From poorly-informed presidential candidates to bar flies an hour before “last call,” voices are heaping ill-deserved criticism on the Obama folks for the fires and murders in the Middle East. A lot of ignorance is showing.

Shortly after Eve and Adam lost their lease on the Garden for lying, son number one killed son number two and the Middle East has been carrying on the murderous tradition since that time. If it’s not one of them killing the other, it’s one of them killing somebody living somewhere else. Or killing the damned fools from outside who think they can bring “lasting peace” to countries that have never known it.

And for those who think some terribly produced, short hate film made in California directed at Muslims is at the bottom of the current binge, tain’t so, McGee. In nearly every instance of violence there is ample evidence this is terrorist-sponsored. What may have started as legitimate outrage – in the eyes of a very few Muslims over deliberate mocking of their religion – has been quickly turned into nationalist outrage sponsored by those who’ve been sitting in the bushes just waiting for the right fuse to light.

Little groups of haters of this-that-and-all-other-things Western long ago learned how to manipulate large crowds with just a few well-placed voices. They can take an argument between two used camel dealers and turn it into a building-burning horde in 10 minutes. It’s masterful crowd control in the wrong hands. It also goes back centuries.

Evidence of this is plentiful. Black flags of the hate groups hoisted or waived conspicuously in protests across North African countries. Local Taliban or other anti-western groups identified prominently in crowds and taking credit on the I-Net while urging more people into the streets. Some of the participants – in more countries than Libya – showing up with grenade launchers and automatic weapons. Some religiously pissed Muslim locals showing off for the cameras? I don’t think so.

The previous administration got us into two “wars of choice” in the Middle East. The current folks are trying to get us out and have already pulled the plug on one of them. But neither president – and none before them – could have cured the anti-American fever. It’s just the latest outbreak of the continuing sickness that is directed at all things Western. And a few things that are Muslim but not the kind that’s “pure” enough.

In true cold war style, the Romney/Ryan people want this country to respond in 1970’s fashion with a show of “patriotic” determination and military force. Go in there – kick some ass – show them “you don’t pull on Superman’s cape” – take charge – exact suitable punishments. It’s as though these people have been sleeping for 40 years and just woke up. “Keep doin’ what you’re doin’,” is their cry!

There’s no easy answer to the current mess. There’s never been an easy answers to all the previous messes. Anyone who steps up to the microphone with the words “I have the solution” should be ignored. The violent forces at play in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and other hot spots can’t be controlled from outside. By this country or any other. If we’ve learned nothing else from our tragic experiences in Iran and Afghanistan, we should understand a country’s government and national direction must be determined by the people who live there. As long as all that doesn’t slop over onto the world stage and threaten our real interests. Which isn’t often.

American businesses and other westerners who set up shop in these places do so at their own risk. Neither our government nor any other can assure the safety of their investments. We can’t be expected to go in there and pull their bacon, their employees and other interests out of the fire as has been suggested on the campaign trail.

In some ways, this nation shares the blame for deaths incurred so far and for the anti-American feelings felt – with some legitimacy – by folks in that region. We have continually inserted ourselves – openly or clandestinely – in the affairs of one country after another. And we’ve been wrong much of the time. If, for example, someone from Florida came into Oregon – telling us we need to get rid of some of our government and live as Floridians do – most of us would try to throw them out and have a much more hostile view of all things Florida.

What this country does in the next few days, weeks or even years to respond to violence against us in Muslim states is a huge problem. Diplomacy must be – must be – the first option. Throwing our national weight around with some cold war era rhetoric or show of force must be – must be – the last. The very last.

We can’t afford to listen to warmongers and leftover Bush neo-cons. Oops, repeated myself there. Or political candidates looking for quick points in a damned election. We’re not just facing some bad publicity for a crudely made, anti-Muslim movie. Terrorists have used this as a fuse to light the dynamite of anti-Americanism.

A lot is riding on what we do in the next few days and weeks. We could use a lot less rhetoric and more prayer.

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