The paradox of the MSM and the EU supporting free speech by appeasing the most radical of the Islamists over the cartoons is likely to have very serious and tragic repercussions. Anyone who has graduated from grade school should recognize that when you give the bully your lunch money on the first day of school you have sealed your misery for the rest of the year.
The EU has no particular investment in free speech and has had no problem promulgating laws to limit free speech, so the flaccid response of the bEUreaucrats is not remarkable. On the other hand, the failure of the American MSM, which not only has a long legacy of freedom and, more importantly, a Constitutional protection of free speech, to show the Cartoons is profoundly troubling and will almost certainly increase the risk of exacerbating the coming confrontation with Iran. And just in case anyone has been wondering if perhaps the MSM doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt on this issue, consider the contrast between their diffidence in publishing some mildly inflammatory cartoons versus new pictures from an old story, abu Graib, which inflame the Muslim world. As Tim Blair puts it: [HT: Stop the ACLU]
They won’t publish cartoons, but they will run anything they can get out of Abu Ghraib. Both sets of images provoke Islamic anger; note how the media behaves when that anger is directed at them.
The MSM knows no one in the West will threaten them with decapitation for printing pictures which inflame Muslims against the United Sates; however, aside from MSM hypocrisy and craven appeasement, which is infuriating but not deadly, there is the bigger problem of unintended consequences.
As many have now pointed out, the cartoons, some of which were manufactured for the occasion by the Muslim Imams themselves, have been, and continue to be, used as a pretext for the rioting of Islamic fascists in various places around the world. The Western response has to be extremely instructive for the Iranian Mullahs and seems almost designed to lead them to make a fatal miscalculation.
Allow me to explain.
Put yourself into the mind of the Iranian rulers. They have long had the desire, and believe they have the divine right, to lead the Muslim world and to control the Middle East as an equal rival to the hated Americans. They believe that the failure of Saddam Hussein to have obtained nuclear weapons is the only reason the United States was able to invade and destroy his regime. They do not plan on making the same mistake Saddam made and are feverishly working on finalizing their nuclear program. Last month, Debka.com reported the Iranians were planning on a Nuclear test in early March. Today, Trent Telenko at Winds of Change, offers more detail on a possible nuclear test. In Count Down to Iran's Nuclear Test, he reports:
We are now in a fast count-down to Iran’s first nuclear test. The only issues left are:
1) When it will take place, and
2) What kind of nuke will be used.
He believes that Iran already likely has several nuclear weapons and his conclusion is chilling:
What can merely bombing Iran's nuclear facilities, without overthrowing its mullah regime, buy us but THE CERTAINTY OF NUCLEAR WAR?
We might find out in as little as a month. We might find out in six months. But this year we will learn something we never wanted to know.
The Iranians have repeatedly announced that their ability to be deterred from using their nukes, especially against Israel, is questionable. Iran is also facing significant time constraints, between their failed and corrupt economic model, the limitations of their oil supply and the pressures of modernization. As Dinocrat puts it:
The bad news is this. There is a way to stop the march toward freedom of thought dead in its tracks, and it is rather simple. Destroy capitalism, the engine of freedom, and the Islamists destroy the West, and preserve illiterate masses dependent upon the Islamists’ depraved view of God and man. Crippling capitalism would not, in our view, require too much destruction in a world built on leverage — what happens, for example, if housing prices were to plummet by half across America when people have 90% mortgages? Chaos and mass unemployment are plausible answers. A little smallpox or a few nukes might do the trick.
As long as capitalism increases wealth, technology, and mobility, traditional societies will have to find a way to accommodate themselves to these new, freer, realities, or wither away. We believe it is in the interest of millenarian Islamists like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to hasten the showdown with the West, before having to confront the internal contradictions between modernity and Islam. [Emphasis mine-SW] There is no reason to assume that Iran, or a like-minded state, would categorically rule out actual use of nuclear weapons or other WMD, when it could both realize the hopes of the Islamists and conquer their deepest fear.
The problem in this begins to come into focus. As long as Iran has not been proven to have a bomb, the West can continue to pretend it is preventable and follow the fantasy path of diplomacy, with the public aim of stopping Iran from acquiring a nuke. Once they remove the doubt the only way to prevent war is for the Iranians to convince the Israelis and the Americans that they are willing and able to be deterred, or for the Americans and Israelis to back away from confrontation. The appeasement practiced by our feckless "allies" in Europe and by the Western MSM, including, most sadly, the American MSM, tells the Iranians that, just as Osama bin Laden predicted many years ago, the Americans will always back down when the price gets too high. This increases their feelings of omnipotence and makes a nuclear demonstration more appealing and more likely.
In the time before open hostilities break out it is common for adversaries to probe each other's defenses. The current war with the Iran/Syria/Saudi/Islamic fascist axis is underway, not only in Iraq and other places, but in the pages of our MSM. The more convinced the Iranians become that the West will back away from the coming confrontation, the more emboldened they will become, again increasing the likelihood that they will set off the nuclear weapon which will make a shooting war inevitable.
One more collection of weak minded "useful idiots" must be mentioned in this context. The Democrats, in their lust to regain power and out of fundamental political agreement, have allied themselves with those on the far left most opposed to the use of American power; these people are either unwitting, if we want to be charitable, or conscious collaborators with the Islamic fascists in their information war with the United States. Imagine the impact of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry standing up and stating explicitly that the United Sates will never cower before fundamentalist Islam and will not tolerate Iran obtaining a bomb while threatening to destroy our ally in the Middle East. That would be a bombshell! Instead we have the likes of Al Gore standing in front of those who support and pay for some of the most atrocious anti-Semitic and anti-American propaganda and denouncing the current administration. He is such a fool that he probably doesn't realize that by his actions, he is hastening the destruction of all he apparently holds dear in the Middle East.