Would you push the button? Would you falsely shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater if there were no fire? Implying, of course, malice aforethought since a purely impulsive shout of “Fire!” is highly improbable and likely indicative of other origins such as mental illness.  Would you encourage a mob to riot, knowing that murder would likely result?

That is what the producers of  the video ridiculing Islam did. Consider the behavior of the responsible parties: they went into hiding even as the video was in production, betraying motive and foreknowledge. Not only did they push the button, but they engaged in a complex course of action that had to involve conspiracy and the construction of an elaborate instrument of murder. Does this excuse the actual murderers? Of course not. But I do want to correct the common media wisdom that the video was little more than a crude prank. I wanted to take this moment to condemn the loose and easy ethics, the moral cowardice and Islamophobia that sees only rampaging ragheads without examining the responsibility of those who set this avalanche in motion. This is another instance of the false ethics that excuses any number of murders as long as “the intended target” was today’s version of “the enemy”. And don’t start with “many muslims have condemned…” We are living in terrible times. Identification with the aggressor, even self-hatred will arise. Remember the Nazis who claimed, “Anständige Juden haben nichts zu fürchten.”? And the Jews who believed them? Yes. Those times. Those are precisely the kind of times we are living in. “Support Our Troops” is a deeply cynical, shallow and reckless response.