The Corner

No, No, No, No!

Nobody in the U.S. government, least of all the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff acting in his official capacity, should be calling Terry Jones or any other American citizen about the Mohammed spoof. Not only does that elevate Jones to some sort of semi-official status, but spoofs of deities are entirely within our rights and absolutely no business of the government’s. The U.S. government should not be taking an official position on the Mohammed spoof.  It is entirely outside the official competence of United States military to be calling private citizens asking them be quiet, especially when they are exercising a constitutional right. Offending people is not an incitement to violence. Otherwise I could get everyone who wears a Che Guevara t-shirt brought up on charges of incitement. 

The only issue that need concern the government of the United States right now is that the criminals who attacked our citizens and our embassies are still on the loose. The government of Egypt should have prevented the attack on the embassy, and should be held accountable for prosecuting those who incited, organized, and carried it out. The Egyptian government should understand that its failure to carry out those obligations will make it accountable for the attacks. All aid coming from America, whether directly or through the IMF, should be conditioned on Egypt’s responsiveness in this matter, and we should be lobbying our European allies and other partners hard. And as for Libya, as I said earlier, we should have special ops and CIA on the ground in Libya hunting the terrorists down right now. 

Meanwhile, members of Congress should formally protest General Dempsey’s phone call to Terry Jones. I know Petraeus did it when Terry Jones was going to burn some Korans, but he was wrong then and General Dempsey is wrong now. In their private capacity they can make whatever phone calls they want. In their official capacity they have no business making phone calls like this.  

Mario Loyola is a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the director of the Environmental Finance and Risk Management Program of Florida International University, and a visiting fellow at the National Security Institute of George Mason University. The opinions expressed in this column are his alone.


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