Zbig Brzezinski: ‘So-Called Satire’ Was ‘Appalling and Directed at the Prophet Himself’

Former President Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser Zbingniew Brzezinski said the United States should reexamine free speech after terrorists murdered 12 people in France for publishing cartoons.

"We have to take a look more closely at the nature of the so-called satire," Brzezinski said. "I've not seen what I'm about to say, but I've been told by some people that some of the cartoons are absolutely appalling and directed at the prophet himself. Is that really humor?"

Brzezinski's comments on MSNBC's Morning Joe come after news outlets censored or refused to publish the cartoons for which the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo staff were murdered by Islamic terrorists.

Jeffrey Goldberg countered Brzezinski's statement, saying, "In the first amendment we don't protect–the goal is not to protect inoffensive speech. We have free speech from text what many people consider offensive speech. It's immemorial whether the speech is defined as vulgar or crude. Our goal in the west is to allow people to say what they want even if it's offensive and painful. that's the principle. That's sacred ideal of France. it's a sacred ideal of the U.S."

Brzezinski argued that the cartoons went against common sense and inflamed those who committed the violent acts. It echoes the argument that a number of liberals have made regarding censorship: "Words are weapons, and pictures can also be weapons, and cartoons can be weapons, and it depends on how they are used–how they are defined, how they are received by people who are very sensitive, very aroused, and not sometimes in our interest to promote that. So it's a matter of common sense."

The terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday killed 12 in Paris. It has brought up an international discourse of free speech and freedom of the press. Brzezenski's opinion reflects one that blames the victim for the actions of the fanatical terrorists. Goldberg's comments reflect the opinion that the 1st Amendment guarantees the freedom from fear of such an attack and the right to offend must be protected.