The attacks against United States embassies and consulates in the Islamic world this week were to be anticipated. Though the ostensible spark for the violence that left U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and other Americans dead or wounded was a trailer of an amateur film called “Innocence of Muslims,” the real impetus was the anniversary of 9/11.
So far, the main carnage has taken place in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen, but the Islamic frenzy has begun to spread to many other parts of the region, as well. Protests by Muslims against the “Great Satan” have erupted in Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Mass anti-American demonstrations — some planned and others spontaneous — are not merely common among fundamentalist Muslims; they are part and parcel of the concerted campaign to destroy the West. This political-religious phenomenon is not due to excessive Western power and imperialism, as apologists on the Left purport. On the contrary, it is directly correlated to liberal Western values, perceived in the radical Islamist world as depravity and weakness.
All of the issues that Americans, Europeans, and Israelis battle over at the ballot box — such as the best way to achieve the greatest amount of equality for men, women, gays, and ethnic groups — are precisely those which the jihadists believe the Quran is telling them to eradicate and replace with Shariah law.
When these jihadists witness their nemeses shunning swords in favor of plow shears — preferring Hollywood and high-tech to honor killings — they are spurred into action, not lulled into emulation. Indeed, if there’s one thing they know how to spot thousands of miles away, it is chinks in their enemies’ armor.
This is not a new phenomenon. Nor did it rear its ugly head on Sept. 11, 2001 — the day many clueless Americans woke up to a bloody reality about which they had been blissfully ignorant until it literally came crashing down on their heads.
Let us go back 22 years earlier. On Nov. 4, 1979, after the Islamic Revolution in Iran had ousted the Shah and replaced him with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a grass-roots group called “Muslim Students Following the Imam’s Line” stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took its entire staff hostage for 444 days.
During the planning stage of the operation (originally intended to last less than a week), one prominent member of a pro-Khomeini umbrella organization was asked to contribute to the endeavor. The 23-year-old civil engineering student — Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — was enthusiastic, but suggested that they take over the “Marxist anti-God” Soviet Embassy instead. His proposal was immediately ruled out, however, on the grounds that the Soviets wouldn’t mess around; they would slaughter every hostage-taker on the spot. The Americans, on the other hand, were more likely to let the Iranian government come to their rescue.
This assumption would turn out to be even more accurate than they had hoped. In fact, when they did scale the walls and begin to descend upon the frightened staff members, the Marines on duty were ordered by the charge d’affairs (acting ambassador) of the embassy to put down their weapons and — with the rest of the staff — “surrender with your head held high.”
As it would emerge, when days turned into weeks, and then months, and finally more than a year, President Jimmy Carter was surrendering with his head held so high that it got lodged in the clouds, where it has remained ever since.
This week was not merely a horrifying reminder of the consequences of Carter’s policies; it was a direct descendant of them — down to a disturbing detail barely noted in the mainstream media.
The American Marines stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo did not have bullets in their rifles at the time of the attack. This means that even if they had been given the green light to shoot the angry mobs, they would not have been able to act on it.
U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson can take the credit for that. How proud of herself she must be that she had forbidden the very men in uniform posted there to protect the building and its occupants to carry live ammunition. But even if she is now feeling that maybe it wasn’t such a wise directive, after all, her bosses at the State Department are probably patting her on the back for a job well done. She wouldn’t want to antagonize the Muslim Brotherhood, after all — especially not after a Coptic Christian had the gall to portray the Prophet Muhammad as a bisexual pedophile.
To add irony to insult, Patterson was not at her embassy during the attack, because she was in Washington. She undoubtedly had to brief President Obama ahead of the private meeting he arranged with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi for later this month at the U.N.
There has been speculation about whether the U.S. president will actually go through with what promises to be a groveling session with the Arab leader, since Morsi barely condemned the embassy attack. Furthermore, coming on the heels of Obama’s “inability” to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the same time period — due to the president’s scheduled appearance on “Letterman” — such a tête-à-tête might not go over so big with some swing voters.
Personally, I’d wager the sum of the aid package that Obama is trying to convince Congress to heap on Morsi — and that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is attempting to hand over without congressional approval — that Obama will keep the date. He’s just as adept at surrendering with his head held high as Carter, after all. The question is whether the American people are going to follow suit in November.