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Obama, Romney Fail to Defend Free Speech

The Obama administration has so far failed to defend free speech in the face of protests in Egypt and Libya over an American-made film denigrating the Prophet Muhammad.

The protests in Cairo Tuesday resulted in about a dozen people scaling the U.S. embassy wall and taking down the American flag. In Libya, protesters today killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

Gov. Mitt Romney last night issued a statement slamming the administration for sympathizing with the protestors instead of attacking the violence. But I don’t hear him defending free speech either.

Romney wrote in response a statement by the U.S. embassy in Cairo Tuesday that was designed to placate the protestors, invoking the martyrs of 9/11 as part of the appeasement.

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 soon pounced, saying:

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.

An administration official told Politico that the Cairo embassy statement was not cleared by Washington and did not reflect the administration’s views. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton then cooked up a statement that strongly condemned the violence, but she too didn’t stand up for speech.

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.

Someone in the White House – and in the Romney campaign too – needs to note that in this country, we have free speech, even if we don’t like what’s said. We can’t be quaking with fear every time people who don’t accept our values erupt in fury.

Someone needs to get with the program. The American program, not the Egyptian.

UPDATE: Someone did get with the program. House Speaker John Boehner released the following statement this morning:

“We mourn for the families of our countrymen in Benghazi, and condemn this horrific attack. Eleven years after September 11, this is a jolting reminder that freedom remains under siege by forces around the globe who relish violence over free expression, and terror over democracy — and that America and free people everywhere must remain vigilant in defense of our liberties.”

H/T to one of our readers, Just2old, for bringing it to my attention.

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26 Responses to Obama, Romney Fail to Defend Free Speech

  1. I too wish Romney would strongly assert our “free speech” beliefs here.
    BUT: the word I’m picking up from other blogs/commenters to describe obama is “quisling”.

  2. How can you talk about “free speech” to people who have absolutely no idea what that even means? Its all meaningless to them since they only understand violence. We will never be able to get across to these people what this country stands for. And it is alarming that we have so many in our country. Future problems?

  3. I think Romney gave an adequate quick ,first, short respons on the attacks. The words outraged and disgraceful are sharp language in the diplomatic sense. Politicians in Europe hide and squirm whenever they have to say something about evil Muslim deeds so I would be quite happy with a politician using Romneys language. But I hope he will step up and pounce Obama for his Quisling politics. The world takes notice of Obamas behaviour.

  4. Religious tolerance and free speech must be a two way street.
    You can not ask for freedom of speech or religion if the other person does not recognize your rights.

    The people/animals in Libya and Egypt do not and will not recognize anyone else’s rights to have a difference of opinion in any shape.

    But let’s please make sure we supply them money/guns/aircraft etc.
    Pfft!

  5. House Speaker John Boehner released the following statement condemning the attack:

    “We mourn for the families of our countrymen in Benghazi, and condemn this horrific attack. Eleven years after September 11, this is a jolting reminder that freedom remains under siege by forces around the globe who relish violence over free expression, and terror over democracy – and that America and free people everywhere must remain vigilant in defense of our liberties.”

  6. November 4, 1979 a group of Iranian “students” (one later identified as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – current president of Iran) stormed the US Embassy and held 52 Americans for 444 days.

    Any attack on a US Embassy should be looked at as an attack on the sovereign soil of the US. Embassies are considered to be an extension of whatever nation they represent, and are supposed to be protected property. The same with any diplomatic vehicle.

    This attack on the Embassies in Libya and Egypt should be viewed by ANY administration as an act of war against the US. But, like like the previous incarnation of Obama, Carter, this administration will do nothing but offer weak platitudes about what has happened. The answer should be simple. You either get your people under control, and respect the sovereignty of the US diplomatic missions or we will do as Reagan did in April 1986 and begin bombing the living crap out of your military infrastructure and the results of such bombing be damned.

    The idea of the US kowtowing to these people AGAIN, again reenforces the weakness of the US’s political leaders. WHEN will people in this country learn that the only way to deal with thugs, bullies and other such animals is to FIGHT back. I don’t care if it is a foreign government that is trying to flex its muscles and show how tough they are, or the punk who tries to push you around at the store. IT HAS GOT TO STOP!

    We are one of the few truly civilized nations left in the world, one that is tolerant of divergent views, ideologies, religions, lifestyles, political manifests, etc. And that tolerance is viewed over and over as weakness. We should not have to change as a nation our respect for those that are different, however we cannot stand as a nation that is going to be bullied by others.

    The murder of Ambassador Stevens and his staff, along with the attacks on the US Embassies in both Libya and Egypt should and need to be seen as an act of war. If the Russian Embassy had been attacked in either country, do you not thing that the governments of Libya and Egypt wouldn’t already have the attackers hanging from a tree? Russia is feared because people know that the retaliation will be swift, blanket, and violent. The US has once again become a straw dog, and it will only get worse until the election.

    The radical Islamist know that they can get away with this as long as Obama is in office. Just like the Carter/Reagan election, the Islamist know there will be a shift in the winds if Obama is out.

    • Very true, indeed. I think back to Condi at the RNC when she spoke of chaos in the world when the US looks weak. We need to flex our muscles once again and show the world we mean business. I agree with her, in that when we are strong it provides stability worldwide. One wise woman there.

    • Nicely stated. I completely agree that we need to show our strength, and I believe that there are certain others in the world who know that, once our elections are over, they won’t have a weak minded, weak kneed, mealy mouthed US President to walk over. The timing of this is indeed important; not just that it coincided with the 11th anniversary of 9/11, but that it was done so close to election time.

      God bless all those who lived through the horror, those who didn’t, and the loved ones who’ll have to live in the aftermath.

  7. “The Obama administration has so far failed to defend free speech in the face of protests in Egypt and Libya over an American-made film denigrating the *Prophet* Muhammad.”

    Tch..tch, Keith. And so it begins. Better to place the word Islamic before the word “prophet”. What’s next PBUH after Mohammed?

    Sorry, but this is where I draw a line in the sand.

  8. Let me see if I have this straight. Apologize to the attackers and denigrate those who were exercising free speech. Gosh, the NEW American Way with our post-testicular president. It is my understanding that these uncivilized thugs have been fuming over this latest “greatest insult in all of Islam” for days, but decided to attack our embassy and consulate on 9/11 (Which should be OUR most sacred of days). No coincidence I assure you. Apparently NASA hasn’t yet made them feel good about themselves. As to the free speech issue, whatever happened to “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”? Thank you John Boehner for stepping up to the plate!!!

  9. KK, with all due respect (and a little bit of hero worship..)
    It wasn’t about defending free speech-it was about Obama kissing Muslim ass.

    At least I think that’s what motivated Romney’s comments.

    PS cleanup in paragraph 4. Wrote *in* ?

  10. I’m in Afghanistan right now. This is my third time over here. I don’t apologize for free speech. I am willing to die to defend it.

    I wish our government felt the same.