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Obama’s Grave Misstep on YouTube Video

White House censure attempt fuels Islamist logic

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President Obama Exits Marine Force One(Getty)

Earlier today, the White House asked YouTube to review “The Innocence of Muslims,” the anti-Islamic film that has been at the center of anti-American riots in several Arab capitals this week, and consider its removal from the popular site. To hear the administration say it, the film–an embarrassingly silly affair with green screens, fake beards, and obvious dubbings delivering its most noxious lines—is the real reason behind the recent spate of outrage.

“It is in response to a video, a film, that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney. “That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it, but this is not a case of protest directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy.”

The administration, of course, is juggling a host of responsibilities, including quelling the violence, protecting American representatives abroad, and maintaining relations with strategic allies. These are delicate tasks, and they justify the occasional lip service. Today’s statement, however, crosses the line. Diplomacy is essential, but when murderous mobs shake the fences and take lives, there is no substitute for standing tall and staying sober.

Soberly observed, the predicament is simple: The recent wave of violence is nothing but “an effort by Islamists to garner support and mobilize their base by exacerbating anti-Western sentiments.” This is the explanation furnished in this morning’s Wall Street Journal by Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States.

He is exactly right. To believe otherwise is not only an intellectual failure—a world in which a bad YouTube clip can, all alone, spark riots is one that defies logic—but also a moral one, willing to explain away any monstrous measure as merely a component of some cultural sensitivity that should be respected at all cost.

President Obama, naturally, is free to pursue whatever interpretation he chooses; voters who strongly disagree with his analysis will have their chance to deliver their message in November. But words and ideas aside, the administration’s actions in this case thus far raise considerable concerns. Regardless of the circumstances, it is hard to justify an official appeal to consider the censuring of content.

YouTube may eventually decide to remove the offending film for violations of its own terms of service—“speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity” is prohibited from the world’s most popular video sharing platform—but the government should not attempt to influence its decision, particularly when doing so would most likely be interpreted
by the evil men fueling the bloodshed as a victory.

That the administration has chosen to do just that should trouble all of us. If it felt compelled to approach YouTube at all, it ought to have congratulated it for being, in so many ways, the embodiment of free speech: So much of the content and the comments posted on the site is tawdry, tasteless, pointless and offensive, but the fact that we are able to post it without fearing the repercussions is precisely, to borrow a favorite campaign chestnut, what makes America great. To subscribe to any other logic, to curb speech, is just as dangerous to America’s body and soul as are the men savagely attacking American targets worldwide. And if the president should find anything truly reprehensible and disgusting, let it be not poorly made video screeds but the very violent crimes of our very real enemies.

White House Asked YouTube to Review anti-Muslim Film [WaPo]

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jugglermatey says:

Interesting read: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444017504577647880299665696.html

It is very convenient that a guy named Haqqani (an ex-ambassador from Pakistan no less) is writing on WSJ to pull down Obama a couple of months before election (although he does make very valid points) just a few days after the Haqqani network in Pakistan (no relation to the author probably) is declared a terrorist outfit by the Obama administration… Coincidence? I wonder who first noticed the said ‘blasphemous’ video? I wonder if that person was related to Pakistan? There are some pretty smart people in the army of that nation. They milked the US for years while hiding bin Laden. I wouldn’t put it past them to engineer chaos in this manner…

This sounds like Romney propaganda. Are we an inclusive country? Or do we just approve of Jews. Mitt Romney stepped over the line by criticizing our President without having all the facts. His words were at best unpresidential and at worst opportunistic BS.

Thanks for your comment. Mitt Romney has failed his 3 AM test with his criticisms of President Obama.

rorybellows says:

Liel, I think the sub headline supposed to read Censor not Censure, right?

Come on Sophi, Obama backed these guys in Libya and Egypt. He is meeting with Moslem Brotherhood next week and tells Israel to screw off. Our embassies are being attacked all over the world. And he is willing to chuck the 1st amendment in order to cater to Moslem sensibilities. And you think Romney is the problem?

Scott Tennis says:

Charles Krauthammer, as usual, summed it up perfectly:

“What we are seeing on the screen is the meltdown, collapse of the Obama policy on the Muslim world,The irony is that it
began in Cairo, in the same place where the speech he made in the beginning of his presidency in which he said, you wanted a new beginning with mutual respect, implying under the other presidents, particularly Bush, there was a lack of mutual respect. Which was an insult to the United States, which had gone to war six times in the last 20 years on behalf of oppressed Muslims, in Kuwait, in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

So to imply that we somehow had mistreated Muslims which was the premise of his speech and how the Iraq War had inflamed the Arab world against us. Well there was no storming of the U.S. embassy in Cairo in those days.

What we’re seeing now is al-Qaedaistan developing in Libya, meltdown of our relations with Egypt, you have riots in Yemen, attacks on our embassy in Tunisia. This entire premise that we want to be loved and respected, we’ll apologize, has now yielded all of these results and these are the fruits of apology and retreat and lack of confidence in our own principles,”

herbcaen says:

Obama could request that Jews wear yellow stars and wouldnt lose any votes. We have a replay of 1979 when the our embassy in Iran was seized and the economy was in a shambles, but NY, California, NJ, etc will vote for the Democrat no matter who he is. We were a smarter nation in 1980

Obama is very misguided if he believes these riots and demonstrations, as well as the well organized attacks, have anything to do with an amateur video on youtube.

What they do have to do with is the incessant rise of radical Islamist groups which will use any excuse at all to make trouble.

If he thinks he is juggling a lot of balls now what will he ever do when Iran is attacked as it soon will be?

We need a leader, not a professor who, I just learned, refuses to even have personal intelligence briefings as did his predecessors. Incompetent though they may have been at least they could listen and ask questions. He simply reads a report and goes on with his life.

The only thing that saved his sorry rump this time is that Romney shot off his big mouth. If not for that, Obama and company would justly have been pilloried for their unbelievable intelligence and foreign policy incompetence.

This president is beyond pathetic when it comes to dealing with the real world and especially with the Middle East and Islam.

The Middle East is in in chaos and Obama fails to address the Country enunciating the US Middle East policy. Obama is the President and Commander-in-Chief, not Romney. What’s more surprising and disappointing is that the majority of American Jews would still vote for Obama even if he publicly stated that he will permit Iran to obtain nuclear weapons or if he stated that his current policy of prevention will change to a policy of containment once Iran acquires nuclear weapons.
The Jews voting for Obama will be aiding and abetting in the destruction of the Jewish People if Iran obtains nuclear weapons on Obama’s watch which are used against Israel. Given Obama’s record towards Israel for the past 3 1/2 years, any pro-Israel Jew would be wise his hedge his bet by voting for Romney versus risking a second Obama term and possible destruction of Israel.

brynababy says:

You should join the real world. Thank God for Obama and his calm and knowledgeable hand in crisis. It was his intelligence that brought down Ben Laden, I would remind you. You’re a fool.

Good post. We are indeed witnessing the reality that many are in denial over; Obama is not and never has been presidential material. His incompetence is regularly glossed over because Romney is so pathetic that many people are desperate to have Obama re-elected. The sad fact is that Obama will not only go down in history as one of our worst modern presidents but also as the man who single handedly stiffed Israel, engendered Islamist power where stable if not dictatorial regimes reigned, and gave Iran nuclear weapons with which to terrorize the world. I dispise both him and Romney. A pox on both of their houses. Israel will have to go it alone – as usual.

If anyone follows the Obama’s administration’s logic, then every video produced in the US which is remotely anti-Muslim must be monitored and censored. Ridiculous is an understatement ,but the left-wing ,liberal media is supporting this logic.

Obama helped to create the crisis in the first place.

Congratulations on your thorough investigation of the murders in Libya and your profound understanding of all the complexities of the shifting political situation inside the post-Khadaffi Libya and post-Mubarak Egypt. I’m also impressed that you’ve had a trial and have proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that the new leaders of Libya and/or Egypt are responsible for the murders and terrorism in Libya. Thanks for clearing all that up.

disqus_5fQagCL2nF says:

i am looking forward tpo the debates. i am the then young man who originated the presidential election debates. my name is F.K.

Saint_Etienne says:

Slightly surprising (for me) to see this from the pen of Mr. Liebovitz. The more then I am happy to agree with him.

Saint_Etienne says:

Not sure I follow your logic: was the whole nation smarter in 1980? Or the whole nation minus NY, Cal and NJ etc? That makes it about half the nation? And if it was only the Republican half that was smart then, why was it smarter then that now?

Anyway, Happy New Year!

Saint_Etienne says:

Obama deserves some credit for getting Osama. It certainly saved his political ass, I think – consider how irresistible would have been the Republican claims that he is weak on terror hand’t he been lucky to get Osama. Whereas now the Republicans only attack him on the economy.

But in what sense did Obama materially contribute “intelligence” to the killing of Osama? Wouldn’t about any President have made the same call giving the lucky hand he was dealt?

Saint_Etienne says:

Which crisis? I am a small fan of Obama but I think your statement is too cryptic to be useful. Obama didn’t start the whole West-Islam confrontation; he didn’t even spark the present rampage. Let’s put the thing in proportions.

Saint_Etienne says:

Or maybe Haqqani is a fairly common surname in Pakistan? Has the possibility occurred to you? :)

Saint_Etienne says:

Could you define what you mean by the ’3 AM test’? (Yeah, I dig the reference, but I am asking what *you* mean by the term)

You have not done your homework. According to a member of the Knesset who sits on the foreign aid conittee, this administration has provided more foreign aid to Israel than any other previous administration. I don’t think that qualifies as “stiffing” Israel.

What he was saying is that NY, CA, And NJ would vote Democratic if Hitler was running on the Democratic line. The Jews also.

Paul Brandon says:

from Merriam Webster:

Definition of CENSURE
1 : a judgment involving condemnation
2 archaic : opinion, judgment
3 : the act of blaming or condemning sternly
4 : an official reprimand Do some homework.
Like the Arab mobs, you are confusing the American presidency with a dictatorship. American presidents can censure, but not censor.

Paul Brandon says:

I thought it was ‘Al Gore’.

Fred Campbell says:

Does anyone have hard data to support this statement?

The obvious fact of the matter is something Saudi Arabia has pointed out, that Obama is clearly facilitating Iran, even more so then China and Russia, reminds us of WWII, when all nations allowed The Murder of Gods Chosen, The Tribe of Judah, the Jewish People, Obama has minimized Israel every step, he intends to allow Iran and all the nations to do whatever they want, he will not help, if he does anything, in the end, it will not benefit Israel, a man that says “peace and safety” to Israel,
The bible says not to believe him, he is trying to deceive Israel!

gabriel2001 says:

George Bush actually said that cathing O.B.L. “was no longer a priority” after the debackle in the Tora Bora mts. It was actually believed by the political intelligence of the Bush administration that capturing or killing OBL would cause even more chaos, protests and terrorism of the kind we saw in places like Bali in the early part of the 00′s, though you’ll never get anyone to say so, except perhaps Rumsfeld, who was always a little too blunt for the Bush politicos. Just as only a Republican could “go to China”, it took a Democrat to “drive a steak through the heart” of OBL. The Republicans had knowledge and opportunity. They blew it.

gabriel2001 says:

You are making stuff up jmm64. First, it’s clear by his precocious statements Romney is no diplomat. Second, how does Obama “permit” Iran to get nuclear weapons? How does the POTUS “permit” other countries to obtain or not obtain nuclear weapons, like the US is god and chooses who and who doesn’t get this technology? And where was Obama when China, India and Pakistan (Pakistan!!) all went nuclear? Where is the evidence for such uninformed conjecture?

gabriel2001 says:

Gore stared the vice-presidential debates.

Paul Brandon says:

He was also accused (erroneously) of claiming to have invented the internet.

Paul Brandon says:

Of course, the Saudi’s have been closely linked with the Bushes (see photos of GWB holding hands with Saudi princes) and Republican oil interests in general.
They’ve also funded terrorists (the Bin Ladens are a Saudi family) in an attempt to buy them off.
Hardly an unbiased source of information.

Can do me a favor, indulge me a little, and google, “Albert Pike and the three world wars” and read that, and I will say, democrat or republican, socialist or communist,,, today what it comes to,,,
After you read that,,, I look for your response, please, thank you

Saint_Etienne says:

Nice theory but I am not quite taken in with it. Of course Bush said OBL wasn’t a priority – he had to rhetorically mitigate his failure to get the bastard.

As suggested by the Leibovitz artricle, this current USA administration is way too involved with Islam — at home and abroad — defending Islam, protecting Islam, explaining Islam, privileging Islam! One of the principal tenets of Obamism is the false proposition that Muslims are an historically-victimized population, specifically compared to Black Americans (see Obama’s June 4, 2009 Cairo Speech). Could be that at some point more and more Americans may start noticing this marked peculiarity. To be fair there was also a little bit of this effort to protect Muslims on the part of the preceding Bush Administration. But now strangely, it has become a major feature of the Obama administration’s domestic and foreign policy. I wonder if things would be different if Senator Joe Lieberman were President. How would it look if President Lieberman travels to Jerusalem to give a speech to “reach out to the Jewish World”? Against President Lieberman’s “outreach to the Jewish world,” would there not be loud allegations of bias and conflict of loyalties? And why should it be any different with regard to President Obama who has publicly affirmed his own Muslim roots.

Foreign aid and some enhanced weaponry is pretty small change in comparison to President Obama’s current efforts to prevent Israel from now acting to stop or delay Iran’s race to nuclear weapons. While President Obama seeks to prevent Israel from now taking action, he makes no commitment that the USA will eventually act to stop or delay Iran’s race to nuclear weapons. Rather, President Obama only makes a barely credible statement that the USA will ultimately prevent Iran from making a nuclear bomb. This clearly implies that President Obama intends to sit back and allow Iran to become a threshold nuclear power that could assemble nuclear weapons in the space of a few weeks. However, Iran is now rapidly burying its nuclear installations deep underground and is working to improve its anti-aircraft defenses. This means that President Obama’s formula is simply too risky for the 6 million Jews in Israel, who cannot possibly entrust their fate to the leader of a foreign country. Rabbinic responsa teach that I have an obligation to first kill him who comes to my door armed with the intention of killing me and mine. Self-defense is also fundamental to natural and international law. Israel has a moral right to defend itself. However, from his very first day in office, President Obama has been slyly moving the pieces on the board to corner Israel into the position of 1938 Czechoslovakia. President Obama has consistently tried to trick Israel and has regularly adopted positions aimed at weakening Israel’s bargaining positions. Though the American people and Congress are solidly pro-Israel, President Obama is no friend of Israel, as many Jewish American Democrats are now discovering to their dismay. For example, Dennis Ross, Jeffrey Goldberg and Alan Dershowitz used to actively help Obama make Jewish Americans trust his policies with regard to Israel. But you will have noticed that significantly all three have recently changed their tune. All three are now clearly worried about how President Obama is treating Israel, with respect to the issue of Iran’s nuclear weapons.

Allen Excellent comment.

The internet was invented by Sam Bacile.

Mel Wacks says:

If Obama had ordered the video remove that would have been government censorship–but he only asked that the decision be reviewed–and there is nothing wrong with that. It should be removed for the same reason that someone can’t yell “fire” in a movie theater. It is causing or at least giving an excuse for some crazies to kill Americans. Besides, by their own rules they don’t permit “speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion,…” So why hasn’t this been removed? By the way I am a card carrying Liberal Democrat.

Paul Brandon says:

Sounds a lot like Nostadamus.
You in turn might look up ‘mindreading’ techniques like cold readings, for how it is easy to make vague predictions that are easy to justify after the fact.

Paul Brandon says:

Good ol’ Im.

If you go to Barnes and noble or amazon:
A revealing book, not religious or conspiracy writer, completely unrelated focus, but, unintentionally documented, what exactly makes the people tick, motivates the leaders throughout history,

The book is called: ” the secret architecture of our nation’s capital ”
Author: David Ovason

jacob_arnon says:

I agree with Liel’s rebuke of Obama’s attempt to blame this amateurish video for the riots.

Yet, the real problem is that we (I) have no one to vote for.

Had the Republicans not put out such a weak candidate for President I might agree that
there was a chance that voters might vote against Obama. But this isn’t the case now just as it wasn’t the case for years ago with that nincompoop Palin on the ticket.

וואס מאכט א איד?

Pam Green says:

Not only every video but every comment we write, every speech given, every book published. Did you see that the reward for killing Salmon Rushdie (yes, the fatwa is still in effect) was just raised another million or so dollars? And in Pakistan a 14-year-old retarded girl is being prosecuted under the “blasphemy law” that carries a death penalty. I also read recently that the Islamists have asked the U.N. to internationalize the blasphemy laws!

Thank you, Allan, Scott, Hershl and Liel for telling it like it is.

Pam Green says:

Rumsfeld had Osama cornered, as did Clinton earlier, and both let him go, so I don’t think it was a mistake. They didn’t want to catch him. And the way that Obama handled the situation should make any intelligent person suspicious.

I agree that the OBL death was to give Obama some political capitol and he’s been milking it ever since. But before giving any credit to Obama, go read what our soldiers think of him. Obama gave a speech to them recently, and their reaction was so negative (utter stony-eyed silence, no applause) that he cancelled all his other scheduled speeches to our military, for fear that our soldiers’ contempt for him would be further publicized! I think that’s a first!

Pam Green says:

Why so many weak Republican candidates for two elections running? Shouldn’t we conclude that the Republicans, or whomever is in charge, actually wants an Obama victory? Obama is not a ‘man of the people’ as his first term has clearly shown. He is an obsequious servant of the so-called elite. What didn’t he do for the wealthy? I think Romney would at least restore some traditionalism to the country. Obama is far more radical and dictatorial (i.e. the NDAA). Democrats say that Romney has no foreign policy experience, but neither does Obama! All Obama has is a foreign policy agenda – to appease Islamist terrorists!

Pam Green says:

Complexities? What’s so complex about the fact that Obama and NATO bombed Libya out of existence because Gaddafi was not giving them oil contracts on their terms and was taking Libyan currency off the dollar? And he was financing other African countries, to free them from the post-colonial dependence on the IMF. A completely immoral and illegal war, and the people Obama elevated to power are the same savages who sodomized Gaddafi to death with knives on video! As for your disingenuous and sarcastic comment about trials, there are no fair trials in Islamist countries, or hadn’t you heard?

Pam Green says:

What about the defamation on utube of Anne Frank? She was ridiculed, and utube and facebook decided to let it stay up! Did Obama ask them to remove that demeaning and hateful ‘joke’? No, of course not.

Pam Green says:

Obama wasn’t a professor. He was a sometime lecturer, a far lower academic post. And despite his much-heralded position as the president of Harvard Law Review, it was dubious how he was appointed as he had never written a single legal article or edited one.

As for Obama being “pilloried” if Romney hadn’t shot off his mouth, no, the media has had every reason to pillory Obama for four years but instead has either remained silent or defended his indefensible actions.

Umish Katani says:

All we get is the story both sides want us to hear.. We have no way to validate the information nor do we have any way to get alternate sources which may in fact be more accurate. ALl we can do is see the physical nature of the politicians and what is reported by all sides…It appears if you read and listen, Obama is a sham. Whether that is true or not is difficult to say. But outwardly it so appears… now behind closed doors.. it could all be a political game to appear not to favor Israel and let the camel jockies think they are first.. I dont know….probably never will….but for sure,…. he has given into the islamists to much and appears to be weak… the only thing an enemy understands is a bigger stick. We use words and words dont do it.

rorybellows says:

Thanks for the comparison to the “Arab Mobs”! And yes, I can use a dictionary. That’s why I said I think the sub headline was supposed to be Censor because of the “common use definition.” That #1 definition that you copied and pasted of Censure is the common use definition, and it is almost exclusively used to describe an official condemnation, usually in legal or political terms. As the article clearly refers to the WH asking that Youtube remove the video, Liel is referring to the WH censoring the video. (I know this isn’t the best use of the word censor either. As the government would literally have to ban the video by legal means to be actually “censoring”) But the WH did not “Censure” Youtube in either the legal sense or the even by “reprimanding” them.

rorybellows says:

Thanks for the comparison to the “Arab Mobs”! And yes, I can use a dictionary. That’s why I said I think the sub headline was supposed to be Censor because of the “common use definition.” That #1 definition that you copied and pasted of Censure is the common use definition, and it is almost exclusively used to describe an official condemnation, usually in legal or political terms. As the article clearly refers to the WH asking that Youtube remove the video, Liel is referring to the WH censoring the video. (I know this isn’t the best use of the word censor either. As the government would literally have to ban the video by legal means to be actually “censoring”) But the WH did not “Censure” Youtube in either the legal sense or the even by “reprimanding” them.

Pam, you can’t go with the Anne Frank example. According to Tablet magazine writers Anne Frank had it coming

bobschwalbaum says:

Forget about who you are voting FOR!
What matters is who you are voting AGAINST.. Barack “HUSSEIN” Obama
That’s all that matters.. the rest is “pilpul”

Pam Green says:

How awful. I didn’t know. Which Tablet article(s) about Anne Frank are you referring to, do you recall? I tried to look it up, but there’ve been a lot.

Obama isn’t attempting to stop any Israeli military action. He is merely saying that Netanyahu should not dictate American foreign policy. Begin once told President Reagan that he could get the U.S. congress to do anything he wanted. Likud politicians seem to assume they have such rights.

Is current Defense Minister Barak a “Likud politician”? Nor are Israel’s grave difficulties with Iran’s race to nuclear weapons just a Likud Party problem. In this connection, let us be careful to avoid mistake! As is the case in any other constitutional democracy, Israel gets the government it legitimately elects. Israel citizens are fully entitled to have a Likud government, if that is what they want. Is the current USA administration, in fact, now making feverish efforts to prevent preemptive Israel action against Iran? Well, foreign policy is a pretty big topic, with many players and a host of interacting factors. The constellation is so big and diffuse that any analysis of current affairs is bound to be fairly abstract and intuitive. Even “ex post facto,” after all the relevant diplomatic archives have been scoured for relevant proof, historians sometimes still have profound differences of view. Moreover, what you consider to be the proper realm of “American foreign policy” is for me reasonably “Israel foreign policy.” Finally, incredible and improbable is the claim that a canny leader like Prime Minister Menachem Begin literally told President Reagan “that he [Begin] could get the U.S. congress to do anything he [Begin] wanted.” Therefore, I challenge you to provide relevant evidence to specifically substantiate that improbable claim about Israel-USA diplomatic history.

bobschwalbaum says:

ME TOO!
Mr. Liebovitz has redeemed himself in my eyes with a very clear and cogent analysis.
I’m kvelling in anticipation of the monday night debate
I DO beleive it will be the end of Obama’s supposed reputation for superiority in foreign affairs.
How he can possibly explain “Benghazi-gate” is beyond my comprehension
Did anyone see Biden asking “veterans of the wars in Iraq and Iran to raise their hands”
And then Harry Reid with a big smile..raised his hand.. OH MY GOD!

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Obama’s Grave Misstep on YouTube Video

White House censure attempt fuels Islamist logic

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