In February of 2002, a Wall Street Journal writer, just 3 years younger than I, and from my very home town of Encino, California was brutally murdered in Pakistan. His throat was slit and he was beheaded; and it was videotaped. Part way through the murder, the killer’s camera jammed and they actually had to reposition the painfully-dying journalist’s head in order to get a “good take”! The people who carried out this horrific, immoral act were idiots. But, their stupidity was not demonstrated only by their rediculus inabiliity to operate a simple video camera. Their utter inanity is ilustrated by the fact that they chose to murder an American who was truly a friend to their people. Pearl was Jewish and, for that, they called him a “spy”, decapitated him, and cut him into 10 pieces. But Pearl, more than almost anyone else, cared deeply about the Muslims and the Pakistani people. In other words, they brutally murdered their best American friend. There are many reasons to call this heinous and immoral. But it is the murder of your strongest supporter that makes it stupid.
Well, it happened again yesterday in Libya. This time, rather than a journalist, it was the American Ambassador. Christopher Stevens, and three other American diplomats. These honorable people were killed by Libyan religious extremists who attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Why did they do this? Because someone made a movie that they didn’t like. I won’t argue that a movie defaming the Prophet Mohammed is insulting and in poor taste. But to kill 4 people because of it, is simply insane. Steven’s and his team had nothing to do with the movie. In fact, Stevens was a celebrated figure known for his empathy, his understanding, and his sincere excitement about the new-found freedom of the Libyan people. Like Pearl, he cared more than most others about the safety and freedom of the people in whose country he served. Maybe not as flamboyantly as Pearl, yet, once again, a group of extremist imbeciles murdered someone who was their best American friends.
Today, in Le Monde, Bernard-Henri Levy, a man I deeply admire, stated the following sad but true conclusion: “Dix ans après Daniel Pearl, cet autre Américain respectueux, lui aussi, des peuples arabes et musulmans et admirateur, tout comme lui, des lumières de l’islam, il aura été victime du même fanatisme, du même aveuglement barbare et tragique. Les Américains ont perdu un ambassadeur. Les Libyens ont perdu un compagnon et un ami. Les imbéciles ont gagné.” BHL is spot on. Perhaps the idiots have won. But more important than that, no one has really won because, in killing a a true and compassionate friend, “Les imbéciles”, have gained nothing but they have lost the respect of most of the world, including those in their very own government.