Newsday's unfortunately named Lane Filler has an interesting thought process. He doesn't think Romney did the right thing by denouncing the attacks on U.S. missions and criticizing the administration for appeasing attackers.
Before I get to Mr. Filler's fallacies, let's please agree that an ambassador speaks for his/her country. He is appointed by the administration. The Vienna Convention is rather clear on this:
1.The functions of a diplomatic mission consist, inter alia, in:
(a) Representing the sending State in the receiving State;
That is, when an ambassador speaks, he/she speaks for her country.
The American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt issued a statement in response to demonstrations. (You can find the timeline here.)
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. … We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others
Thus, speaking for the United States of America, the embassy saw it fit to appease enraged protestors. Maybe they thought that would help calm the crowd down. I find it simply distasteful that they chose an apologetic tone.
How about this alternative formulation:
This movie does not represent the views of the U.S. government or the majority of the American people. That would have been a correct statement.
Neither the President, nor the Secretary of State, issued statements condemning the attacks until much later. Romney's statement says:
I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi.
It's disgraceful that the Obama Administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.
Remember, your diplomatic mission in another country is like your lawyer in court: They speak for you, not for themselves. Clearly, the statement by the U.S. embassy in Cairo expressed sympathy with the attackers. I take issue with that and thank Romney for taking the lead.
Mr. Filler thinks Romney was mistaken.
Romney's error of fact? His statement shows he thought the embassy's message was released after the killings, when it was actually released hours before. It was not intended to apologize for the United States after Americans were killed. It was intended to prevent mob violence, and save lives.
That is a load of you know what. Nothing in Romney's statement shows anything of the sort. He knew that the missions had been attacked, and the embassy in Egypt, speaking for the United States of America, had issued a statement sympathizing with the attacks.
Does Mr. Filler think one can freely appease attackers so long no American is killed?
Mr. Filler goes on:
Romney's error of discretion? He broke with the president of the United States at a time of great tragedy and international uproar, presenting us as a divided nation at a time when we must be seen as unified in our singleness of purpose and response. Our internal political wars are supposed to end at the water's edge. That won't always be the case, but it certainly must be when a period of national mourning and national security fears is in its first bloom.
Please, spare me. I do not want to be
unified in our singleness of purpose in pursuit of appeasing murderous mobs. I want to be unified in our singleness of purpose of protecting the freedoms that make America great.
This insanity in the Muslim world must end. You can't simply get up and kill people every time someone says something offensive. I looked at that video. I do think it is offensive. I do not condone it. But, it is not worth a moment's thought, and if the Muslim world is going to catch up with the rest of the world, it is going to have to find a way to drown out the rage mobs.
See, the problem is, it is hard to speak up against these mobs when you live next to them. They enjoy killing. So you need an ally on your side. Sure, President Obama is not going to swoop down like Superman and protect you personally, but it goes a long way for people to know that the U.S. will not bow to rage mobs.
After all, should the Catholics in the U.S. decide to burn down art galleries in SoHo every time someone put together an insulting display, we would expect the perpetrators to find the full force of law enforcement in their path, not apologetic announcements trying to appease the mob.
Thanks to Romney, we know there is at least one person in this race who is willing to take a stand against violence perpetrated using the excuse of hurt feelings.