Friday, February 03, 2006

Neoconservatives Agree

We consider ourselves neoconservatives and support the ongoing war on terror -- including in Iraq.

Still, a couple days ago, we criticized the blatantly offensive Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad -- and were treated to several surprising responses from people who erroneously think the issue is about freedom of expression.

Now, the aggressively neoconservative US government has echoed our view.

State Department: Cartoons Depicting Muhammad Offensive

This makes all the sense in the world and should give pause to those who are blindly supporting the cause of the cartoonists and their publishers.

Yes, freedom of expression needs to be respected, and violent protests condemned -- but lost in all this discussion is the intrinsic bigotry of the cartoons in question. With the US -- a champion of free expression -- now making its view plain, a whole lot of apologies are in order.

8 comments:

libertarian said...

PR: agree that the acts of the cartoonists, publishers et. al. were bigoted. However, there is very little moderation in the outrage. Egypt almost justifies terrorism against European citizens as retaliation (the pathetic root-cause brigade). The vehemence of governmental and popular protests elsewhere would suggest that someone was beheaded on camera. Seems more like an excuse to vent at the outsider because life is so repressive at home (and venting at home risks bodily injury or worse).

ThankTank said...

Actually, "neoconservatives" don't agree. I would wager that the US is trying to keep out of this situation, for it is no longer in the firing line. Now, the attention is on Europe, where a crisis of identity between Muslim and non-Muslim has been brewing for quite some time.

This crisis didn't flare up out of nowhere. It's been managed every step of the way. Jyllands-Posten published the cartoons as a reaction to the self-censorship that many European artists, journalists and others are suffering under out of fear of offending Muslism. Remember Theo Van Gogh?

The cartoons have been around for months. But only recently have Muslim groups around the world capitalized on the issue to provoke these so-called protests (that include the torching of foreign embassies). There remain unanswered questions. Where did the three extra cartoons come from? How to explain the sudden availability of Danish flags in the Middle East? Perhaps the answers to these would show that this isn't so much a spontaneous reaction to the exercise of free speech than a calculated campaign of intimidation. The message: don't mess with our religion, for it means more to us than your cherished democracy ever will.

This is a dust-up between the soul of the democratic world - our ability to criticize ourselves and others without fear of retribution - and radical Islamists who would tear this principle asunder in the interests of their ideology. If they were really interested in showing us how hurt they feel about our violation of Muhammed, we would have been more responsive if it had been done in the usual way: a storm of letters to the editor, and a principled, reasoned rebuttal.

I don't suppose that ever occurred to the Islamists, though. And that's the difference.

Primary Red said...

Fair enough.

We do not dispute much of what you say. We do believe, however, that the cartoons are intrinsically bigoted -- and offend all Muslims, even those who aren't Islamists and don't believe in burning down buildings.

This blogger is part owner of a business whose offices in a Middle-Eastern city were torched and looted this weekend as collateral damage from this dust-up. So, we fully, and personally, understand how barbabric these violent reactions have been.

Still, our comment about the inherent bigotry of the cartoon stands. Our support for people's right to publish bigotry and our condemnation of Islamist reaction to it does nothing to diminish this core fact.

Best regards.

reformist_muslim said...

PR: I agree almost entirely with you on the cartoon controversy.

However I'm not sure that a State Department report is a sign that that the neo-con U.S govt agrees.

From what I know, the State Dept has traditionally been internationalist in outlook and associated with the likes of Colin Powell.

If the American neo-con blogosphere is anything to go by, they disagree with you.

Primary Red said...

RM:

The neo-con blogosphere has unfortunately not reacted sensibly.

Because the state deptt. is run by Ms. Rice, we figured its position represents that of the ruling establishment.

These are clearly horrible times.

Best regards

Dane in Middle East said...

The Cartoon affair is ridiculous. My favorite Danish Havarti
cheese is off the super market shelves. They had demonstrations at our consulate (thank goodness we don't have a full Embassy and the Consulate is embedded in a building with many other companies.

I tell the Muslims here "did you have to see the cartoon" "was it
shoved in your face" just ignore it "if you see a dog doo on the street, do you go and look and poke at it - I walk around it".
These people are crazy. They claim "Europe has been against us for centuries". After burning the Danish Embassy in Beirut - (one guy killed himself in the process - burned alive) they attacked churches in Beirut.

I think this will have a backlash against Muslims, and frankly I
hope Denmark stops being so benevolent towards all of them. I hope they boycott our country by leaving and going home to their own Islamic paradise - and I hope Denmark stops all its aid to Palestine, who have been among the worst in this uproar (most of the demonstrators in Beirut
were Syrians and Palestinians.

Nanda Kishore said...

PR, if your position is that it was a reckless thing to do (possibly prompted by lack of respect for Islam), I fully agree. There was a total lack of sensitivity and also lack of appreciation for the situation in the Middle East. This was just the proverbial spark, the world certainly didn't need this.

Having said that, I think the reaction in the Middle East is just disgraceful. The Syrian administration was guilty of wilfully abandoning the Danish embassy to the hooligans. Why attack a whole nation for what one newspaper has done? Or are they pretty dense to understand that difference?

Primary Red said...

Nanda Kishore:

We agree with you completely.

Best regards.

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