Political Animal

Blog

September 12, 2012 11:26 AM Confederacy of Dunces

By Ed Kilgore

I’ve been watching CNN today, and paid special attention to an interview with Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy (who was jailed and sexually assaulted by Mubarak regime authorities during last year’s Cairo uprising), who was expressing sharp criticism of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi for his failure to say anything condemning the attacks on the U.S. Embassy or the closely related attacks in Libya.

Discussing the relationship between the creators and promoters of anti-Islamic propaganda films in the U.S. and those “protesting” them in the Middle East, Eltahawy noted that an alliance of “the right-wing fringe” in both countries was creating these disturbing and destabilizing events. There’s not much question about the mutual support society that’s long operated between Muslim-haters and radical Islamists who share a vast stake in escalated hostilities.

That’s still another reason Mitt Romney’s attempted intervention in this crisis is so ill-considered and tone-deaf. He’s attacking the president for a Cairo embassy statement that sought to distance the United States from atavistic idiots like Terry Jones. As a man who has happily accepted the support of Islamophobes like Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, and a host of Christian Right figures (not to mention Sarah Palin, who used the occasion of the assassination to mock Obama for supporting the Arab Spring to begin with), I’d say Mitt has a special responsibility to make it plain his hammer-headed approach to foreign policy does not involve solidarity with anyone who hates Islam.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • stormskies on September 12, 2012 11:36 AM:

    Terry Jones should be arrested and put into jail once and for all. What he has done is to incite terrorism. In so doing this would be a great and perfect message to the Arab World.

  • bo on September 12, 2012 11:48 AM:

    It was such a relief when Obama was elected in 2008 to know that "the adults were back in charge".
    Today's unfolding events around the tragedy in Libya once again remind me of how important that is.
    Willard is running off at the mouth like a petulant child while Clinton and Obama are calmly and clearly at the helm. Unavoidable comparisons are to be made to GDumbya, Grampy McNumbNuts and his sidekick, Queen Esther of the Tundra.
    If today's major f*ck-up by the GOP's presi-dunce-ial candidate doesn't sink his ship, I am not sure what will.

  • schtick on September 12, 2012 11:48 AM:

    I'm with stormskies on this one. We should also do the same to the stupid Congresscritters that do the same by going to foreign countries and saying that the US doesn't support them or that our government is lying to them.

  • Celui on September 12, 2012 11:51 AM:

    "Discussing the relationship between the creators and promoters of anti-Islamic propaganda films in the U.S. and those “protesting” them in the Middle East, Eltahawy noted that an alliance of “the right-wing fringe” in both countries was creating these disturbing and destabilizing events." And, isn't that what's at play in this country? "Right Wing Fringe" describes so appropriately the spark of this diplomatic murder, the response in the Middle East, and then the resultant bone-headed response by Romney.

  • T2 on September 12, 2012 11:53 AM:

    Romney - what can you expect from a guy whose stated Foreign Policy experience is that he is 65 years old and can speak French.

  • Peter C on September 12, 2012 11:57 AM:

    The Republicans again show their eggregious irresponsibility and unsuitability for control of foreign policy. This is no time for snap judgements in the absence of facts. People who are not getting the briefing should sit down and shut up.

    It is a difficult case to say that Terry Jones ought to face legal sanctions for being a foul-mouthed and bigoted idiot, but it is a simple and compelling case to assert that he should be SHUNNED and excluded from polite responsible respectable society. The first amendment does not protect you from scorn, criticism, ridicule, and expressions of disgust and contempt. The fact that much of the Republican Party is supporting and cheering this filth speaks volumes about the lot of them.

  • Bobby Goren on September 12, 2012 11:58 AM:

    "Islamophobes like Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, and a host of Christian Right figures"

    Don't forget his unhealthy - and unholy - relationship with Sheldon Adelson.

  • TK421 on September 12, 2012 11:59 AM:

    Mitt Romney does, indeed, accept council from Islamophobes. But he has not branded all men in the Muslim world "enemy combatants" and launched hundreds of missiles at the civilian neighborhoods where they live.

  • CharlieM on September 12, 2012 12:02 PM:


    So this Romney person, the same one who castigated the president and his party a week ago for not showing due deference to a creator, is now castigating the president and his party....for showing due deference to a creator.

    Wonder what's next

  • martin on September 12, 2012 12:03 PM:

    I’d say Mitt has a special responsibility to make it plain his hammer-headed approach to foreign policy does not involve solidarity with anyone who hates Islam.

    dude, he just was at a meeting with Pat Robertson. His "base" is in TOTAL solidarity with anyone who hates Islam. Are you expecting him to renounce the Republican party?

  • SadOldVet on September 12, 2012 12:04 PM:

    I’d say Mitt has a special responsibility to make it plain his hammer-headed approach to foreign policy does not involve solidarity with anyone who hates Islam.

    Is there any basis for believing that Mitt's foreign policy does not involve complete solidarity with all who hate Islam?

  • Josef K on September 12, 2012 12:05 PM:

    I’d say Mitt has a special responsibility to make it plain his hammer-headed approach to foreign policy does not involve solidarity with anyone who hates Islam.

    This guy can't accept or excute responsibility for anything he does (including practically killing his family dog). Can we all just quit expecting him to actually do so for once, especially given how he's running his campaign?

  • karen marie on September 12, 2012 12:11 PM:

    Ed, I can't believe you left religious bigot and "partner" of Romney Steve King off the list.

  • AgentX on September 12, 2012 12:13 PM:

    Mitt the Twit's response to this incident reminds me of an old joke. Guy sees tempting target, guy loads dart into blowgun. Guy inhales thru blowgun, chokes on dart. This accurately describes R-Money's problem, I bet.

  • Diane Rodriguez on September 12, 2012 12:19 PM:

    Listening to Romney's ignorant diatribe this morning a video clip was playing in my head. He was running around in his Mormon underwear, with the Presidential seal monogram, shouting for his advisers and the nuclear launch suitcase while Ann rifled through the dresser looking for the launch codes.

    Lord.Have.Mercy. What a breathtaking fool to even consider turning lose on the world.

  • c u n d gulag on September 12, 2012 12:42 PM:

    Maybe the title of the post should be "The Dunces of the Confederacy?"

    The more I see of him, the more scared I am of Mitt. He will have us relive the past decade, with even more tragic results - economically, as well as on foreign policy.

    So as we're finally saying "Goodbye Iraq" - Mitt and his NeoCLOWNS want to say, "HELLO IRAN!!!"

  • Mimikatz on September 12, 2012 12:44 PM:

    There is a moment at the end of one of those fairly early books on the 9/11 attacks and the Bush-Cheney Admin, I think it was Ron Susskind's "One Percent Doctrine", where some CIA professional analysts are trying to figure out how to deal with the bin Laden message that came just before the 2004 election. They suddenly realize that bin Laden has released the message to HELP Bush's reelection, doing so because Bush was his best recruiter, and he needed Bush's bombastic approach as much as Bush needed bin Laden as bogeyman. Unable to really face what this said about what had become of US foreign policy, they just sat there silently, thoroughly dispirited.

    The return to the amateurish foreign policy of the Bush-Cheney would be an absolute disaster. Despite the appalling continuation of some of the abuses of those years, the Obama team have been thoroughly adult and realist in their pursuit of foreign policy, clearly making us safer than under the previous admin. Gods help us if he isn't re-elected.

  • Gorobei on September 12, 2012 12:54 PM:

    It's times like this that fantasy visions of some desert ring where all the right-wing nutjobs of every stripe can just duke it out over whose imaginary friend is right about what part of some bronze age work of fiction.

    Maybe somewhere in Arizona. Send all the muslim extremists, the Terry Joneses and the Sam Baciles who really think that poking a stick in the eye of someone who disagrees with you over your religion is a rational thing to do and let them have at it somewhere where nothing of value is at stake.

    Just leave the rest of us out of your paranoid delusion. Sheesh.

    Romney's response came across as more platitudes. We should show more "strength". Really? How? Who shall we bomb, or shoot? Is that strength? Or is it strong to sit back and say, "Y'know, we know this is just a bunch of extremists trying to draw us into a fight that we don't need and won't help anything. And yeah, it's tragic that some of our people have died, but in the long run a but of 'turn the other cheek' here will yield more security and better relations for more people so let's proceed with caution."

  • Mitch on September 12, 2012 1:54 PM:

    @stormskies

    "Terry Jones should be arrested and put into jail once and for all. What he has done is to incite terrorism."

    I have to disagree. Jones is scum, for certain. Jones was deliberately trying to stir up the Muslim extremists. Jones was certainly offensive, rude and thoughtless. Jones was, indeed, playing with fire.

    But he did not make anyone in Egypt or Libya commit these violent and reprehensible acts. He did not lead them in the attacks on the embassies or the murder of the Ambassador.

    I, for one, have to come down on the side of Free Speech and Free Expression. Period. All Stop.

    I will never curtail my own speech when I explain to Christians why I do not believe in their mythology, or why I find the Bible to be lacking in ethics. I will not wear kid gloves when debating my Fundamentalist Christian friends and family.

    Do you think that I should?

    Do you think that I should remain silent when Theocrats insist that they alone are the torchbearers of righteousness in our world? Do you think I should remain silent and allow uneducated Young Earth Creationsists to insult and deride the glories of scientific discovery? Do you think that I should say nothing when my racist acquaintences in Kentucky use Bible versus to justify their membership in the Klan? Do you think that the Catholic Church has the right to deny women contraceptive coverage if they work at Church affliated hospitals?

    Do you think that the creator of "Piss Jesus" or Parker & Stone of South Park fame should be arrested for insulting the religious beliefs of others?

    I sincerely hope not. And if it is fair for us to speak out, satirize and even insult (a la George Carlin) hyper-religious Christians and their primitive mythology, then it is fair for Terry Jones or Danish cartoonists to do the same to Muslims and THEIR primitive mythology.

    As disgusting and stupid as Terry Jones may be, he should have the right to say what he wants and make videos of what he wants.

    He did not force the extremists to attack anyone. They did it themselves, and they alone are responsible for their actions. In this one way, at least, American theocrats are ethically superior to Islamic extremists: American Fundies don't generally commit brutality when they are offended; they just whine and try to pass legislation to bolster their power. They remain more or less civilized. Unlike this vile minority of Muslims who feel compelled to meet offense with violence. The offense is the fault of Terry Jones; the violence is the fault of those who commit it.

    I, for one, refuse to pander to theocrats of ANY faith. I refuse to allow Free Speech to be held hostage by fears of inciting terrorism. And we, as American citizens, should value the right of Free Expression far more than the desire of crybaby psychopaths to force us to respect their religion.

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Franklin

  • TCinLA on September 12, 2012 3:54 PM:

    An "alliance" of Christian and Muslim fundamentalists, for the purpose of harming the current administration, disrupting our relationships with the new governments of Egypt and Libya, and perhaps having an influence on the outcome of the election this fall.

    Whose interests are served by all this???

    Consider that ten days ago, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff told Netanyahu's regime in Israel that the U.S. was not interested in being "complicit" with his planned attack on Iran. He blustered and fumed and has accused Obama of not supporting "poor little Israel."

    And then a "movie" made by an "obscure" Israeli Jew (spending $5 million to make a movie that looks like it was shot for 50 cents with a cell phone camera) is supported by "U.S. Jewish investors" (chump change for Sheldon Adelson, who will do anything for his Likud buddies). And then, a year after it gets made an "obscure" Islamist fundamentalist Imam "finds" it on YouTube, just a week after Netanyahu gets stiffed and all this happens.

    This is Netanyahu's "fall surprise" he's been threatening since last Spring if we don't do what he wants. It has all the earmarks of an Israeli "falso flag" operation, right down to the Israeli government "denying all knowledge" of who Sam Bacile (his "name" means disease in French - you think that's a real name?) The Israelis have created, used and manipulated Islamic fundamentalists for decades (Mossad created Hamas to harass the PLO in the 1970s). They know all about how to manipulate US Christian fundamentalists with their "Christian Zionism" business.

    So the nitwits get upset with Mittwit, they all yell at Obama, the pot gets stirred, and the real authors of all this sit back in Jerusalem and say "Who? What fox? Nobody here but us chickens!"

  • JM917 on September 12, 2012 7:42 PM:

    I for one would shed no tears if a fatwa got put out on "Rev." Terry Jones and Sam Baciles and some Muslims volunteered to send the two of 'em to Islamic hell. Better that than rioting in Cairo and killing innocent American diplomats in Benghazi. (And giving Mitt another opportunity to open his stupid trap.)

  • JollyBeggar on September 13, 2012 1:10 AM:

    Not sure, but same sulfurous smell as Nixon, Reagan, and Bush’s October Surprises. Dirty Success breeds dirtier successors. Who will be our Claudius to chronicle our decent: The Fall of Rome, Part II.?
    Nice to read another hang the Swift/Toole handle on this scabrous bundle of evil-doers.