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With anti-Islam film, free speech put American lives at risk

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Regarding your editorial, "Libya Attacks: Romney has a point" (Sept. 13), there's no debate that freedom of speech is a core value that should be defended in the United States and supported around the world. The question in this case is the context.

The obvious purpose of the film insulting Islam was to incite a strong reaction from radicals in the Middle East. Why else would it have been put on the Internet? Those who distributed the film did so for reasons of hate, and this was rightly condemned by President Barack Obama.

Our nation is fighting terrorists from Afghanistan to North Africa. Undeclared though it may be, we are at war. What is also relevant is the World War II slogan "loose lips sink ships," which warned Americans that careless talk could help the enemy and cost American lives. The hate expressed in the movie went beyond careless talk. It put our foreign service personal in mortal danger and has put our troops at greater risk.

President Obama needn't go as far as President Lincoln did when he limited civil rights and jailed opponents during the Civil War. Still, while the purveyors of hate may have the right to free speech, I would have preferred both the president and Mitt Romney to tell them to just shut up.

Oz Bengur, Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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