It is the nature of men to create monsters, says virtual counter-hero Harlan Wade of F.E.A.R., and it is the nature of monsters to destroy their makers. Mary Shelley and the Golem come to mind, but what happened in Benghazi on Tuesday is more reminiscent of Bram Stoker. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens did not create it, but he was directly involved in helping unleash the dormant monster which destroyed him. His death is the paradigm for the U.S. policy vis-à-vis the world of Islam since 9-11.
“In the early days of the Libyan revolution, I asked Chris to be our envoy to the rebel opposition,” Hillary Clinton said in her eulogy. “He arrived on a cargo ship in the port of Benghazi and began building our relationships with Libya’s revolutionaries.” As an American liaison to insurgents who had just started to fight Qadafy’s forces, Stevens was instrumental in turning a local revolt into a fully-fledged rebellion. As ABC News notes, he was “literally on the rebels’ side while the revolution was at its most vulnerable.” Introducing himself as ambassador in a State Department video four months ago, Stevens said that he “was thrilled to watch the Libyan people stand up and demand their rights” during the uprising.
A remarkable aspect of Mrs. Clinton’s statement is that in her scheme of things, it is perfectly normal for U.S. Government agents to sneak into a foreign country that the United States recognizes as a sovereign state and with which it has normal diplomatic relations in order to incite rebellion against that country’s government. Let us imagine for a moment her reaction, and that of the U.S. media, to the news that Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has sent one of his diplomats to help the Sunni rebellion against al-Maliki in Iraq or FARC insurgents in Colombia. That man’s death at the hands of his protégés would prompt a deluge of Schadenfreude; a smiling Mrs. Clinton could gloat that “he came, he saw, he died.”
More significant is the cowering reaction to the outrage in Libya from the American officialdom. The assault on the U.S. compound in Cairo came first with the frenzied Muslim mob scaling the walls, tearing down and burning the American flag, and raising the inscribed black banner of jihad in its place. The Embassy responded with a statement, which is indicative of the State Department esprit de corps: “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”
Not a word of reproach for the rioting mob inside the gates. Condemnation was reserved solely for the makers of an obscure and poorly produced video allegedly insulting the prophet of Islam, Muhammad. Available on Youtube for months, it merely provided an excuse to perpetuate the attack on the Embassy.
President Obama’s reaction to the carnage in Libya a day later was worthy of his middle name: “While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.” His Secretary of State followed up in the same vein, reassuring the murderers that we feel any pain they might be enduring from the “insult”: “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”
It is striking that in both cases an apologetic condemnation of the video came first, thus implying that the mob had a valid cause to be enraged.
It is equally striking that when three Russian women blasphemed at the altar of Christ the Savior cathedral in Moscow, denigrating the religious beliefs of hundreds of millions of Christians, the only words of condemnation coming from Washington—and from its media chorus—were reserved for the two-year prison sentence they received. (As it happens, that sentence was far more lenient than the one likely to be passed in an American court on a trio of Aryan Brothers acting in a similar manner in a mosque, or a synagogue, or a Black church.)
The media reaction to the bloodshed in Benghazi did not deviate from the Obama-Clinton line. “Islam’s answer to the killing of US envoys in Libya,” an editorial in the Christian Science Monitor on September 12, called on Muslims to “assert their faith’s teachings of peace and mercy as the answer to such hate”:
While Muslims worldwide may be angered by acts of religious bigotry, most know that killing in the name of Islam is hardly favorable to Islam... Yet Muslim fears of blasphemy remain strong… Each violent response should compel Muslims to assert Islam’s teaching of tolerance… Until enough peace-minded Muslims stand up for an interpretation of Islam that sees freedom as necessary for the flourishing of faith, these governments will continue their campaigns of intolerance or wink approval at mobs of zealots....
This article is full of nonsense parroted in other MSM organs. It is taken as axiomatic that Islam teaches peace, mercy and tolerance. Writing seven decades ago, Arthur Jeffery dismissed as “the sheerest sophistry” the same tendency apparent among some Western scholars in his own time. He understood that the “peace” that Muslim believers are called upon to implement is impossible unless it is established under an all-pervasive Islamic rule. Such “peace,” resulting from jihad, does not merely have the meaning of the absence of war: it is also a state of security that is attainable only once Islam defeats all infidels and conquers their lands. Contemporary apologists for Islam have moved on, however: in our time, not accepting their “Islam is peace” mantra is in itself deemed “Islamophobic” and “intolerant.”
CSM editorialist asserts that Muslims fear blasphemy, without explaining what Muslims mean by that word. Their definition of “blasphemy” is any irreverent behavior toward persons, objects, rites, and beliefs that Muslims revere. To put it succinctly, being non-Sharia compliant is blasphemous. Not accepting the divine origin of the Quran is blasphemous. Applying the standards of natural morality to Muhammad’s illustrious career is blasphemous. Resisting the imposition of Sharia is blasphemous. In the end, being a non-Muslim is blasphemous.
The expectation that “enough peace-loving Muslims” will stand up “for an interpretation of Islam that sees freedom as necessary for the flourishing of faith” is absurd. Orthodox, mainstream Islam demands total, abject submission to the word of Allah and to the example of his prophet. Such submission is the only true freedom in the world of Ummah. Any other “interpretation of Islam” is heresy and disbelief. But willful self-deception continues. A stream of Western media calls on “peace-loving Muslims” to stand up to their murderous coreligionists started right after 9-11, and it will continue even if Manhattan is vaporized in a mushroom cloud.
In the video made to introduce himself to Libyans shortly before he took up his post as ambassador last spring, Christopher Stevens said he was looking forward to his assignment “as we work together to build a free, democratic, prosperous Libya.” As a fluent Arabic speaker with two previous tours of duty in Libya, if he believed what he said, he was an imprudent man. The Arab Spring has shown its true face, as we have known all along that it would. The monster is unleashed. Every person in our foreign policy-making establishment is responsible for the bloodshed in Benghazi, not least the victims themselves.
Dr. Srdja Trifkovic, Foreign Affairs Editor of Chronicles, is the author of The Sword of the Prophet and Defeating Jihad.