Our local newspaper has a headline over a front-page news story that says More Violence Feared Over Anti-Islam Video. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal has a story that says The attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions this week beginning in Egypt and Libya, and moving to Yemen and other Muslim countries came under cover of riots against an obscure online video insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.
But it's not so. The "obscure online video" was a trailer an advertisement for a video that has apparently never been available, online or otherwise. That trailer has been online for months. So why the violence all over the Muslim world now? It seems quite clear the video is the excuse, not the reason, and the actual reason is self-generated within the Muslim community.
The Wall Street Journal recognizes this, too. In that same story it says But the mob violence and assaults should be seen for what they really are: an effort by Islamists to garner support and mobilize their base by exacerbating anti-Western sentiments.
Attacks on embassies and consulates have been recognized for centuries as acts of war. In this instance, we clearly don't want to go to war over these attacks. But what our response should be is clear, it seems to me: In every country where our embassy or consulate has been invaded and damaged or destroyed, we should (1) close our embassy and consulates, (2) remove all diplomatic personnel, and (3) cut off all aid. This should be done pending serious discussion of our relations with those countries.
Beyond that, there is just one long-term solution: All civilized people, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, need to work together to end the threat the Islamist "misunderstanders of Islam" pose to everyone.