COMMENTARY | Rush Limbaugh, you are not helping.
After a string of horrifying US embassy attacks in the Middle East this week, politicians and pundits alike have been passing the gaffe-ball around, taking equal turns with it on the right and the left. Mitt Romney reacted emotionally: Too quickly, and without all the facts. President Obama reacted poorly: Lacking any meaningful criticism of the violence, instead directing his ire at the offensive film thought to have “provoked” the embassy attacks.
Of course, we’ve covered how the embassy attacks ought to have been handled here.
Enter Rush Limbaugh, full of opinions on the matter. We concede that the situation is not as clear cut as it seems, and that most media outlets are weakly paying lip service regarding a truly disturbing trend of incidents occurring abroad on-or-uncomfortably-close-to the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. But like Todd Akin’s opinion on tension in the Middle East, Limbaugh’s opinion on the matter politicizes the issue further and brings up a bunch of things that really don’t belong in the conversation:
“Do you think Al-Qaeda depends on Osama bin Laden anymore, or did? What was he doing there? They call it a mansion, but it was a pigsty. He was drinking Budweiser and watching porn.
He had a courier going back and forth, but Al-Qaeda was not depending on Osama bin Laden for operational leadership. His day had come and gone. So he’s expendable. He was near death anyway from diabetes or something. He needed dialysis. So they give him up; they give up his location. We go in and SEAL Team 6 gets him. Obama puffs up. ‘I killed Osama! I did it! I killed him!’
He gets instant credibility and gives himself some political capital.”
Yeah, Rush. The president does get instant credibility and political capital for taking out the most wanted man in the world. George Bush would have gotten it if he was sitting-POTUS, and whoever’s next would have gotten it if they had caught bin Laden instead of President Obama. But that’s not the point, and you are sorely missing it.
Now it’s my turn to be full of opinions on the matter.
These US embassy attacks are horrifying, disturbing, wantonly violent, and completely unjustifiable. If anything, it is now more important that ever to identify the problem of extremist Islam, consider where it is being enabled, honestly ask ourselves whether it is bigger than we originally thought, identify the moderate Muslims caught in the crossfire, lift them up as examples and empower them to speak out against the oppression they experience within their own religion.
We do need to put our foot down, draw a line, and condemn violent attacks against our people and property.
And we could…
…if voices on the right weren’t crying conspiracy and voices on the left would find the stones to call the attacks what they are instead of making contrived excuses for an admittedly offensive film that we have no national responsibility for.