Kathleen Parker / Politics

Keystone Jihad

WASHINGTON -- "This time, the imbeciles have won."

That was the assessment of French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy in his remembrance of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

And he wasn't just whistling "Freres Jacques."

BHL was referring to the fact that Stevens was a great friend of Libya and of the Muslim/Arab world generally. The imbeciles killed perhaps their bravest advocate in the Western world.

And, they killed him (perhaps in part) because of the actions of another imbecile in the U.S. One lowlife creates an anti-Islam film that looks like a blend of "Blair Witch Project" and "Keystone Terrorists," and the unhappy Muslim world goes ballistic.

I emphasize the word "unhappy" because it is no more accurate to condemn the Muslim world for the atrocities of a relative few than it is to indict America because one lowbrow decides to upload a lousy flick that nobody otherwise would watch or even know about. Hey, demonstrators: Anybody can make a movie. It doesn't mean anything.

And by the way, anybody can burn a Quran. Or a Bible. Or smear feces on a crucifix. Or ... ad infinitum. We tolerate rudeness because the alternative -- state-enforced politeness -- leads to the guillotine.

Unfortunately, even we seem to have lost sight of the nature and causes of these incidents, which have less to do with reasons than with excuses. The demonstrations and attacks more likely are a function of post-revolutionary jockeying among the groups competing for power than they are about American anything. The storming of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11 may have been a planned attack, possibly orchestrated by al-Qaeda and possibly nothing to do with the movie.

The extent of our role, alas, has been exaggerated by our own actions. At least two notable missteps should be reminders about the importance of getting it right. For handy reference, check the parenting manual: Do not indulge tantrums.

First, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued what amounted to an apology to the mobs for any hurt feelings they may have suffered because of the film in question. If you intend to watch it, be sure to take necessary IQ-lowering measures. It is so ridiculous and poorly made, no movie-going American could watch long without succumbing to laughter or ... coma.

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Copyright 2012 Washington Post Writers Group



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