Nakoula Basseley Nakoula Film Innocence of Muslims: Lessons from a Dreadful Movie

Sam Bacile even sounds like imbecile, which many think accurately describes the real person behind the alias. He made “Innocence of Muslims,” the uniquely bad movie about Islam that has caused rioting across North Africa and the Middle East. Several U.S. Embassies have been damaged, and our Ambassador and several colleagues were killed when the Consulate in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Great job, Sam.

There are many characters on this stage and even a story within the story, but apart from those who gave their lives, there are no heroes. As always, some are even less heroic than others, and searching them out might prove enlightening.

Sam Bacile, or Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, or whatever the producer's real name, is on nobody’s list of heroes, serving only to rev up the op-ed efforts of staunch defenders of the First Amendment. “Hate what he says, defend to the death his right to say it, blah, blah, blah.” First Amendment lawyers buy lots of reprints to mail off to their clients to show their steadfastness of purpose. Nothing to be learned there.

The kumbayah-can’t-we-all-just-get-along legions will correctly observe that other countries don’t have a First Amendment so we should be careful about the films we make lest they offend. Of course, they, too, are correct but there is nothing to be learned there either.

Neocons will launch their spears in favor of defense buildups and another “bomb the country du jour” strategy. Despite choruses of “keep America safe” there is nothing new there.

Not many groups left, are there?

It seems unlikely that all those rioters appeared magically in the streets? Surely, someone had to fuel them up, tell them where to be and when, what to do and how and, of course, provide the ubiquitous Toyota pickup trucks that serve as Jihadist Humvees. The organizers of these riots are nothing more than political operatives, though the rules of their politics are more “full contact” than ours. They are trying to get an edge on their rivals and rally more followers to their side.

Did the film offend them? Maybe, but if so, they kept it under wraps for several months until it could be trotted out as a pretext for mayhem. (Innocence of Muslims hit YouTube in June.) The point was they could at least feign offense at the insult to their religion the better to bring their troops into the streets.

Remind you of anyone? How about those who organize Democratic and Republican campaigns for elective office? Or the reliably left or right red meat journalists who fan partisan flames? Are they really any better than those who stir up jihadists? Football looks sort of the same whether it is touch or tackle.

For some time, I have been wondering about the educational level targeted by political speechwriters. Maybe we should simply aspire to “smarter than the average jihadist.”