Friday, September 14, 2012

Protests Blamed on Politics

Sad to see comments on news articles today: Obama supporters blaming Mitt Romney and Romney supporters blaming President Obama for the ongoing protests and violence in the Muslim world. Can we see why it is not good to politicize these things? And it also seems to be the height of arrogance to assume that American action or inaction or even our domestic politics cause such protests. The U.S. certainly has its effect on the world, yet it's not always all about us.

If I understand the Romney argument, the President's "weak" leadership and continued "apologies for America" invite protest and murder and mayhem. Setting aside whether the President has actually ever "apologized for America," I don't understand how weakness invites violence, unless that's how bullies operate. And I don't see the protesters as bullies taking advantage of a "weak" America. The murder of our Ambassador in Libya is much more serious than bullying. It appears to be a planned terrorist attack on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 taking opportunistic advantage of unrelated protests as a cover.

For the record, I condemn the violence as well as the offensive movie - the violence being much more serious in orders of magnitude than an offensive movie. Yet, I certainly can see why non-violent protest is entirely justified. It's the violence that is not.

I'm still trying to grasp the concept of "weakness" leading to protest and violence. It seems much more logical to me that an offensive trigger can stir up long-standing and simmering resentments about more serious wrongs - tens of thousands of Muslim Iraqis killed in a war that almost everyone now agrees was unnecessary (and that was my position in 2002 before it even started in 2003). There was also torture imposed as official policy of the United States, and occurring unofficially encouraged by official policy and attitudes, along with the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists without due process violating our core values and what is most important about our exceptional country. Sorry, but self-correction and much more than "apologies" are certainly in order. And President Obama still has work to do in this area [the drone war is wrong - hardly a "weak" or "apologetic" policy even if still wrong].

With regard to protest about the offensive movie - even with the wrong of violence arising from the protests, I don't see the end of the world imminent in a conflagration of protest and violence against non-Muslims.  We should look back to the pattern of the protests and violence related to the publication of Dutch cartoons a few years back. The world survived that and the protests eventually subsided.

We can't fix all the problems of the world. We certainly can't do it as the world's policeman. Our treasury is exhausted and our population is generally opposed except for those who like to talk tough.

I'll say it. One reason why I am opposed to Governor Romney is the dominance of neo-cons among his foreign policy advisers and his tough talk that seems to surpass even that of George W. Bush. One of the things I appreciated about our last President was his insistence that our disputes were not with Islam but with the terrorists (even if he had some trouble identifying them as in the false connection with Iraq). There is an important distinction to be made between Islam and terrorists. I'm not hearing that distinction out of the Romney campaign unless I'm missing something.

It's not like Muslim extremists are the only violent group with regard to religious and cultural differences. I seem to recall just a few years ago when Christian Protestants and Catholics were at war over Northern Ireland. Even Mormons have a sordid, if brief, history from more than a century ago with religious-inspired violence and murder at a meadow up in the mountains. Yeah, I call them as I see them.


  1. How very true. I admit that I haven't had a huge amount of respect for the Romney campaign, that has been whittled away over the months. Whatever was left, disappeared over this week.

    I personally knew one of the men who died. He would have been appalled at how "his" country has responded to his death.


Comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree as many do. You can even be passionate (in moderation). Comments that contain offensive language, too many caps, conspiracy theories, gratuitous Mormon bashing, personal attacks on others who comment, or commercial solicitations- I send to spam. This is a troll-free zone. Charity always!