The best information to date is the Innocence of Muslims was a badly made and cheap film that attracted only a handful of viewers at a screening in LA. It could have died there and never been heard of again. But social media changes all the old rules.
Clips of the film circulated on YouTube and fanned Muslim anger. Strains of fundamental Islam take little to work them into a frenzy. Those who hew to a rigid line of never thinking critically about their own faith, or even thinking in an open minded and rational way are quick to foam and be seized by manic anger. What apparently is a piece of trash with mysterious origin has now become a pivot point of anger, foment and a genuine foreign policy issue. For all that is good about a wired world and communication power, an incident like this points to its dark side.
Ignorance is just that, whether in a film, or in a response to it. Ignorance is rampant in the world, and it wears Muslim, Christian and Jewish garb. A decentralized, non aggregated, free-for-all communication web can simply add fuel to a fire. It obviously can also set sparks. When so much ignorance plays in the tinderbox, the world is more dangerous.
This is the kind of world where the US foreign policy and national security apparatus must operate. It reminds me of muddy and muck filled rivers populated by crocodiles and snakes. I was glad to have a veteran at the helm. Hysterics in this climate can be lethal, but they abound.
ROMNEY'S DANGEROUS MISTAKE
Now before my Republican, conservative or Romney backing readers have apoplexy, this is not about politics.
Indeed even right leaning or right wing commentators as well as old fashioned mainstream Republicans have criticized the Republican candidate for his opportunistic and political attack on the administration. He was accused of speaking too early, or looking weak among other non presidential qualities. The Democrats were more pointed, but since this is not about politics, we leave the comment to his own kind.
From a center court seat and with an historic perspective, his desperation to score political points reflected a lack of judgement, seasoning, sense of depth and class. At a time of international crisis, the US speaks with one voice. And Romney's sense of timing was bad, at the very least.
When Americans and diplomatic personnel are under attack, politics has no place. When those personnel die, any attempt to score political points is not only repugnant and offensive, it is a stupid miscalculation in a grave moment. It was a cheap, stupid and tactless thing to do. Romney and his advisers should be ashamed and are rightly being criticized.
So there you have it. Stupid X's 3. Stupid film, stupid fundamental reaction, stupid politics. What should have been a tempest in a teapot reveals fatal flaws and fault-lines in a dangerous world.
AND NOW SOMETHING DIFFERENT
A Kitten's First Climb
See you down the trail.