Good ole Osama, who we will be capturing any day now, issued a new angry rant this week, this time aiming primarily at Europe and the Pope. Osama's got his panties in a bunch over the Mohammad cartoons and the recent republication thereof by a handful of the less craven publications in Europe.
Osama threatens unspecified nasty shit will befall the Europeans for disrespecting Muslims. The usual suspects are gibbering with excitement.
On the one hand, the cartoons controversy strikes me as almost entirely manufactured by Islamic extremists — they trot it out at opportune times not necessary directly related to their actual publication. On the other hand, it's tremendously important to hold this line. The fanatic wing of Islamic culture will take every inch you give them, and if you cave and start censoring (however mildly) cartoons offensive to them, it's off to the races.
Even though Osama is an unwashed fanatical dick what seems like a cross between Hitler and Curly, he's got a point here:
If free speech is sacred, he said, then "on what basis do you suppress the freedom of those who cast doubt on the statistics of an historic event?" — a reference to German and Austrian laws against denying the Holocaust.
This is exactly right, regrettably. European nations can't have it both ways. When they cave in and criminalize some offensive speech like Holocaust denial — as they have certainly done, and which is reasonably seen as addressing speech offensive to Jews — they sound hypocritical when they finally get a spine and refuse to censor speech to other groups. Censoring offensive speech is like potato chips; it's hard to censor just one. The Europeans are in for a whole lot more demands that various types of speech be censored.
Nevertheless, in solidarity with the regrettably few European publications who stand up:
Bite me, Osama.
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