cyno candlelight memorial in EVE. Their cynos light up the universe.
posted by ryanrs at 6:57 PM on September 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


The view from the UMI-KK station undock.
posted by ryanrs at 7:03 PM on September 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


it didn't work for Bush

Bush got re-elected, and a lot of companies/people made a ton of money in wars. Unless you think they had other goals?
posted by inigo2 at 7:10 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


^ryanrs - That's lovely, and I somehow w/o knowing anything about EVE find it really affecting. Is there any way you could give some context, without derailing too much, for me and the similarly ignorant? How many cynos is that for example?
posted by hap_hazard at 7:11 PM on September 12, 2012


More than has ever been lit in one system in the history of EVE.
posted by ryanrs at 7:14 PM on September 12, 2012


Those cynos would normally be suicidal sitting ducks, but I pity anyone who attacks that formation.
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:17 PM on September 12, 2012


For those that don't know, Vile Rat was almost certainly the most influential diplomat in EVE, perhaps the most influential in any video game. The entirety of the EVE community knew him, or knew of him. He shaped the political landscape of EVE.
posted by ryanrs at 7:18 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


hap_hazard: "^ryanrs - That's lovely, and I somehow w/o knowing anything about EVE find it really affecting. Is there any way you could give some context, without derailing too much, for me and the similarly ignorant? How many cynos is that for example?"

that's like Allies and Germans singing Silent Night across no-man's land in World War One.
posted by boo_radley at 7:20 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Those cynos would normally be suicidal sitting ducks, but I pity anyone who attacks that formation.

Actually, it was a full-on every-man-for-himself thunderdome of carnage. As head diplomat of Goonswarm, handling such friendly-fire incidents would have been Vile Rat's responsibility. We know he would have wanted it this way.
posted by ryanrs at 7:20 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I got killed before I even lit my cyno.
posted by ryanrs at 7:24 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Heh, surprising. I tried EVE for a few months earlier this summer but it wasn't really for me.
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:28 PM on September 12, 2012


OK, so it's obvious that it wasn't a random mob that performed the raid on the American consulate in Benghazi. Who was it? Al Qaeda? Have they claimed credit for the raid yet? Was it a group of Qadafi loyalists, perhaps?

This whole thing grows more bizarre by the hour, it seems. I would call it surreal if it weren't so tragic. After all, many good people died in the peaceful service of the US.
posted by NoMich at 7:29 PM on September 12, 2012


Donald Trump: "As bad as they were, I don't remember our embassies being attacked when Mubarak and Gaddafi were in power."
Holy crap.
posted by Flunkie at 7:34 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Tragic Optimism of an American Diplomat: Remembering Ambassador Chris Stevens and reflecting on the power of the United States to shape the new Middle East.
posted by homunculus at 7:39 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.
-Voltaire


Lovely as the sentiment is, Voltaire didn't say that.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:47 PM on September 12, 2012


Gonna double my verbosity:

Holy crap, that's vile.
posted by Flunkie at 7:50 PM on September 12, 2012


Politifact rules that the statement by the US Embassy in Cairo was not an apology, but a condemnation of religious intolerance.
posted by crunchland at 7:52 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.

Hey, good for, um, whoever said that. Personally, however, I certainly wouldn't defend to the death the right of some wreckless, rabble-rousing religious fanatic to denigrate some other wreckless, rabble-rousing religious fanatic's religion. Fuck that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:55 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


How the Cairo Embassy statement got released.

Amazing story. This is worth quoting:
"People at the highest levels both at the State Department and at the White House were not happy with the way the statement went down. There was a lot of anger both about the process and the content," the official said. "Frankly, people here did not understand it. The statement was just tone deaf. It didn't provide adequate balance. We thought the references to the 9/11 attacks were inappropriate, and we strongly advised against the kind of language that talked about ‘continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.'"
posted by BobbyVan at 8:20 PM on September 12, 2012


Lest you think that was coming from me, I was quoting someone who said it, attributed to Voltaire, upthread.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:20 PM on September 12, 2012


Obama Smear Was a Team Effort, Says Romney Team
posted by homunculus at 8:30 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sarah Palin: Libya, Egypt Attacks On American Facilities Show Obama Needs To Grow 'Big Stick'

I think she's implying "dick" when she says "stick." She's super clever that way. Like last month when she used Dick Cheney's first name to "accidentally" call him a dick. She likes to call people dicks. I'm talking morning, day, night, afternoon, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:38 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lest you think that was coming from me, I was quoting someone who said it, attributed to Voltaire, upthread.

Oh, I knew that, stav. And I was happy for your link in that comment, as I've often seen that quote attributed to Voltaire, and now know that it's not accurate.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:47 PM on September 12, 2012


I like it that Politifact had turned to three "apology experts" to determine that the Cairo embassy's statement wasn't an apology.
posted by the cydonian at 8:49 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mitt Romney really is a fucking pig, isn't he?
posted by bardic at 8:55 PM on September 12, 2012


Mitt Romney really is a fucking pig, isn't he?

Lying-ass rich man.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:00 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think Romney is a pig. He's just a sheltered, soft heir who thinks that becoming the President is like winning the ultimate popularity contest. Not once in his life have his decisions had the possibility of negatively affecting his day-to-day existence. He is always going to have money and access to the powerful, regardless of how poorly he handles himself. In this respect, he's exactly like Bush Jr: naive, born a foot from home plate, and more or less a tool of the political machine that wants him in office to get their own agenda accomplished.

I think he's genuinely under the impression that running the United States is like running a really big corporation, or "saving" the winter Olympics in the world headquarters of his own religion.
posted by deanklear at 9:20 PM on September 12, 2012 [16 favorites]


Romney is every asshole boss you've ever had. The kind of smug douchebag who thinks that his employees owe him their eternal gratitude for the honor being allowed to work for him. The kind of guy who may have a few skills but, but also got lucky and hired some competent people who spend so much time cleaning up his messes that he's smarter than everyone else, because look, everything he does shines!

Mitt Romney, that boss who makes you cringe every time he opens his mouth.
posted by aspo at 9:29 PM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Mitt Romney: A Human Being Who Built That
posted by homunculus at 9:29 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm talking morning, day, night, afternoon, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick.

How many dicks is that?
posted by drezdn at 9:36 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Muhammad-Film Consultant: 'Sam Bacile' Is Not Israeli, and Not a Real Name

Personally, I really don't think free speech needs to include insulting sacred parts of other cultures that knowingly will lead to acts of violence. We can't convince the entire world that they should respect free speech the way we do. Certainly something like this is a threat to our and other's security and could be deterred as part of the "Patriot" Act or something.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:59 PM on September 12, 2012


Obama Smear Was a Team Effort, Says Romney Team -- Obviously damage control. I wonder if making it a team effort takes some of the heat off Mittens.
posted by crunchland at 10:03 PM on September 12, 2012


I got killed before I even lit my cyno.

Dude, you got killed by the bastard love child of Cobra and Serpico.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:33 PM on September 12, 2012


I thought Goonswarm wasn't above attacking memorial ceremonies belonging to other corporations in EVE?
posted by Apocryphon at 10:38 PM on September 12, 2012


Golden Eternity: "Certainly something like this is a threat to our and other's security and could be deterred as part of the "Patriot" Act or something."

Actually, you probably don't have to go any further than the first amendment. IANAL, but my understanding is that free speech that's intended to incite violence and has a reasonable possibility to incite said violence is unprotected. There's a lot of space between "unprotected" and "government should actively work to suppress", and the latter is certainly not something I'm comfortable with, but under current law, I can imagine the DOJ could make a persuasive case that this type of thing meets whatever legal standards there are for incitement exceptions to first amendment protections.

My feeling is that good free speech will beat out bad free speech in the long run, so I don't see any reason for the government to intervene beyond General Dempsey's phone call. The most effective tactic against the Westboro Baptist Church's particular brand of what I would consider bad free speech has been to organize counter-protests to point and laugh at them, neutralizing the impact of their hateful words. Likewise, the best way to respond to these assholes is to show them that real Americans aren't anything like Mr. "Becile" or Terry Jones, which makes Romney's bellicose rhetoric just as harmful to our interests as that of the anti-Muslim zealots that gave rise to these violent protests.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:57 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't know if it's disgraceful, but it's obvious a phone call like that would be pointless.

The phone call from the general was not meant to dissuade the preacher; it was made to make sure that every decent Republican who likes the military drops him like a hot potato.
posted by msalt at 11:10 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I thought Goonswarm wasn't above attacking memorial ceremonies belonging to other corporations in EVE?

Shooting spaceships is our memorial ceremony. Here's the official Goonswarm event post, copied from their forums:
Vile Rat Memorial Not Purple Shoot It Diplomatic Disaster Op

In the past 12 hours, I've heard many stories about what a good man Vile Rat was, and I expect you've heard the same. He was friendly, even-tempered, sharp and witty, a genuine pleasure to be around. As an internet spaceship diplomat his accomplishments eclipse even DaiTengu, yet despite having reshaped the server to his will, he never stopped being an approachable person, a real chill Sigma. Also he scammed Phreeze out of an Avatar and if that isn't a sign of fundamental human decency, brothers and sisters, well then I don't know what is.

That is not to say that Vile Rat was perfect: he was fervently devoted to the Chargers, which was undoubtedly indicative of some deeper flaws in his personality, and he had terrible taste in even fake tattoos. He had no eyebrows, which was something he was generous enough not to pass on to his children who thankfully take after their mother. Vile Rat also inexplicably liked solving diplomatic problems, even the massive clusterfuck hell-problems goons instigate on a daily basis. Well, we can't do anything about the Chargers, and Blawrf has already magnanimously volunteered to get a Vile Tat tribute tattoo in his honor, so the best avenue for us to remember this bald D&D moderator with no eyebrows is with a shoot blues of monstrous proportions. To this end The Adj has asked that I post a "Not Purple Shoot It" op from UMI, in which a flotilla of ridiculously expensive ships shall sally forth and shoot anything that is not them, and then, perhaps, thunderdome until not a single ship remains. I have no doubt that such a flagrant and expensive disregard for standings would bring tears of joy to Vile Rat's eyes. As you grieve, remember that Vile Rat died doing what he loved, eating Libyan food and enraging people to the point of absurdity by his bare existence.

WHEN: 1900 SATURDAY
WHERE: UMI-KK
WHO: THEADJ
WHAT: FACTION ANYTHING/EXPENSIVE SHIT YOU WANT REMOVED FROM YOUR POSSESSION THROUGH EXPLOSIONS/ANYTHING ELSE
REIMBURSABLE: HAHAHAHAHAHA ARE YOU JOKING ME HAHAHAHA
posted by ryanrs at 11:18 PM on September 12, 2012 [35 favorites]


Thank you, ryanrs et al... I think I have some sense of what this all means to y'all now. Pretty sure I'll never play the game, but I definitely appreciate the wit, intelligence, and feeling that goes into it.

RIP Vile Rat indeed.

.
posted by hap_hazard at 11:52 PM on September 12, 2012


'this all' in terms of ingame/potlatch stylee memorial display, is all
/end derail

posted by hap_hazard at 11:55 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


>> EmpressCallipygos: If a government official calls someone to persuade them to reconsider something they said, I'd really be more comfortable knowing what methods of persuasion they used. Right now, I only have the general's word he didn't issue any kind of veiled threat, and I'm not sure I like that.

> Brandon Blatcher: The pastor probably wouldn't be silent if threatened, just because he's that kind of guy.

> Though seemingly odd, the act of making the plea over the phone doesn't strike me as wrong or worrisome at this point. It rarely hurts to try a soft diplomatic approach.


Context matters here.

In a well-functioning, free society, this sort of "soft touch" approach could have a lot of merit. Terry Jones probably has a lot of respect for the military if he's a typical conservative, so hearing from a prominent leader of the military the consequences of supporting the film could be the thing needed to persuade him to change his mind.

However, in an authoritarian society, what are you supposed to take from a private citizen with an unpopular opinion who "changes his mind" after a private phone call from one of the highest military leaders in the country?

Clearly the US is not such an authoritarian society, so I fall on the side of the phone call being okay. However, I can see how it would concern some people. I personally am concerned about the erosion of our civil liberties here (Johnson 2012!), but not to the point where I worry our military is threatening citizens over the phone yet.
posted by losvedir at 12:13 AM on September 13, 2012


This whole thing grows more bizarre by the hour, it seems. I would call it surreal if it weren't so tragic.

Also the thing about the filmmaker, the mysteries surrounding his person, and this Nakoula guy who was involved in bank fraud and the Klein guy saying "a group of Americans of Mideast origin collaborated on the film"... and how in hell they got to put together funding for FIVE million dollars for that video.

Hmmm. I don't want to get all conspiracy theory on this but it smells really fishy, the kind of fishy that involves secret service operations or counteroperations or whatever. I cannot even begin to imagine who would profit from this and I don't even want to begin thinking about it, maybe it's retaliation for the bombings in Lybia and the overthrow of Gaddafi? maybe it's fundamentalist / terrorist groups stoking the fire for political gain? maybe it's some sort of inscrutable black operation by other western powers? I don't even wanna go there, there be dragons, we'll never know the full story anyway. But in any case, it seems to me the whole provocation of Muslims / freedom of speech thing is just a red herring and there has been some deliberate and well-organised and, by god, well funded, strategy. This is not a story of how an anti-Islam video on youtube offended Muslims to the point of murderous hatred. This is no Theo van Gogh and no Danish cartoonist. (Not that the protests for that one were entirely spontaneous either, there was a lot of political manipulation going on, but at least the cartoonist was a bona fide Danish cartoonist and there were no million dollars involved and no mysterious ways they were obtained).

So hmm maybe all that's left to do is keep on arguing on the embassy statement and religion vs freedom of speech, sure.
posted by bitteschoen at 1:12 AM on September 13, 2012


.
posted by driley at 1:24 AM on September 13, 2012


US embassy in Yemen stormed in film protest. (scant details thus far)
posted by peacay at 2:12 AM on September 13, 2012


Order restored at US Embassy, tweets Yemen's American embassy. Not independently confirmed though; seems like US staff has been moved to safer locations, per Guardian's live blog.

I'm wondering if missions would still continue to use social media after this.
posted by the cydonian at 2:43 AM on September 13, 2012


Hey watch this! Watch Mitt Romney speak about this and take a drink every time he blinks. You'll be drunk before his six minute speech is over.

The best way to spot a liar is to look them in the eyes, according to scientists who say the number of times a person blinks will show if they are speaking the truth.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:49 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm talking morning, day, night, afternoon, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick, dick.
How many dicks is that?


A bag, I believe.
posted by spitbull at 3:39 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hmmm. I don't want to get all conspiracy theory on this

Oh, if only you'd stopped there...

This is not a story of how an anti-Islam video on youtube offended Muslims to the point of murderous hatred.

Yes. Yes it is.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 3:56 AM on September 13, 2012


Mitt Romney: "The embassy is the administration"

I see the above quote as the most dangerous lie Mitt Romney is pedaling in his shameful responses.

It is dangerous because US Embassies represent the United States of America abroad, not just the current Administration. When projecting American power and values abroad, the Department of State is the carrot and the Department of Defense is the stick. Not just for this Administration, but for every administration. If those tools become seen as deeply politicized (and thereby inherently unstable), American interests will suffer.

Top State Department jobs are political but a cadre of dedicated career employees, American and foreign nationals alike, work in embassies providing services to local Americans and non-Americans that wish to visit, study, or do business with America. The broad national interests that are handled at our embassies are not limited or unique to any given Administration.

I have visited American embassies many times under the last 3 Presidents. Partisan politics has never been an apparent in any manner. It would be impossible to deduce whether Republicans or Democrats hold the Executive branch based on an embassy visit, except for the pictures on the wall.

By Romney's logic, when US soldiers burned holy books, those actions spoke for that Administration, and were not mere mistakes by the individuals concerned. The Department of Defense and the Commander-in-Chief should have been held fully and directly accountable. The soldiers should have been publicly hung out to dry, followed by lambasting the chain of command all the way up to the President. I wonder whether the Pentagon brass, top Republicans, or anyone else would consider that leadership.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 3:56 AM on September 13, 2012 [29 favorites]


I have visited American embassies many times under the last 3 Presidents. Partisan politics has never been an apparent in any manner. It would be impossible to deduce whether Republicans or Democrats hold the Executive branch based on an embassy visit, except for the pictures on the wall.

That's a really good point, and I would agree with that based on the embassies I've been to. The U.S. diplomatic corps isn't that much different from those of other countries. There's a civil service mentality. Often the staff stays on from one administration to the next, and there's a basic belief that you're there - in a foreign country - to represent the principles and values of your country, regardless of the current administration.

If you've never lived in another country, if you've never tried to negotiate for your country while living in a different country, it might be hard to imagine how this works. I never met Chris Stevens, but from all accounts it seems he understood this, and I'm sad he was killed.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:14 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


The loathsome Ari Fleischer was on CNN last night arguing that Romney was right because any foreign service employee is a surrogate for the administration, and therefore the POTUS.
posted by unSane at 4:37 AM on September 13, 2012


Do they seriously believe the voters are dumb enough to think every time a foreign diplomat opens his mouth it is Obama speaking? That's insane. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together realizes that people don't always think before they speak (twitter, blog) and they don't always get clearance from their boss's boss.

I cannot even begin to imagine who would profit from this

My first thought on hearing what a cobbled-together piece of crap the film was, was that some guy got 5 mill to make a movie from a group of anti-Muslim extremists and he made a movie for about 5 bucks and pocketed the rest. The big story is not the director, it is the backers-- and I wouldn't be too surprised to hear that they were a group of American Evangelical Christians.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:02 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mitt’s shameful Libya statement -- "This is what happens when one party spends four years convincing itself the president is something he isn’t."
posted by ericb at 5:04 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Paul Krugman: Why The Vileness Matters.
posted by ericb at 5:06 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


unSane, Romney may not be a pig, but Ari Fleischer is a parasite. There's not a thought that comes out of that guy's head that isn't manipulated to support his party or his own ego. The whole country watched that liar stand at his podium and claim that he knew for a fact that Saddam had WMDs — that looking for more evidence would be like adding a foot to Mt Everest — and even as late as 2009 was still claiming that Saddam was responsible for 9/11. After it came to light that the Bush Administration ignored far more evidence about the impending attacks, he stooped low enough to call the person who wrote the article a Truther.

There are only a few people in politics who have zero integrity, and Ari Fleischer is one of those people.
posted by deanklear at 5:20 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


What is particularly sad about not just Romney's, but also the afore-quoted GOP has-beens, reaction to this event when it comes to this issue is that it marks a sharp break from what, to all evidence, has been a more or less bipartisan position when it comes to the responsibility of free speech. I mean I honestly cannot believe anyone sees a difference between this:
These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims. We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable. *
and this
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind. *
There is no material difference between the reactions of the previous administration and the current one when it comes to forms of "expression" that purposefully degrade the religious beliefs of others. Belief in the freedom of expression and the belief that said freedom carries responsibility are not mutually exclusive, and on that point, it seemed Republicans and Democrats used to agree.

Well, all bets are off now, apparently.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:30 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Marisa, serious question: where is the reference to "free speech" in the second statement?
posted by BobbyVan at 5:34 AM on September 13, 2012


Where is "religious tolerance" in the first one?

See: implied.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:38 AM on September 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is one the scariest aspects of the story: the increasing polarization of the Red and the Blue. Just when you think it can't get any worse, now we see the Diplomatic Corps is being forced into a political side. There seems to be nothing American that is not painted by one side or the other as Liberal or Conservative.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:40 AM on September 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


So we agree that there are differences between the statements. Carry on.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:42 AM on September 13, 2012


Where is "religious tolerance" in the first one?

See: implied.


Precisely. The first statement does not say anything about religious tolerance, nor does the second statement say anything about free speech. However, in both instances, the message is the same: religious intolerance, and purposefully inciting offense in Muslims, is something the US deplores, but does not see as a justification for violence. As such, both statements advocate freedom of religion (denigrating the beliefs of others is wrong) and freedom of speech (violence is an inappropriate response to something a person said).
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:44 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Have James O'Keefe and Sam Bacile even been seen together in the same room? Just wonderin'.
posted by peacay at 5:45 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Anti-Muslim film was cast as low-budget 'Arabian Desert adventure'.
posted by ericb at 5:48 AM on September 13, 2012


Staff and crew of film that ridiculed Muslims say they were 'grossly misled'.
posted by ericb at 5:49 AM on September 13, 2012


Hate to be a stickler, but arguing that "violence is an inappropriate response to something a person said" /= advocating freedom of speech.

China is famously restrictive of free speech and protective of public order.

Surely you can see the difference between the two statements now.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:51 AM on September 13, 2012


Jesus H. Christ.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:54 AM on September 13, 2012 [13 favorites]


This "defend free speech uber alles" line of reasoning from the right seems to be the meme-du-jour all over the web. I understand the motivation and the concept, but it just screams an unwillingness toward any diplomacy anywhere or anytime. Always leading with strength is tiresome for all parties, and loses its effectiveness quickly.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:54 AM on September 13, 2012


arguing that "violence is an inappropriate response to something a person said" /= advocating freedom of speech.

“We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression, but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable.”

The republican statement you're so strenuously defending as different explicitly says "Free speech must be coupled with responsibility" and "Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable.” I'm not being a stickler -- they are equivalent statements to the Obama adminstration statement.
posted by inigo2 at 5:55 AM on September 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


Parse the statements + still can't agree what they say, if they are different, or how they are different = statements are probably not that different.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:59 AM on September 13, 2012


Yeah, I can't understand how you guys don't see the massive, unequivocal difference between those two statements that make them fundamentally irreconcilable. One was said by George H. W. Bush and one by Barack Hussein Obama. Thus one is a perfectly fine statement of diplomacy, the other a travesty against American ideals, traitorous to its very core.

But to really understand this we ought to spend the next 50 comments quibbling about the most minute details and inflections, usage of precise words, being held to a ridiculous hidden standard that changes as soon as the standard is met. Only then will we truly understand that the problem is not with what was said, but who said it.

Politicizing the diplomatic arm of the US would be a horrific outcome of this election. It's easy to see it happening, with diplomacy joining the arts, science, education, and pretty much all the other foundations of civilization as being valued by only one of the political parties. But goodness I hope it doesn't happen. The Republicans need to be partake in some of the graces of civilization without being drummed out of the party by their fellow members, or the divide is only going to get worse.
posted by Llama-Lime at 6:04 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Surely you can see the difference between the two statements now.

Only if we're playing Philosophical Pedantic Straw-Grasping, which I hope we're not. The two statements are materially the same in terms of meaning and intent, and should be obvious on its face.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:05 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


What is truly "sad and pathetic" in this episode is the Republican desperation to find something, anything in it about which to criticize the President.
posted by Eyebeams at 6:07 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


If Obama had quoted Bush word for word he'd be accused of plagiarism.
posted by notsnot at 6:10 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


McCain was on the Today Show this morning, strenuously arguing that Obama has failed to lead in a general sense ("he didn't support the surge," etc) and demanding that he speak up about the massacres in Syria. It seemed almost like he had been ordered to back up Romney in whatever way he could justify and so twisting the narrative this way allowed him to do that.
posted by sallybrown at 6:12 AM on September 13, 2012


One was said by George H. W. Bush and one by Barack Hussein Obama.

I believe you're looking for "B HUSSEIN Obama".
posted by inigo2 at 6:15 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


McCain has become a GOP unmanned drone.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:15 AM on September 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


The "Republican" State Department also said: ''We vigorously defend the right of individuals to express points of view."

Here's why the difference is important:

The US needs to set appropriate expectations in the Muslim world going forward: anti-Muslim rabble rousing is going to continue to emanate from America, especially when people like Terry Jones or that "imbecile" guy get lavished with attention from the media and high-level stroking by government officials. Merely condemning the expressions without explaining that our country will protect the freedom of those who make them isn't just being solicitous toward Muslim sensibilities; it also projects weakness by suggesting that maybe if we're attacked a few more times, we'll actually do something about insults against Mohammed beyond just condemning them.

To wit, a couple of commenters here think there might not be room in the First Amendment for the "denigration" of other religions if it might lead to a violent reaction. Perhaps the extremists think a few more of us can be convinced...
posted by BobbyVan at 6:18 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


sallybrown: "McCain was on the Today Show this morning"

"Hi, I'm John McCain! You might remember me from such colossal campaign cock-ups as The Fundamentals of Our Economy Are Strong and The Sarah Palin Chronicles."
posted by tonycpsu at 6:18 AM on September 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


McCain has become a GOP unmanned drone.

Don't you mean a Maverick?
posted by jaduncan at 6:24 AM on September 13, 2012


Merely condemning the expressions without explaining that our country will protect the freedom of those who make them

So Obama/Clinton shouldn't say stuff like "Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable." Check.
posted by inigo2 at 6:26 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Friends and allies of Vile Rat are holding a cyno candlelight memorial in EVE. Their cynos light up the universe.

I really have no idea what cynos are or EVE is, but that's touching.
posted by desjardins at 6:26 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


On a different note, this is an awesome Twitter exchange between the Muslim Brotherhood and the US Embassy in Cairo.

Muslim Brotherhood: We r relieved none of @USEmbassyCairo staff were harmed & hope US-Eg relations will sustain turbulence of Tuesday's events

US Embassy Cairo: Thanks. By the way, have you checked out your own Arabic feeds? I hope you know we read those too.
posted by BobbyVan at 6:26 AM on September 13, 2012 [23 favorites]


Merely condemning the expressions without explaining that our country will protect the freedom of those who make them isn't just being solicitous toward Muslim sensibilities;

Condemning violence as a response to a product of expression is stating precisely that: this person has said something horrible, with which we disagree, but responding with violence is not tolerated, ergo, this person has the freedom to say it.

it also projects weakness by suggesting that maybe if we're attacked a few more times, we'll actually do something about insults against Mohammed beyond just condemning them.

I have absolutely no idea how you can read words condemning violence as a response to speech and think that this is very unclear as a defense of free speech, but at the same time you can take the tremendous leap of magically divining that condemning religious intolerance "suggests" that we are going to do the bidding of Muslim extremists and jail those who insult Mohammed. If I didn't know better I'd begin to suspect you might be projecting.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:28 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have absolutely no idea how you can read words condemning violence as a response to speech and think that this is very unclear as a defense of free speech, but at the same time you can take the tremendous leap of magically divining that condemning religious intolerance "suggests" that we are going to do the bidding of Muslim extremists and jail those who insult Mohammed. If I didn't know better I'd begin to suspect you might be projecting.

Well, they now know that they can get America's military leadership to call Terry Jones on the phone and "ask" him to stop supporting the film. Maybe if they do something bigger next time, our generals will do more than "ask."
posted by BobbyVan at 6:31 AM on September 13, 2012


might not be room in the First Amendment for the "denigration" of other religions if it might lead to a violent reaction
Whoa whoa whoa, those commenters were talking about inciting violence, which is not First Amendment free speech, period. Constitution 101. 9th grade civics. Other examples of Not Free Speech according to US values:
  1. Shouting "fire" in a crowded theater
  2. Threatening to kill someone
  3. Lying and impugning the reputation of a non-public person
If you want to argue that this movie wasn't designed to incite violence, that's probably a much more productive avenue for discussion, as it doesn't start out from an obviously wrong and inflammatory position of people who like the First Amendment being told that they're not in favor of free speech.

But eventually we'll get back to it being a problem with the person who said it...
posted by Llama-Lime at 6:33 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Glad they've never seen South Park or Family Guy. Shitload of blasphemy there.

And one thing I learned working in a very controlled, high profile place...whomever approves the public statements never knows what they're doing. Usually the statement says a whole lot of nothing or something that causes a whole lot of problems.
posted by stormpooper at 6:33 AM on September 13, 2012


So what did the Muslim Brotherhood tweet in their Arabic feeds then?
posted by the cydonian at 6:35 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


[BobbyVan polite request for you to be PART of this conversation not the moderator of it.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:35 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that's an interesting point stormpooper. There is SO MUCH media in the West that is "blasphemous" and "insulting" to the prophet and stuff. Do folks just not have access to that kind of thing? You'd think Southpark would have caused a shitstorm.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:35 AM on September 13, 2012


Really Bobby, is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs really going to send out a couple of Special Ops teams and kick in Terry Jones's door?

The call was a polite "Hey, this is a sensitive situation can you perhaps chill and quit stirring up trouble that might get US embassies and forces in the region attacked?"

There was no demand that he stop but rather an appeal to maybe think about his actions.
posted by vuron at 6:36 AM on September 13, 2012


BobbyVan my only words on this... you are clearly distorting the truth of the matter and even then grasping at the tattered straws of your argument. Feel free to ramble on in this thread and instigate all those around you but I don't value your opinion.

Moving on.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 6:36 AM on September 13, 2012


it also projects weakness by suggesting that maybe if we're attacked a few more times, we'll actually do something about insults against Mohammed beyond just condemning them.

What. the. hell.

Has something happened that I don't know about, vis-à-vis American Freedom of Speech? Have we suddenly had a massive turn around with the courts opting for suppression? Because I think today in America we are safeguarding our First Amendment now more than ever. Perhaps in the 50's we might have seen some attempt to squash this film like a bug, but now I can only imagine people streaming out of the woodwork in order to protect this guy and his creepy film.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:37 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, they now know that they can get America's military leadership to call Terry Jones on the phone and "ask" him to stop supporting the film. Maybe if they do something bigger next time, our generals will do more than "ask."

As has already been pointed out to you, Jones had been contacted before this ever happened. Apart from this being irrelevant to the subject at hand here, which is the difference between the statements of the Bush administration and Obama's with regards to this subject. Your ability to read the minds of the Muslim world is duly noted all the same.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:37 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


This thread has somehow turned into ElectionFilter and ObamaBirtherFilter. The terrorists have won.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:40 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Do they seriously believe the voters are dumb enough to think every time a foreign diplomat opens his mouth it is Obama speaking? That's insane. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together realizes that people don't always think before they speak (twitter, blog) and they don't always get clearance from their boss's boss.

....Have you seen some people in the public?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:42 AM on September 13, 2012


Republicans' mastery of basic English grammar and syntax seems to completely fail completely whenever Obama or one of his "minions" is speaking (see also: You didn't build that).

Bush derangement syndrome ain't got nothing on Obama derangement syndrome.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:46 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ari Fleischer is a parasite.

The Ari Fleischer, who so vigorously defended the right to speak freely when warned he Americans "that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do," a parasite?

BobbyVan, your relentless hunt for ways to blame American embassy staff who were struggling for their lives for some precise choice of words in a tweet, while celebrating the right of others to incite the violence and hatred that led to their deaths, all for the purpose of scoring points off a President you dislike is one of the most loathsome acts I've seen here.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:46 AM on September 13, 2012 [23 favorites]


I am always amused by the (apparent) conservative belief notions that our enemies are crazed ruthless implacable barbarians who are nevertheless materially influenced by what U.S. Presidents say at press conferences.
posted by Eyebeams at 6:47 AM on September 13, 2012 [27 favorites]


My favorite thing about Holmes' "Fire in a Crowded Theatre" ruling is the fact the "dangerous speech" under consideration by the court at the time was anti-war activism, which was made illegal by the Espionage Act of 1917.
posted by absalom at 6:54 AM on September 13, 2012


BobbyVan, your relentless hunt for ways to blame American embassy staff who were struggling for their lives for some precise choice of words in a tweet, while celebrating the right of others to incite the violence and hatred that led to their deaths, all for the purpose of scoring points off a President you dislike is one of the most loathsome acts I've seen here.

Octobersurprise, your sly conflation of the tragic events in Benghazi with what happened in Cairo is quite loathsome as well. Are you also aware that the Obama Administration was quite upset about the comments that came from Embassy Cairo?
But Obama's remarks belie the enormous frustration of top officials at the State Department and White House with the actions of the man behind the statement, Cairo senior public affairs officer Larry Schwartz, who wrote the release and oversees the embassy's Twitter feed, according to a detailed account of the Tuesday's events.
See also this from Wired Magazine: Besieged U.S. Embassy #Fails Its Twitter Defense.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:01 AM on September 13, 2012


Re: Arabic feeds.

In a time not too long ago, it wasn't uncommon for English-speaking diplomats to be unable to converse in the language(s) of the countries to(?) which they were stationed. In those times, it was perfectly viable for host country diplomats to say one thing in English and the opposite in their native language. I am surprised that they haven't yet caught on to the fact that it's virtually impossible to get away with that now.
posted by bardophile at 7:03 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


You mean that the Obama administration which by all accounts is one of the most disciplined administrations about controlling the release of messaging might be upset that a staffer was using twitter to broadcast statements without checking in with the Ambassador or the State Department? Of course they are, these guys are even better than the Bush administration about controlling the release of information and they want staffers to stay on message.

The truth of the matter was the comment was probably not authorized and senior officials would've preferred to tweak the message but you know what people sometimes overreach and speak out of turn especially in tense situations like this.

Further it takes a really tortured reading of the tweets to really suggest that the Obama administration was in any way condoning these sort of acts.
posted by vuron at 7:09 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder if Romney is in such a bubble of Obama haters that he thinks this tack is working for him? My dad, for example, thinks romney is dead on with these attacks, but he wouldn't vote for Obama if the GOP nominated Satan himself.

It seems like the GOP is trying to replay carter in 1980, but Obama is no carter and Romney is sure as hell no reagan.
posted by empath at 7:15 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


GOP Sen. Inhofe Blames Embassy Attacks On Obama’s ‘Policy Of Appeasement’.
posted by ericb at 7:15 AM on September 13, 2012


CBS: Portman conceded that he was unaware of how the events took place, but continued to defend Romney’s response in generally the same way. “No, I was not aware it was issued before there were any attacks,” Portman said. “I still think, Norah, you know, it implies that somehow the attacks could be justified by, again, a video.”
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:16 AM on September 13, 2012


Allen West: Pres. Obama Sends ‘Sense Of Weakness’ Reminiscent Of Carter Administration.
posted by ericb at 7:16 AM on September 13, 2012


Coulter And Hannity Blast Obama For Response To Violence In Egypt And Libya: He Is A ‘Wimp’.
posted by ericb at 7:17 AM on September 13, 2012


Blech. I come to MetaFilter so I don't have to hear what the douchey Coulters and Hannities of the world are saying. No offense to you, ericb, but gah. I could do without.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:21 AM on September 13, 2012


Palin, Kyl, Inhofe, West, Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity.

I rest my case.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:22 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen:
"“I still think, Norah, you know, it implies that somehow the attacks could be justified by, again, a video.”"
I saw that interview this morning. Portman either just couldn't understand what was being explained to him or was unwilling to step away from talking points. The interviewer was obviously exasperated and eventually gave up and moved on. It was sad, really. I'm embarrassed that this guy represents me in the Senate and will do my best to kick his ass out when the time comes.
posted by charred husk at 7:23 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Right, the guy who ordered the raid which bagged Osama bin Laden is a wimp. We should re-elect the party whose president let bin Laden relax in luxury for seven years!
posted by stevis23 at 7:23 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think it's important to be aware of how loathsome some of the Republican commentators are regarding these tragic events and, not avoid hearing what they are saying.
posted by ericb at 7:26 AM on September 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yeah and I respect that, but I could probably guess pretty easily what those particular commentators would say, and all it does is raise my blood pressure. To each their own and all that, but I don't need to keep Coulter close to know what she thinks.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:29 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Romney and "Palin, Kyl, Inhofe, West, Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity."

Hence my Resolution.
posted by Eyebeams at 7:31 AM on September 13, 2012


Are you also aware that the Obama Administration was quite upset about the comments that came from Embassy Cairo?

You pointed to that once before, so yes, I'm aware of it. The President also said,
"In an effort to cool the situation down, it didn't come from me, it didn't come from Secretary Clinton. It came from people on the ground who are potentially in danger. And my tendency is to cut folks a little bit of slack when they're in that circumstance, rather than try to question their judgment from the comfort of a campaign office."
but I see you didn't quote that.

Now if I were writing Schwartz's performance eval, I'd be troubled. Neither rashness nor haste have a place in diplomacy or politics (Just ask Mitt Romney!) As a distant observer, however, I'm much less eager to put the blame on the people doing a job in difficult circumstances and more on the people inciting violence. I'm baffled by a moral calculus that reverses the two.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:36 AM on September 13, 2012 [18 favorites]


Well, they now know that they can get America's military leadership to call Terry Jones on the phone and "ask" him to stop supporting the film. Maybe if they do something bigger next time, our generals will do more than "ask."

This is lazy slippery slope argumentation. The video they created has no critical value. It sole purpose is to offend and provoke, and it's long been accepted that speech designed to inflame without providing a shred of value otherwise is not protected free speech, even in the United States. It's the equivalent of walking up to someone and insulting them until they fight you. Only in this case, people were murdered.

No one thinks all free speech should be protected, unless they also defend the actions of Radio Rwanda leading up to the genocide there. If anyone cares to make that argument, go right ahead.
posted by deanklear at 7:36 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not entirely convinced that lying and faux outrage by Romney isn't a good electoral strategy. Let's be honest he's going with a base strategy with the hope of peeling off some of the undecided voters. Unfortunately most undecided voters tend to be low information consumers so if you can get out a narrative of "Obama is weak on terrorism" even if it's completely and utterly false that narrative might play well with your base (who typically discards anything that does not fit with their reality filter) and low information voters that vote based upon sound bites and whichever candidate appeals to their sense of tribal loyalties.

That the media won't really explain this sort of thing (or in the case of Fox has absolutely no interest in presenting a coherent narrative that isn't Obama = Evil) is a shame but Romney might be wise in using this moment to try to score some points. Completely shameless yes but considering he's getting thrashed in the electoral college he needs to do desperate stuff to change the course trajectory he's on.
posted by vuron at 8:00 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


No one thinks all free speech should be protected, unless they also defend the actions of Radio Rwanda leading up to the genocide there. If anyone cares to make that argument, go right ahead.

*raises hand*

I will make that argument, because the United States Constitution doesn't cover actions which take place in Rwanda. So claiming that my defense of the United States Constitution's First Amendment means that I am also defending the actions of Radio Rwanda is false.

In the case of this film, though, the United States Constitution does apply. And yes, the video they created has no critical value. However, SCORES of other things that "have no critical value" and which are solely created "to offend and provoke" are released daily -- things like Jackass or South Park or "anything Fred Phelps says".

A given thing's "value" and whether or not it is "provocative" are not the sole arbiters for whether they are worthy of protection. Because everyone has different opinions for what has value and what is provocative.

I believe you are garbling what is restricted, though - that is, there is speech that is prohibited which is not simply "provocative", but is a direct order. In other words, it's one thing to say "them women in Brooklyn just need to have a good smack in the head" and "hey, you, go give that woman in Brooklyn a smack in the head". One is an expression of an opinion - a vile one, to be sure, but simply an expression of an opinion as opposed to being a direct order. The direct order is not protected - but the opinion, vile as it is, IS protected, and yes, I believe it should be. Because I also want the right to say things that Fred Phelps would find provocative, or Mitt Romney would find provocative, etc.

Unless you can provide evidence that the film was saying "so everyone pick up your guns and kill some Muslims, start with the mosques" or something, then this film, vile though it is, is protected under the First Amendment. And the way to combat it is not to withdraw its protection -- but to exercise our own First Amendment rights and say, publically, that we think it sucks.

Fortunately, the bulk of the people in the US seem to be taking that approach.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:00 AM on September 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


RIP Vilerat
posted by Virtblue at 8:13 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: The Klein person who was involved in it said "We went into this knowing this [the violence] was probably going to happen." How is that not then an incitement to violence?
posted by desjardins at 8:15 AM on September 13, 2012


TPM publishes contents of yanked NYT article detailing Romney team effort to discredit Obama before all the facts were known.
posted by crunchland at 8:16 AM on September 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


And... what are you doing putting Jackass and South Park on the same level? Do you literally think that the creators of those would be cool seeing some people killed over the shows?
posted by desjardins at 8:16 AM on September 13, 2012


Meanwhile, Romney did condemn this Terry Jones character before. No rousing defence of free speech then either.
posted by the cydonian at 8:26 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos: The Klein person who was involved in it said "We went into this knowing this [the violence] was probably going to happen." How is that not then an incitement to violence?

Can you link me to where this happened?

And... what are you doing putting Jackass and South Park on the same level? Do you literally think that the creators of those would be cool seeing some people killed over the shows?

I am not personally putting them on the same level -- or, rather, I am, but not on the same level YOU are putting them on. But that is precisely my point - there are people for whom Jackass is just as offensive as "Innocence for Muslims". There are people who believe South Park is just as offensive as "Innocence for Muslims". In fact --

Do you literally think that the creators of those would be cool seeing some people killed over the shows?

Do you literally think that Trey Parker and Matt Stone thought Scientology wouldn't do anything in response to their "Trapped In The Closet" episode? I don't think that they're that dumb. I think they knew that they'd get some response -- they went into it knowing that Scientology would respond in some fashion, just like Klein knew something would happen in response to "Innocence for Muslims."

If the Scientologists could have their way, Parker and Stone would be punished. But the First Amendment says, Scientologists DON'T get to get their way on this one, and Parker and Stone DO get to say what they want about Scientology, even if they knew that they would get a reaction out of Scientology as a result.

What makes Parker and Stone and "Trapped In The Closet" different from Klein and "Innocence of Muslims" in your eyes?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:29 AM on September 13, 2012


EmpressCallipygos: "Can you link me to where this happened?"

Klein told the Associated Press, “We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen.”
posted by boo_radley at 8:34 AM on September 13, 2012


Sec. Clinton: "I know it is hard for some people to understand why the United States cannot or does not just prevent these kinds of reprehensible videos from ever seeing the light of day,” she said. “Now, I would note that in today’s world with today’s technologies that is impossible. But even if it were possible, our country does have a long tradition of free expression, which is enshrined in our Constitution and in our law. We do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views no matter how distasteful they may be.”

Clinton added: “There are of course different views around the world about the outer limits of free speech and free expression, but there should be no debate about the simple proposition that violence in response to speech is not acceptable.”


i don't expect this to satisfy Republican concern trolls, but that seems very well said to me.
posted by Eyebeams at 8:37 AM on September 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


Sounds about right to me.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:40 AM on September 13, 2012


Klein told the Associated Press, “We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen.”

Hmmm. The rest of his remarks seem to give a different context - rather than Klein thinking "yeah, we're gonna have people get violent and that's exactly what we want," it seems Klein's actual thoughts were more like "jeez, I knew something like this was gonna happen becuase look at what happened with this other case, and I told the producer and he said 'we'll go ahead anyway' so I just decided 'okay, we'll just deal with it'". It sounded like a resigned sort of "I know these might be the consequences but I'm gonig ahead" rather than "we SPECIFICALLY want to incite an angry mob and this is the way we've chosen to try to do it".

Clinton added: “There are of course different views around the world about the outer limits of free speech and free expression, but there should be no debate about the simple proposition that violence in response to speech is not acceptable.”

I agree completely.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:45 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nicely stated. Sorry that some people felt that freedom of speech was in doubt. Hopefully this brings an end to this derail.

Although Mitt Romney's critique did include him saying that outrage and standing tall needed to be the immediate reactions (or am I mis-remembering it)? So he can still complain that this should have come sooner.

Had it come sooner, he could still complain that Sec. Clinton's hair-do isn't strident enough.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:48 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


From the Southern Poverty Law Center: Meet Steve Klein, the Hate Group Leader Who ‘Consulted’ on ‘The Innocence of Muslims’
posted by boo_radley at 8:58 AM on September 13, 2012


What an utterly repugnant human - Klein that is - fomenting hatred and hoping to inspire violence - all in the name of his particular brand of christianity. Ironic that he finds Islam an appropriate target for this but sees nothing incongruous about distorting his own religion to support such hate-filled ideas.

I detest the disingenuous tack that Romney and his cronies have taken on this. The only comfort if one can call it that is the hope that more people will see what he's really made of. It's really weird to watch and listen to the media on this. NPR has been bending over backwards to appear even-handed, to the point of ignoring just how repulsive Romney's statements have been, while some traditionally more right wing outlets have expressed more revulsion. Strange times we live in!
posted by leslies at 9:06 AM on September 13, 2012


i don't expect this to satisfy Republican concern trolls, but that seems very well said to me.

Oh, but she should have been defending free speech from the start, instead of wasting time condemning violence and expressing sympathies for the families of those killed! Doesn't she know what kind of message this sends extremists?!?!?!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:07 AM on September 13, 2012


It sounded like a resigned sort of "I know these might be the consequences but I'm gonig ahead" rather than "we SPECIFICALLY want to incite an angry mob and this is the way we've chosen to try to do it".

Except that whoever is ultimately behind the film created the "Sam Bacile" persona to be an Israeli Jew who received $5 million from 100 other Jews. That a group of American evangelicals and/or Egyptian Copts created a Jewish cabal behind their film is bizarre and seems like a clear intention that they at least intended to provoke conflict between the Muslim world and Israel.
posted by gladly at 9:08 AM on September 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Rick Perry: "President Obama said he "rejects" these brutal acts, and condemns them in "the strongest terms" - yet still acknowledges our attackers' supposed justification."

Oh, that's just beautiful! Obama rejected any notion that the attacks were justified, but by the very act of doing so, of course he "acknowleged the attackers' supposed justification." And Perry uses the fact to imply that Obama agrees with the terrorists.

That's the kind of slippery partisan rhetoric that can label one administration's boilerplate diplomatic statement a "robust defense of free speech" while calling another administration's similar boilerplate diplomatic statement a veiled threat to same.

Shame on Perry.
posted by Gelatin at 9:09 AM on September 13, 2012


"Shame on Perry."

You really think these leading lights of the GOP have any sense of shame?
posted by bardic at 9:11 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


That a group of American evangelicals and/or Egyptian Copts created a Jewish cabal behind their film is bizarre and seems like a clear intention that they at least intended to provoke conflict between the Muslim world and Israel.

That's a different crime, and one the government most likely will be researching...and, on such day when there's such a money trail and proof of conspiracy that comes to light, I'm right there with you on the accusations.

At present, all we know for certain is: a) Klein and "Bacile" are jackass bigots, and b) even jackass bigots can go public with their expressions of jackass bigotry.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:13 AM on September 13, 2012


Hmmm. I don't want to get all conspiracy theory on this but it smells really fishy, the kind of fishy that involves secret service operations or counteroperations or whatever.
Or, you know, Jack Chick Publications starting up a direct-to-video arm.
posted by Lazlo at 9:13 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Controversial Muhammad video linked to U.S. anti-Muslim activists.
posted by ericb at 9:16 AM on September 13, 2012


Mitt Romney Media Criticism Continues: 'He Looks Like Richard Nixon,' 'The Character And The Policy Were Both Revealed'.
posted by ericb at 9:20 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Daily Kos : Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Amidst tragedy, the Romney campaign's disastrous day
posted by crunchland at 9:21 AM on September 13, 2012


Actually, a part of me thinks that one of the best ways to punish Klein et. al. would be for the US Attorney General and SAG to team up to sue Klein for a contract violation on behalf of the cast and crew.

Someone posted a link to the Gawker interview with one of the actresses upthread, and they all have collectively released a statement about how what they'd done was completely changed in editing and without their knowledge. They are pissed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:21 AM on September 13, 2012


Turmoil Over Contentious Video Spreads to Yemen and Iran

Congratulations, dipshits.
posted by Artw at 9:29 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Personally I think all this religious tolerance talk is so much bullshit, and people should have the right to say that Mohammed was a murderous pedophile even if it weren't true. I recognize that the backwards fundamentalists of the world make it impossible to make that sort of stand in a practical matter, though.

It is not bigotry to attack the tenets and claims, historical or otherwise, of a religion, even to attack a religion at its very foundations, even to attack the characters of its founders.

It's bigotry to discriminate against believers, however. I wish people had the guts to make that sort of distinction, but the false piety that dominates politics everywhere means that no one will stick their necks out to do it.
posted by empath at 9:31 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: Congratulations, dipshits.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:39 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey now, don't bust on Perry. He's probably adjusting to a new mix of medications.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:50 AM on September 13, 2012


You really think these leading lights of the GOP have any sense of shame?

Of course not.

Greg Sargent has the story of a top GOP adviser saying they went with the "apology" angle because it fit the campaign's narrative.

Interestingly, the NYT seems to have dropped that specific part of the quyote, which appeared in earlier editions, in favor of the speaker going on the record with the second half, decrying Obama's feckless foreign policy.
posted by Gelatin at 9:54 AM on September 13, 2012


I believe you are garbling what is restricted, though - that is, there is speech that is prohibited which is not simply "provocative", but is a direct order. In other words, it's one thing to say "them women in Brooklyn just need to have a good smack in the head" and "hey, you, go give that woman in Brooklyn a smack in the head". One is an expression of an opinion - a vile one, to be sure, but simply an expression of an opinion as opposed to being a direct order. The direct order is not protected - but the opinion, vile as it is, IS protected, and yes, I believe it should be. Because I also want the right to say things that Fred Phelps would find provocative, or Mitt Romney would find provocative, etc.

Yes, in much the same way a mobster is not guilty of murder if he simply suggests to someone that Mr Smith would be much more attractive with a hole in the head. If someone else happens to carry out the violence he suggests, how could we possibly hold him responsible?

There are limits to plausible deniability, and producing trash like that movie are well beyond the line of what free speech is designed to protect.
posted by deanklear at 9:57 AM on September 13, 2012


Yes, in much the same way a mobster is not guilty of murder if he simply suggests to someone that Mr Smith would be much more attractive with a hole in the head. If someone else happens to carry out the violence he suggests, how could we possibly hold him responsible?

There are limits to plausible deniability, and producing trash like that movie are well beyond the line of what free speech is designed to protect.


I haven't seen any indication that the film incited violence against muslims, its ostensible target. Nor have I seen any indication that it encouraged muslims to attack americans. Either explicitly or implicitly. Insulting a religion isn't a crime, even if you know that doing so will cause the followers of that religion to react violently to the insult. If they respond violently, the crime is theirs, not yours.
posted by empath at 10:03 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Palin, Kyl, Inhofe, West, Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity.

"Announcing the starting infield line-up for Hell's innermost circle's slo-pitch co-ed softball team, the Wanking Shills . . ."
posted by gompa at 10:03 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


The bullshit about not giving a vigorous defense of free expression in our statements is the same bullshit that's raised over the Dems' lack of God or Jerusalem in the platform — it's specious carping dressed up as an argument by naked partisans unafraid to look like idiots more concerned with framing everything as a failure of Obama than displaying basic human decency in the face of a tragedy. I would have thought it beneath BobbyVan to engage in such protracted special pleading, but apparently these are desperate times for Romney voters.
posted by klangklangston at 10:09 AM on September 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


Romney's Team Turns On The Press.
posted by ericb at 10:09 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


LOL at the right suddenly caring so much about freedom of speech.
posted by spitbull at 10:12 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


> The rest of his remarks seem to give a different context - rather than Klein thinking "yeah, we're gonna have people get violent and that's exactly what we want," it seems Klein's actual thoughts were more like "jeez, I knew something like this was gonna happen becuase look at what happened with this other case, and I told the producer and he said 'we'll go ahead anyway' so I just decided 'okay, we'll just deal with it'". It sounded like a resigned sort of "I know these might be the consequences but I'm gonig ahead" rather than "we SPECIFICALLY want to incite an angry mob and this is the way we've chosen to try to do it".

>That a group of American evangelicals and/or Egyptian Copts created a Jewish cabal behind their film is bizarre and seems like a clear intention that they at least intended to provoke conflict between the Muslim world and Israel.

That's a different crime, and one the government most likely will be researching...and, on such day when there's such a money trail and proof of conspiracy that comes to light, I'm right there with you on the accusations.


A different crime than what, exactly? I'm also not seeing how a potential future government investigation somehow makes the fake Jewish Cabal non-relevant to Klein's anti-muslim propaganda. You manage to discern the motives of this guy from two direct quotes in the first instance, but in the second his actions somehow have no bearing on his intent. Do you seriously believe that an anti-Muslim crusader would have no idea that inventing a cabal of Jewish backers would not stir things up even more than the mere existence of an inflammatory film, and that somehow we should disregard that bizarre fact when evaluating his motivations?
posted by oneirodynia at 10:12 AM on September 13, 2012


Muhammed Movie Crew Member Sheds Light On Film's Production.
posted by ericb at 10:12 AM on September 13, 2012


Romney's Team Turns On The Press

"They keep reporting on the stupid shit we say and do!"
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on September 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: specious carping dressed up as an argument
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 10:18 AM on September 13, 2012


Libya Attack Said To Be 2-Part Militant Assault.
posted by ericb at 10:19 AM on September 13, 2012


I haven't seen any indication that the film incited violence against muslims, its ostensible target. Nor have I seen any indication that it encouraged muslims to attack americans. Either explicitly or implicitly. Insulting a religion isn't a crime, even if you know that doing so will cause the followers of that religion to react violently to the insult. If they respond violently, the crime is theirs, not yours.

It would be so fucking awesome if Obama or someone else connected the dots and said that the film itself was part of an Al Qaeda plot - Al Qaeda or a similar Islamic terrorist group created and marketed the movie in order to sow confusion and violence, and provide a rational for an attack on the American embassy in Egypt, or the consulate in Libya.

Who cares if it's true? The American Right/Republicans roll this way - create a meme or talking point in order to control the discourse, never mind if it's true.

So I am going to posit that Al Qaeda did indeed produce that film in order to kill American diplomats abroad.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:20 AM on September 13, 2012


Former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty one of 4 Americans killed in attack on U.S. consulate in Libya.
posted by ericb at 10:21 AM on September 13, 2012


That ''...turns on the press'' piece is worth a quick peek, but might want to bring nose plugs there are few things worse then the stink of respiration
posted by edgeways at 10:28 AM on September 13, 2012


Watching CNN feed ...

The protests are spreading. Currently protests have been reported in Israel, Gaza, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Iraq, Iran and among Muslims in the Indian-controlled region of Kashmir.
posted by ericb at 10:30 AM on September 13, 2012


Honestly, I'm glad Obama (with an assist from Biden and Clinton) is at the helm now and not McCain/Palin (can you even imagine?). He's going to keep his cool, not over-react, and this is going to blow over in a few days. All the conservative hyperventilating over his 'foreign policy fecklessness' will feel somewhat silly in retrospect, just like McCain's absurd over-reaction to the financial crisis.
posted by empath at 10:35 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Who cares if it's true?

I'm definitely sympathetic to that idea but I think we have to care about the truth more than simply getting our guy re-elected. In the end, I don't care if Republicans do lie their asses off and ride the wave of resulting discourse, I still want the politicians I back to live in the reality based community and to effect policies that are based on the truth and actual data.
posted by TwoWordReview at 10:41 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


but might want to bring nose plugs there are few things worse then the stink of respiration

And wear hip-waders: the flop sweat is rising fast.
posted by rtha at 10:42 AM on September 13, 2012


this is going to blow over in a few days.

I wish I could believe that, but ...

Currently protests have been reported in Israel, Gaza, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Iraq, Iran and among Muslims in the Indian-controlled region of Kashmir.
posted by desjardins at 10:42 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whether or not Al Qaeda made the film, it's pretty transparently an excuse for the violence, but it's curious that they waited so long (the trailer was posted in July).
posted by desjardins at 10:44 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


GOP Sen. Inhofe Blames Embassy Attacks On Obama’s ‘Policy Of Appeasement’.

This is the same Sen. Inhofe who once said that God allowed 9/11 to happen because the U.S. was not sufficiently supportive of Israel. He's another nutbag.
posted by homunculus at 10:49 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


''Stink of respiration'' oh that's pretty good even by my standards, mobile devices have truly turned misspelings into an artform
posted by edgeways at 10:50 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


LOL at the right suddenly caring so much about freedom of speech

The American right has always cared quite deeply about their freedom to say horrible things to and about people who aren't them.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:51 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


edgeways — I thought that was some inside joke I was too old to get.
posted by Eyebeams at 11:00 AM on September 13, 2012


Yeah, yeah that's the ticket... intentional joke
posted by edgeways at 11:09 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


A different crime than what, exactly?

"Making provocative speech" is different from "conspiring with a foreign hostile government." And is a much bigger deal.

You manage to discern the motives of this guy from two direct quotes in the first instance, but in the second his actions somehow have no bearing on his intent.

His alleged actions. Right now we're dealing in speculation. And I also add (and notice that you didn't mention) that as soon as we get proof he DID participate in a conspiracy, I'm all for going hell-for-leather after the guy for conspiracy. "Making a horrendously insulting film" is not sufficient proof of "active conspiracy with a foreign hostile government."

Do you seriously believe that an anti-Muslim crusader would have no idea that inventing a cabal of Jewish backers would not stir things up even more than the mere existence of an inflammatory film, and that somehow we should disregard that bizarre fact when evaluating his motivations?

Woodward and Bernstein needed more concrete proof when they were trying to investigate Watergate. Their investigation turned up plenty of "bizarre facts" like that, but it still took more concrete evidence before people actually went to prison. Such a bizarre fact is evidence to suggest further inquiry is in order, but it is not in itself proof.

And that STILL is different than just "making a shit movie".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:11 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am only speaking for myself here, but I think it would be really great if we could set aside the free speech contentiousness and instead keep aggregating the information here. That's really what I love about MetaFilter in threads like this. We can debate all this stuff when the actual facts are in, things are really confused right now. Just my two cents.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:13 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


>If there was coordination between Egypt and Libya on this, are there other countries in the mix?
Foreshadowing!


Al Jazeera reported in their TV broadcast that the majority of the protesters, at least in Egypt, had not even seen the offensive video. Others said they were protesting the mere existence of the video, regardless of the content. They also gave witness accounts of cars, weapons, and flags that indict Al Qaeda in the attack, but it sounds like most of the actual protesters really are going out based on rumors alone.

If you create something knowing that its mere existence will incite hatred and violence that may ultimately kill fellow American citizens (on 9/12, no less!), how is that any less deplorable than terrorism? No matter what Al Qaeda's role in this is, can we please refer to it as terrorism when any of the Abrahamic religions' fundamentalists get out of hand and try to hurt or kill the least of their brothers?
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 11:14 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia has an evolving page called 2012 U.S. Diplomatic Missions Attacks.
posted by desjardins at 11:16 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


desjardins: Whether or not Al Qaeda made the film, it's pretty transparently an excuse for the violence, but it's curious that they waited so long (the trailer was posted in July).
Yes, but it was highlighted by an Egyptian-American blogger last week, and a portion was shown on Egyptian television on 9 September.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:23 AM on September 13, 2012


No matter what Al Qaeda's role in this is, can we please refer to it as terrorism when any of the Abrahamic religions' fundamentalists get out of hand and try to hurt or kill the least of their brothers?

Even if the filmmakers specifically knew that people would be killed because of the existence of their film, that's not terrorism. It may be incitement, but that's a different thing. Terrorism creates fear - any offended Muslims weren't afraid, they were offended and some were provoked to violence. I don't think we should go slapping the terrorist label on the filmmakers, as vile as they are; the "war on terror" is a sloppy, vague concept already.
posted by desjardins at 11:24 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The big story is not the director, it is the backers-- and I wouldn't be too surprised to hear that they were a group of American Evangelical Christians.

Oh no I refuse to believe there can be such crazy people in the US with so much money for political shit-stirring... oh wait!

Anyway, now it is confirmed, Mr Nakoula has been identified as the filmmaker himself, not just someone who had something to do with the film as he claimed. I wonder if law enforcement can also identify the individual backers?
posted by bitteschoen at 11:24 AM on September 13, 2012


No matter what Al Qaeda's role in this is, can we please refer to it as terrorism when any of the Abrahamic religions' fundamentalists get out of hand and try to hurt or kill the least of their brothers?

Everyone here agrees on THAT part. Violence is NEVER an appropriate reaction to an offensive movie/song/book/magazine article/painting/mural/etc., and no one is disputing that.

The quibbling is over "well, then, shouldn't the people who create art then be prohibited from distributing art that has in the past encited people to violence," and if you think we need to do that, then we'd have to throw out things like The Bible and the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" and Hamlet and Grand Theft Auto and South Park and a whole host of other things along with just this film. I'm not so sure I'm ready to do that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:25 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Intent matters - if you think the Beatles WANTED to provoke murder, or could have reasonably foreseen that the song would inspire crazy murderous cult leaders, I don't know what to tell you. There's precedence for anti-muslim films provoking violence, and one of the people involved with the film (and the leader of an anti-Islam hate group!) directly said he foresaw this happening. There's a HUGE difference.
posted by desjardins at 11:34 AM on September 13, 2012


I asked you once before, and I will ask it again -- do you honestly think Trey Parker and Matt Stone didn't intend to piss Scientologists off when they did their Scientology episode of South Park? If Sea Org had revolted as a result of the episode, would you also have been holding them culpable?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:38 AM on September 13, 2012


BBC:
Islamist groups and others have called for a "million-man march" in Cairo on Friday.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafist al-Nour party and non-religious groups including the "Ultra" fans of Zamalek football club have invited Muslims, Coptic Christians and all Egyptian citizens to join them.
This just bolsters my belief that the film was a pretext, because what do football fans and Christians care? I mean, enough to march about it?
posted by desjardins at 11:39 AM on September 13, 2012


Ah fuck. This could be really bad.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:42 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


>Terrorism creates fear - any offended Muslims weren't afraid, they were offended and some were provoked to violence.

I know; that's mostly what gave me pause to calling it terrorism, but it was really for lack of a better word. I'd like to just think of the whole mess of this religious war between the fringes of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as terrorizing everyone who's not involved. I still think more consideration needs to be given to these concepts of hate speech, but no doubt it's a slippery slope.

>The quibbling is over "well, then, shouldn't the people who create art then be prohibited from distributing art that has in the past encited people to violence" ...
Which brings me to my point that there was virtually no redeeming quality to this video. One of the actors mentioned that the original lines they recorded from her were dubbed over with irrelevant and offensive dialogue. As for South Park, it was offensive, but educational about the ridiculous and closely-guarded secrets of Scientology. That was more about humiliation, and I think Trey Parker and Matt Stone were aware that there's no history of Scientology containing fringe fundamentalists whose terrorist cells are prone to violence.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 11:43 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pissing off =! attacking and murdering American diplomats
posted by desjardins at 11:46 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Intrade has Obama's victory odds up to .648 and climbing. This is almost like the internet cliche about nothing left to see and we can just move on now. Very sad about the ambassador and the gamer and the others.
posted by bukvich at 11:51 AM on September 13, 2012


BobbyVan: "Well, they now know that they can get America's military leadership to call Terry Jones on the phone and "ask" him to stop supporting the film."

I think you may be having the same difficulty with the arrow of time that Romney has been having. That may be something a doctor can help with.

empath: "Personally I think all this religious tolerance talk is so much bullshit, and people should have the right to say that Mohammed was a murderous pedophile even if it weren't true. I recognize that the backwards fundamentalists of the world make it impossible to make that sort of stand in a practical matter, though. "

Personally, I think that (metaphorically) sticking your finger in people's eyes is not a good policy, whatever you think of their opinions. That doesn't mean that you can't, it just means you shouldn't. I will condemn anyone that tries to take away your right to be an idiot, but that doesn't mean you should be one. (when I say you I don't mean you specifically, I mean in general)

empath: " Insulting a religion isn't a crime, even if you know that doing so will cause the followers of that religion to react violently to the insult. If they respond violently, the crime is theirs, not yours."

And this is where we get stuck on stupid. If you know and fully expect other people to become violent at something you have done or said, that is an incitement to violence and is not protected speech. Proving that is and should be rather difficult, of course, much like treason.
posted by wierdo at 11:51 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Romney Jumps the Shark: Libya, Egypt and the Butterfly Effect
posted by homunculus at 11:57 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


"I think you may be having the same difficulty with the arrow of time that Romney has been having. That may be something a doctor can help with."

Muslims will now believe that Obama has time travel but can't use it to make sure the film is never made. He is weak and impotent indeed!

posted by klangklangston at 11:59 AM on September 13, 2012


do you honestly think Trey Parker and Matt Stone didn't intend to piss Scientologists off when they did their Scientology episode of South Park? If Sea Org had revolted as a result of the episode, would you also have been holding them culpable?

One difference I see there is that unlike extreme Muslim fundamentalists (along the lines of Al Qaeda), Scientologists have no well-known past history of mass violent protests, fatwas, suicide bombings, and the like. If anything, Parker and Stone could have expected the video to incite violence/retribution against them personally, but not on a public scale. Whereas, as I brought up earlier, since at least the Rushdie fatwa (as a direct result of which people died), it has become more and more common for insults against the Muslim religion to result in public protest and calls for violence by fundamentalists that directly provoke violence against people and property.

Consider also that the South Park Scientology episode served as more than empty provocation--it was satirical, ironic, used ridiculous humor to educate people about true elements of Scientology; whereas this pile of shit trailer/movie looks like pure incitement, produced for no other purpose.

I'm not commenting on the merits of the argument about incitement either way, but I do think the two situations aren't comparable. There is a difference.
posted by sallybrown at 12:00 PM on September 13, 2012


There's a difference between telling people not to do something and asking people not to do something. For whatever reason, BobbyVan thinks they're the same thing.

I can't see how someone in the government getting on the phone with a Terry Jones or "Sam Bacile" and saying something along the lines of "We're dealing with very delicate diplomatic and religious situations here that could cause Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Palestinian Israel, Sudan, Tunisia, and Morocco to get violent. It would make our jobs easier and our people safer if you didn't do this right now" is the exact same thing as shutting someone's free speech down. In fact, as we saw, nobody's rights were infringed upon and as a result the shit hit the fan at least twice in two years.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:02 PM on September 13, 2012


Which brings me to my point that there was virtually no redeeming quality to this video. One of the actors mentioned that the original lines they recorded from her were dubbed over with irrelevant and offensive dialogue. As for South Park, it was offensive, but educational about the ridiculous and closely-guarded secrets of Scientology. That was more about humiliation, and I think Trey Parker and Matt Stone were aware that there's no history of Scientology containing fringe fundamentalists whose terrorist cells are prone to violence.

The thing I'm trying to get at is - there are many different opinions about which particular works of art are "offensive and worthless" and which ones are "offensive but educational". You happen to put South Park in the "offensive but educational" column. Are you sure everyone else does? More importantly, are you sure enough that you are willing to base your right to view South Park on someone else's assessment as to whether it isn't too offensive? What if that someone else were Tom Cruise - would you still be willing to let him decide? Or how about Justice Scalia? Or....?

Pissing off =! attacking and murdering American diplomats

Which is why I asked that if Sea Org had rioted and killed some of the staffers at Comedy Central, would you hold Parker and Stone cuplable?

Personally, I think that (metaphorically) sticking your finger in people's eyes is not a good policy, whatever you think of their opinions. That doesn't mean that you can't, it just means you shouldn't. I will condemn anyone that tries to take away your right to be an idiot, but that doesn't mean you should be one. (when I say you I don't mean you specifically, I mean in general)
[snip]
If you know and fully expect other people to become violent at something you have done or said, that is an incitement to violence and is not protected speech.


I think these two statements contradict each other....oh, wait --

Proving that is and should be rather difficult, of course, much like treason.

Actually, this I agree with.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:02 PM on September 13, 2012


zombieflanders: Remember, conservatives were complaining that Chik-Fil-A's free speech rights were infringed upon. They clearly don't even know what "free speech" means.

Which is why I asked that if Sea Org had rioted and killed some of the staffers at Comedy Central, would you hold Parker and Stone cuplable?

oh jesus h. christ. Was there ANY reasonable expectation that this would happen? Did anything remotely like it happen? No. One actor quit the show, Tom Cruise threw a hissy fit and that's about it IIRC.

If Scientologists had rode into Hollywood on giant unicorns that shit rainbows, set Trey's and Matt's neighborhoods on fire, and then roasted marshmallows as flaming people ran screaming from their houses... sure, I'd hold them responsible. Let's throw in an asteroid and a few dinosaurs, for good measure.

Anyway, I'm done with that derail.
posted by desjardins at 12:14 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is more in a user capacity than a mod capacity that I'm saying this but I too would be goddam thrilled if this thread were more about collating and discussing what information about what happened and is happening becomes available and less about endlessly parsing the differences and likenesses of this shitshow film and South Park.
posted by cortex at 12:18 PM on September 13, 2012 [16 favorites]


If Scientologists had rode into Hollywood on giant unicorns that shit rainbows, set Trey's and Matt's neighborhoods on fire, and then roasted marshmallows as flaming people ran screaming from their houses... sure, I'd hold them responsible.

Ah. Okay, then we differ on a different point then. Fair enough.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:19 PM on September 13, 2012


Inside The Strange Hollywood Scam That Spread Chaos Across The Middle East
Produced and promoted by a strange collection of rightwing Christian evangelicals and exiled Egyptian Copts, the trailer was created with the intention of both destabilizing post-Mubarak Egypt and roiling the US presidential election. As a consultant for the film named Steve Klein said: "We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen."

... Styling themselves as "counter-Jihadists", anti-Muslim crusaders like Klein took their cues from top propagandists like Pamela Geller, the blogger who once suggested that Barack Obama was the lovechild of Malcolm X, and Robert Spencer, a pseudo-academic expert on Muslim radicalization who claimed that Islam was no more than "a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers".

Both Geller and Spencer were labeled hate group leaders by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

... On his personal Facebook page, Altar or Abolish, Klein obsesses over the Muslim Brotherhood, describing the organization as "a global network of Muslims attacking to convert the world's 6 billion people to Islam or kill them". Klein urges a violent response to the perceived threat of Islam in the United States, posting an image to his website depicting a middle-American family with a mock tank turret strapped to the roof of their car. "Can you direct us to the nearest mosque?" read a caption Klein added to the photo.
posted by ericb at 12:22 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


L.A. Blogger Alerted City Council To Anti-Islam Film In June
posted by zombieflanders at 12:23 PM on September 13, 2012


Mitt Romney Turns Libya Stance To Mourning Diplomats' Deaths, Criticizing Obama's Leadership.
posted by ericb at 12:24 PM on September 13, 2012


If you know and fully expect other people to become violent at something you have done or said, that is an incitement to violence and is not protected speech. Proving that is and should be rather difficult, of course, much like treason.

But, this is just giving the extremists a Heckler's veto, no?
posted by qldaddy at 12:25 PM on September 13, 2012


Mitt Romney Turns Libya Stance To Mourning Diplomats' Deaths, Criticizing Obama's Leadership.

Dude seriously needs to learn when to STFU.
posted by Artw at 12:26 PM on September 13, 2012


I wasn't done with the derail, but...
I need to edit my earlier statement about an actor in the video. It turns out her lines weren't replaced; they told her it was a "historical film" and added all of the offensive language afterward without her knowledge. Kind of a different scenario, but nonetheless underhanded. The identity of the filmmaker has indeed been confirmed by authorities as Nakoula Bassely Nakoula of Cerritos, CA.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 12:32 PM on September 13, 2012


I haven't seen any indication that the film incited violence against muslims, its ostensible target. Nor have I seen any indication that it encouraged muslims to attack americans. Either explicitly or implicitly. Insulting a religion isn't a crime, even if you know that doing so will cause the followers of that religion to react violently to the insult. If they respond violently, the crime is theirs, not yours.

Alright... let's step this back a bit. Let's say we find out that elements of Al Qaeda are the ones who found this trash and dubbed it in Arabic. They release it and promote it for the specific purpose of fomenting violence. Are we going to say that they have no responsibility because their actions should be protected under free speech?

I support nearly unrestricted free speech, but there is a line somewhere, especially in countries that don't have the security and experience with free speech that we do.
posted by deanklear at 12:32 PM on September 13, 2012


Mitt Romney Turns Libya Stance To Mourning Diplomats' Deaths, Criticizing Obama's Leadership.
Then, as Romney continued to lament the loss of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, and the three others killed in Benghazi, a heckler distracted him.

"What a tragedy, to lose such a wonderful, wonderful, uh," Romney said, as the heckler began to yell, "Why are you politicizing Libya?"

Romney continued, "wonderful people that have been so wonderful."

The crowd chanted the heckler down, and then Romney made a decision that if he held a moment of silence, it would be disrupted by the protester.

"And so I would offer a moment of silence but one gentleman doesn't want to be silent so we're going to keep on going," Romney said.
For so long, I assumed that because he looked like some sort of Mattel-designed Robot President, he would be a smooth talker, but he has the worst speaking instincts of any politician I've seen (especially when off the cuff). He should have called for the moment of silence, let the heckler heckle all he wants, and then the heckler is perceived as the insensitive douche rather than (ok, in addition to) Romney. Instead Romney sounds self-pitying (waaah I wanted to do a moment of silence!).
posted by sallybrown at 12:33 PM on September 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


[Updated at 3:28 p.m. ET] At least one person has been arrested in the killings of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, Libya's prime minister said Thursday.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:33 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Let's say we find out that elements of Al Qaeda are the ones who found this trash and dubbed it in Arabic. They release it and promote it for the specific purpose of fomenting violence. Are we going to say that they have no responsibility because their actions should be protected under free speech?Are we going to say that they have no responsibility because their actions should be protected under free speech?

If they are doing it outside the US it's not protected under free speech.
posted by sweetkid at 12:36 PM on September 13, 2012


Reuters is claiming 4 people arrested.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:38 PM on September 13, 2012


From ericb's link:
But in the end, they were not immune to the violence they incited.

According to Copts Today, an Arabic news outlet focusing on Coptic affairs, Sadek was seen taking a leisurely stroll down Washington's M Street on September 11, soaking in the sun on a perfect autumn day. All of a sudden, he found himself surrounded by four angry Coptic women. Berating Sadek for fueling the flames of sectarian violence, the women took off their heels and began beating him over the head.

"If anything happens to a Christian in Egypt," one of them shouted at him, "you'll be the reason!"
May he be beaten with shoes by angry people once a day every day for the rest of his life.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:38 PM on September 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


It may have been linked to upthread, but I am finding The Atlantic's timeline of events very helpful in keeping up with this evolving story.
posted by ericb at 12:39 PM on September 13, 2012


Actually, that's not the right timeline ... that only covers the previous few days.
posted by ericb at 12:41 PM on September 13, 2012


It turns out her lines weren't replaced; they told her it was a 'historical film' and added all of the offensive language afterward without her knowledge.

Just like Caligula!
posted by kirkaracha at 12:41 PM on September 13, 2012


AP : On the hunt for the director of Innocence of Muslims: He’s not an Israeli Jew; he’s a California felon using a pseudonym.
posted by crunchland at 12:42 PM on September 13, 2012


Akin: Obama Is ‘Apologizing Because He Didn’t Like America’.
posted by ericb at 12:50 PM on September 13, 2012


Again, I'm still struggling over the "provoked to violence" because I'm skeptical that militias armed with automatic weapons and rocket-powered genades just spontaneously show up and engage in a four-hour gun battle on a compound guarded by their own countrymen. Maybe I'm paranoid. Maybe I'm a bleeding heart liberal who thinks that the anger of most people who are not already preparing for armed violence is likely to be limited to shouting at the television set.

The point is that I don't think that generations of problematic diplomatic relationships and internal politics pivot on this crank of a hate film. Sadek is my ideological enemy, in every way that matters. But other people are involved in sifting through the gigabytes of anti-Muslim bigotry produced by Americans to justify their own activism.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:52 PM on September 13, 2012


Sadek and Nakoula that is.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:54 PM on September 13, 2012


ericb's link to the Guardian is a must-read, especially if you have any delusions about the naivete of the filmmakers. They very clearly knew what they were doing and hoped this would happen.
posted by desjardins at 12:55 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


LA Times:
On Thursday morning, no one answered the door at Nakoula's house in a quiet, well-heeled neighborhood in Cerritos. Three vehicles were parked in front, one in the driveway and two in the middle of the street, apparently parked in haste, one with bags of groceries in the back.
The doorstep was littered with junk mail and a pair of girl's sneakers, alongside a small statue of Mary holding Jesus.

Bob Braun, 89, who lives across the cul-de-sac from the home, said he did not know much about the family but they had lived there for several years. He recalled seeing a tall man who often wore robes and said there had been small children there. At one point, the family had a basketball hoop and trampoline in front of the house.

A man who answered the door at the Cerritos home Wednesday afternoon said he rents from Nakoula, but said, "I don't think he has money for a movie."
Sounds like he and his family have fled or possibly been taken? The 3 vehicles (one with groceries still inside) worry me.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:56 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm paranoid. Maybe I'm a bleeding heart liberal who thinks that the anger of most people who are not already preparing for armed violence is likely to be limited to shouting at the television set. The point is that I don't think that generations of problematic diplomatic relationships and internal politics pivot on this crank of a hate film.

From the timeline and facts as they stand now, it seems like something like this happened:

(1) Nakoula Nakoula and perhaps other Coptic backers decide to make this horrible film in the hopes of influencing Egyptian politics in some way.

(2) Independently, Al Qaeda or another terror organization is busy planning to attack the Libyan Ambassador on September 11.

(3) The Nakoula video is uploaded, where it languishes because it's a piece of shit.

(4) Someone decides the film is worth publicizing, whether it's someone else who wants to shake things up in Egypt or it's Al Qaeda, looking for a good distraction factor (or both). That person directs people in Egypt and America (like Terry Jones) to the video. The publicization of the film sets off the intended protests in Egypt in Libya.

(5) Al Qaeda carries out the independently planned attack in the midst of this chaos.

(6) The immense publicity the film, the attack, and the other protests receive sets off a chain reaction of people protesting in other areas, because they've seen or been told the video is insulting to the Muslim faith.
posted by sallybrown at 1:04 PM on September 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


But guys! Guys! Forget all that stuff that's going on in the Middle East! This is super-duper important: Romney wants us to name his plane!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:08 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]



But guys! Guys! Forget all that stuff that's going on in the Middle East! This is super-duper important: Romney wants us to name his plane!


OK, to be fair, the Obama campaign sent out a contest this morning from Beyonce.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:14 PM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Again, I'm still struggling over the "provoked to violence" because I'm skeptical that militias armed with automatic weapons and rocket-powered genades just spontaneously show up and engage in a four-hour gun battle on a compound guarded by their own countrymen.

Well, keep in mind, Libya has been involved in a civil war in the last year. I suspect that there's a surprising amount of ordinance in the hands of citizens over there. I'm not saying everyone has a rocket launcher, but there may be more kicking round over there than you might think.

Romney wants us to name his plane!

Use Force One
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:18 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


She rarely sends emails like that.
posted by Artw at 1:20 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Romney's plane should be named The Obama Victory Express.
posted by MegoSteve at 1:24 PM on September 13, 2012 [18 favorites]


Use Force One

Spent Force One
posted by KokuRyu at 1:26 PM on September 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Romney wants us to name his plane!

I'd go for a Culture ship, maybe "Prosthetic Conscience", or "Very Little Gravitas Indeed".

Or with a nod to Bush Jr., "Funny It Worked Last Time..."
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:27 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


MegoSteve, you need to submit that to Romney's site. Think of the children!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:28 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


(6) The immense publicity the film, the attack, and the other protests receive sets off a chain reaction of people protesting in other areas, because they've seen or been told the video is insulting to the Muslim faith.

Which has gone beyond the wildest dreams of any agent provocateur thanks to the intervention of Subcommander-in-Chief Mittens.
posted by Artw at 1:28 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Romney wants us to name his plane! -- Outsource One.
posted by crunchland at 1:29 PM on September 13, 2012 [45 favorites]


Crunchland wins this contest.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:29 PM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hair Force One?
posted by Flashman at 1:30 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Romney wants us to name his plane! -- Air Force 1040
posted by Skygazer at 1:32 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


stay focused.
posted by boo_radley at 1:33 PM on September 13, 2012


Google Blocks Anti-Islam Film Trailer On YouTube In Egypt and Libya -- "'Innocence of Muslims' trailers have been temporarily blocked."
posted by ericb at 1:34 PM on September 13, 2012


David Ignatius: In Egypt and Libya, radicals are jockeying for power
posted by homunculus at 1:37 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Romney wants us to name his plane! -- Money Boo Boo
posted by Skygazer at 1:38 PM on September 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Secret Life of Gravy — Regarding your (4): "[The trailer video] attracted little attention until last week, when a version dubbed into Arabic was posted on the same YouTube channel and then copied and viewed tens of thousands of times more." From here.
posted by Eyebeams at 1:39 PM on September 13, 2012


If you know and fully expect other people to become violent at something you have done or said, that is an incitement to violence and is not protected speech.

This is wrong and I wish you'd stop saying it.
posted by Justinian at 1:41 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd go for a Culture ship

The gridfire projector says "No."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:42 PM on September 13, 2012


(I meant sallybrown.)
posted by Eyebeams at 1:42 PM on September 13, 2012


Another plane name suggestion stolen from Wonkette's comment section: "Flexible Flyer"
posted by MegoSteve at 1:42 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


For my own part, I have no trouble whatsoever believing two things at the same time. First, the makers of this film are total douchebags making the world a worse place. And second that the responsibility for the violence and deaths rests solely with those perpetrating the violence and deaths, that violence is not an acceptable response to speech you disagree with, including inflammatory speech, and that any other position is no different than victim blaming.
posted by Justinian at 1:43 PM on September 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


The Daily Beast is reporting that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has spent time in jail for attempting to make meth. This situation just keeps getting weirder.
posted by dortmunder at 1:46 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is not bigotry to attack the tenets and claims, historical or otherwise, of a religion, even to attack a religion at its very foundations, even to attack the characters of its founders.

It's bigotry to discriminate against believers, however. I wish people had the guts to make that sort of distinction, but the false piety that dominates politics everywhere means that no one will stick their necks out to do it.


This. This, a thousand times. Why does "religion" get a free pass from criticism, simply because people believe in it? The film sounds terrible, but mostly in the "to watch" way.
posted by corb at 1:47 PM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Desjardins wrote: [...] ericb's link to the Guardian is a must-read ....

There is an ugly undercurrent of antisemitism in this affair which The Guardian does nothing to dispel. I think it's clear that the apparent producer of the movie claimed to be "an Israeli Jew" in order to kill two birds with one stone: annoy the Moslems and blame the Jews. So how does The Guardian respond? Why, "... the extensive history of Israeli and ultra-Zionist funding and promotion of Islamophobic propaganda in the United States provided Bacile's remarkable statement with the ring of truth." As evidence for this it cites a video with an Israeli diplomat speaking at a dinner given in honor of (the Christian) Brigitte Gabriel, who is a nutter; and a speech given by the (Christian) Geert Wilders which was presented by the Gatestone Institute, apparently led by a Jewish woman; and some confused mess that I can't figure out about a Jewish guy called David Chernick who apparently writes cheques for a living.

So, it wasn't the Jews (sorry, "Israelis" and "ultra-Zionists") but it might have been! Jews are behind everything bad for Moslems! Except this one thing on this occasion. But they might have been! I think The Guardian should give up on pretending to be a newspaper and adopt this as their motto: remarkable statements with the ring of truth.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:48 PM on September 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yeah, that's pretty shitty, Joe.
posted by desjardins at 1:52 PM on September 13, 2012


Well, of you beleive that about America it certainly makes the narrative more plausible, and many people believe that about America because, well, it's kinda sorta true some of the time. Sorry if this is news to you.
posted by Artw at 2:00 PM on September 13, 2012


Will Saletan, of all people, succinctly states why Romney is a huge asshole:

"I don’t know where you were born, Mr. Romney (just kidding!), but where I come from, there’s nothing more American than recognizing the idiocy of a man’s views and, at the same time, his right to express them. If you can’t tell the difference between those two things, the main threat to our values right now isn’t President Obama, the Egyptians, the Libyans, or our diplomats in Cairo. It’s you."
posted by Eyebeams at 2:02 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm with you, Joe in Australia. It'll be interesting to see how many of the outlets that first reported Nakoula's lie about being Israeli - and my god what kind of evil shit of a human being pulls that kind of stunt? - go back and officially correct the record in their archives.
posted by mediareport at 2:04 PM on September 13, 2012


Also, this, at the end of that Guardian story, is worth pulling out:

According to Copts Today, an Arabic news outlet focusing on Coptic affairs, Sadek was seen taking a leisurely stroll down Washington's M Street on September 11, soaking in the sun on a perfect autumn day. All of a sudden, he found himself surrounded by four angry Coptic women. Berating Sadek for fueling the flames of sectarian violence, the women took off their heels and began beating him over the head.

"If anything happens to a Christian in Egypt," one of them shouted at him, "you'll be the reason!


(Sadek is the pal of Terry Jones who publicized the clip last week.)
posted by mediareport at 2:07 PM on September 13, 2012


(oops missed that above)
posted by mediareport at 2:08 PM on September 13, 2012


No, leave the mistakes in the original articles, because: a) They've been superseded by new ones, and who is going to read the old ones again, unless doing research?, b) People need to see those mistakes, and learn from them, and c) I think correcting a past article except by a formal correction and apology at the bottom would be dishonest--about what was known and presumed at the time, about what the reporter or news organization would fall for, about the pressure just to get anything out there in this 24-7 news environment, etc.
posted by raysmj at 2:11 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's clear that the apparent producer of the movie claimed to be "an Israeli Jew" in order to kill two birds with one stone: annoy the Moslems and blame the Jews.

So far Juan Cole and Jeffrey Goldberg are the only people I've noticed pointing this out.
posted by homunculus at 2:27 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Daily Beast is reporting that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has spent time in jail for attempting to make meth. This situation just keeps getting weirder.


So this adds to the already-reported fact he was (from same link, also from other previous articles about this): "convicted of federal bank fraud charges. In 2010, he was ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution, and sentenced to 21 months in federal prison."

This sounds like the sort of person who'd do anything for money rather than political conviction, so it'd be really interesting to get more details on who financed him.
posted by bitteschoen at 2:30 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, Andrew Breitbart is chewing the sides of his coffin in envy of the shit Nakoula and Sadek have stirred up.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:35 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Romney wants us to name his plane!

Seamus II
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:36 PM on September 13, 2012


Cayman Airlines
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:40 PM on September 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think The Guardian should give up on pretending to be a newspaper and adopt this as their motto: remarkable statements with the ring of truth.

That sounds a tiny bit unfair to the paper as a whole, anyway, they could have actually cited a much more prominent example of what they see as ultra-Zionist propaganda in the US, the very well-financed MEMRI - especially since they didwrite about it (article link) ten years ago.
posted by bitteschoen at 2:42 PM on September 13, 2012


If you know and fully expect other people to become violent at something you have done or said, that is an incitement to violence and is not protected speech. Proving that is and should be rather difficult, of course, much like treason.

This is so wrong you should be embarrassed.

Lets imagine that I told you that I'd kill your dog if you said that Jesus wasn't the messiah. Whose fault would it be if you said it and I killed your dog?
posted by empath at 2:48 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you, Bitteschoen -- it's pretty obvious there isn't a movie and never was one, and that this sack of feces only does stuff for money. Someone paid him to arson the Reichstag. I'd like to know who that was.
posted by jrochest at 2:51 PM on September 13, 2012


That's in reference to this post about Nakoula's fraud background, not the bit about MEMRI.
posted by jrochest at 2:54 PM on September 13, 2012


Romney's plane should be named The Obama Victory Express.

The Royal Obama Victory Express; think of the acronym!
posted by ceribus peribus at 2:55 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anti-terrorism rally in Libya.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:56 PM on September 13, 2012


I think The Guardian should give up on pretending to be a newspaper and adopt this as their motto: remarkable statements with the ring of truth.

That sounds a tiny bit unfair to the paper as a whole


Also, that article is an opinion piece in their Comment is Free section.
posted by homunculus at 2:58 PM on September 13, 2012


4 killed as Yemeni police, demonstrators clash at U.S. Embassy.
posted by ericb at 2:58 PM on September 13, 2012


empath: "Lets imagine that I told you that I'd kill your dog if you said that Jesus wasn't the messiah. Whose fault would it be if you said it and I killed your dog?"

That is one of the stupidest hypotheticals I have ever seen on MeFi. You should be ashamed of yourself. At least try to find something remotely analogous to the situation we're discussing.
posted by wierdo at 2:58 PM on September 13, 2012


He's not saying it's analogous, he's saying (correctly) that freedom of speech means nothing if it can be held hostage by people with irrational beliefs and demands. Something is an incitement to riot only if it is actually an incitement to riot not just because irrational people riot because it was said, even if you know it might result.
posted by Justinian at 3:03 PM on September 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


To put it another way, you are misinterpreting the word "incitement", weirdo. In the context of freedom of speech incitement to riot means you are actually telling someone to riot and calling for violence, not saying something unrelated which might cause them to riot. So "Hey, all of you go burn that embassy!" is incitement when people go burn the embassy. "Hey, Islam is terrible!" is not an incitement to violence even if people then go burn the embassy because you didn't tell them to burn the embassy.
posted by Justinian at 3:07 PM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Anti-Islam Filmmaker Went by ‘P.J. Tobacco’ and 13 Other Names
posted by homunculus at 3:07 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


University of Pennsylvania Professor in USA Today: Why 'Sam Bacile' deserves arrest
So why did I tweet that Bacile should be in jail? The "free speech" in Bacile's film is not about expressing a personal opinion about Islam. It denigrates the religion by depicting the faith's founder in several ludicrous and historically inaccurate scenes to incite and inflame viewers. Even the film's actors say they were duped.

...

Case in point: Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Jones on Wednesday to ask him to stop promoting Bacile's film. Clearly, the military considers the film a serious threat to national security. If the military takes it seriously, there should be consequences for putting American lives at risk.
posted by BobbyVan at 3:17 PM on September 13, 2012


That is one of the stupidest hypotheticals I have ever seen on MeFi. You should be ashamed of yourself. At least try to find something remotely analogous to the situation we're discussing.

It was as simple an example I could think of to explain why what you said was wrong. Freedom of speech can't be held hostage to a group of irrational fanatics or it means nothing.
posted by empath at 3:18 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyone expression opinions here about freedom of speech vs. insults to Islam should probably skim the wikipedia articles on Aziz Nesin and the Sivas massacre.   Islamists don't kill only America "agents", they kill the people working to improve Islamic society too.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:23 PM on September 13, 2012


Romney wants us to name his plane!

Christ, what an asshole!
posted by ericb at 3:23 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Islamists don't kill only America "agents", they kill the people working to improve Islamic society too.

Something can be both protected speech and a bad idea to say.
posted by Justinian at 3:25 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hair Force One?

From the linked Wonkette article:
What is the worst possible thing that Egg Romney could call the Romney flying machine? Here is a message from His Lord High Hairgel Mittens of Romney, to inform us!

Ann likes to joke that the campaign plane should be called “Hair Force One.”
posted by ericb at 3:28 PM on September 13, 2012


God, this is unbelievable. I've been reading the headlines all day and am still kind of in shock.

For those of you who don't know, I'm Foreign Service and have friends who are as well. I've had the privilege of working with with a number of Foreign Service officers who are scattered around the world, all outstanding men and women proud to serve their country. Many live in places uncomfortable, hazardous, even deadly because they believe the US can be a force of good in these places, that we can use our vast resources to help others enjoy a better standard of life. I didn't know any of the deceased, but I did have the privilege of talking to Sean (a.k.a. "VileRat") online only a month or two ago and thought he was a friendly, decent guy. The news (particularly when I realized who it was) hit me like a punch to the gut :(

And for those of you who have been derailing this thread with your election-year political posturing, how about giving it a rest? Maybe it's just me, but it seems rather disrespectful no matter what side you're on.
posted by photo guy at 3:34 PM on September 13, 2012 [22 favorites]


"The Quran forbids any depiction of Muhammad, and most Muslims regard any attempt to insult him as highly offensive."

Only the second half of that sentence is true. I'm always left doubting the overall accuracy of a report when they get stuff like this wrong.
posted by bardophile at 3:37 PM on September 13, 2012


Islamists killed 37 Turkish intellectuals because Aziz Nesin said things that needed to be said, not because they spoke unwisely, Justinian. I suppose you believe all these doctors acted unwisely?

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” - Albert Camus
posted by jeffburdges at 3:42 PM on September 13, 2012


For those of you who don't know, I'm Foreign Service and have friends who are as well.

Please be safe. My best friend (and most of her family) is Foreign Service and that's what initially drew my attention to this story.

I hope someday Foreign Service personnel get the same kind of "thanks for your service" treatment as military members; soft diplomacy too is dangerous. And frankly I think it can be more effective.
posted by sallybrown at 3:43 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Islamists killed 37 Turkish intellectuals because Aziz Nesin said things that needed to be said, not because they spoke unwisely, Justinian.

What? We're talking about the dumb movie, not Azis Nesin and so forth.
posted by Justinian at 3:44 PM on September 13, 2012


While the "free speech must be protected" sentiment is noble and just, it is also extremely naive in this case, and it may be time to just be quiet about it. The movie that sparked this situation could hardly be called artistic expression, and is really comparable instead to the worst racist, xenophobic tracts that the Nazis published.

I suppose, of course, it all comes down to culture. In my country, hate speech is prohibited. Even so, debating the merits of "free speech" is really beside the point here. The makers of this film must be hunted down and forced to explain their actions to the world.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:52 PM on September 13, 2012


Even so, debating the merits of "free speech" is really beside the point here. The makers of this film must be hunted down and forced to explain their actions to the world.

Your cavalier use of terms like "hunted down" and "forced" makes me extremely uncomfortable.
posted by Justinian at 3:55 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Your cavalier use of terms like "hunted down" and "forced" makes me extremely uncomfortable.

Well, gosh. What a shame that his right to use them must be upheld at all costs.
posted by figurant at 3:59 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


"For my own part, I have no trouble whatsoever believing two things at the same time. First, the makers of this film are total douchebags making the world a worse place. And second that the responsibility for the violence and deaths rests solely with those perpetrating the violence and deaths, that violence is not an acceptable response to speech you disagree with, including inflammatory speech, and that any other position is no different than victim blaming."

It's sad that what should be the default position needs to be stated, but thank you for stating it.
posted by klangklangston at 4:00 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


It should be upheld at all costs. And?
posted by Justinian at 4:00 PM on September 13, 2012


It should be upheld at all costs. And?

If you didn't mean he shouldn't be able to express those particular terms, or that it might be wise to avoid them for being threatening or inflammatory, I guess it's just nice that you felt it was worth sharing your particular reaction to them. That's all.
posted by figurant at 4:07 PM on September 13, 2012


Well, gosh. What a shame that his right to use them must be upheld at all costs.

That's kind of the wa it works. He says something, somebody else disagrees with it. Nobody dies, it's a pretty cool system, I think we should try it.
posted by empath at 4:07 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The movie that sparked this situation could hardly be called artistic expression, and is really comparable instead to the worst racist, xenophobic tracts that the Nazis published.

Years ago, I went to an exhibit at the Hirshhorn in DC: Degenerate Art: The Fate of the Avant-garde in Nazi Germany. The Nazis considered the works of Kandinsky, Chagall, Klee, and many more to be offensive and objectionable and just beyond the pale.

"Artistic expression" as a quality judging which for speech is okay or not okay to allow is much too vague and subjective.
posted by rtha at 4:09 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anti-Islam Filmmaker Went by ‘P.J. Tobacco’ and 13 Other Names

"Kritbag Difrat" is my favorite. Also known as Dickbag Riffraff.
posted by desjardins at 4:12 PM on September 13, 2012


I guess it's just nice that you felt it was worth sharing your particular reaction to them.

And I managed to do it without burning any embassies even.
posted by Justinian at 4:12 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


i"Artistic expression" as a quality judging which for speech is okay or not okay to allow is much too vague and subjective.

I don't care if the film was a fucking masterpiece worthy of Francis Ford Coppola, it was made with the intent to inflame and incite. I haven't decided if I think there should be legal consequences. Is the Egyptian-born Nakoula now a citizen? Or the other guy, Sadek? If not, I'd be absolutely fine with kicking them both the fuck out.
posted by desjardins at 4:22 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Please be safe. My best friend (and most of her family) is Foreign Service and that's what initially drew my attention to this story.

I hope someday Foreign Service personnel get the same kind of "thanks for your service" treatment as military members; soft diplomacy too is dangerous. And frankly I think it can be more effective.


Thank you Sally, couldn't agree with you more :) I'm lucky enough at the moment to be assigned to a relatively safe/comfortable locale, but my thoughts are definitely with my colleagues who aren't so fortunate.
posted by photo guy at 4:22 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is the Egyptian-born Nakoula now a citizen? Or the other guy, Sadek? If not, I'd be absolutely fine with kicking them both the fuck out.

Wait, what? Are you suggesting that it's ok to deport people even if they haven't broken any laws?
posted by bardophile at 4:25 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, IANAL, but I'd be curious to see if there is a case for incitement or treason to be made here. But no, I do not suggest deporting people who have not broken any laws. Sorry to be unclear.
posted by desjardins at 4:33 PM on September 13, 2012


Based on the terms of his conviction, particularly conditions 5, 7, 8 and 9, if Nakoula was responsible for producing the film as Sam Bacile and/or distributing the trailer on Youtube, he certainly has broken laws. And nobody's precious right to free expression has been impinged on.
posted by figurant at 4:35 PM on September 13, 2012


Today I learned that Lupe Fiasco is Muslim. Huh.
posted by desjardins at 4:35 PM on September 13, 2012


I don't care if the film was a fucking masterpiece worthy of Francis Ford Coppola, it was made with the intent to inflame and incite.

Thank god you aren't a judge. This is a disgrace.
posted by empath at 4:36 PM on September 13, 2012


I can't believe that ostensibly liberal people on metafilter have made the jump from "Muslims are as worthy of respect as members of any other religion" to "no one shall insult the prophet without facing consequences". Seriously, listen to yourselves. The fact that people are willing to kill to silence someone makes it even more important that the speech be protected, not less.
posted by empath at 4:39 PM on September 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


Ruth Marcus | The Washington Post: Romney owes an apology.
posted by ericb at 4:43 PM on September 13, 2012


The Onion: No One Murdered Because Of This Image [NSFW]
posted by lenny70 at 4:45 PM on September 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


Governor Romney, you have yet to make any public statement regarding the video which has sparked anti-American protests throughout the Middle East. Can you please tell us what you think about the video and the impact it has had on inflaming such angry and violent behavior overseas? If you were President, what would your strategy and steps that you would take in order to address the current volatile situation?
posted by ericb at 4:49 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


lenny70: The Onion: No One Murdered Because Of This Image [NSFW]

That is pretty bad. Extremist members of those faiths also kill, sometimes. Non-extremist members of Islam do not kill.
posted by gilrain at 4:50 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Justinian: " So "Hey, all of you go burn that embassy!" is incitement when people go burn the embassy. "Hey, Islam is terrible!" is not an incitement to violence even if people then go burn the embassy because you didn't tell them to burn the embassy."

It is if you intend to incite violence. It's not the specific wording that matters, it's the intent. You can say "go burn down that embassy" all you want if you don't reasonably believe that it will actually happen as a result.
posted by wierdo at 4:52 PM on September 13, 2012


This movie was made to outrage. Making someone angry does not then make you responsible for their behavior when they're angry. Up to, and including murder. There was no incitement of any kind in this film. Imminent lawless action doesn't even apply in this case.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:52 PM on September 13, 2012


Since The Onion moved to Chicago, it has gotten both much more inflected and much less funny. That Onion link doesn't really even scan as commentary. Just baffling.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:53 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not the specific wording that matters, it's the intent.

Not under US law, weirdo.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:54 PM on September 13, 2012


Just as a note for folks getting het up about incitement:

It's my understanding that incitement doesn't cover trolling. In other words, making a movie that says "Muslims are shitty and we should kill them" may be incitement. Making a movie that says "Muslims are shitty" may be "fighting words" (broadly) but it's not an incitement per se. There's a difference between directing people to commit violence and simply kicking a hornet's nest — the latter is much more defensible.
posted by klangklangston at 5:00 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


to sir with millipedes: "Not under US law, weirdo."

If you really think that intent is irrelevant to prosecution for incitement to violence, I don't think there's anything to be gained from continuing this particular conversation.
posted by wierdo at 5:01 PM on September 13, 2012


In other words, making a movie that says "Muslims are shitty and we should kill them" may be incitement.

My understanding is that incitement needs to be even more specific than that, Klang. It can't just be "Muslims stink and should die." It has to be like "There is a Muslim pride parade today at noon - I think we should go there and kill them."

If you really think that intent is irrelevant to prosecution for incitement to violence blah blah blah

Not what I said, weirdo, but I look forward to your successful prosecution of PJ Tobacco for exceeding free speech laws, super lawyer champ.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:04 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're just wrong, weirdo.
California Penal Code § 404.6 - Incitement to riot

a) Every person who with the intent to cause a riot does an act or engages in conduct that urges a riot, or urges others to commit acts of force or violence, or the burning or destroying of property, and at a time and place and under circumstances that produce a clear and present and immediate danger of acts of force or violence or the burning or destroying of property, is guilty of incitement to riot.
NOTE: "engages in conduct that urges a riot". You have to actually urge a riot.
posted by Justinian at 5:07 PM on September 13, 2012


It is if you intend to incite violence. It's not the specific wording that matters, it's the intent. You can say "go burn down that embassy" all you want if you don't reasonably believe that it will actually happen as a result.

Which is why the Westborough Baptist Church members are all in prison today, right?

I mean seriously, think through the consequences of what you are asserting to be true. Any group could shut down the free speech of anyone by gaining a reputation for rioting in response to particular speech they find objectionable.
posted by empath at 5:15 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Artistic expression" as a quality judging which for speech is okay or not okay to allow is much too vague and subjective.

I can't define incitement, but I know it when I see it.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:19 PM on September 13, 2012


empath: "Any group could shut down the free speech of anyone by gaining a reputation for rioting in response to particular speech they find objectionable."

If not for that little detail called intent.
posted by wierdo at 5:21 PM on September 13, 2012


So it's quite possible that a group of right-wing American Evangelical nutballs are actively promoting something that they know is going to incite radical muslims and literally get American diplomats and soldiers killed.

And yes, this is within their first amendment rights. And it's our duty as a nation to actively shun, mock, and ostracize them. (Which is basically what Obama and Clinton did.)

This is completely bonkers. And I'm really looking forward to following the money trail. Who, oh who bankrolled this shit?

I'm betting George Soros was not involved. But Romney donors? We'll see.
posted by bardic at 5:22 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


If not for that little detail called intent.

Dude, I posted an actual statute. Give it up.
posted by Justinian at 5:23 PM on September 13, 2012


I'm reaching back to hazy law school memories here, but I believe the test under Supreme Court case law for the incitement exception to the First Amendment is multi-part and includes both intent to incite violence and likelihood of violence actually occurring, so maybe you are both right.
posted by sallybrown at 5:25 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


what sallybrown said. let's move on.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:26 PM on September 13, 2012


If not for that little detail called intent

Not only does te WBC intend to incite violence with their funeral protests, but they make their living by suing people who get violent with them, and jurisdictions that don't protect their first amendment rights to incite violence.
posted by empath at 5:26 PM on September 13, 2012


Wierdo, please go read Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969). It is far and away the leading case on this issue. For inciting speech to go beyond the protection of the First Amendment, speech must both be directed to incite imminent lawless action and be likely to incite such action. (emph mine)

A video mocking Muhammed is not "directed" to incite such action - there is no message saying, "HEY MUSLIMS, START ATTACKING PEOPLE IN RESPONSE." Nor is there any imminence whatsoever, imminence being a very literal quality - there is no message saying, "ON YOUR WAY OUT OF THE THEATER, START KILLING PEOPLE."
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:27 PM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm reaching back to hazy law school memories here, but I believe the test under Supreme Court case law for the incitement exception to the First Amendment is multi-part and includes both intent to incite violence and likelihood of violence actually occurring, so maybe you are both right.

My law school memories are more recent and less hazy. Wierdo is not correct on this issue. Nothing personal, wierdo.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:28 PM on September 13, 2012


"The whole world is one crowded theater right now," said some smart dude on NPR. I'm down with that, legally speaking, not that I'm a con law scholar or nuthin'
posted by angrycat at 5:35 PM on September 13, 2012


Because nothing has ever gone wrong with passing laws based on irrational and over the top hatred.
posted by Justinian at 5:36 PM on September 13, 2012


No One Murdered Because Of This Image
posted by growabrain at 5:43 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Military Hangs Back as FBI Hunts Benghazi Killers
posted by homunculus at 5:45 PM on September 13, 2012


Double, growabrain.

Now try again with the image of an abortion clinic.
posted by ceribus peribus at 5:54 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


homunculus: Treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue? How novel!
posted by absalom at 5:57 PM on September 13, 2012


That Anti-Muhammad Film: It's Totally Protected by the 1st Amendment. Neither the mysterious director nor Terry Jones appears to have "shouted fire in a crowded theater." In this interview, Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin explains why.
posted by homunculus at 6:00 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh boy. In the "I hate to bring this up" Dept. The Lebanese news organization Tayyar.org is reporting that the murdered American ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, was raped prior to his killing September 11, 2012.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:07 PM on September 13, 2012


The film is clearly protected free speech (in this country), other nations not so much, as such there is nothing authorities can do to stop this sort of thing (and honestly they shouldn't). A private entity like Google has no compelling interest in giving them a forum so they can obviously take this sort of hate speech offline if they so desire.

It's up to us to step up and offer better alternatives to this sort of hatemongering, in the marketplace of ideas this sort of thing should be rightfully shunned, ridiculed and challenged. It shouldn't be prohibited though.

IANAL but is there some civil recourse that families of victims can pursue against the makers of the film? It would probably be a stretch to prove that it was the ultimate cause of this tragedy but possibly a contributing factor?
posted by vuron at 6:13 PM on September 13, 2012


Oh boy. In the "I hate to bring this up"

I don't understand how one human being can do something like this to another. To not only murder, but inflict such torture in what you know are another person's final moments on earth...it makes me almost physically ill.
posted by sallybrown at 6:18 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Before you go down that path (some civil recourse that families of victims can pursue against the makers of the film ) read this New Yorker piece, What Was Really Behind the Benghazi Attack? which makes the case that the film was not the incitement to riot that you seem to believe.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:22 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Until there is confirmation from other sources that report sounds like a ton of hearsay, the examiner is not the most reputable site on the planet in terms of journalism and is run by Philip Anschutz, who is a conservative christian billionaire. If true it would certainly be horrible but in the absence of official confirmation it just sounds like outrage filter.
posted by vuron at 6:24 PM on September 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


There were rumors that Gadhafi was raped when he was captured.
posted by homunculus at 6:24 PM on September 13, 2012


Well sallybrown, it appears that the same thing was done to Gaddafi as a way to dehumanize, to humiliate, as though death was not enough vengeance. What bothers me is that when I googled the story it is all over the net on Free Republic type sites-- it as though they are salivating at the news and working themselves up into a frenzy over it.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:28 PM on September 13, 2012


Well sallybrown, it appears that the same thing was done to Gaddafi as a way to dehumanize, to humiliate, as though death was not enough vengeance.

And it was wrong then, too.
posted by sallybrown at 6:31 PM on September 13, 2012



No One Murdered Because Of This Image
posted by growabrain at 8:43 PM on September 13 [1 favorite +] [!]


I thought that was pretty irresponsible of the Onion.
posted by sweetkid at 6:32 PM on September 13, 2012


Note: Nothing in what I say below is intended as justification for any acts of violence.


When Khomeini issued his fatwa against Rushdie, I was a teenager in Pakistan. My chief interest in the issue, callow youth that I was, had to do with the protest at the American Cultural Center in Islamabad (in which several people died) resulting in the temporary closure of the American Cultural Center in Lahore. The American Cultural Center (ACC) had a decent-sized library and a film festival. So I was pretty sad.

I couldn't at all understand why a book would make people so angry. I was growing up in a fairly religious, but fairly liberal, family. I had always been taught that you don't just react angrily to taunts/teasing, because your reaction is precisely what is being sought. Clearly, the people outside the Islamabad ACC had missed this memo.

My English teacher at the time basically said: "Uff, that Salman. Even when he was a kid he was always attention hungry." Also: "Now all these protests will just lead to more people reading the book. If the people who were offended had just ignored the book, it wouldn't have become nearly so popular." That second sentiment was one that I heard repeated by many of the people I looked up to, and it always seemed to make sense to me. So there's this stream of thought amongst educated Pakistanis, even religious ones. I would guess it's not uncommon in other Muslim cultures, also.

That said, these same people, who acknowledge that the right response to offensive speech is not a riot, would also say things along the lines of "but there is so much jihalat (the best translation of that I can think of is 'benighted ignorance.' 'unenlightened' is somehow too passive. There's an element of active darkness.) amongst the people that they are going to react this way. And also anger about US/Western imperialism." And yes, I mean exactly that kind of shorthand explanation, that waves a hand in the general direction of why these riots happen, rather than making the logical links. These hand waves then get embedded into the public discourse, which leads to the implication that the riots might be justified getting even further entrenched in people's minds.

There are a lot of intersecting factors that go into creating Muslim mobs carrying out criminal acts of violence in retaliation for perceived insults to the Prophet, Quran, and/or Islam. I've been thinking about this more and more over the past few years, particularly with respect to the Danish cartoon riots.

The biggest factor, by far, is sheer lack of education amongst the Muslim masses. Lack of literacy, lack of substantive education about Islam, lack of critical thinking skills. The reasons for the lack of education are many and varied.

Another big factor is a general feeling of disenfranchisement amongst Muslims (not as Muslims), in relation to their own governments and economies, and in relation to the world at large. An awful lot of Muslim live under autocratic governments, whether they be outright monarchies, outright dictatorships, or sham democracies. There are some that live in relatively fledgeling democracies. There is a real perception that the autocratic governments are kept in power by the intervention of Western powers. This perception is not completely unwarranted. So not only do citizens of Muslim countries feel like their governments have no interest in helping them, they also think that Western governments prop up those governments. Further, that the Western governments then also directly and openly pursue economic and political policies that are in direct detriment to the economic and political interests of the same citizen's countries.

After these, there comes a sense amongst Muslims (as Muslims) that the rest of the world, in particular the Western world, is out to get them. This perception is actively fueled by jahil imams, opportunistic politicians, and everyone who is trying to pass the buck. It's extremely convenient to point to the ongoing conflict in Palestine and Israel, to Albright's statement that killing half a million Iraqi children was worth it, and to things like the Democratic Convention's fake voting on the resolution to add Jerusalem back into the party platform, and to then mix in a bucketful of conspiracy-theory nonsense, to create a narrative of Muslim persecution. The radical right in the US does not help in correcting this perception.

Then there's the fact that an awful lot of Muslims are genuinely extremely emotional about their religion, and about love of the Prophet and the Quran. Really, the emotional impact of someone insulting the Prophet, on a LOT of Muslims, is the same as a deeply personal insult.

Further, the rule of law rather than physical force is by no means well-established in most of the Muslim world. The notion that you can't just punch someone in the face if they make you angry enough would be alien to most Pakistani men, for example.

A lot of the Muslim world is heavily militarized. Guns are widely available, widely visible. People will fire machine guns into the air during the course of wedding celebrations. My brother was once hanging a towel out on the clothesline, when a bullet from a barrage of celebratory gunfire hit him in the hand. Quiet suburb of Lahore. The perception that use of force and big guns is ok is only increased by frequent foreign military interventions.

Much like the Muslim world is viewed in monolithic terms by many Westerners, the Western world is viewed in monolithic terms by many Muslims. So they don't really know that some Western countries have stricter laws about hate speech than others or that Holocaust revisionism is not a crime in all of the Western world.

Finally, most Muslims I know have a truly parochial view of government. They really have no understanding of a government that does not tell it's people that there are a lot of things they simply cannot say. They believe that government should be paternalistic. For example, there is a social pressure, when you are arranging the wedding of your children, to have an extremely lavish banquet. Many people give in to this social pressure and end up essentially bankrupting themselves. Various governments in Pakistan, sometimes federal, sometimes provincial, sometimes democratic, sometimes military, have passed laws restricting how many different dishes you can serve at a wedding reception, whether you can serve a meal at all, etc. The vast majority of people I have spoken to are in favor of such laws, because they have a very different view of what a government's responsibilities are than I do. So people who believe it's ok, even admirable, for the government to tell them what they can serve at a party are clearly not going to understand why someone would value a government that refuses to police what people publish or say.

Finally, there's this sense that the West is hypocritical in terms of the values it claims to uphold and the way it acts abroad. For example, I know a lot of Pakistanis who wish Pakistan had never developed nuclear weapons, and that Iran would not continue to pursue them. I know no Pakistanis who think the US has any moral authority at all in blocking that pursuit.

You take all these complicated factors and you get one totally messed-up situation. Yes, their actions are criminal, yes their actions are wrong, yes they should be prosecuted, legally, to the fullest extent, really, their reactions are not at all unpredictable.

(Oh, and I haven't even touched on the additional complications created by much increased contact that has not yet been tempered by much increased mutual understanding, the power the internet gives to total wackos, etc.)

And in conclusion, none of this, in any way, condones or justifies acts of violence.
posted by bardophile at 6:35 PM on September 13, 2012 [154 favorites]


Until there is confirmation from other sources that report sounds like a ton of hearsay, the examiner is not the most reputable site on the planet in terms of journalism and is run by Philip Anschutz,

I saw this on another (disreputable) web site first and thought, "Wait a minute, I had not heard anything about that" so I googled the story. As you can see most of the web sites and news agencies are reporting the story comes from The Lebanese news organization Tayyar.org. I can't fit it in to the timeline that I know. Stevens is inside the consulate. He chokes to death on the smoke. He is out on the streets among Libyan civilians who reportedly are dragging his body to the hospital. So when did this rape occur? I'm wondering if it is just lie being spread to dishonor the Ambassador.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:36 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I thought that was pretty irresponsible of the Onion.

A really biting critique with that headline would have just used a picture of a cross.
posted by sallybrown at 6:37 PM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


That Anti-Muhammad Film: It's Totally Protected by the 1st Amendment

I don't think it's cut and dried, but probably. There are other angles for prosecution though. The filmmaker has a recent fraud conviction, and the terms of his probation ban him from using the Internet (including YouTube).

There are two potentially fraudulent aspects of this film: 1) actors were deceived about the intent of the film (up to the point of apparently dubbing dialogue about Muhammad over scenes that said nothing about him); and 2) possible fundraising fraud. He told a reporter he raised $5 million for it, and patently he did not spend that amount making it. There may not even be anything longer than the 14 minute YouTube "trailer."
posted by msalt at 6:41 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apologies for the length of that last comment and especially for the two "finallys."
posted by bardophile at 6:44 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bardophile - I don't think you should apologize for that comment - in fact, I hope the mods will sidebar it because it's such a good elucidation of so much of the underlying situation.
posted by leslies at 6:50 PM on September 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


Seriously, bardophile, that was a fantastic comment. I'm now really interested in hearing more about the issues your brought up in your parenthetical second-to-last paragraph. Seconding on the sidebar suggestion.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:00 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wish I could flag Bardophile's comment once for the sidebar and again for mandatory inclusion in foreign-policy speeches.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:00 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bardophile,excellent comment. No apology needed!
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 7:00 PM on September 13, 2012


Wasn't Stevens injured by an RPG blast, and then he died at the hospital (to which Libran nationals were carrying him)?

I know, I know, wait to get the full story, but the whole "raped and murdered" thing reads like a Freeper's wet dream and nothing else.
posted by bardic at 7:08 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


He suffocated in the smoke, per AP reports.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:13 PM on September 13, 2012


Oh boy. In the "I hate to bring this up" Dept.

To create a stampede towards war, the traditional story to spread is that women and children are being killed, and that we must intervene, now, in order to stop it. Clearly not available now, so rape seems like a good substitute.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:20 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


bardophile: the extreme similarities between your comment and how the religious right is motivated here in the US fills me with despair and dread. How do you redirect such colossal ignorance?
posted by absalom at 7:24 PM on September 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


absalom: How do you redirect such colossal ignorance?
You can't, because they don't genuinely believe the things they're saying in the first place.

False Witnesses, Fred Clark, Slacktivist, 8 September, 2008
In my past life as an evangelical for social action, I had a much-photocopied dossier in my desk drawer from the Procter & Gamble corporation. This surreal document was the company’s sadly necessary response to the urban legend that the manufacturer of Tide, Crest and Dawn was some kind of satanic cult.

Briefly, the idea was that the CEO of P&G had at some vague point in the recent past appeared on some talk show — Phil Donahue, or Sally Jesse, or Oprah, the story mutated and adapted over time — and declared that he was a Satanist and that a portion of the company’s profits were donated regularly to the Church of Satan. (If you’re not familiar with it, Snopes has a good rundown of the history of this sordid, stupid lie.)

[…]

But in any case, no one is stupid enough to really believe such a story. The coworkers or relatives who fill your inbox with urban legends and hoaxes may not be the sharpest tools in the shed, but none of them is stupid enough to believe this. And neither are those people who claim that they do believe it.
v.q. False Witnesses 2, Fred Clark, Slacktivist, 8 October, 2008
posted by ob1quixote at 7:44 PM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Bardophile's comment is fine but generalizes about a very diverse group of people and bothers me for that reason...I guess I'm missing what's so fantastic about it.
posted by sweetkid at 8:17 PM on September 13, 2012


The photos of Stevens being brougt to the hospital indicate he died of smoke inhalation, probably when he got separated from his bodyguard when the building caught fire. Unless the rapist was wearing a firefighter's rig, I find the report of rape unlikely.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:30 PM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Romney owes an apology
posted by Artw at 10:30 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I saw this article bouncing around facebook claiming that the State Department had advanced notice of a possible attack.

But I haven't seen that be reported elsewhere. What's the story with The Independent? Reputable? Or just making shit up?
posted by Arbac at 10:42 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the Independent:
Revealed: inside story of US envoy's assassination

posted by Joe in Australia at 11:22 PM on September 13, 2012


Whoopsie. Should have previewed. Sorry Arbac.

I'd say the Independent is a second-tier news source that doesn't generally make stuff up. But the story's lede ("Exclusive: America 'was warned of embassy attack but did nothing'") amounts to "some guys say that embassies were warned a couple of days ago that they might be targeted." There's no suggestion that, e.g., the Libyan mission was singled out or that "targeted" meant "guys with RPGs" rather than demonstrations.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:25 PM on September 13, 2012


Hmm, just seeing this thread for the first time.
Btw, this just cost Obama the election. Way to pay him back for saving your fucking lives, you moronic idiots. posted by empath at 7:17 AM on September 12
LOL, Probably the most hilariously wrong political prediction I've seen on in a while. (By hilariously wrong, I don't just mean wrong to such an extent that it's hilarious (although that too) but in a way which is itself hilarious)

Even before this, Romney had zero chance. Well, something like a 16% chance according to fivethirtyeight. The reality is the race was already over. The only difference is that now it's obvious to everyone. Romney basically disqualified himself.

Also, you realize that you need two sides to have a war, right? Do you think Gadaffi's supporters just evaporated when he was killed or something? You can't have oppression without oppressors, there are obviously going to be people who actually do want to "pay him back"
posted by delmoi at 11:35 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


So this is making the rounds on Facebook now…
Get your unfriend buttons ready! Four Americans dead, multiple embassy's and missions stormed, the body of a US Ambassador paraded through the streets for more than 5 hours, US Marines being denied the right to self defense while taking small arms, rocket, and mortar fire. All this over a stupid movie. Not one Muslim who has stormed an embassy or mission of the US (which is sovereign US soil) pulled down our flag and burned it in the street suffered so much a slap in the face. Yet it is death to America across the Arab world. Islam is a peaceful religion, and you can't judge it based on radicals. Least that's what I am told. Yet where is CAIR, the Nation of Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood (wait I know where they are, they are inciting the violence), or any of the other so called moderate Muslim organizations? Oh, when a Muslim woman is patted down by the TSA you can't get them off the TV, but now, MI-stinkin-A! Demanding the death of anyone because they made fun of your prophet is beyond peaceful, it is blood thirsty. People of other religions are killed on a daily basis in Egypt, Iran, Somalia, Iraq, Afganistan, and the list goes on, for simply not being Muslim. Yet you don't hear of the the Libyan, or Egyptian embassy's in Europe and North America being overrun by angry Non-Muslims. One movie and it is chants of death to America. US citizens killed, an US AMBASSADOR MURDERED AND PARADED THROUGH THE STREET, yet their embassy's stand unmolested. Don't talk to me of peace, love, and tolerance. I for one don't want to hear it. I am not sorry your feelings got hurt, nor am I sorry that you were offended. Anyone willing to open their eyes will realize that a slight to ones religion is not now nor will it ever be grounds for murder!
Much of this seems contrary to the facts as I understand them. Which is to say that people get riled up about what they heard on the Internet or from a friend-of-a-friend, no matter what the country. One can only hope that any knuckleheads reading the above have the good sense to stay home rather than go up to Connecticut Avenue and make a bad situation even worse.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:44 PM on September 13, 2012


Wingnuts Falsely Claim Obama Administration Forbade Marines From Carrying Live Ammo, Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, 13 September, 2012
posted by ob1quixote at 12:37 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I heard about this on the radio yesterday a.m. There was a frankly heart-breaking interview with a friend of Chris Steven. He sounds like he was one of the good guys.

Then I heard Romney's response which I thought was pretty despicable. It also made me question what exactly had happened.

Admittedly, I don't live in the middle east, but here's a couple big disconnects for me. 1, I don't believe a 'movie' would incite these riots. This 'movie' is not the first of its type, nor will it be the last. I can believe it was used as an excuse or a justification after the fact but I cannot see it being the single, definitive device of incitement. (Suggesting to people that 'Muslim's' can be goaded into such response is derogatory and suggests that 'Muslim's' are as a group incapable of rational behavior and likely to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation.)

Who fired the first shots in Bengazi? Who trained them to shoot? Who told them to shoot?

And the comparisons to Carter - who remembers that anyway? Oh right, old white guys. (Who then forget Iran-Contra!)

None of it passes the smell test and all of it makes me sad as shit.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:48 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Glad to hear no Marines were killed (per ob1quixote's link) but shocked to hear there were none present at all. Were they relying purely on Libyan security?
posted by corb at 5:08 AM on September 14, 2012


5,000 protesters try to storm German and British embassies in Sudan
posted by BobbyVan at 5:55 AM on September 14, 2012


A couple of legal-type folks have weighed in on the First Amendment issue, which seems thorny at best, but I'm curious about another matter that y'all may have insight on.

The whole cast and crew have come forward to say that they were grossly deceived about what the film would be about. Nakoula (aka "Sam Bacile", or whatever) told them the film was a generic Bible-era action-adventure pic about a fictional Egyptian guy, and only after everyone went home did he dub in the name "Muhammed" over everyone's dialogue and added to the script. A lot of the cast and crew are now saying that they absolutely wouldn't have done this if they knew what it was about.

My question is - do the cast and crew have the right to sue the guy for breach of contract or deception or anything like that? Or, even, is there a First Amendment case to be made about "I agreed to have my likeness be used for thus and such a purpose but someone changed my statements and now it was about something else I would never have supported"?

That's actually a more interesting First Amendment tangent to me right now (we may be here all day debating the "protected or not" issue); whether it is a violation of my First Amendment rights if someone tricks me into saying some things and then spins them after the fact to make it look like I'm saying something different. I'm guessing no, but it still seems like an awfuly hinky area and I'm wondering what the legal ramifications are.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:08 AM on September 14, 2012


American consulate in Amsterdam closing early because of demonstrations against the movie.
posted by daveje at 6:12 AM on September 14, 2012


EmpressCallipygos:
"My question is - do the cast and crew have the right to sue the guy for breach of contract or deception or anything like that?"
I'm wondering if he could be charged or sued for some sort of reckless endangerment. "Thanks for getting me listed on the fatwa, asshole."
posted by charred husk at 6:12 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering if he could be charged or sued for some sort of reckless endangerment. "Thanks for getting me listed on the fatwa, asshole."

Serious question: if the US government bends over backwards to find a legal technicality to indict or deport the makers of the "film," do the terrorists win?
posted by BobbyVan at 6:18 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Serious question: if the US government bends over backwards to find a legal technicality to indict or deport the makers of the "film," do the terrorists win?

Do you think it's a "technicality" to say that this movie project was fraudulent? Bacile (or whoever it was) obviously and intentionally misrepresented everything about this project. Intent is all that's needed to demonstrate fraud. IANAL, but that looks like a slam-dunk here.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:22 AM on September 14, 2012


"Anybody who tells you that what happened to our Ambassador and our consulate in Libya was the result over the protest over an offensive movie... you should ask them why they think that. I mean, that was the first version of events we heard; that does not seem to explain what happened that night. It does not seem to be borne out by the facts, the more facts we get." - Rachel Maddow last night, speaking about Libyan witnesses saying that the entire events of September 11, 2012 in Libya were an organized attack.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:22 AM on September 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


Do you think it's a "technicality" to say that this movie project was fraudulent? Bacile (or whoever it was) obviously and intentionally misrepresented everything about this project. Intent is all that's needed to demonstrate fraud. IANAL, but that looks like a slam-dunk here.

How is that any different from organizations like "The Yes Men" or even satirical programs like "The Daily Show"?
posted by BobbyVan at 6:25 AM on September 14, 2012


So this is making the rounds on Facebook now…

Yeah, I am seeing stuff like that too and hearing it from relatives. While I doubt the passage is the only instance of this type of uninformed blathering going on, it does exist nonetheless. Sadly, this exact type of ranting is assisting in forming people's opinions on the entire matter and further clouding good judgement.

I take care of an elderly relative (live with them too) and of course, Fox is on 24/7 practically. After that much exposure, this relative really believes this to be actual fact and not just bitter ramblings (I am being nice here calling it that btw). When I confront this relative with cogent arguments as to why one must step back and evaluate before judgement, they literally get that glassy eyed look and shut down while displaying a confused look of "what do you mean there is an alternate answer?".

As this person is over 80 years old, I don't press the issue.

Not so with others, who are far younger and can handle a bit of reality, but the depth of their malformed views is equally astounding. Suffice to say, I been removed from a few Christmas card lists of those types of people who previously I got along with. Such is life, but I cannot stand being around people who refuse to even consider the simple idea that there is more than one side to each story.
posted by lampshade at 6:26 AM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Because the participants were defrauded.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:27 AM on September 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


BobbyVan: "if the US government bends over backwards to find a legal technicality to indict or deport the makers of the "film," do the terrorists win?"

Isn't that what happened in Iraq? I mean, not deporting some jagoff but instead a trillion-dollar war. I mean, the overreaction and the terrorists winning. OBL's stated goal was to get the US to overreact and bankrupt itself waging a war of overreaction.
posted by notsnot at 6:30 AM on September 14, 2012


With THE YES MEN, all the people participating in producing the thing know what is going on and are themselves in on the joke.

I suspect that in the case of "The Daily Show," the producer still has to get a release after the fact when they film people in those correspondent segments. The people may go into the interview not knowing specifically what's going to be said, but I imagine they then go to the people afterward and say "Okay, yeah, this was THE DAILY SHOW, are you still cool with us using your interview?" Plus, the cast of THE DAILY SHOW is fairly well recognized now and I'm sure people figure out what's going on if someone asks if John Oliver can talk to them a minute.

For the film, it was a case of Nakoula telling everyone "oh, this is about a fictional Egyptian guy named Sid," and the cast all making the film about Sid, and then Nakoula waving goodbye as they all left thanking them for helping him with his film about Sid, and then staying up all night all by himself secretly turnning every mention of "Sid" into "Muhammed."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:31 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree there may be some legal gray areas here. IANAL. There may be some cause for civil actions. To use another analogy, what about something like "Intervention"? The addicts on that show are clearly misled. In any case, it's an interesting legal question... I wonder if the actors in this particular film signed release forms.

I'm just wondering if the US government were to take some official action against the filmmakers - either arresting them or deporting them - what kind of signal that would send to religious extremists. Would they consider that a "victory"? Would they then have grounds to demand the US take actions against other examples of "blasphemy"?
posted by BobbyVan at 6:44 AM on September 14, 2012


The only way the movie is illegal is if it's treasonous in its intent and effect... since there is a very good chance that it was funded by All Qaeda as a psy-op to lay the groundwork for a pan-islamic uprising targetting the US and its allies, ironically, yeah, it might be illegal.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:48 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Glad to hear no Marines were killed (per ob1quixote's link) but shocked to hear there were none present at all.

There's no reason this would be shocking, since few consulates have resident Marines.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:49 AM on September 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


I agree there may be some legal gray areas here. IANAL. There may be some cause for civil actions. To use another analogy, what about something like "Intervention"? The addicts on that show are clearly misled.

They're misled to get them TO the Intervention. But the segment doesn't air if they withdraw their permission to film after they find out what's really going on.

I wonder if the actors in this particular film signed release forms.

Release forms or some kind of contract, I'm sure. The difference between this film and other reality shows is, even if there was some kind of a "surprise" sprung on them, other reality shows came to them AFTER filming and said "okay, here's what this is REALLY about. Are you still cool with this?" And if the participants say no, well, they have to dump that segment. The film would be like if the producers of INTERVENTION filmed the whole scene, but then took the person aside and said "no, we're just making it LOOK like an intervention, this isn't real."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:50 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


One interesting distinction between the film and reality tv is that in both the video as described to them and the video as released, none of the actors was speaking as himself or herself--each was playing a fictional character either way.
posted by sallybrown at 7:01 AM on September 14, 2012


I think it's simpler than all that. The words coming out of the actors' mouths were actually changed without their knowledge or consent. That's not the same as "you said I wouldn't look like a dick, and now I look like a dick". It's fraud, in my book.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:02 AM on September 14, 2012


Standard movie contracts permit all that stuff.
posted by unSane at 7:07 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Standard movie contracts permit all that stuff.

OK, then. Wow. Acting is much more dangerous job than it appears.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:13 AM on September 14, 2012


How is that any different from organizations like "The Yes Men" or even satirical programs like "The Daily Show"?

Badly acted, fraudulent, intentionally misleading, likely to incite violence in the Middle East—for that matter this Innocence of Muhammad is just the cable access version of Fox News.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:29 AM on September 14, 2012


I hope someday Foreign Service personnel get the same kind of "thanks for your service" treatment as military members

I'll say it right now. My college's political science department had a strong foreign service track, and I've always respected their service.

I'm just wondering if the US government were to take some official action against the filmmakers - either arresting them or deporting them - what kind of signal that would send to religious extremists.

This kind of statement reminds me of the endless concern trolling in the various "creeper" threads about wierd, well-meaning-but-still-somehow-creepy-yet-unfortunately-misunderstood edge cases. Anyway, so what? If -- and I'll emphasize the "if", thanks -- it turns out that this scumbag's online shenanigans violate the terms of his sentencing, any federal or state government is perfectly within its rights to charge him as such, just as if the investigation into (for example) last year's stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair had revealed tangentially related criminal activity on the part of anyone involved (which, I hasten to add, I'm unaware if it did).

In either case, I think the "signal" would be "you shouldn't have called attention to yourself by getting innocent people killed, jackass."
posted by Gelatin at 7:37 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


How is that any different from organizations like "The Yes Men" or even satirical programs like "The Daily Show"

Also, one doesn't have to be a lwayer to understand that satire is protected speech; fraud isn't.
posted by Gelatin at 7:38 AM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, causing someone to appear as a supposedly willing participant in an inflammatory propaganda film without their knowledge may be an abuse of their likeness rights.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:49 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


BobbyVan, a correct analogy would be to film me drinking a bottle of soda pop while I'm driving and then slapping a Jack Daniels label on it in post-production without my knowledge or consent.
posted by desjardins at 7:54 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


causing someone to appear as a supposedly willing participant in an inflammatory propaganda film without their knowledge may be an abuse of their likeness rights

Yeah. Actors get overdubbed in post-production all the time. But I'm sure that if, say, Christian Bale shot a movie and then had all his lines deliberately overdubbed, in marked departure from the shooting script, in such a way as to damage his professional and personal reputation, he'd have cause for civil (if not criminal) action.
posted by Gelatin at 7:54 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


AP: Large Cloud Of Black Smoke Seen Rising From U.S. Embassy In Tunis
posted by zombieflanders at 8:03 AM on September 14, 2012


@ TheStalwart : RT @jakebeckman: THREE KILLED DURING SUDAN U.S. EMBASSY PROTESTS: ARABIYA
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:15 AM on September 14, 2012


But I'm sure that if, say, Christian Bale shot a movie and then had all his lines deliberately overdubbed, in marked departure from the shooting script, in such a way as to damage his professional and personal reputation, he'd have cause for civil (if not criminal) action.

Movie contracts protect the producer six ways from Sunday against this kind of stuff. Otherwise they'd get sued every time an actor didn't like the way his performance had been cut.
posted by unSane at 8:20 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


(the ultimate sanction an actor, or anyone else involved in a production, has is to take their name off the credits)
posted by unSane at 8:20 AM on September 14, 2012


Let's hope that aka Bacile was as bad at writing contracts as he was at making movies.
posted by klangklangston at 8:24 AM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


US Embassy in Tripoli attacked and burned, with two sides. (Or upgrade to the Family Meal)
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:40 AM on September 14, 2012


Brandon, that's actually a KFC, not the US Embassy.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:46 AM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sudanese guards firing on protestors scaling the walls of the U.S. embassy in Sudan.
Shit.
posted by angrycat at 8:47 AM on September 14, 2012


Brandon, that's actually a KFC, not the US Embassy.

Oh. So I guess one can't get two sides with it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:49 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Following Friday prayers, hundreds of demonstrators massed in protest against the Pope's three-day visit to Lebanon and shouted anti-American slogans. The chants included "We don't want the Pope ..."
Well, we don't want him, either!
posted by octobersurprise at 8:50 AM on September 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


U.S. drones fly over Benghazi, cause airports to shut
posted by angrycat at 8:52 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, Brandon's article refers to Tripoli, Lebanon, not Tripoli, Libya.
posted by desjardins at 8:53 AM on September 14, 2012


University of Texas, NDSU evacuate buildings, citing threats
A University of Texas police spokesman told CNN that "it was a general bomb threat on campus." A university spokeswoman told CNN affiliate KXAN that a male claiming to be with al Qaeda called the university and said that bombs were placed all over campus, and that they would go off at about 10 a.m. CT (11 a.m. ET).
What an asshole if this is a prank (or if not)!!
posted by sallybrown at 8:57 AM on September 14, 2012


seems sorta early in the semester for that kind of student-desperation break. Then again, students were giving me serious grief this week, so who knows.
posted by angrycat at 9:00 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay - I know that early on we all established that Terry Jones was not involved with the making or the funding of the film. But there is something he still did, and I'm getting more and more upset with him about it.

I've gotten past a lot of "stuff" surrounding 9/11 -- the only thing that still makes me mad, madder than hell, is seeing someone exploiting that day for their own personal gain. Whether it's a sleazeball marketer trying to sell commemorative 9/11 merlot or some politician dropping 9/11 as a buzzword to trigger people's emotions to get elected or some holier-than-thou someone intrying to prove they're more patriotic than me, if you've used 9/11 for your own gain, I get pissed.

And that is EXACTLY what Terry Jones has done. The film already existed, and was sitting ignored on Youtube, but Terry Jones deliberately waited until 9/11 to launch a promotional push about it. He wanted to spread his bigoted message as far as he possibly could, and he figured the best way to do that would be to time it so it happened on the 9/11 anniversary.

Now, a part of me knows that this is probably his own reaction to the anniversary more so than a calculated effort to get the most attention. He still waited to exploit the day, and he still is exploiting the worst day of my fucking life for his own private gain. So I can't be rational -- all I can say is, how DARE you, Terry Jones. Damn you. Damn you right to the hell you fear.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:01 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


The chants included "We don't want the Pope ..."

Here, you lot, I've made you a sign.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:01 AM on September 14, 2012


Just some ideas off the top of my head:

There used to be the Alan Smithee clause for directors which allowed for directors to pull their name off of a film if the studio has made substantial edits contrary to the director's plan for the film.

There's also been some noise about fashion models suing over photoshoped nudity. The premise there is that models accept or reject jobs based on the negotiated plans for art-direction, and if the art direction demanded nudity, paler skin, or a thinner body, they shouldn't have hired a model who doesn't do nudity, or is an activist against skin-lightening or eating disorders to start with.

It seems to me that if Nakoula misrepresented himself (which seems certain) and the project (which seems probable) for the purpose of inducing the actors to sign the contract, then the liability protections for Nakoula are voidable. Nolan can contract with Christian Bale to produce a Batman movie with necessary editorial cuts. Nolan can't contract Christian Bale for a Batman movie only as a front to get footage for a Chinese government propaganda infomercial.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:06 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Former Pakistani Ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani:
When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to calm Muslims Thursday by denouncing the video, she was unwittingly playing along with the ruse the radicals set up. The United States would have been better off focusing on the only outrage that was of legitimate interest to the American government: the lack of respect—shown by a complaisant Egyptian government and other Islamists—for U.S. diplomatic missions.

...the U.S. would do well to remember Osama bin Laden's comment not long after the Sept. 11 attacks: "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse." America should do nothing that enables Islamists to portray the nation as the weak horse.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:07 AM on September 14, 2012


Reports from the ground in Benghazi:
"Better security would not have stopped this," said Adel Ibrahim, the owner of the accommodation building where blood is now spattered beneath a hole smashed in a wall by a heavy projectile. "A security unit is fine if you are facing 10 persons, but there were 400 attackers. [The Americans] would have needed an army to stop them." [...]

There is evidence that at least some of the demonstrators were horrified by what they saw: a group of civilians found the ambassador, smoke-blackened and bleeding from a cut in his head, and rushed him to the city's main hospital, Benghazi Medical Centre.

Staff there had been expecting the ambassador at 11am on Wednesday as he had come to Benghazi to inaugurate a landmark medical exchange project between the centre and Harvard Medical School, the centre's director, Dr Fathi al-Jehani, said. Instead, Stevens' body arrived at the emergency ramp at 2am, together with a Libyan embassy translator who had been shot in the leg.
Sad, sad, sad.
posted by the cydonian at 9:07 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal has negative credibility when it comes to foreign policy.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:14 AM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


America should do nothing that enables Islamists to portray the nation as the weak horse.

I'm disappointed to learn that the WSJ thinks American policy should be framed by a fear of what Islamists think of us. I thought they had more balls than that.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:15 AM on September 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


That wasn't the Wall Street Journal's opinion. It was Pakistan's former Ambassador to the United States, writing in the Wall Street Journal.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:17 AM on September 14, 2012


They gave him space to publish that opinion, I assume they endorse it to a degree at least.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:19 AM on September 14, 2012


Yep, right on cue, the Republican line (dutifully supplied above) becomes "oh, noes, we look weak!"

Get back to me when the calls to look "tough" aren't being made by people whose mouths are writing checks their butts won't have to cahs.

And since we'll have a while to wait, I'd like to know, specifically, what exactly the United States is supposed to do to look "tough." (Here's a hint: Smirking behind a podium doesn't cut it.)
posted by Gelatin at 9:21 AM on September 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


what exactly the United States is supposed to do to look "tough."

Call Clint Eastwood?
posted by octobersurprise at 9:23 AM on September 14, 2012


Call Clint Eastwood?

Don't forget the empty chair.
posted by Gelatin at 9:24 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


from the cydion's link:

"If I could talk to the families of those who died I would say we are sad because, you know, the ambassador has been good for all Libyans," said Kolan Garmud, who co-owns the accommodation building with Ibrahim. "We will not forget how he helped us in the revolution."

Based on a couple of yahoos calling into the Diane Rehm show today, I am losing my initial optimism that reason will win the day in the U.S. Especially given the events of today.
posted by angrycat at 9:25 AM on September 14, 2012


Also:
[T]he U.S. would do well to remember Osama bin Laden's comment not long after the Sept. 11 attacks: "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse." America should do nothing that enables Islamists to portray the nation as the weak horse.
America showed them who was the "strong horse" within a couple of months of 9/11, then again in 2003. How well did the "strong horse" work in our relations with Islam and Islamic nations, again?
posted by zombieflanders at 9:27 AM on September 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


[T]he U.S. would do well to remember Osama bin Laden's comment not long after the Sept. 11 attacks: "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse."

Everyone should take diplomatic advice from Osama bin Laden, he's basically the Miss Manners of diplomatic relations! I'm sure he was giving totally genuine advice there!
posted by sallybrown at 9:29 AM on September 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


How interesting to see that the WSJ thinks the US needs to take advice from Osama Bin Laden. If he wasn't at the bottom of the ocean he could write his own editorial about strong and weak horses.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:32 AM on September 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Where was his house again?
posted by Artw at 9:33 AM on September 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Atlantic Wire's map of protests
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:35 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


How interesting to see that the WSJ thinks the US needs to take advice from Osama Bin Laden.

In addition to the chest-thumping advice from the ambassador from Pakistan, the WSJ should also let us know what our close freinds the Russians and Chinese think we should do.
posted by Gelatin at 9:35 AM on September 14, 2012


Oh please. Don't credit the 'strong horse, weak horse' calendar quote any wisdom. You'd do better consulting the I Ching for foreign affairs advice.
posted by de at 9:36 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Glad to hear no Marines were killed (per ob1quixote's link) but shocked to hear there were none present at all. Were they relying purely on Libyan security?

There seems to be a misconception of what Marine Security Guards really do. First, they are usually only posted at embassies and not consulates or other interim facilities like the one in Benghazi. Second, Marines are not responsible for external security at diplomatic posts; they are responsible for safeguarding classified information. They are not specifically trained for external security, and there aren't enough of them at any embassy to repel a large attack. They are, of course, supposed to act in self-defense if the shit hits the fan, but the people who are tasked to protect ambassadors and diplomatic facilities are from the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

And, yeah, beyond that, they do rely on Libyan security. Because host governments are the ones responsible for protecting diplomatic facilities. Local security forces have taken the brunt of attacks on embassies for a long time.
posted by lullaby at 9:37 AM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


octobersurprise, I think it's dishonest to argue that the Wall Street Journal, by publishing an opinion piece by Pakistan's ex-Ambassador to the US, automatically agrees with that piece. That page has published bylines from President Obama and Ralph Nader. I'll stipulate that the thrust of the piece was probably in line with what the Editorial Board believes, but this "guilt by association" thing isn't a very good way to make your case.

In addition to the chest-thumping advice from the ambassador from Pakistan, the WSJ should also let us know what our close freinds the Russians and Chinese think we should do.

Haqqani was well respected in Washington.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who had worked closely with Haqqani, said in a statement he was “sorry” for the resignation and called Haqqani “a strong advocate for his country and the Pakistani people . . . [whose] wisdom and insights will be missed here in Washington as we continue to work through the ups and downs of our relationship.”
posted by BobbyVan at 9:41 AM on September 14, 2012


It's....ironic, to say the least, to complain about dishonesty when citing the Wall Street Journal's editorial page.
posted by Gelatin at 9:43 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Haqqani was well respected in Washington.

Which says nothing about his current advice, which is what the comment you replied to was addressing.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:44 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


...and anyway, in addition to once again mistaking diplomatic boilerplate for actual information, your quote doesn't answer my question. We've heard from the Pakistani ambassador via the op-ed page, now what do the Russians and Chinese think we should do?
posted by Gelatin at 9:45 AM on September 14, 2012


I think it's dishonest to argue that the Wall Street Journal ... automatically agrees with that piece ... I'll stipulate that the thrust of the piece was probably in line with what the Editorial Board believes

Please continue, Bobby, tell me more about what the WSJ and Osama Bin Laden think we should do in this situation. I'm very interested. Whenever you manage to determine exactly what the WSJ does believe, that is.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:49 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, let's not forget the other question. Some here are, ah, concerned that the United States looks weak. Okay, then -- what, exactly, should the US do?
posted by Gelatin at 9:52 AM on September 14, 2012


In waking a tiger, use a long stick.
-- Mao Tse-Tung
posted by de at 9:52 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


...and anyway, in addition to once again mistaking diplomatic boilerplate for actual information, your quote doesn't answer my question. We've heard from the Pakistani ambassador via the op-ed page, now what do the Russians and Chinese think we should do?

Your implication is that the ex-Pakistani Ambassador is speaking with a forked tongue or concern trolling the American people. Given Haqqani's history of friction with Pakistan's military and his criticisms of the Pakistani government over the bin Laden affair, I think it's a bit far-fetched to suggest that his opinions here are meant to advance Pakistani interests.

and on preview, I honestly don't care what the WSJ "believes."
posted by BobbyVan at 9:54 AM on September 14, 2012


As per Reuters, one dead outside embassy in Sudan
posted by angrycat at 9:55 AM on September 14, 2012


Your implication is that the ex-Pakistani Ambassador is speaking with a forked tongue or concern trolling the American people.

Huh? The implication is that he's talking out of his ass, something which is backed up with--at the very least--the last decade's worth of relations with Islam and Islamic countries.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:57 AM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maybe I'm being harsh on the WSJ. Maybe the Editorial Board is merely aiming at the next level of Romneyism: the ability to agree and disagree with itself at the same time.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:57 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Parenthetically, the Republican wish that this election be a repeat of 1980 is beyond obvious. I'd suggest that this forlorn hope is what drove Romney to put, and keep, his foot in his mouth: "Aha! A Middle Eastern crisis that we can use to paint the President as weak!"

Of course, leaping to dubious conclusions to support preconceived notions usually doesn't lead to the best outcomes.
posted by Gelatin at 9:58 AM on September 14, 2012


The film already existed, and was sitting ignored on Youtube, but Terry Jones deliberately waited until 9/11 to launch a promotional push about it.

Not to defend the worthless piece of human garbage at all, but in the interest of keeping the timeline truthful (and thus elevating us above the likes of Romney), it wasn't brought to Jones' attention until a day or two before 9/11. (That's in one of the linked articles above, I don't have a second to find which one right now.)
posted by desjardins at 9:59 AM on September 14, 2012


People are still citing that "strong horse" gibberish?? Good lord.
posted by Eyebeams at 10:02 AM on September 14, 2012


Some here are, ah, concerned that the United States looks weak. Okay, then -- what, exactly, should the US do?

Paint "we support free speech" on bombs and drop them, of course. Otherwise they're the reason protests happen.
posted by inigo2 at 10:02 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's a bit far-fetched to suggest that his opinions here are meant to advance Pakistani interests

Gven the presence of his op-ed in the WSJ, it's also a bit far-fetched to suggest -- as is your implication -- that his opinions there are meant to advance the interests of anyone but the Republican Party, no matter how well meaningly they may or may not have been offered.

As I pointed out, his op-ed neatly dovetails -- coincidentally, no doubt! -- with the current Republican Party line about America's so-called "weakness." And regardless of the former ambassador's relationship with his own government (or boilerplate diplomatic praise upon his departure), the fact remains that Pakistan is hardly a reliable or close US ally.

In short, apart from being critical of the current administration, of what value is his opinion?
posted by Gelatin at 10:04 AM on September 14, 2012


inigo2:
"Paint "we support free speech" on bombs and drop them, of course. Otherwise they're the reason protests happen."
No no no. You prop up a dictator who does what you want for twenty years and arm him to the teeth so he can keep his people suppressed. Then it isn't US who's doing the killing. No one will hate us afterwards, right?
posted by charred husk at 10:05 AM on September 14, 2012


....and again, even if the "oh noes we look weak" crowd actually has a point, the question remains: Okay, so what exactly are we supposed to do about it? Quoting reliable Republican sources isn't likely to impress American's enemies any more than it does me.
posted by Gelatin at 10:10 AM on September 14, 2012


50 Marines have been sent to the U.S. Embassy in Yemen now, too. And apparently there's a Marine Expeditionary Unit on its way to the Mediterranean from the Persian Gulf, which would be useful for evacuations.
posted by lullaby at 10:18 AM on September 14, 2012


In short, apart from being critical of the current administration, of what value is his opinion?

If the opinion of the ex-Ambassador of Pakistan lacks any authority simply because 1) it was published in the WSJ and 2) aligns with conservative critiques of the Obama Administration, there's little else I can say. I'll give former Ambassador Haqqani the last word (he has some interesting insights into the history of Islam) and will bow out of here for a while:
And insults, real or hyped, are not the problem. At the heart of Muslim street violence is the frustration of the world's Muslims over their steady decline for three centuries, a decline that has coincided with the rise and spread of the West's military, economic and intellectual prowess.

During the 800 years of Muslim ascendancy beginning in the eighth century—in Southern Europe, North Africa and much of Western Asia—Muslims did not riot to protest non-Muslim insults against Islam or its prophet. There is no historic record of random attacks against non-Muslim targets in retaliation for a non-Muslim insulting Prophet Muhammad, though there are many books derogatory toward Islam's prophet that were written in the era of Islam's great empires. Muslims under Turkey's Ottomans, for example, did not attack non-Muslim envoys (the medieval equivalent of today's embassies) or churches upon hearing of real or rumored European sacrilege against their religion.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:18 AM on September 14, 2012


So per Guardian's live blog, people in Khartoum (Sudan) were carted from Friday prayers in buses apparently with the ruling party's insignia. They have ended up burning the German and British embassies instead.

As scary as it might seem now, do note that the Friday afternoon prayers are when tensions are at their highest; it's a crowd thing, basically. My gut feeling is that things will simmer over e weekend. What's despicable is how regimes apparently are trying to take advantage of in places like Sudan and Syria; we've seen this countless times, but you should never play with fire. These things can quickly get out of control. Which is what seemingly happened in Benghazi.
posted by the cydonian at 10:21 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the opinion of the ex-Ambassador of Pakistan lacks any authority simply because 1) it was published in the WSJ and 2) aligns with conservative critiques of the Obama Administration, there's little else I can say.

Well, of course you have little to say, because you're ignoring #3 (i.e. what most of us are pointing out), which is that recent history has shown that those who followed his opinion did not achieve the results he claims.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:25 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the opinion of the ex-Ambassador of Pakistan lacks any authority simply because 1) it was published in the WSJ and 2) aligns with conservative critiques of the Obama Administration [you say that like it's two different things], there's little else I can say.

At last, we agree.

I'll give former Ambassador Haqqani the last word

...in the WSJ, yet again...

and will bow out of here for a while

I wish you would have mentioned even one specific thing the US should do to counteract this so-called "weakness" Republicans seem to be so concerned about.
posted by Gelatin at 10:25 AM on September 14, 2012


Protests in India, as well.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:28 AM on September 14, 2012


If the opinion of the ex-Ambassador of Pakistan lacks any authority

...and anyway: That doesn't answer my question, does it? I asked: "apart from being critical of the current administration, of what value is his opinion?" Your response doesn't address that question at all.

Incidentally, it is far fetched indeed to imagine that the ex ambassador of Pakistan -- a person whose very job is to represent Pakistan's interests -- does not have those interests at least somewhat in mind when writing an op-ed.
posted by Gelatin at 10:29 AM on September 14, 2012


So, umm, Romney has also come out against the movie.
posted by the cydonian at 10:30 AM on September 14, 2012


From the cydonian's link, "Well, I haven’t seen the film. I don’t intend to see it."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:32 AM on September 14, 2012


So, umm, Romney has also come out against the movie.

Mitt Romney as outsider performance artist: discuss.
posted by jaduncan at 10:33 AM on September 14, 2012


I think it's worth posting the direct, word-for-word comparison of what Romney said and what the Embassy said, from the cydonian's link, here (emphasis theirs not mine):

U.S. Embassy in Egypt:

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

Romney to ABC:

MITT ROMNEY: Well, I haven’t seen the film. I don’t intend to see it. I you know, I think it’s dispiriting sometimes to see some of the awful things people say. And the idea of using something that some people consider sacred and then parading that out a negative way is simply inappropriate and wrong. And I wish people wouldn’t do it. Of course, we have a First Amendment. And under the First Amendment, people are allowed to do what they feel they want to do. They have the right to do that, but it’s not right to do things that are of the nature of what was done by, apparently this film.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’ve seen General Martin Dempsey call Pastor Jones to say, “Please don’t promote this film.” You think that’s a good idea?

MITT ROMNEY: I think the whole film is a terrible idea. I think him making it, promoting it showing it is disrespectful to people of other faiths. I don’t think that should happen. I think people should have the common courtesy and judgment- the good judgment- not to be- not to offend other peoples’ faiths. It’s a very bad thing, I think, this guy’s doing.

posted by RolandOfEld at 10:36 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


“They have the right to do that, but it’s not right to do things that are of the nature of what was done by, apparently this film.”

Whhhhaaaaa....

I know that transcriptions are often difficult to follow because listening to and reading speech are different, but that makes precisely zero sense either way.
posted by Tevin at 10:37 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, it is far fetched indeed to imagine that the ex ambassador of Pakistan -- a person whose very job is to represent Pakistan's interests -- does not have those interests at least somewhat in mind when writing an op-ed.

I'd be shocked if Haqqani had any interests in mind but his own. A real diehard opportunist, that's how I think of him.
posted by bardophile at 10:37 AM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Everyone should take diplomatic advice from Osama bin Laden, he's basically the Miss Manners of diplomatic relations! I'm sure he was giving totally genuine advice there!"

Osama Bin Laden was pretty much the epitome of concern troll with regard to US foreign policy.
posted by klangklangston at 10:38 AM on September 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


So Romney condemns the film that he earlier condemned the Obama administration (via its embassy) for condemning. Wow, what a jackass. I hope the media makes hay out of that, but I doubt they will.
posted by notsnot at 10:40 AM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


I know that transcriptions are often difficult to follow because listening to and reading speech are different, but that makes precisely zero sense either way.

It makes sense to me and it's what he should have said from the beginning instead of trying to turn people's deaths into political football: You may have the right under our Constitution to make this video, but it is not the right thing to do, out of common decency and respect for other people.

Of course, coming after his earlier statements and the backlash, this is just pandering.
posted by sallybrown at 10:40 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's a good job there isn't an established narrative of Romney believing different things on different days, or this might reflect badly on him.
posted by jaduncan at 10:42 AM on September 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Romney: the idea of using something that some people consider sacred and then parading that out a negative way is simply inappropriate and wrong

Like, say, the deaths of US foreign service officers resulting from political unrest.
posted by Gelatin at 10:43 AM on September 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


OK, I laughed at this in the comments of the linked film article:

"Though the filmmakers were initially offended by Romney's review of their work, they realize that the candidate will likely say something nice about them tomorrow."
posted by jaduncan at 10:46 AM on September 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


The protests are widespread.
Romney would have to be scared stiff. He'd be praying Obama sorts it in the next 50 odd days.
posted by de at 10:52 AM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


De's link is fucking scary as hell
posted by angrycat at 10:56 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


de, even if Romney won, Mr. Obama would still be POTUS until January 19.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:58 AM on September 14, 2012


Mr. Romney doesn't even seem to know what is going on in the "simple/American" part of this whole event... trusting him with the much more complicated and nuanced foreign aspects? And he has the de gaullll to be so snide and loose with truth about President Obama, and the lives of our diplomats. Not likely, Romney Bro. No thank you. Not Fit. Just pack up and go back Home(s).

I think the whole film is a terrible idea. I think him making it, promoting it showing it is disrespectful to people of other faiths.

This is a wrong statement. Jones did not make anything. The question was about Jones.

And boy howdy, his "And the idea of using something that some people consider sacred and then parading that out a negative way is simply inappropriate and wrong." makes me worry far more about rights and freedoms than the nuance applied by President Obama (and makes me relieved that he is in office). All Mr. Romney's supporters, and the news outlet surrogates have been ranting about how toxic our President is to free speech... but the words of Mr. Romney show that his "belief" in such a freedom is as shallow and callow as are his views on so many issues (poverty, taxes, war, peace, diplomacy, work [Shirley he has a 5 point plan for this which he will release after he is, were to be "elected"]).

Hopefully this turns his dwindling supporters further away from a campaign of lies and twisted soundbyte truths.
posted by infinite intimation at 11:06 AM on September 14, 2012


The White House has asked YouTube to review an anti-Muslim film posted to the site that has been blamed for igniting the violent protests this week in the Middle East.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:08 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


De's link is fucking scary as hell

More a reflection of the fact that these-called Muslim world is also getting to be as globalized and connected as, well, "real" world, with which it obviously coincides. That is to say, if Avengers or the new Batman movie gets huge crowds across the world, this can get too. :)

To me, the real question is if this will sustain over the weekend, and if it has, who's fanning them. We've seen earlier that at least some regimes are absolutely fanning this, either to gloss over their own shortcomings or as a "safety valve" of sorts.
posted by the cydonian at 11:10 AM on September 14, 2012


Here's a picture of that KFC/Hardees in Lebandon that's burning
posted by angrycat at 11:10 AM on September 14, 2012


I forgot that minor detail, roomthreeseventeen; but I think you'll find Obama will be POTUS until Jan, 2017.

The world is beyond Romney.
posted by de at 11:14 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Two competing threads of narrative are happening with regards to Romney: The most obvious in this thread, is someone not very adept at grasping foreign policy; the second, that blew out today, is the awful interview with Good Morning America and what he considers a middle class income, to whit
MITT ROMNEY: Well, I said that there are five different studies that point out that we can get to a balanced budget without raising taxes on middle income people. Let me tell you, George, the fundamentals of my tax policy are these. Number one, reduce tax burdens on middle-income people. So no one can say my plan is going to raise taxes on middle-income people, because principle number one is keep the burden down on middle-income taxpayers.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Is $100,000 middle income?

MITT ROMNEY: No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less. (source)
There is a competition in speed of narrative development that is occurring and I am curious to see how both campaigns handle this combination of foreign policy and perception issues.
posted by jadepearl at 11:18 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Is $100,000 middle income?

MITT ROMNEY: No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less.

Jesus wept.
posted by Gelatin at 11:20 AM on September 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Hopefully this turns his dwindling supporters further away from a campaign of lies and twisted soundbyte truths.

Regarding truth and lies ...

Romney Says Obama Will Lie in Debates: VIDEO
“I think the challenge that I’ll have in the debate is that the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren’t true,” Romney said. “I’ve looked at prior debates. And in that kind of case, it’s difficult to say, ‘Well, am I going to spend my time correcting things that aren’t quite accurate? Or am I going to spend my time talking about the things I want to talk about?”
BWA-HA-HA-HA! You can SMELL the desperation!
posted by ericb at 11:23 AM on September 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


For neocons, it will always be 1938.
posted by Eyebeams at 11:25 AM on September 14, 2012


AP: "...That puts him in agreement with Obama who has defined "middle class" families as those with income of up to $250,000 a year."
posted by BobbyVan at 11:25 AM on September 14, 2012


Michele Bachmann: Embassy Attacks In Libya And Egypt Expose Obama's 'Genius' Foreign Policy.
posted by ericb at 11:26 AM on September 14, 2012


BobbyVan, way to distort facts... I'm pretty sure President Obama thinks the middle class starts at $200k.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:27 AM on September 14, 2012


On Talking Points Memo, someone in the Foreign Service had this to say about Gov. Romney's statements from earlier in the week:

From a Foreign Service Officer …

It’s probably not a surprise. But can I just say that if Mitt Romney wins in November, he is going to have a very chilly reception from his employees every time he goes abroad? I don’t think I can quite state the rage we’re all feeling towards him.


I'm almost starting to feel sorry for the guy. Almost.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:28 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a blatant derail... but, please direct your complaints about "distortions" to the Associated Press and the New York Times.

NYT: [Obama] says that federal income taxes should be increased on families making more than $250,000. That seems to be the threshold. Under $250,000, you’re middle class; over it and you’re wealthy.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:29 AM on September 14, 2012


Obama has proposed extending the Bush tax rate cuts for those making less than $200,000. that is NOT the same as defining the middle class as those making that much.
posted by Eyebeams at 11:29 AM on September 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


someone not very adept at grasping foreign policy

Romney Statement on Iran at Odds With His Foreign Policy Advisers’
"As the turmoil in the Middle East thrust foreign policy to the forefront of the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney found himself at odds with his own foreign policy advisers. While two of his advisers in interviews said that Mr. Romney had a different “red line” on Iran from President Obama, Mr. Romney told ABC News that his red line is the same as that of the president."
I'm imagining Romney campaign HQ as something like a slapstick comedy written by David Lynch.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:30 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


More substantively, I don't think there's really much competition in narrative. Romney's hopelessness at foreign policy* has been evident at least since his disastrous pre-convention overseas trip, and it's likely that Romney's persistent likeability deficit is a combination of his, a, malleability of opinion, the out-of-touchness and and arrogance on display here, his relentless and unapologetic dishonesty on the campaign trail and his sheer and petulant sense of entitlement. People** needn't choose which reason to avoid Romney at the polls; either or both will do.

The bottom line, as I (among others) have said before, is that at least so far -- and with time until the election running out -- the 2012-as-1980 narrative that the Romney campaign was obviously counting on simply hasn't seemed to materialize. Obama is no Carter, and Romney no Reagan.

*As an aside, one would hope that after the multiple disasters during the Bush Administration brought on by a combination of reckless neoconservative aggression and sheer incompetence, the excuse that "he'll be surrounded by experts" as an excuse for lack of foreigh policy cred won't have much traction this time around.

**Especially in the remaining battleground states that Romney absolutely must win in order to eke out an Electoral College win.
posted by Gelatin at 11:31 AM on September 14, 2012


Terror attacks more likely under Mitt? -- Aaron Miller: "Romney as president might have given extremists even more ammunition to attack."
posted by ericb at 11:31 AM on September 14, 2012


Obama defines "middle class" as $50-$70,000/year.
posted by Eyebeams at 11:33 AM on September 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is a blatant derail... but

Well, if you have time for that, maybe you have time to suggest something specific the US ought to do about this so-called weakness the Republicans are so concerned about (or answer any of my other questions you avoided)?
posted by Gelatin at 11:33 AM on September 14, 2012


For neocons, it will always be 1938.

Romney Campaign Is Pretty Averse To Using The Word 'Neo-Conservative'.
posted by ericb at 11:33 AM on September 14, 2012


I apologize for contributing to a derail and a stupid one at that.
posted by Eyebeams at 11:34 AM on September 14, 2012


Hillary Clinton came so close to saying "Vilerat" on TV. I was hoping.
posted by Justinian at 11:39 AM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Okay, you know what y'all, there shouldn't be a camera at Andrews, but to hear the Secretary of State talk about virtual worlds and gamers while eulogizing Sean Smith in a nationally televised speech seems like a watershed moment.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:41 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, if you have time for that, maybe you have time to suggest something specific the US ought to do about this so-called weakness the Republicans are so concerned about (or answer any of my other questions you avoided)?

OK, fine. Check out the second paragraph of Amb. Haqqani's op-ed.
The United States would have been better off focusing on the only outrage that was of legitimate interest to the American government: the lack of respect—shown by a complaisant Egyptian government and other Islamists—for U.S. diplomatic missions.
I agree with this. So specifically, I'd suggest, for starters, that our government stop flagging videos on Youtube for removal (as if that would do a damned thing at this point) and overall stop making this about the freaking movie. This advice applies to the Romney campaign as well, which has handled the situation in typically poor fashion.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:42 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man, Obama is talking now. Say it, say "vilerat".
posted by Justinian at 11:46 AM on September 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


>Romney would have to be scared stiff. He'd be praying Obama sorts it in the next 50 odd days.

Good point. To beat the dead horse of horse metaphors, people are less inclined to change midstream (read: global turmoil).

In the wake of this constantly evolving stream of (mis)information, I think it's important that we ask ourselves the right questions. As other people have mentioned, these aren't necessarily protests in response to the movie, although it's fairly easy to market these protests as a direct response to the offensive movie (trailer) which was released (months ago). Overlooking simple facts like that, this really would seem like "Muslims are just overreacting to depictions of the prophet, again."

Some of the earlier attacks required significant funding and coordination, as well as advanced knowledge of the embassy's layout. Al Qaeda has been implicated in at least a few of these outbreaks. I can't verify that a cell exists in each of the countries posted in De's link, but they do operate in over 40 countries total.

Most people on the ground in the Middle East, as well as the people of commenting in this thread, probably haven't even seen the movie. It probably isn't even a "movie" in the definitional sense, and there's plenty on the American side of these events that smells fishy, not the least of which is Jones and Sadek's timing of their publicity stunts. Nakoula (a.k.a. Bacile, the filmmaker) isn't really known for being political, but he has a RAP sheet that indicates he won't pass up the opportunity to make some serious cash. What I really don't get is the discrepancy between the supposed "$5 million dollar" budget and the fact that there really is no account of a feature-length film or anything warranting that kind of production value. Couple that with Nakoula's masquerading as an Israeli director, and it does seem like there was extensive planning and coordinated effort. I don't want to say something like "Terry Jones is being used by Al Qaeda" or vice versa, but this is one deep rabbit hole. I'd say it's coordinated in the sense that the stereotypes of "Christians/Jews as intolerant of Islamic beliefs" and "Muslims as volatile and reactionary to the minutiae that goes on in the West" feed off of each other.

Deep down, I think I want this to be a terrorist plot because a terribly misguided, low-budget indie film has got to be the stupidest excuse for extinguishing the bright and shining souls we've lost in the last few days.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 11:58 AM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK, fine. Check out the second paragraph of Amb. Haqqani's op-ed.

Not so fast -- you haven't answered the key question as to why anyone should give a damn about Haqqani's Wall Street Journal op-ed in the first place, apart from its being critical of the Obama Administration. You haven't established relevance.

Even so, Haqqani's suggestion about "focusing on the only outrage" may have value for being an implicit criticism of the Obama administration, but it has bupkus to do with the perception of weakness that the Republicans have been complaining about.

(Of course, it's no secret that Middle Eastern governments, Islamist and otherwise, use the West in general and the US in particular as a convenient distraction from their own shortcomings, but let's not forget that members of their security forces showed their "lack of respect" when they died defending the US facilities.)

As for your specific suggestion, it boils down to "don't bother closing the barn door after the horse has left," since the whole flap about the video was in the context of 1) massive protests and b) what appears to be a coordinated terrorist attack that our embassies were dealing with at the time, both of which seem to have much more to do with the internal agendas of those countries / terrorist organizations than with any so-called "American weakness."

So as impressive as that piece of advice is, it's no more relevant than your Haqqani quote. Which suggests that, like your divining various meanings of convenience from boilerplate diplomatic babble ("Robust defense! Cowardly appeasement! Well respected by his peers!"), that you don't really have much of an case.
posted by Gelatin at 12:04 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


AP: "...That puts him in agreement with Obama who has defined "middle class" families as those with income of up to $250,000 a year."

In the interview, he kept on saying "people" not "families," which per your link was so ambiguous that his campaign had to clarify later.

OK, fine. Check out the second paragraph of Amb. Haqqani's op-ed.

Which isn't addressing the initial or follow-up concerns.

So specifically, I'd suggest, for starters, that our government stop flagging videos on Youtube for removal (as if that would do a damned thing at this point) and overall stop making this about the freaking movie.

They stopped making this about the movie a while back, as the review was apparently requested a couple days ago. You're the one harping on it. In fact, they didn't bring it up, someone asked for comment at a press conference, at which point they said they "would not apologize for the video" and that "[w]e cannot and will not squelch freedom of expression in this country."
posted by zombieflanders at 12:05 PM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Syrians bewildered as embassy protests spread
posted by lullaby at 12:14 PM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Noah Millman at The American Conservative: Can America Control the Arab Spring? is a pretty damn fine assessment of the contrast between BO & MR. It somehow reads better coming from a conservative viewpoint; there's nothing partisan or tubthumping about it, but the simple comparison leads the reader towards a fairly obvious conclusion about our protagonists I think. I quite like occasionally reading Daniel Larison from that site too.
posted by peacay at 12:15 PM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Romney Tries to Defend Embassy Lies
Mitt Romney created his most recent campaign shitstorm by launching an attack that was, simultaneously, an absurdly disingenuous argument built upon a series of demonstrable lies. After an initial period of recrimination and lashing out at the media, Romney and his allies are insisting that he was absolutely correct all along. It is a remarkable testament to the party’s ability not just to engage in spin but create and sustain an alternate reality.
posted by ericb at 12:18 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


They stopped making this about the movie a while back

Jay Carney, today: "This is a fairly volatile situation, and it is in response not to U.S. policy, not to, obviously, the administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video – a film – that we have judged to be reprehensive and disgusting. That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it. But this is not a case of protests directed at the United States, writ large, or at U.S. policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive and – to Muslims."

Hillary Clinton, today: "We’ve seen rage and violence over an awful Internet video we had nothing to do with."
posted by BobbyVan at 12:19 PM on September 14, 2012


Obama defines "middle class" as $50-$70,000/year.

"*The Census Bureau reported this week that the median household income — the midpoint for the nation — is just over $50,000." *
posted by ericb at 12:20 PM on September 14, 2012


Can someone link to a primary source that say it is about the movie?
posted by sweetkid at 12:25 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's a picture of that KFC/Hardees in Lebandon that's burning

*wavering*
posted by telstar at 12:26 PM on September 14, 2012


Not so fast -- you haven't answered the key question as to why anyone should give a damn about Haqqani's Wall Street Journal op-ed in the first place, apart from its being critical of the Obama Administration. You haven't established relevance.

Here's his CV. Read it and then tell me his views are irrelevant.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:29 PM on September 14, 2012


Not so fast, BobbyVan. You don't get to presume your premise is valid and insist I argue against it, especially in response to me calling its relevance into question in the first place.

You tell me why his views are relevant, apart from the fact -- which you don't dispute -- that as far as the WSJ editorial board was concenred, they were critical of Obama. I've asked repeatedly anyone should give a damn about this op-ed, and you keep ducking the question. For the last time, do you have an answer or don't you?
posted by Gelatin at 12:36 PM on September 14, 2012


You'll note in that CV that this man ran the 1988 political campaign for Nawaz Sharif, and then the 1993 one for Benazir Bhutto. This would be like Steve Schmidt heading Obama's campaign this year. I was feeling too lazy to go look for the evidence, so thank you BobbyVan. Haqqani is recognized in Pakistan as having legitimate academic credentials, but no personal credibility.
posted by bardophile at 12:37 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Read it and then tell me his views are irrelevant.

Oh, Christ, I hate it when people do that. Be declarative. Write a sentence that reads "His views are relevant because...". Otherwise we're arguing with ourselves.
posted by unSane at 12:39 PM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh man, Gelatin, this argument about why his view is relevant is classic argumentum ad hominem. His opinions aren't invalid because of who he is or where they were published, but they are opinions and not necessarily facts.

If we have to justify the reputation of every source we cite in political discussions, we may as well give up on any hope of having a rational debate since it will inevitably boil down to "Well I trust that source/Well I don't."

Please understand I write this as somebody who read the op-ed and felt it was pretty standard boilerplate "hurf durf American needs to act more strong" bullshit. I'd need to take more time to read it closely and analyze the points to come up with reasons for why that is the case, so I'm going to have to admit I'm being intellectually lazy by just dismissing it out of hat, but that's what I'm going to do none the less.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:43 PM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh, Christ, I hate it when people do that. Be declarative. Write a sentence that reads "His views are relevant because...". Otherwise we're arguing with ourselves.

Oh Christ, I hate it when the Metafilter commenters set an absurdly high standard for even considering a contrary opinion. First we're told that the opinion is worthless because it was printed in the Wall Street Journal. Then we're told that we should discount the opinion because "it neatly dovetails -- coincidentally, no doubt! -- with the current Republican Party line about America's so-called 'weakness.' Now I'm told that because he was involved with two different political parties decades ago, he has "no personal credibility." I'm sorry, but that last one is a breathtakingly ignorant and arrogant claim.

I'm not asking anyone to agree with this man... just to thoughtfully consider the fact that not all criticism of the Obama Administration is coming from knavish partisan hacks. Warning: this may require some of you to be a bit less declarative with your Manichean, favorite-baiting comments...

on preview, I agree most of what Joey just said.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:49 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is standard “hurf durf big stick make the savages fear us” claptrap, and the only reason that's been stated (such as it is) to give it any credence at all is the pedigree of the source. So it doesn't seem out of line to note that the source's pedigree is actually pretty damn bad.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:50 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jay Carney, today:

Hillary Clinton, today:


And as I pointed out, Carney's remarks were a response to a question at a press conference. Hillary's remarks were a couple words from a longer statement that you oh so helpfully provided free of context. She certainly wasn't making it all about the film.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:54 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's an absurdly high standard to ask someone to say why they think a thing is relevant?
posted by rtha at 12:56 PM on September 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


I like this imagery from peacay's link:
I believe Obama views the so-called Arab Spring as driven by the internal currents of the Arab world, and not something America can control. Given America’s inescapable centrality, however, those currents can’t simply be ignored, which means we have to surf those unpredictable waves as best one can, so as to keep our own interests afloat. Inevitable, sometimes we’re going to get wet doing so.
I was thinking that this wave of rioting is like a bucking bronco: you ride the beast as best you can and hope he gets tired out before you get thrown. Plus experience helps you to stay in the saddle.

It would be great if we could watch from afar as disinterested parties, but our fucking uncontrollable need for oil makes that impossible. Still, I doubt the entire Muslim world is going to be able to sustain rioting for too long. Life needs to go on. Children need to be fed. Businesses need to open. Wives need to be loved. Will anything change? These flair ups don't seem like they will amount to much other than continued, simmering resentment as more property gets damaged and more humans get hurt.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:56 PM on September 14, 2012


Jay Carney, today

If you think that any mention of the film is "making this about the movie," then you must see that the WSJ and your pal Haqqani are "making this about the movie" also. For better or worse, "the film" is part of these events. If you expect everyone to just stop mentioning it, then I think your hopes are pretty unrealistic.

But, obviously, these events are not "all about the movie," to the degree, I think, that our mentioning it or not won't greatly affect their course. This piece on the Syrian protests suggests just how anger over the film may be standing in for all kinds of local and regional grievances.

That Millman piece is good.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:56 PM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


[Folks, please don't personalize the rhetorical bickering. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 12:57 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I'll cop to it being a weakly supported claim, but that's not how you characterize it. So let me explain to you why my claim is not an ignorant one.

Nawaz Sharif was the Chief Minister of Punjab during the military rule of Gen Zia ul Haq. He was at the head of the grand "King's Party," the IJI, in the 1988 election that followed Zia ul Haq's death in a plane crash (as I noted earlier in the thread, US Ambassador Raphel was also killed in that crash). Zia ul Haq was the man who ordered the execution of Benazir Bhutto's father. Nawaz Sharif was very much his protege. The PPP and the IJI were the two major parties contesting those elections. Really, the IJI was a coalition, the biggest member of which was the Pakistan Muslim League. The PML-N and the PPP have traded power back and forth in the National Assembly four, no five times, since 1988. The premiership went to Bhutto, then Sharif, then Bhutto, then Sharif. Haqqani HEADED the first election campaign for Nawaz Sharif, and then, in the 1993 election, proceeded to attack Sharif for the very things that he had recommended, because he was now the head of Benazir Bhutto's campaign. Haqqani's appointment to the post of ambassador came when the latest PPP government came to power. His political history in Pakistan is very much relevant to his credibility, and what I am talking about is by no means ancient political history.
posted by bardophile at 1:08 PM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think that the larger picture here is that there are way too many young adults in MENA with nothing better to do.
   Unemployment rates (percent)
Country group    Youth    Overall
MENA              25.9      11.14
Low income         9.9       4.88
Middle income     19.6       6.58
High income       13.6       6.68
Employment and Equality of Opportunity in the Middle East and North Africa , pg. 6, Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Conference on Employment — Global and Country Perspectives, New York University, 26-27 September, 2011

What, if anything, America can do about it is much less clear.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:10 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, BobbyVan, that was a shitty comment and I apologize.
posted by klangklangston at 1:10 PM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


restless_nomad, I hope my last post isn't too personal. I mean to attack BobbyVan's argument, not him personally. If it's out of bounds, by all means delete it, and I'll let other posters' preceding comments make the point.
posted by Gelatin at 1:10 PM on September 14, 2012


Gelatin, it was pretty much what I was talking about, yeah (and I deleted it.) If you really want to discuss how someone is doing discussion wrong, MetaTalk is the place. Thanks for understanding.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:12 PM on September 14, 2012


I am not a Middle East specialist so I cannot say if this CNN op ed by Ed Husain is incontrovertible, but I found it sheds some light on the rioters' motivation.
we must stop pretending that all is well with the Arab Spring. But all is not lost either.

Arab societies are on a journey. They can easily take the wrong turn. The attacks on the American embassies in Libya, Egypt and Yemen are examples of the ongoing presence of intolerant, tyrannical actors in Arab societies.[...] It is hard for younger Arabs not born into freedom to understand how individual liberty works in real life.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:13 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of course. Again, my apologies.

Since this preceding comment remains, I would like to say, and this will be the last I have to say on the subject, that questioning the value of an op-ed in the reliably Republican Wall Street Journal that does neatly dovetail with the day's Republican Party talking points is most emphatically not "an absurdly high standard for even considering a contrary opinion."
posted by Gelatin at 1:18 PM on September 14, 2012


They are burning the American flag outside the American embassy in.....London.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:18 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone (including POTUS or SOSOTUS) is saying all of these protests are solely a result of the movie, but they do believe the movie has been a catalyst for existing tensions and frustrations with American foreign policy, and that much of the violence that's gone on around the Muslim world in the past couple days would not have broken out without that catalyst (notwithstanding the Benghazi attacks, which probably would have occurred either way.) In public statements, they're of course going to express their opinion in language that minimizes the culpability of U.S. foreign policy in exacerbating those tensions and frustrations, because they're politicians, but if asked a direct question about whether the movie is wholly responsible for the attacks, I think they'd all say no.

At this point, the political argument is all over but the shouting at this point. Team Obama started with "we're concerned for the victims and this movie sucks" before moving on to "we're concerned for the victims, this movie sucks, and Mitt Romney is a dangerous asshole who says stupid things without thinking about them." Team Romney, on the other hand, started with "Barack Obama is a weak asshole who apologizes for America when we're attacked" before realizing he'd made a political miscalculation and changing his tune to "we're concerned about the victims, and this movie sucks." In other words, both sides have basically had the same reaction to the loss of life and the shitty movie, and they've both gotten their political attacks in. The difference is that Romney started with the political, while Obama's team started with the diplomatic before playing defense against Romney's half-cocked attack.

The voters will decide which of those reactions is more befitting of a Presidential candidate, but in the mean time, only one of the candidates actually has to actually carry on with the bussiness dealing with the situation and trying to calm exploding tensions around the globe. I'm glad Romney has (at least temporarily) decided to tone down the attacks, and hope nobody shakes the Etch-a-Sketch until this storm blows over.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:20 PM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is a blatant derail...

Let me suggest that we take the 'middle class' derail (which has nothing to do with this very thread regarding unrest in the Middle East) to the other Romney thread which has just started addressing the definition of 'middle class' incomes, etc. Who's with me?
posted by ericb at 1:23 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


ericb, that thread is a month old and too hard to find.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:24 PM on September 14, 2012


Secret Life of Gravy: "I am not a Middle East specialist so I cannot say if this CNN op ed by Ed Husain is incontrovertible, but I found it sheds some light on the rioters' motivation. "

This is interesting, especially since Husain ties it into the idea that Arab Societies are transitioning. And it does, indeed, seem to tie into revolutionary ideals that Americans are familiar with:
"Since leading eighteenth century Americans had known many occasions on which mobs took on the defense of public welfare, which was, after all, the stated purpose of government, they were less likely to deny popular upheavals all legitimacy than are modern leaders. While not advocating popular uprisings, they could still grant such incidents an established and necessary role in free societies, one that made them an integral and even respected element of the political order."
Rent riots; religious riots; housing riots; political and electoral riots -- all part of the messy process of America's revolution and independence. All of these even before we get to the War of Independence. What person, informed by history, could suggest that the season of the Arab Spring would be the end of things, the end of riot and revolt?
posted by boo_radley at 1:25 PM on September 14, 2012


Militants attack peacekeeper headquarters in Sinai, four wounded: Dozens of armed militants break down the wall of the Multinational Force & Observers base, and set vehicles and tools alight; unclear whether attack linked to worldwide protests over anti-Islam film.
posted by homunculus at 1:26 PM on September 14, 2012


ericb, that thread is a month old and too hard to find.

I think you're being sarcastic.

Yeah --- you are, since the other thread is only 14 days old.
posted by ericb at 1:31 PM on September 14, 2012


Bardophile, that's an interesting sequence of events, but it tells me nothing about the reasons, motivations, or context related to Haqqani's changing allegiances. I'm also unsure how that bears on whether Haqqani is or is not a credible commentator on Islamism. (The man does edit a journal called "Current Trends In Islamic Thought", and the Op-Ed he wrote was about Islamist ideology as they related to the attacks on US diplomatic posts in the Middle East.) You may have established that Haqqani was opportunistic and betrayed his principles at times, but if that is the standard for consideration of an argument, we can dismiss just about any opinion from any professional politician who presents a controversial viewpoint.

Gelatin, I'm growing weary of this tedious exchange, so this will be my last comment on the subject as well. I think you misunderstand how the WSJ editorial pages work. Unless you think the "reliably Republican" pages also support a financial transaction tax or advocate stricter multilateral financial regulation, it seems cheap and lazy to harp on the publisher of a signed opinion piece. And to dismiss (or place extremely high hurdles before) a point of view simply because it aligns with that of a political faction you disagree with is the definition of epistemic closure.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:38 PM on September 14, 2012


It's ironic that you claim the WSJ editorial page is not reliably Republican on the one hand and then admit that the piece in question aligns with Republican talking points on the other. But I'll take that last admission as all that need be said on the matter.
posted by Gelatin at 1:43 PM on September 14, 2012


I don't see any irony at all. The WSJ's unsigned editorials are reliably conservative, but the WSJ also accepts submissions from a wide range of viewpoints. I do, however, agree that everything that could or should be said on this topic has been said (and probably much, much more too).
posted by BobbyVan at 1:47 PM on September 14, 2012


They are burning the American flag outside the American embassy in.....London.

100 to 150 people? In a good-sized city, you can get that many people to protest anything.

whether Haqqani is or is not a credible commentator on Islamism

Why don't we say that, credible or not, if Haqqani's resting his credibility on a "you must not appear weak" boiler-plate op-ed that wouldn't have looked out of place post-September 11th 2001, then in this instance, at least, he's really phoning it in.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:49 PM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Video footage of attack upon U.S. embassy in Tunis (really annoying dramatic music)

I had a weird response to seeing guys proudly wave around a destroyed U.S. flag. I understand why they did it, and I'm a proud American critic of our policies; all the same, I was like, dudes, you tore up a flag, and that does what, exactly? Not a rational response, I know.
posted by angrycat at 1:52 PM on September 14, 2012


Was ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Director Also an Informant? He’s set the Mideast ablaze with his anti-Muslim film trailer. But Nakoula Basseley Nakoula’s murky background in methamphetamine doesn’t add up to some in law enforcement.
posted by homunculus at 2:01 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


"you must not appear weak" boiler-plate op-ed that wouldn't have looked out of place post-September 11th 2001

Speaking of which, I was just nostalgic for SDB. Hold me, someone.
posted by octobersurprise at 2:04 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Juan Cole on how the Obama administration privately and publicly pressured the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of the riots /attacks in Benghazi and Cairo.
posted by Eyebeams at 2:06 PM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Speaking of which, I was just nostalgic for SDB. Hold me, someone.

I am ashamed that it only took me a few seconds to figure out what SDB meant.
posted by Justinian at 2:24 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Camp Bastion, allied base in Afghanistan, under attack by Taliban
posted by angrycat at 2:29 PM on September 14, 2012


American Foreign Policy by Francis Walsingham
posted by hap_hazard at 2:39 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


angrycat: "Video footage of attack upon U.S. embassy in Tunis (really annoying dramatic music)

I had a weird response to seeing guys proudly wave around a destroyed U.S. flag. I understand why they did it, and I'm a proud American critic of our policies; all the same, I was like, dudes, you tore up a flag, and that does what, exactly? Not a rational response, I know.
"

Watched the video. I am SO glad that those windows are some kind of bulletproof / impact proof glass. Fucking hell. What were they trying to do? Like, was the idea really to break in the windows and.....kill everyone inside? Take hostages? I don't understand.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:01 PM on September 14, 2012


hap_hazard: American Foreign Policy by Francis Walsingham
This actually cuts way closer to the bone than I thought it would. There really are millions of people in America who see Realpolitik as an action movie, aren't there? As if Sylvester Stallone and Chuck Norris actually settled up the score in southeast Asia, and now it's time for Christian Bale and Matt Damon to settle up in MENA. God help us.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:28 PM on September 14, 2012


They are burning the American flag outside the American embassy in.....London.

100 to 150 people? In a good-sized city, you can get that many people to protest anything.


Right. But thinking about it I was a little surprised that they were not a bit more nuanced in directing their outrage because I don't think of London as a hot bed of anti-American feeling. They were burning the flag because it was an American-made film? But surely they understand it was not a government film, just the production of an ultra right wing fringe group, so I'm a little confused as to what they were protesting.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:31 PM on September 14, 2012


McCain was on the Today Show this morning, strenuously arguing that Obama has failed to lead in a general sense

Hannity Cuts Off McCain After He Refuses to Agree With His Egypt- and Libya-Bashing
posted by homunculus at 3:54 PM on September 14, 2012


Hmmph. McCain comes off as pretty level headed.

"Thank you Mr. Senator. And coming up comparing President Carter to Barack Obama.."

sigh
posted by Big_B at 4:03 PM on September 14, 2012


Hannity Cuts Off McCain After He Refuses to Agree With His Egypt- and Libya-Bashing
HANNITY: All right, so I am beyond outraged, angry, Senator. Here we have, our embassy is attacked, our flag ripped down, chanting, you know, that is going on in support of al Qaeda, et cetera, and the official position of the Obama administration through their State Department, for anywhere between 10 and 16 hours is we apologize to them! I am trying to understand this, Senator?
Even McCain couldn't stomach that one ("Well, I am not sure there was an apology..."). A partisan political figure who was his party's *presidential nominee* corrects *a journalist* for misrepresenting the President? My god. Fuck Fox News.
posted by sallybrown at 4:11 PM on September 14, 2012 [17 favorites]


Mitt's foreign policy guy was on NPR hammering home the nail that not since the Carter administration has an ambassador been killed. He made the reference to the Carter admin twice, at least.

The slobbering over the opportunity to make political points here I suppose is a sign of their great fear of their declining numbers.

But it is so disgusting. At least today we know that Mitt adores Snooki and sleeps in the altogether, or something, which, WHAT THE HELL NO
posted by angrycat at 4:13 PM on September 14, 2012


Media for Christ Company behind video
posted by angrycat at 4:21 PM on September 14, 2012


From the above link:

“The International Media is crowded with many topics that do not bring glory to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” says Media for Christ on its its MySpace page. “The Lord has given me the vision for Media for Christ so we could proclaim the peace of Jesus through an effective Christian media that would positively touch everyone. In June 2005 by the grace of God Media for Christ was established to become the light that shows Jesus Christ to all human beings.”
posted by angrycat at 4:23 PM on September 14, 2012


Even McCain couldn't stomach that one ("Well, I am not sure there was an apology..."). A partisan political figure who was his party's *presidential nominee* corrects *a journalist* for misrepresenting the President?.

If I remember correctly McCAin and Hilary have had some sort of mutual friendship/respect in the past. Maybe he has enough dignity not to throw her under the bus completely. Hilary looks like she is taking this pretty badly based on her body language and facial expression.
posted by Golden Eternity at 5:18 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's just a terrible situation.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:54 PM on September 14, 2012


I feel a little anxious, not having more updates on what looked like spreading, active protests around US embassies and military bases that have resulted in casualties...anyone have a link that can help? What's happening out there?!?
posted by lazaruslong at 6:02 PM on September 14, 2012


Yeah, this is all just a wee bit too close to the whole "Carter is weak, elect Reagan, America!" thing. You know, where the US hostages in Iran were miraculously released hours Reagan's election and all that? CIA orchestrated, much? This is history repeating itself. And we're gonna see Dick Cheney emerge, ever so slightly, out of the shadows any minute now. Shit is bad, real bad.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:17 PM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gawker says the director of the movie was a soft core porn director. I guess he had to pay the rent? WTH
posted by angrycat at 6:29 PM on September 14, 2012


Al Jazeera has a live blog with video updates.
posted by desjardins at 6:30 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


fixed angrycat's Gawker link
posted by desjardins at 6:35 PM on September 14, 2012


Admittedly, I don't live in the middle east, but here's a couple big disconnects for me. 1, I don't believe a 'movie' would incite these riots. This 'movie' is not the first of its type, nor will it be the last. I can believe it was used as an excuse or a justification after the fact but I cannot see it being the single, definitive device of incitement. (Suggesting to people that 'Muslim's' can be goaded into such response is derogatory and suggests that 'Muslim's' are as a group incapable of rational behavior and likely to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation.)
Why not? Look at the danish cartoon thing. Other then the cartoon, what other problems would people in the middle east have with Denmark? I mean, maybe there is tension with Muslim citizens, but would the average person who rioted there have known anything about it?

Remember the key point: THE FILM HAD BEEN TRANSLATED INTO ARABIC. If it had just been the English language version, people might never have known about it. But this passed around as a viral video clip that people share with their friends
posted by delmoi at 6:37 PM on September 14, 2012


I also heard a report that at least in Libya (and maybe in Egypt?), local rumors were that this movie was being shown in theaters and that Americans were flocking to see it - that it was very popular.
posted by rtha at 6:53 PM on September 14, 2012


If it weren't for the horrific violence I'd think we're living in a surrealist film. Look at this wacky cast of characters!

- Bank fraudster "named" PJ Tobacco, also convicted of intent to manufacture meth
- Crazy redneck Koran-burning dude
- Evangelical extremist who affixes mock tank turrets to the top of the family car
- Islamophobe who gets beaten with womens' shoes
- Heavily tattooed gay porn star (sfw)
- Softcore porn director
posted by desjardins at 6:55 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the opinion of the ex-Ambassador of Pakistan lacks any authority simply because 1) it was published in the WSJ
Of course we can. Anything published in the WSJ op-ed section can be dismissed out of hand. It's a hotbed of global warming denial and other right-wing counterfactual b.s. People who are wrong a lot love to whine about so-called Ad-Hominems whenever anyone points out they're wrong a lot.

But in reality, there isn't really any value in spending time listening to people if they are wrong a lot of the time. It's not like you can get a refund if the argument was bogus. The WSJ op-ed section has proven itself worthless time and time again.

And anyway, the fact that some random person wrote an op-ed isn't really relevant to anything. It's a argument from authority. Lots and lots of crackpots have the opportunity to write op-eds. Unless you already know and respect a person's opinion, the existence of an op-ed is meaningless.
posted by delmoi at 6:57 PM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Other then the cartoon, what other problems would people in the middle east have with Denmark? I mean, maybe there is tension with Muslim citizens, but would the average person who rioted there have known anything about it?

There is definitely tension between Muslim immigrants and Danish-born Danes, and I am certain they relay their experiences to folks back home. It's not hard at all for me to believe that people in the middle east perceive Denmark to be a racist and intolerant country (even if they might still want to go there for the economic opportunities). I mean, they sent soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan, and they have an anti-immigration political party with an Islamophobic leader that has 22 seats in Parliament (out of 179).
posted by desjardins at 7:05 PM on September 14, 2012


I mean, would anti-Denmark protests have arisen spontaneously without the cartoons? Who knows? But it's facile to think that there's no underlying resentment behind the initial spark. This film would not be such a big deal if all the conditions that bardophile explained did not exist.

And everything I noted about Denmark could be applied to Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, France, etc.
posted by desjardins at 7:12 PM on September 14, 2012


Yeah, this is all just a wee bit too close to the whole "Carter is weak, elect Reagan, America!" thing. You know, where the US hostages in Iran were miraculously released hours Reagan's election and all that?

It does increasingly smell like an October Surprise, especially coming right when it looked like Obama was (and still is) making a break in the polls.

Suggesting to people that 'Muslim's' can be goaded into such response is derogatory and suggests that 'Muslim's' are as a group incapable of rational behavior and likely to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation.

In 2003 Americans were goaded into attacking the wrong country in the middle of a war, but a trillion bucks dropped into the Iraqi desert later, it happened. And the tool to make it happen was a well-orchestrated black propaganda campaign.

if this is really what's happening, it's the neocon's next-to-last play. But from the way it's looking right now, with Romney acting the fool and Obama handling it presidentially, it might be too little too late.

But there's one more play: An Israeli attack on Iran. If they can get Netanyahu to hit Iran unilaterally (and you know he's itching to go) and then Obama would have the choice of either backing him up or letting him go it alone, 2 months before the election. If Obama's reluctant to go, which you know he is, arrange or a Gulf of Tonkin incident in the Persian Gulf against an American ship there. You night not even have to do it. The Iranians might be stupid enough to do it on their own. And then... Well, I don't know what happens then. Shit could get out of control real fast. Gas shoots up to $5 a gallon, the economy goes into a tailspin, maybe the Chinese or Russians get involved. But the neocons' bet is that ends up with Romney winning the election and them back in control of all three branches of government like it was 2003 all over again.

This is just paranoid tail chasing, but I figure we'll know soon enough. Tomorrow night is the new moon, which is when you want to fly bombing raids if you can see in the dark and the enemy can't. So if the balloon is going to go up, it will happen soon.
posted by vibrotronica at 7:19 PM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, this is all just a wee bit too close to the whole "Carter is weak, elect Reagan, America!" thing. You know, where the US hostages in Iran were miraculously released hours Reagan's election and all that? CIA orchestrated, much? This is history repeating itself. And we're gonna see Dick Cheney emerge, ever so slightly, out of the shadows any minute now. Shit is bad, real bad.

Getting a single group of hostage-takers to cooperate with you is a bit different than somehow orchestrating a bunch of protests across an entire region of the world though? I mean obviously the video was made to piss off devout Muslims but I'm not sure why this has to be a carefully orchestrated plot from the evil mind of Dick Cheney himself, you know?
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:48 PM on September 14, 2012


Can anyone recommend a book on the Iranian hostage situation? I was 5 years old when it happened, and apparently I didn't read enough about it in school to really grasp the concepts here.
posted by desjardins at 7:55 PM on September 14, 2012


US State Department spokeswoman: "I'm going to frustrate all of you, infinitely, by telling you that now that we have an open FBI investigation on the death of these four Americans, we are not going to be in a position to talk at all about what the U.S. government may or may not be learning about how any of this this happened -- not who they were, not how it happened, not what happened to Ambassador Stevens, not any of it -- until the Justice Department is ready to talk about the investigation that's its got."
posted by BobbyVan at 8:30 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mitt's foreign policy guy was on NPR hammering home the nail that not since the Carter administration has an ambassador been killed. He made the reference to the Carter admin twice, at least.

So why is it, exactly, that everyone seems to have forgotten Ambassador Raphel? I know I'm harping on this a bit, but it's just strange.
posted by bardophile at 9:02 PM on September 14, 2012


Can anyone recommend a book on the Iranian hostage situation?

Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowden

You might also be interested in Argo, coming out on Oct. 12.
posted by Bokmakierie at 9:19 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


So this is what one of my former students in Pakistan had to say on Facebook:

"Watched bits of the shit anti-islam movie. Its very low budget and probably not worth all the stir it's causing. There isn't a blasphemy law in america, and you can't sue for libel on behalf of a dead person. Best to ignore this shit and be like "Really? Carry on then crackpots," because no one with half a brain will take this vile piece of shit seriously."
posted by bardophile at 3:52 AM on September 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


we have an open FBI investigation on the death of these four Americans

Sounds like a good idea.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:45 AM on September 15, 2012


Chiming in to say that I think there's a huge difference between the current situation and the Carter vs. Reagan one: back then your choices of news were likely either Antenna TV, Radio, or Newspaper, and the first words out of either of those media had great effect.

Contrast this to today and we have those 3 media, weakened, and a magnificently complex internet with news sites, blogs, micro blogs, forums, etc. etc. to override them. So either candidate can attempt to go for the win with a set of words, or some perceived misstep, but in all likelihood, the effect will be watered down in a hurry. People will attempt to halt the dilution, but odds are you'll have enough people calling BS and able to prove it so.

Continue on.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 4:45 AM on September 15, 2012


Bardophile, I'm seeing similar things from Australian Muslims after the protest/riot in Sydney today. I got the impression that moderate Muslims feel the same way about this as moderate Christians do about the Westboro church.
posted by harriet vane at 4:49 AM on September 15, 2012


But it's facile to think that there's no underlying resentment behind the initial spark

Really? Somebody who actually grew up in one of those societies observed upthread that the people protesting are used to government controlling, limiting, and punishing freedom of expression, and don't understand why that is not the case with this "film".

There are also populations in the Middle East that are much younger than in the West, with much higher levels of poverty, and many more day to day frustrations. And it's going to get worse this fall and winter as the price of food rises. Think about it - how many people in this thread are existentially challenged by the cost of bread?

So there is a young population, used to censorship, unemployed, no good prospects, hungry with hungry children, and on top of all that there is poor education in those countries. Plus, "thought leaders" play a very strong role in shaping public opinion, including getting disaffected people out to demonstrate.

And there are lots of guns around.

On top of all that, the US supported the old corrupt regime (except in Syria and Libya)...

Is the US responsible for the fact that there is a large, uneducated and hungry population? I don't think so.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:54 AM on September 15, 2012


Is the US responsible for the fact that there is a large, uneducated and hungry population? I don't think so.

I agree with that. At the same time, I think the US really violates the "first, do no harm" principle of ethics. This is another conversation we have a lot in educated Pakistani homes: "There goes the US again. And this is just going to do xyz bad thing to Pakistan/other Muslim nation!" "Well, yeah, but they're just pursuing a self-interested foreign policy. It's not their job to look out for our interests. It's all these bloody corrupt politicians/rulers/elites that have screwed their own countries over."
posted by bardophile at 5:59 AM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Demonstrators carry Osama Bin Laden sign in Egypt protest
posted by angrycat at 6:01 AM on September 15, 2012


LA Times: Alleged 'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker taken in for interviewing by deputies
posted by BobbyVan at 6:11 AM on September 15, 2012


Demonstrators carry Osama Bin Laden sign in Egypt protest

Uh-oh, the Egyptian consultate in New York had better brace itself for large, violent demonstrations! Which would be totally acceptable of course - the Egyptian authorities should have known New Yorkers are sensitive about that sort of thing, and should have punished those people responsible for holding up that sign.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:13 AM on September 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


KokuRyu: they might actually punish them. I have students who have taken police batons in over much slighter anti-establishment slogans/images in peaceful protests.
posted by bardophile at 6:23 AM on September 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


What would I know anyway? This is all so complex.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:36 AM on September 15, 2012


Just want to say I appreciate links to opinion pieces that aren't the usual TPM/DailyKos/TNR crew. It's delusional to think you can understand how this complex story is playing by just reading those sources.
posted by mediareport at 6:41 AM on September 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


(with the obvious exception that links to pieces directly written by the lying sacks of shit on the WSJ editorial board are always garbage, of course.)
posted by mediareport at 6:54 AM on September 15, 2012


Politico: "Prominent civil liberties groups expressed concern on Friday over news that the White House urged YouTube to review whether an anti-Muslim video posted on the video sharing site violated the firm's policies."
posted by BobbyVan at 7:09 AM on September 15, 2012


On top of all that, the US supported the old corrupt regime (except in Syria and Libya)...

Is the US responsible for the fact that there is a large, uneducated and hungry population? I don't think so.


That is American amnesia. Syria's problems didn't start in 2011. They started in 1949 when America decided sponsor a coup there, which was the first in a series of military coups that rooted violent totalitarianism in that country.
Nobody knew back then that this was the doing of the newly created Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which was born in July 1947. It was actually the first overseas operation of the CIA. Stephan Meade, the US military attaché in Damascus, and Miles Copeland, an Embassy official who was working with the CIA and later played a role in bringing down King Farouk of Egypt, were behind the coup. They complained to Washington DC that after the war of 1948, Syria was being stubborn on three main issues:

1) Armistice with Israel
2) Refusing to outlaw the popular Communist Party in Syria
3) Refusing to grant passage rights to the Trans-Arabian Pipeline (Tapline), running from Saudi Arabia to Sidon in Lebanon, through Syria.

When Quwatli refused to budge on all three issues, the CIA famously instructed: “If you cannot change the game, change the players!

Copeland and Meade began searching for alternatives to Shukri al-Quwatli. The broad requirement was: “He must be anxious for power. He must be power crazy.” They added, “We need someone who would have power like no other Arab leader has had before. That is because he will be asked un-popular decisions. People will constantly compare between him and Quwatli and that is why he should not be concerned with what people say of him.”
You probably don't know who Shukri al-Quwatli was: the second democratically elected leader of the Republic of Syria.

So what happened in the following ten years?
We might ask why there should have been "a campaign of hatred against us by the people" already in July 1958, when the US had just unceremoniously expelled Israel from the Sinai and its allies from the Canal Zone after the Israeli-French-British invasion of Egypt, and well before the "special relationship" with Israel was in place. It's easy to explain the hatred in Iran, where a CIA coup overthrew the conservative parliamentary regime and restored the Shah in 1953. A decade of CIA operations in Syria may help explain the matter further. Syria had traditionally been pro-American, but clandestine US intervention "helped reverse a century of friendship," Douglas Little observes in a review of these operations. In 1948, the CIA approached Chief of Staff Husni Zaim to discuss the "possibility [of an] army supported dictatorship," a result achieved when Zaim overthrew the goverment a few months later. Zaim called for peace talks with Israel, offering to resettle 250,000 Palestinian refugees, and approved an ARAMCO oil pipeline concession. Israel chose not to pursue the diplomatic opportunity. Zaim was overthrown a few months later. In 1951, Col Adib Shishakli overthrew the government and set up a military dictatorship, with clandestine US support. Matters drifted out of control again, and in March 1956, Eisenhower approved Project Omega, which aimed to overthrow the increasingly pro-Nasser regime in Syria as part of a more general plan to undermine Nasser by supporting the Gulf dictatorships and scuttling the Aswan Dam project. Operation Straggle, organized jointly with British intelligence to overthrow the government of Syria, was timed (apparently, under British initiative) exactly on the day of the invasion of Egypt, which France and Britain had kept secret from the US. Possibly the British goal was to keep the US preoccupied elsewhere. In any event, Syrian counterintelligence had uncovered the plot, and it quickly unravelled. The "Eisenhower Doctrine," approved by Congress in 1957, authorized the President to dispatch US troops to counter "Soviet subversion," the usual code word for independent initiatives (which, naturally, tended to lead to reliance on the USSR, given US hostility and subversion). While Egypt was the publicly-designated culprit, US officials believed that Syria was more "nearly under the control of international communism," Little concludes. Several clandestine operations sought to subvert the government of Syria, leading finally to a bungled CIA effort again penetrated by Syrian intelligence. The end result was great hostility to the US, close Syrian relations with the USSR, and much hysteria in Washington about "losing the whole Middle East to Communism."
You also apparently forgot our relationship throughout the 90s as an ally when Syria joined the coalition that repelled the Iraqi invasion, culminating in a friendly meeting between then President Bill Clinton and Hafez al-Assad in 2000.

Who is Hafez al-Assad? Just the guy responsible for the Hama massacre in 1981 that murdered 20,000-40,000 dissidents in a single month.

As far as Libya is concerned, have you already forgotten the normalization with Gaddafi in 2008?

To claim that we're not responsible for the large, uneducated, hungry, and angry population in that region is fucking mind boggling. Yes, after a half dozen invasions, sponsoring almost every major conflict in the region with money and arms, using it as a proxy-war chess-board against the Soviet Union, and pretty much destroying any country that attempts to own their own natural resources, we certainly bear a lot of responsibility for the current state of the region.

But it's not so mind-boggling when someone simultaneously claims that we've never supported corrupt regimes in Syria or Libya. It's evidence that the opinion expressed is uninformed, which is sadly par for the course in nearly all of the discussions happening right now about the Middle East.

If the current coup in Syria is successful, here's what's going to happen next: the guy we pick isn't going to exactly work out, extremist elements are going to infest that country, and it's going to lead to instability in all of their neighbors as yet another of our experimentations in Middle Eastern politics goes off course, according to us, because the leaders still aren't capitulating to our domination of their countries. How do I know this?

Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan. Coming soon: Syria, Libya, and Iran for round 3.
posted by deanklear at 7:16 AM on September 15, 2012 [24 favorites]


"Despite the fact that there is widespread anger and hurt amongst Egyptians as a result of the anti-Islam video, there is very little public support for the protests taking place.

That much was made clear when no more than a few thousand people turned up on Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

There is even less support for the limited number of predominantly young men who on Thursday and Friday battled police in order to get to the US embassy."

(From the Al Jazeera live blog.)
posted by Eyebeams at 7:20 AM on September 15, 2012


That is American amnesia.

Not all of us are Americans. I didn't read your comment anyway.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:23 AM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fantastic. It's got a lot in common with the history of the middle east, then.

By the way, reading all of these defenses of unlimited free speech in moderated forum carries its own irony.
posted by deanklear at 7:26 AM on September 15, 2012


LA Times: Alleged 'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker taken in for interviewing by deputies.

Reuters summary:
* Left home voluntarily to speak with probation officials

* Nakoula not under arrest and not handcuffed

* Use of aliases, Internet may violate prison release terms
posted by ericb at 7:35 AM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, KokuRyu. That was uncalled for. I need to step away from the keyboard.

It is just so supremely frustrating when our policy of the last 60 years has been to change the leadership of a population thinking that they can keep a lid on the democratic will of that nation. The only thing suppression of public will can lead to is either another revolution or a totalitarian regime that radicalizes the population to even crazier ideas.

In the case of Syria, we went from a country that had soft support of communism and their own ideas about oil pipelines to a murderous thirty year regime that has snuffed out the lives of tens of thousands of people, and now we're supporing Saudi Arabia (another totalitarian monarchy) as they flood the country with radical fundamentalists, supplied with arms smuggled through Turkey, lorded over by the CIA. It's the same bullshit all over again.
posted by deanklear at 7:38 AM on September 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Al-Qaida says US consulate attack 'revenge'
AL-Qaeda said the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya was in revenge for the killing of the network's number two Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi, SITE Intelligence Group reported.

"The killing of Sheikh Abu Yahya only increased the enthusiasm and determination of the sons of (Libyan independence hero) Omar al-Mokhtar to take revenge upon those who attack our Prophet," said al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula said in a statement, quoted by the US-based monitoring group.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:42 AM on September 15, 2012


Children holding signs about beheading at Sydney AU protest
posted by angrycat at 8:06 AM on September 15, 2012


(current) government essentially done answering any questions about this...
posted by wallstreet1929 at 8:13 AM on September 15, 2012


Police, soldiers injured in clashes last night in Alexandria, Egypt
posted by angrycat at 8:38 AM on September 15, 2012


President Magarief, in an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera, says he believes al-Qaeda is responsible.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:58 AM on September 15, 2012


The Smoking Gun: Producer Of Anti-Islam Film Was Fed Snitch
...Clinton’s attempt to distance the U.S. from “Innocence of Muslims”--and, by extension, its felonious producer--may be complicated by the revelation that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula became a government informant after his 2009 arrest for bank fraud, The Smoking Gun has learned.

Though many key documents from the U.S. District Court case remain sealed, a June 2010 sentencing transcript provides an account of Nakoula’s cooperation with federal investigators in Los Angeles (and how his prison sentence was reduced as a result).
posted by bitteschoen at 9:12 AM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's such a weird way to frame that. He snitched on a check kiter. It's not like he was deep undercover infiltrating terrorist rings or something.
posted by empath at 9:26 AM on September 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sudan rejects U.S. attempt to send Marines to secure embassy
posted by angrycat at 9:55 AM on September 15, 2012


FBI to delay investigation into Libya deaths because of instability
posted by angrycat at 9:58 AM on September 15, 2012


empath: there was an earlier report that he was an informant in a meth operation, after he was arrested and released after serving two days as I recall.
posted by msalt at 9:59 AM on September 15, 2012


NYT on flap over frequency of Obama's intelligence briefings
posted by angrycat at 10:06 AM on September 15, 2012


NYT: Let's see what Dick "Darth" Cheney and Marc "Torture" Thiessen have to say about intelligence failures! No, not those intelligence failures! The other guy's!

How did Dubya's stellar attendance at PDBs work out, again?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:17 AM on September 15, 2012


"But what do Barack Obama’s people say about this very grave charge? Oh, just that he reads the PDBs instead. As if anybody would ever believe a president could read words, on paper."
posted by homunculus at 11:07 AM on September 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ten Likely Consequences of Muslim anti-US Embassy Riots
posted by homunculus at 11:08 AM on September 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Don’t Say “Desperate” -- "Muslim unrest has created a challenge for Obama and the nation—and a different kind of crisis for the Romney campaign."
posted by ericb at 11:16 AM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. Tourism in Egypt and Tunisia, the economies of which heavily depend on it, is likely to take a nosedive this fall. It is a shame, because Tunisia had been hoping for a near return to 2010 levels of 7 million visitors this year. And Egypt’s tourism was up 16% over the previous year, though still down by 300,000 visitors a month from summer of 2010.

25 years ago my grandmother went to Egypt. 15 years ago it was my mother's turn. I hope to go myself someday. There is so much I want to see; Egypt is a priceless repository of mankind's cultural heritage and I hope for all of our sakes that the situation stabilizes soon.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:28 AM on September 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


US media angrily marvels at the lack of Muslim gratitude
posted by homunculus at 11:37 AM on September 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'll have to read more of this Juan Cole guy:

The attack on the US consulate in Benghazi and the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others almost certainly spells an end to any American interest in intervening in Syria. The longevity of Bashar al-Assad’s secular Baathist regime, now attempting to crush rebels that include a small number of radical Muslim vigilantes, m