If Austin Bay is right, then Hugh Hewitt is wrong. And so are the self-styled "Warriors of Civilization."
The Wall Street Journal reports that, in order to inflame Arab opinion, the radical Danish clerics running this show had to make stuff up:
Keen to "globalize" the crisis to pressure the Danish government, Mr. Abu-Laban and his colleagues decided to send delegations to the Middle East. They prepared a dossier to distribute during the travels. .... It also contained a group of highly offensive pictures that had never been published by the newspaper, including a photograph of a man dressed as a pig, with the caption: "this is the real picture of Muhammad."
Why? In the same issue, Amir Taheri comments that even the mildest supposed offense - portrayal of Muhammed and religious humor - are little more than politcally-invented nonsense.
And Iraq the Model notes that:
You know that those cartoons were published for the 1st time months ago and we here in the Middle East have tonnes of jokes about Allah, the prophets and the angels that are way more offensive, funny and obscene than those poorly-made cartoons, yet no one ever got shot for telling one of those jokes or at least we had never seen rallies and protests against those infidel joke-tellers.
So, the war-of-civilizationists are wrong, inasmuch as the actual number of Muslims involved in this rioting is fairly small.
But Hugh Hewitt is wrong, because since this is a pre-planned intelligence operation, supplemented by disinformation, virtually anything critical of Islam could have been used to set it off. Go look at the CAIR site sometime, and see the kind of normal, everyday kind of criticism that has them scurrying to their hate-crimes lawyers and other professional intimidators. John O'Sullivan's argument in favor of not letting someone else's reaction dictate our discussion becomes ever stronger.
In fact, I would argue that doing as I an Charles Johnson and other bloggers have done - reprint the cartoons so people like Iraq the Model can actually find them - is key to defeating this hostlie operation. When people haven't seen the cartoons, their imaginations run wild. When they have seen them, their first reaction tends to be, "this, this is what they're upset about?" And then, the addition of actually offensive material to the "dossier" makes sense.