I never really believed GW when he stood up and said that the terrorists fundamentally opposed our way of life--and I'm still not certain, but it seems that at best they fundamentally don't understand it.
The world is now exposed to a refreshing debate about freedom of speech and religion. Newspapers are rightfully publishing the controversy just because they can. People who really don't get it are being exposed, e.g. this random guy who wrote an editorial in the local paper:
We understand the concept of freedom of expression, but that does not mean it is a chance to hurt the feelings of millions of people.
Actually that's exactly what it is; or at least, it's the chance to say stuff without worrying whether or not it will offend someone. A big chunk of the world is showing the rest of us just how poor they are at basic tolerance.
And I think all this is good for the world and for America. It makes what America is doing look better. It helps the rest of the western world separate the good guys from the barbarians.
Hopefully the West will not respond to the violence by caving in. In fact, I think the most beneficial response would be to continue publishing the cartoons in more promininent places, and simply wait until the crazies discover that the sky isn't falling as a result.
..in other news, it's been a profitable week for flag peddlers!