"In handling a stinging insect, move very slowly." (Robert A. Heinlein)
The Arab "street" evidentally can't handle a Danish cartoon or a statement from the Pope without going batshit. In their defense, it must be said that Muslim clerics and governments are distorting what is said in Europe and America for their own reasons. The fairly innocuous Danish cartoons were distributed by Arab clerics in a pamphlet containing cartoons that definitely WERE inflammatory. As long as they can keep the masses whipped into a frenzy against the Western infidels, the masses won't start asking questions about their own conditions at home.
And our president-- can we impeach him YET?-- can't open his mouth without making things worse. I am personally in favor of parachuting the administration and their "advisors" into Iraq and letting them clean up the mess they made-- but that mealy-mouthed sonofabitch is going to get us into so many wars, we're going to wind up having to protect his sorry ass even though we hate his guts.
Pope Benedict ought to have known better. Quoting a Byzantine emperor--"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached"-- is probably not the best approach to bridge building. We used to call this guy Cardinal Ratfuck-- I mean, Ratzinger-- back when he was in charge of the Inquisition; now he commits this public relations disaster and Machiavelli won't take his calls.
Not to worry-- we have the noted Islamicist Karen P. Hughes leading the defense of Western civilization.
I offer this, an appeal for sanity, one of my favorite short essays from Monty Python's Flying Circus:
Voice Over: And now, an appeal for sanity, from the Reverend Arthur Belling.
[Cut to studio. Close shot of a vicar sitting facing camera.]
Reverend Belling [played by Graham Chapman]: You know, there are many people in the country today who, through no fault of their own, are sane. Some of them were born sane. Some of them became sane later in their lives.
[The camera pulls back and we can see that the vicar has an axe in his head.]
Reverend Belling [continues]: It is up to people like you and me, who are out of our tiny little minds, to try and help these people overcome their sanity. You can start in small ways with ping-pong ball eyes and a funny voice and then you can paint half of your body red and the other half green and then you can jump up and down in a bowl of treacle going 'squawk, squawk, squawk...' And then you can go 'Neurhhh! Neurhh!' and then you can roll around on the floor going 'pting pting pting' ... [he rolls around on the floor]
Voice Over: The Reverend Arthur Belling is Vicar of St Loony Up The Cream Bun and Jam.