I made the decision to not blog anything yesterday, on 9/11. It wasn't because I don't think the date was important but it was out of a sense of reverence. To simply say, “we won't forget,” is obvious to the extreme and was posted on 1,000,000 other blogs already. I also didn't want to risk saying anything that might sound like, “Happy 9/11.” In the end, I thought it best to leave the day to everyone's own, private reflection.
Last night, The History Channel played video footage reconstructing the time line of the events on that dreadful morning. It was stirring. I went to sleep recalling many of the same feelings I felt 11 years ago. Then I woke up this morning to the terrible news that two US embassies were attacked in the Middle East and the US Ambassador to Libya was murdered along with three of his staffers!
Maybe I should have said something yesterday because I think people are indeed forgetting that there are still terrorists out there who hate us. Many people actually seem to have a pre-9/11 mentality where they believe radical Muslims can be reasoned with. As a mob rioted outside of the US Embassy in Cairo, protesting a YouTube movie critical of Muhammad, the Embassy officials actually sympathized with the protesters. They issued this statement:
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.
Perhaps I shouldn't be too hasty to judge because it's possible that Embassy officials were afraid for their lives and released this statement in hopes is would quell the mob's anger. It seems to me to be counterproductive, though, since this statement might embolden the rioters by admitting the the movie's creators were out of line. Even after the the mob stormed the Embassy's grounds, took down and burned the American flag, and raised a pro-Muslim standard in its place, the Embassy officials tweeted that their previous statement still stands.
However, after a rocket attack on the US Embassy in Libya killed 4, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, got tough – well, sort of. In still another press release, she seemed to apologized yet again:
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.
Yeah, Hillary, that's very clear. You deplore attacks on religious beliefs (except at the DNC where they booed God) but that's not an excuse for violence. OK, where in that statement do you actually condemn the attack on our Embassy?
President Obama finally got around to putting out the “official,” White House statement. He disavowed the Embassy's statement saying it does not reflect the views of the United States. Really, Mr. President? Our US Embassies don't represent the United States? I guess your Secretary of State doesn't represent your administration either? Anyway, the President said:
I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.