Now that the media have cleared the street of dissent, the Obama administration is free to issue more “balanced” statements than those hastily — and most clearly and unquestionably without the approval of the president — issued by our embassy in Egypt. So here is Secretary of State Clinton speaking in more moderating tones:
The U.S. government has absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and messages. But there is no justification — none at all — for responding to this video with violence.
Much more deftly constructed, you see? She condemned the violence after expressing the official condemnation of the United States government (and of course, disclaiming fault) for the free expression that was a pretext for it. But in case that wasn’t clear enough, Secretary Clinton went on to express sympathy for those who don’t value free speech:
Now I know it is hard for some people to understand why the United States cannot or does not just prevent these kinds of reprehensible videos from ever seeing the light of day. Even if it were possible, our country does have a long tradition of free expression, which is enshrined in our Constitution and our law. And we do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views, no matter how distasteful they may be.
Everyone, please recognize how hard it is for people to value liberty and open expression of ideas, especially those deemed “reprehensible” by enemies of our nation. We should be more empathetic to such views. Thank goodness we’ve had a couple of days to come up with a more effective, well balanced message.