The high-powered assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said Sunday, not a premeditated assault tied to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, so reported an Associated Press Story Sunday.
Ross Douthat, in a commentary in Sunday’s The New York Times, said the unrest in the Islamic world is more about power politics than blasphemy. He added that the biggest mistake to be made right now is to believe that the attacks on our missions in North Africa and the Middle East are “a completely genuine backlash against a blasphemous anti-Islamic video made right here in the U.S.A.”
We agree with Douthat. We don’t agree with our ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, who undoubtedly was speaking the White House line. That’s so much a naive position that we suspect, and hope, that our government said it in an attempt to defuse some of the unrest and not because it actually believes it.
You don’t mount an attack as well coordinated and with the fire power that leveled our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, without some degree of premeditation. To say it was a spontaneous reaction to the anti-Muslim video is plain baloney, an insult to the intelligence of Americans. The attack had to be planned for some time and the extremists who pulled it off were just waiting for the right “excuse” to attack.
The attackers, the extremists in Muslim countries, hate us, and in many instances, hate the ruling authorities in their countries, because of their ties to the U.S. As Douthat said, the unrest in the Islamic world also is about power.
Having traveled in several Muslim countries, including Libya, the elders, and the young extremists, do not like a trend toward western cultures that they see happening, especially by the young people. It is a threat to their way of life that includes their religion. With instant communication today, few countries are isolated completely. The Muslim people, especially the young, see what life is like in the Western world. The young are impressed and that’s why they embrace bits of the western culture, much to the fear of elders that their culture is being threatened.
Our government doesn’t know if the extremists who made the attacks have ties to al-Qaida or other terrorists groups, which, well-armed, just wait for the right opportunity for an excuse to attack. It is true that, as the AP pointed out, criticism of Islam has triggered unrest and attacks. If they don’t have an excuse, they make one up. Rep. Mike Rogers, a former FBI agent and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said it is premature to rule out a premeditated attack. He said there were too many coincidences to conclude the attacks hadn’t been planned in advance. He pointed to the timing, the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. The use of rockets and military-style coordination, indirect fire mixed with direct fire were present. The protesters also managed to beat back the Libyan forces that responded to rescue people at the consulate.
What is disturbing is for our ambassador to the U.N. to blame the whole Libyan incident on an anti-Muslim video produced in the United States. With the anti-American uprising in Cairo, that is another example of our response to it by blaming it on the video. The unrest goes much deeper. Power plays are involved, as Douthat wrote.
What we are seeing is another apologetic attitude on the part of our government — blaming the incidents on a video that we are sorry about and nonrecognition of a deep-rooted hate of America by Muslim extremists.
As Douthat put it: “What we are witnessing . . . is mostly an exercise in old-fashioned power politics, with a stone-dumb video as a pretext for violence that would have been unleashed on some other excuse.”
The violence is twofold: Anger with ruling regimes and the U.S. More attacks are being planned. This country is aware of that, and why did our ambassador make such naive remarks to the United Nations?