“They Hate Us for Our Religious Freedom”

As anti-American (and anti-Western) protest continue to spread across the Muslim world, the White House continues to claim the protests are all a response to the film, The Innocence of Muslims. Yesterday, Jay Carney said,

I think it’s important to note with regards to that protest

that there are protests taking place in different countries across the world that are responding to the movie that has circulated on the Internet. As Secretary Clinton said today, the United States government had nothing to do with this movie. We reject its message and its contents. We find it disgusting and reprehensible. America has a history of religious tolerance and respect for religious beliefs that goes back to our nation’s founding. We are stronger because we are the home to people of all religions, including millions of Muslims, and we reject the denigration of religion.

We also believe that there is no justification at all for responding to this movie with violence.

[snip]

I would note that, again, the protests we’re seeing around the region are in reaction to this movie. They are not directly in reaction to any policy of the United States or the government of the United States or the people of the United States.

And he said something substantially similar in a gaggle a short time ago.

There are two problems with that.

First, the evidence in Libya that the attack, at least, was planned in advance with insider help. The Telegraph provides more details on the compromised safe houses and some of the sensitive documents taken from the Consulate.

Then there are more specific contexts, such as President Hadi’s continued efforts to consolidate power in Yemen, as Iona Craig lays out. Plus, there is more opposition to US policy in Yemen than in some other countries in the region.

I’ve even seen credible questions about the role of increasing food costs–the same kind of pressure that contributed to the Arab Spring last year.

But ultimately, too, there’s the question of why in several countries local guards have apparently allowed protestors to access the targeted compounds. While that could be a response to the movie, there also seems to be a factionalism involved.

All that’s not to say this always reflects a widespread opposition to US policies in all the countries involved, especially Libya.

But it’s to say that the White House wants this to be about a response to a movie, rather than a more nuanced response to some of the challenges that remain in our relations to the Middle East, including some justifiable opposition to our policies, either present or past.

I can understand doing that to get through the immediate moment of protests. But if the White House continues to ignore these underlying issues after the riots die down, it will be a big problem.

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+0Email to someone

26 Responses to “They Hate Us for Our Religious Freedom”

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @kevinjonheller Yeah, good here. Just sent you a DM
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @kevinjonheller How are you doing?? Safely ensconced in your new digs in London?
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @WerlySportsLaw Heh, right. NFLPA was not totally stupid last time when they negotiated it away for other terms. The more things change....
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Some wild summer night thunder and rain tonight in the desert. Bring the rain.
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @JWGOP @AggieFootball Had lot better grip on ASU going into last yr. Can't tell if will be great or avg this yr. Hell of a first game though
4hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @JWGOP @AggieFootball Loser owes Mex and margaritas next time we are proximate.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @JWGOP @dick_nixon Wait....where did this come from??
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @JWGOP @AggieFootball Gonna have a Devil of a time in the first game.
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @DrTab3: NFL: Nothing to see here. Hey, look over there...deflategate! https://t.co/daLTK95QA1
5hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz The NFL is pretty much just a parody troll at this point, insulting the intelligence of all in its path. https://t.co/XNxeJhh28y
5hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @Rick_Geissal Up to this point possible Hillary grossly underdelivered on "official" emails. But she didn't. She clearly overproduced
5hreplyretweetfavorite
September 2012
S M T W T F S
« Aug   Oct »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30