In this age when Islamists have made it a matter of policy to cite any unflattering mention of Islam as an excuse to kill as many non-Muslims as possible, the administration's initial apologies for the alleged insult to Islam delivered by an unknown movie were a de facto invitation to violence. To follow that up, once the murders had begun, by prefacing Hillary Clinton's "strongest possible" objection to the U.S. Embassy attack with yet another apology revealed either a clinical case of battered wife syndrome on a national scale, or something more sinister.
President Obama, using almost identical language, said:
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 [sic] this kind of senseless violence.
Romney, who has frustrated conservatives with his recent comments on other issues, finally got one right: the administration's response is indeed "disgraceful." The strongest word the President and the Secretary of State used in their official response was "deplorable" -- and this word was used not to describe the unprovoked murder and public humiliation of Ambassador Stevens -- which is judged merely objectionable, unjustified, and senseless (actually, it makes perfect sense, as Peter Wilson points out) -- but rather to describe the denigration of Islam in a movie.
What is truly deplorable is the instinct to qualify every "strongest possible" condemnation with expressions of sympathy for the killers' perspective, though disapproving of the extreme nature of their response. The constant emphasis on the word "unjustified" in describing the attacks, in conjunction with the repeated empathy regarding the "denigration" of Islam, carries a not so subtle message of moral equivalency and appeasement: "You overreacted, and we can't accept that, but of course we have to try to be more understanding and respectful, too."
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