Though you may at this point be overcome with embassy-attack fatigue, this New York Times account of yesterday's deadly clashes at the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan contains at least two passages worth considering. The first:
The American Embassy here said in a message posted Sunday evening on Twitter that "all American personnel are safe and accounted for at U.S. Consulate, Karachi."
"The United States government has absolutely nothing to do with this video," another Twitter message by the American Embassy said. "We reject its content and its message."
"Another" is one way of characterizing that content-rejecting Tweet. But the more descriptive modifier might be a later Twitter message. As in, after the consulate was attacked, the embassy sent out a don't-hurt-us-we-hate-the-video-too message. Which it then reiterated this morning in case the message to rioters wasn't clear.
And that message is this: The more you attack, the more we will pay respect to your grievance and even share part of your critique. As Eugene Volokh counseled over the weekend in a post worth reading and bookmarking for later (because there will always be a later), "Behavior that gets rewarded, gets repeated."
Not only are there potentially grave consequences to rewarding special pleading with special kid gloves (in addition to a chilling of domestic free speech), these embassy messages don't seem likely to change the behavior of the rioters in question. Which leads us to the end of the Times story:
[Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the leader of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba], said in his speech that the production crew of the video "must be hanged to set an example."
Protesters held placards and shouted slogans against the United States government. One placard read, "O Obama, we are all Osama." Another placard read, "Blasphemy is not freedom of expression, and its sentence is death."
Reason on free speech and Islam here.
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