"If he's listening, I just hope he understands that what he's proposing to do is completely contrary to our values … this country has been built on the notions of religious freedom and religious tolerance," Obama said. "As a very practical matter, as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States, I just want him to understand that this stunt that he is pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women in uniform who are in Iraq, who are in Afghanistan."
He didn't deny that Jones had the right to burn Qurans if he wished but he voiced his displeasure and concern about Jones exercising that right. He was concerned about the safety of our military members in harm's way. (More concerned, it seems, than he was when he changed the rules of engagement for our troops, forbidding them to charge their weapons unless they came under attack and forbidding them to fire at the enemy unless they were under fire.)
In September 2012, in the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks where four Americans were killed, the Obama administration fabricated a story that a video made by a Christian in the United States was directly responsible for the attacks. They investigated and eventually arrested Nakoula Basseley Nakoula for some (alleged) probation violation and kept him in prison for a year for those violations.
The Obama administration condemned the video made by Nakoula in basically the same way he condemned Terry Jones. Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice also got in the act. Obama even went told the story on the floor of the United Nations - even though by that time it had already become clear that the story was fabricated. Basically the President of the United States condemned freedom of speech.
Fast forward to this week. Sony Pictures cancelled the release of their new movie "The Interview" after a computer hacker group hacked into their computer system, release large amounts of information to the public, got into their payroll system, etc., then threatened a "9/11 like attack" on any theater in the country that actually showed the movie.
Fearing possible violence against their company and moviegoers Sony cancelled the releases. President Obama spoke up on the issue today saying "Sony's a corporation. It suffered significant damage. There were threats against some of its employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced. Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake."
The President said he wishes they would have spoken to him prior to making their decision. "I would have told them 'Do not get into a pattern in which you're intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks,'" he said. "That's not who we are. That's not what America's about."
To me it seems apparent that as long as Islam is not involved the President is all for freedom of speech. He doesn't seem concerned about the threats against moviegoers. He didn't condemn Sony for making a movie that ridicules a foreign leader who is not Muslim. He said Sony should ignore the threats and go forward with the movie.
And while I agree with him that no corporation in the United States should cower to cyber terrorism, the flip flop on freedom of speech cannot and should not be denied.
Mr. Obama made a statement yesterday promising to take action.
"We will respond," he told reporters, without giving any details. "We will respond proportionately and in a space, time and manner that we choose. We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship in the United States."
"Americans cannot change their patterns of behavior due to the possibility of a terrorist attack," he said. "That's not who we are, that's not what America is about."
It's not who we are in this case, it seems, but what about the others? The real problem with the President's bold statement can be traced back to Syria, a red line in the sand, and Bashar al Assad. President Obama has a history of drawing a red line then erasing it. Kim Jong Un most likely has nothing to worry about from the President's threats. At least that's what he believes, I'm sure. If Obama backed down after threatening Assad it can be assumed, and most likely is in this case, that he won't back up his threats of retaliation.
Sadly, the world has little respect for President Obama and little fear of him. If Ronald Reagan was President, or even George W. Bush, North Korea wouldn't be doing this for fear of what we would do in return. But Obama has proved himself to be a weak leader and a weak Commander-in-Chief. No one fears his threats, and with good reason.
I think Barack Obama has written his own legacy. He will go down in history as the weakest most internationally disrespected (Russia, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Israel, Mexico, etc....) U.S. President since Jimmy Carter. And before it's over he may surpass Carter.
To borrow some of the words of our First Lady... For only the second time in my lifetime I am ashamed of our President.