The United States government has spent an estimated $70,000 to run ads in Pakistan denouncing an American filmmaker's anti-Islam film. The television ad features President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisting that America is a land of religious freedom and that the U.S. government soundly denounces the message of the anti-Islamic film which politicians around the world are blaming for unfettered violence in the Middle East.
It's nice that the United States stands for religious freedom, but in my opinion, it's unfortunate that a nation which also stands for the freedom of speech feels the need to apologize for the views of a select few of its citizens. Whether or not Clinton or Obama agreed with the film, the message sent to the Muslim world in the wake of such violence should've been one of solidarity, standing behind Americans' freedoms of expression and speech.
The message should've been:
"We understand you're upset, but we respect opinions that we may not agree with because in America, every man has a God-given right to speak freely."
This is what being a beacon of freedom is all about and time and time again, the Obama administration has demonstrated that it's either uncertain of what that means or unwilling to do so. (And who in their right mind believes apologizing for freedom will do anything to appease those encouraging murder in the name of religion?)
NRO's Victor Davis Hanson shares my feelings toward the Obama administration's apologies for freedom:
Apparently leaders of the Islamic world present a non-negotiable demand to the West that they be given a blank check for their governments to defame Jews, Christians, and Americans, but the United States must condemn any private individual who, quite apart from the knowledge of the U.S. government, does the same to Muslims. That is the issue, and anything less than an unapologetic defense of free speech is not only a betrayal of our Constitution, but a very dangerous concession that will only incite more violence in the near future. ...
When the administration apologizes for the excess of a private individual, but ignores condemnation of far more widely disseminated similar venom, some of it sponsored by the U.S. government, it is making a policy statement — we dare not tamper with free speech unless it touches upon Islam, not out of principle but because of sheer cowardice.
In the time surrounding the 2008 presidential election, Glenn frequently warned that in just a few short years, we wouldn't recognize America. With every apology from the White House, this prediction is increasingly taking shape as reality.
At least 20 individuals in Pakistan have been killed in the wake of the protests over the video. Curbing Americans' freedom of expression and apologizing for the free exercise thereof will not stop the bloodshed. Instead, the appalling condemnations from President Obama and Secretary Clinton only feed the zealots' ongoing war against the West and represent a serious betrayal of the First Amendment.