One of the ways of understanding the strange nonchalant response of the administration to prior warnings of trouble in the Arab Spring countries, and its contextualization of the violence on the anniversary of 9/11, is its belief that it is somehow separated from the object of the violence. Raging crowds and Islamic wrath could not possibly be connected to the enlightened Obama administration or, more generally to a U.S. that has been “reset” on his watch — given the three years of laborious Muslim outreach and the long-ago departure of George Bush. So we are to think away all those burning flags, stormed consulates, and dead Americans, and instead remember that the violence “is a response,” a sort of cry of the heart against a couple of America-residing video makers — and has nothing much to do with any anger at well-meaning Americans per se.
Apparently no one in charge seems to grasp that this latest video pretext is simply yet another tool, in a long line of many, for premodern Islamists to manipulate and galvanize their fury against the United States, whose success and power obsess them no end — no matter what we do or who happens to be in the White House, soaring Cairo speech and “leading from behind” or not.
Cf., for example, Jay Carney’s latest and perhaps most embarrassing explication yet:
We also need to understand that this is a fairly volatile situation and it is in response not to United States policy, and not to, obviously, the administration, or the American people, but it is in response to a video, a film that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting. That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it, but this is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy, this is in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims.
Note to Mr. Carney: Radical Islamists really do not care whether “we” have judged some crackpot video “reprehensible and disgusting.” They have more important aims than distinguishing the Obama administration or its policies from the moronic Terry Jones.
If Jay Carney has any say at all in U.S. policy, then we are in real trouble.