Working at a diplomatic mission during any sort of unrest must be an extremely thankless job. You’re there to do business and represent one people to another, and *everyone* has a really good idea how you should do your job.
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
Here are a few flavors of reaction to this terse little statement:
- Evaluation #1: this was penned by a callow administration to apologize for imagined or overstated American sins of the past. While religious tolerance is an important part of our society, religious tolerance does not trump free speech, and by omitting to mention free speech, the author essentially violates the sanctity of our founding documents. This is further proof of liberalism eroding our core values.
- Evaluation #2: this was penned by a bureaucrat trying to cover the collective butt of this country after more than a century of hypocritical warmongering. After gutting North America of its native societies, having one of the highest slave-to-freeborn ratios in recorded history, firebombing Tokyo and Dresden, and dropping the first and only wartime atomic bomb ever — on a civilian population — these clowns have the cajones to allude to our collective pain from 9/11 and then pull the self-righteous mantle of “religious freedom” over the ugliness of our past. Utterly inadequate.
- Evaluation #3: What are we even DOING in Cairo?
- Evaluation #4: this release was obviously penned by someone who had consumed too much caffeine and probably hadn’t slept enough, because it doesn’t make any sense. There are four sentences. Sentence 1: we don’t like people who offend other people. Sentence 2: it’s an anniversary of 9/11. Sentence 3 and 4: religious tolerance is really important to us, and we don’t like people who offend other people. Also, what does honoring our patriots have to do with the fitting response to the enemies of democracy? Such textual sloppiness is almost unforgivable on the part of an official government office. How did whoever wrote this get their job in the first place?
- Why do they have a writer on staff when the same federal money could be used to host a Marine? Bullets speak louder than press releases.
- Evaluation #5: Um, Cairo. You mean the one in Georgia, or the one in Illinois?
No doubt, the same writer is responsible the plucky tweet that followed:
2) Of course we condemn breaches of our compound, we’re the ones actually living through this.
Did I say plucky? I meant cheeky. As in, really? The fact you all are the ones “living through” our collective history gives you some sort of privileged perspective on it?
3) Sorry, but neither breaches of our compound or angry messages will dissuade us from defending freedom of speech AND criticizing bigotry
And here the issue, the root of the problem, becomes glaringly visible. The problem is that these people are trying to make everyone happy. They’re trying to defend free speech a little bit, and express their disapproval of religious bigotry at the same time. They’re trying to keep the people who pay for them happy by doing their job, which consists of helping US citizens abroad and maintaining cultural, scientific, and governmental relationships with Libya; and they’re trying to keep the people they actually live among happy by assuring them that they do not, in fact, think their prophet is an obscene and ridiculous child molester, and don’t approve of people saying such things just to get a rise out of them. Oh, and they’re trying to keep themselves happy by staying alive. And to top it off, they’re fulfilling one of the modern edicts of modern civilization: transparency. So they’re communicating as much of their thought process as they can squeeze out with coherence and political viability.
Did they really think trying to do their best by everyone would make anyone happy?
Well, maybe just one or two people.