Running American Ads In Pakistan

Our State Department has made the curious decision to spend $70,000 to buy commercial time on seven Pakistani TV channels and run an ad featuring President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton discussing the infamous YouTube video that has been the subject of such controversy in the Muslim world.

The ad apparently is intended to quell the ongoing rioting in the Muslim world.  It begins with footage of President Obama describing America’s tradition of religious tolerance, followed by a statement by Secretary Clinton emphasizing that the United States government had nothing to do with producing the video.  Secretary Clinton adds that the U.S. government rejects the video’s “content and message.”

Some Republicans and conservatives have called the commercial an “apology ad.”  I’m not sure I’d call it that, but I still don’t understand the decision to air the commercial.  We don’t need to explain our system to Muslim fanatics, and it is nonsense to try to respond every time the Muslim world expresses outrage — particularly when it costs us $70,000 to do so.  Pakistan, after all, is only one of 20 nations where rioting has occurred.  Do we really think looting and rioting Muslims are going to change their behavior because President Obama and Secretary Clinton express our belief in religious tolerance and deny that the U.S. produced a cheap, homemade video?

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