Our Ambassador to a country we just fought for has been killed there in a protest triggered by an anti-Muslim film, made by and/or in America or connected to America.)
Typically and with cheap abandon, Mitt Romney jumped the gun and took a low road, blasting the Obama administration and claiming they’d issued an apology which they had not. He’s carelessly adding fuel to what is certain to be (is) an eruption of political finger-pointing. Worse though, he again is less interested in those Americans who died for their country. He didn’t even wait for the event to play itself out or check his facts before he went on the attack. Not very presidential.
“It’s disgraceful,” Romney’s statement, which was released late Tuesday night, read, “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.”
The comments that outraged Romney were issued, not by the White House, but by the Ambassador to Egypt (before Stevens and the others were killed in Libya) in an attempt to calm things down and protect the Embassy and his staff. Ambassadors are powerful; they are empowered to and expected to respond quickly in the best interests of the Embassy.
UPDATE: This is the statement issued by the Embassy yesterday before things deteriorated:
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.
Here’s some more on the film (not Romney related):
One of the things fueling the protest is the misconception that, as in Egypt, films made in the U.S. must have government approval, according to this article in The Atlantic:
The movie . . . has received attention far beyond its reach, which would be modest if not for obsessively outraged media . . . That doesn’t mean this incident
will become (was originally) anything more than a bizarre moment of cross-cultural misunderstanding (the protesters seem to assume that, as in Egypt, movies must secure the state’s approval), but that it could go so far is yet another reminder of the tensions just beneath the surface in Egypt.
What is clear is that (loony) American Pastor, Terry Jones, is involved, vigorously promoting the English language version. (Pastor Jones, in case you’ve forgotten, is the careless fool who burned the Koran in front of TV cameras, even after Sect’y of Defense Robert Gates pleaded with him not to do it.)
According to Reuters:
U.S. pastor Terry Jones, who had inflamed anger in the Muslim world in 2010 with plans to burn the Koran, said he had promoted “Innocence of Muslims”, which U.S. media said was produced by an Israeli-American property developer.
Jones, a pastor in Florida whose latest stunt fell on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, triggered riots in Afghanistan in 2010 with his threat to burn the Koran.
According to Haaretz:
An Israeli filmmaker went into hiding on Tuesday after his movie attacking Islam’s Prophet Muhammad sparked angry assaults by Muslims on U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and in Libya, where one American was killed.
Speaking by phone from an undisclosed location, writer and director Sam Bacile remained defiant, saying Islam is a cancer and that he intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion.
(Well, thanks Sam and Pastor Jones. Great work there.)
Protesters angered over Bacile’s film opened fire on and burned down the U.S.consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, killing an American State Department officer on Tuesday. In Egypt, protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo and replaced an American flag with an Islamic banner.
Bacile, a California real estate developer in his fifties who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew, said he believes the movie will help his native land by exposing Islam’s flaws to the world. “