After violent protests near the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Pres. Obama said Egypt isn't an ally. The State Dept. later clarified the country's status as an ally.
Editor's note: CNN's Miguel Marquez reports on the investigation of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the man the FBI believes is behind the anti-Islam film that has sparked outrage.
Some time in the summer, a small theater in Los Angeles screened a movie to which hardly anyone came.
It was a clunky film filled with scenes in a desert and in tents. The characters were cartoonish; the dialogue gauche.
The actors who'd responded to a July 2011 casting call thought they were making an adventure film set 2,000 years ago called "Desert Warrior." That's how Backstage magazine and other acting publications described it.
The American-made movie, it turns out, was hardly an innocent desert action flick.
Instead, the movie, backed by hardcore anti-Islam groups in the United States, is a tome on Islam as fraud. In trailers posted on YouTube in July, viewers saw this: scene after scene of the Prophet Mohammed portrayed as a womanizer, buffoon, ruthless killer and child molester.
What everyone’s talking about:
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed when the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya was attacked on Tuesday. At least one Libyan has been arrested and three or four others are being sought out, the Libyan prime minister said Thursday. Anderson took a look at Amb. Stevens’ life and his work with the Libyan opposition after Moammar Gadhafi’s fall. And Sen. John McCain reflected on his friend’s efforts to spread democracy. McCain also stood by Mitt Romney’s swift criticism of the Obama administration’s response after the attack. “This president is weak in his leadership,” he said. CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Former CIA Officer Robert Baer, and Princeton University’s Anne-Marie Slaughter gave their perspective on the attacks and the aftermath in the region.
September 11, 2012 marked 11 years since the 9/11 attacks. There was renewed controversy over the possibility of warnings ignored by the Bush administration in the months leading up to the attacks. Author Kurt Eichenwald had a heated debate with Ari Fleischer about intelligence contained in classified presidential daily briefings and what was presented in The 9/11 Commission Report. The anniversary also came a day after a federal program added 58 cancers to the list of illnesses covered for first responders and survivors exposed to the toxins at Ground Zero. As always, 360 remembered the innocent lives lost that day, and their families who keep their memories alive.
Reporter's Note: I write to President Obama all the time. Hey, it’s a free country.
Dear Mr. President,
For starters, let me say that I am not certain all this uproar overseas is about that bad movie. I realize it may be offensive to some Muslims, but much of this has the smack of opportunism about it; like some of these folks have had a chip on their shoulder about us for some time and this is just the latest excuse to storm the embassies.
I’m not making light of it. The consequences, as you and I both know, are already too dire for anyone to act as if this is not serious business. But I think we need to tread two paths here. The first: We need to recognize that indeed some people were upset by this film. The second: That is a good excuse for others who are upset over other things.
Since I’m not sure what to do about the second, I want to talk about the first.
A friend of mine suggested an idea to me years ago; that living in a free society means being offended now and then. His logic: If we are free to say whatever we wish, others are too, and occasionally they’re going to let loose with something that we don’t like. Fair enough. I’ve taken that lesson to heart and it has helped me whenever I’ve been cornered at a party listening to someone say something patently offensive like, oh say, “Boy, that Nicolas Cage can really act!”
At one point in my life I would have probably punched the speaker in the nose, but now I smile benignly, sip my Diet Dr. Pepper, and say, “I think they have crab puffs in the kitchen. I’m going to look.”
But not everyone in the world sees it that way. Indeed, free speech is a remarkably threatening concept in some places; a potential affront to all they consider proper, decent, and sacred. That said, I don’t think that we should change our views of free speech. I think America is made stronger by Americans saying what they think. As long as the speech is not directly inciting violence, it is good for us even if some of us find it offensive. But as the world is made smaller by international trade, travel, and the Internet, I suspect a lot more of us need to be more aware of the consequences.
As my teachers taught me when I was a smart-mouthed kid in Junior High, just because you can say anything you wish, doesn’t always make it wise.
Hope all is well with you. Call if you can.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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