In light of the rioting in Egypt and attacks against Coptic Christians, President Obama earlier this week urged restraint and calm. The White House statement read, in part,

The President is deeply concerned about the violence in Egypt that has led to a tragic loss of life among demonstrators and security forces.... Now is a time for restraint on all sides so that Egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united Egypt....

Yes, the Copts, too, need to calm down. But more to the point, does anyone really envision rioters hearing the words of the president and suddenly, in the midst of a rampage, dropping their weapons, pausing to reflect, and embracing one another? If only. Obama has also previously urged calm and restraint in Iran and Syria and, for some reason, the regimes didn't seem to care. Instead, the president is coming across like Kevin Bacon's character in Animal House.

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