terror 9/11 virginia phillips salt iron seasoned writing

Too Late to Apologize, America

Let no one think that it is a coincidence when terrorists attack the United States on September 11th. We say we will never forget, and indeed, those who follow radical Islam long to remind us at every turn. They desire nothing more than to make that day their own.

Contrary to the attitude of several news sources, it is no surprise that the attacks on the consulate in Benghazi and the embassy in Cairo were planned. The media says such displays prove that law and order have broken down in such countries. What they forget is that this will be the new law and order in these countries, should the politics of the Middle East continue on its projected course. If we continue on our current course, this will only be the second year that September 11th was marked with American blood. There will be many more to come.

An Attack on Freedom

Many are reporting that the original reason given for the protests, the producing of an anti-Muslim film called Innocence of Muslims that depicts the Muslim prophet Mohammad in offensive ways, was a cover for an Al-Qaeda attack. It wasn’t a cover though. The fact that America allows its citizens to say whatever they like, to believe what they like, to pursue what lifestyle they like, is exactly why Al-Qaeda exists in the first place.

Egyptian President Morsi’s initial silence on the matter, and the report that he has instructed Egypt’s ambassador to seek all available legal action against the filmmaker of Innocence of Muslims blatantly shows what the Middle East is becoming. It demonstrates that the Muslim Brotherhood, along with Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups, do not tolerate the freedoms of speech or religion, whether in their own countries or the countries of others.

Further, it is not the extremely offensive things, such as this film, that incite this violence. This reaction is born of something far deeper than an individual’s negative opinion of Islam. The people who conduct and support these attacks do not only commit violence in righteous indignation when their prophet is insulted; they throw acid in the faces of girls who dare to go to school, enforce extreme standards of clothing and conduct even on those who do not practice their religion, destroy the holy places of those other Muslims who differ in interpretation of Islam, and consider the purposeful destruction of the innocent as an acceptable means of expressing their childish fits of anger.

Apologizing Will Never Be Enough

When facing this radical mindset, apologizing for something an American produced, even if it is truly offensive and in terrible taste, won’t do any good. It will never be enough, not so long as we allow our women to dress as they please and our children to grow up with a choice of religion. What apologizing will do is reinforce this violent method of political action.

Rev. Wright, the controversial pastor of the church the Obamas attended in Chicago, viewed the original attack on September 11th as being just retaliation for America’s past faults. If given the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the President doesn’t agree with such an extreme view, but simply thinks that softening our image would change the way our self-proclaimed enemies see us. He has shown throughout his term that he believes America needs to apologize for any and all offenses given, real or perceived. We have had four years of apologizing to the world. Those four years’ worth of apologies for the American way of life, which yes, includes insulting one another, has not made us any safer.

Non-intervention will not stop this from happening. Neither will apologizing for the words of American citizens, protected under the Constitution.

No Excuse and Every Justification

Holding our own leadership accountable for our position in the world is right. People will say that it’s terrible to ‘politicize’ the death of Chris Stevens, overlooking the fact that his death could never be anything but political. He was an Ambassador of the United States.

Holding the governments of Libya and Egypt responsible for allowing such attacks to occur is right and just. The Libyan government’s immediate condemnation of the attacks and apology for the death of our Ambassador was the appropriate response.

Our offense is freedom, and for that we need no excuse and have every justification. We can continue to apologize for our way of life, as the President and others have already begun to do, and fight this annual September War for the 11th day of that month and what it will be remembered for. Or we can stand defiant against the tyranny of violence and fear and protect what September 11th and America really mean: freedom.

What the Islamists don’t understand, and indeed, have no wish to understand, is that we hold our freedoms, including the freedom to say very offensive things about anyone’s religion, to be worth dying for.

Author: Virginia Phillips

Virginia Phillips has a M.A. in Religious Studies and an enduring interest in history and politics. In her spare time she writes opinion pieces on current events and theology. She enjoys speculative fiction, martial arts, dancing, and both consuming and preparing food and beverage pairings.

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