Capitulation

As bad as he is, I never thought Barack Obama would make a serious run at the title of worst American president, with Woodrow Wilson and James Buchanan having staked such strong claims. But then this happened:

That’s Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies bringing in for questioning Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man who apparently made the film as the center of anti-American riots throughout the Middle East. A man who, to be clear, is guilty of no crime.

As Glenn Reynolds puts it:

WHY BARACK OBAMA SHOULD RESIGN. Just for the record, this is what it looked like for a man who made a film that made the Obama Administration uncomfortable . . .

When taking office, the President does not swear to create jobs. He does not swear to “grow the economy.” He does not swear to institute “fairness.” The only oath the President takes is this one:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

By sending — literally — brownshirted enforcers to engage in — literally — a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration, President Obama violated that oath. You can try to pretty this up (It’s just about possible probation violations! Sure.), or make excuses or draw distinctions, but that’s what’s happened. It is a betrayal of his duties as President, and a disgrace. . . By these actions he is, I repeat, unfit to hold office.

That’s right. The US government is doing the bidding of Islamist rioters.

Just to make a few points clear: This was not LA County’s doing. It was the United States Justice Department that investigated the filmmaker and revealed his identity. And once the deputies brought him in, he was interviewed by Federal authorities.

The authorities say that Nakoula came in for a voluntary interview. Take another look at that picture. Does that look voluntary to you? Do you think the man really wanted to be perp-walked with a scarf on his head in the middle of the night? They could have interviewed him in his own home during the day, but they didn’t.

Finally, this is not about probation violations. (Nakoula is reportedly barred by his probation from using a computer.) You don’t send five deputies in the middle of the night to pick someone up for a technical probation violation. In fact, liberals generally don’t care about probation violations at all.

Moreover, we should never have even known about Nakoula’s probation in the first place! He has no involvement with the attacks on our embassies and never should have been investigated in the first place. We shouldn’t even know his name.

Is it now US government policy to investigate anyone whom the Arab street hates, to see if maybe he happens to have some outstanding warrants? This is absolutely appalling.

But wait, they didn’t stop there. Just hours after Obama pledged to “uphold the rights for individuals to speak their mind”, his administration asked YouTube to censor the video:

Obama administration officials said Thursday that they have asked YouTube to review the video and determine whether it violates the site’s terms of service, according to people close to the situation but not authorized to comment.

To their credit, Google refused to do so. (Although they are censoring it in India and several Muslim countries.)

We must be clear. This isn’t the usual self-censorship by mob veto. This is the sovereign power of the United States government being used to censor what the Islamists considered blasphemy.

Of course, all this is exactly what the Islamists want. It ought to be obvious, but apparently is not, that this sort of capitulation only promotes violence and additional demands.

Indeed, the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t satisfied:

We further call for criminalization of assaults on the sanctities of all heavenly religions. Otherwise, such acts will continue to cause devout Muslims across the world to suspect and even loathe the West, especially the USA, for allowing their citizens to violate the sanctity of what they hold dear and holy. Hence, we demand that all those involved in such crimes be urgently brought to trial.

In light of all this, it would be appropriate for the Obama administration categorically to rule out ever criminalizing blasphemy. Unfortunately, less than two months ago, the administration pointedly refused to do so. UPDATE: Given a second chance later in the session, he did seem to rule it out. That’s good. Still, it oughtn’t be hard to get this question right the first time.

UPDATE (9/28): Nakoula has now been arrested and is being held without bond.

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