To be fair, as Eugene Volokh points out, the State Department's statement was far more supportive of free speech than press reports suggested. But this was not a time for nuance.
UPDATE: Reader Shivan V. Mahendrarajah emails:
While I agree that the State Dept. was wrong to be nuanced in their response re the cartoons of the Prophet and the ensuing brouhaha, in a Machiavellian way, I think it brilliant (though unintentionally so, otherwise that would be giving the State Dept. way too much credit). Here's why:
1. U.S. Embassies worldwide have not been stormed, attacked or burned, and if they had been, Marines would have to disperse the crowds to prevent another Teheran, even shoot to kill (one of my former Army Drill Sergeants was in that sort of a situation in Baghdad - very unpleasant), and shootings by Marines would exacerbate the anti-Americanism that currently prevails and take the focus off the Muslim v. Europe fight as it currently stands;
2. Maybe now the Euroweenies will wake up and see what we "imperialist" Amerikaners have seen. . . .
One hopes that this will serve as a wakeup call in some quarters.