EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 30, 2012

Your view: Letters to the editor

9/11/12: Preview of a very scary coming attraction?

To the editor:

There is something alarming lurking around the events of 9/11/2012, something the Obama administration has, either naively or purposely, supported. 
First some recent history, context that this administration, as green and inept as it has proven to be, should not have missed. The13-minute trailer that an unaware or naive administration as well as determined jihadists have suggested as causative for recent violence against Americans was released on 7/1/2012.
There were no demonstrations, no embassy breaches, no flag burnings and no murders claiming justification through this short video until 9/11/2012, 72 days later. Were our protectors in this administration unaware of this trailer until the rude awakening of 9/11/2012? Clearly, plotting Islamists with a burning cause were not. 
On 9/9/2012 — two days before initial displays of anti-US hatred — the second highest Muslim cleric in Egypt condemned the film clip as the work of “extremist” Coptic Christians. He also said that this video should not be protected under the right to free speech. In order to avoid being duped by Islamists one more time, the cleric’s statements, timed as they were, should have heightened concern in the Obama administration. 
With our embassy invaded and our flag burned, and without any protection from Egyptian forces, the real-time, apologetically weak response included rejection of "actions by those who abuse the right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others." This is an unmistakable reference to the most cherished freedom Americans enjoy. 
This statement also attempts to avoid the real reasons that outposts were compromised and Americans were murdered. Citing the trailer is only to mention the pretext, the excuse for the violence. Its context is the widespread hatred of the West throughout the Middle East. That is what precipitated the vicious outbreaks of our latest 9/11. 
More frightening than the issuance from the embassy was Hilary Clinton’s response two days later. Obama’s secretary of state referred to the trailer as “disgusting and reprehensible,” aimed at denigrating “a great religion” and producing “rage.” She mentioned our history of free speech protections, without noting how the administration was completely caught off guard. Maybe it wasn’t. 
The hope was that she might confirm that our First Amendment would be upheld by this administration, no matter who might question it, no matter what violence might be employed to compromise its strength. Clinton would only go as far as stating that we have historically protected even hateful speech but did acknowledge that there is an ongoing debate to the contrary elsewhere. 
Some of us are still waiting for our president, the one sworn to uphold our Constitution, to step up on behalf of the First Amendment. We know things can change, but creating any “Speech-Offensive-To-Religion” exception to our Constitution would be the kind of fundamental change those who have come to know and expect freedom would reject. 
On 9/16/2012 the highest Muslim cleric in Egypt, Ahmed el-Tayeb, called on the UN to “criminalize attacks on Islamic symbols and on those of other religions.” 
The situation now is: Attorney Barack Obama’s ball, First Amendment and 10, from somewhere east of midfield.
Barry McCloskey

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