A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Excuse me, Mr. President?!

AP: Bush Rebukes Muslim Violence, Chides Press---

WASHINGTON - President Bush condemned the deadly rioting sparked by cartoons of the prophet Muhammad on Wednesday, and his secretary of state accused Iran and Syria of trying "to inflame sentiments" across the Muslim world.

Bush urged foreign leaders to halt the spreading violence and to protect diplomats in besieged embassies.

The president spoke out about the controversy for the first time, signaling deepening White House concern about violent protests stemming from the publication of caricatures in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten and reprinted in European media and elsewhere in the past week.

"We reject violence as a way to express discontent with what may be printed in a free press," the president said.

At the same time, Bush admonished the press that its freedom comes with "the responsibility to be thoughtful about others."
I agree with President Bush about rejecting violence as a way to express one's feelings about what is in the "free" press, but he is going too far when he tells the press to be "thoughtful" to others. That's not the press' job. By definition, a reporter ought to report events and facts. While reporters have a responsibility to consider things like National Security and whether or not someone will be endangered when information is released, they do not have the responsibility to be "thoughtful."

"Thoughtful" is what a person ought to be towards his family and friends. "Thoughtful" is what one ought to be when one is considering whether or not to spend money on this or save it for that. "Thoughtful" is not wanting to hurt a loved one's feelings.

Depicting the true state of Islam needs to be done. President Bush persists in his delusion that Islam is a "religion of peace." Perhaps when practiced by a few Muslims, but the those who have the power and the loudest voices practice a very violent, bloody Islam. The editorial cartoonists have a duty to create pieces of work that they believe to represent the truth. Should we limit them for fear of offending people?

Every editorial cartoon offends someone, but not everyone reacts the way these Muslims are reacting. Civilized people call the editor or write a letter to complain. They don't burn buildings and flags and call for death and beheadings for the cartoonists, the editors, and the West.

The Muslims need to be thoughtful. They need to do some hard thinking and recognize that they come across as blood-thirsty, primitive, vengeful, wicked terrorists.

President Bush also needs to be thoughtful and recognize the truth about Islam as it is practiced today (and as it was practiced when Mohammed was creating it, and as it was practiced when the Muslims were conquering the world---it's all the same).