Bravado and swagger make you look silly if you’re visibly quaking in your boots.

The Washington Post has every right to decide against publishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammad.

But doesn’t it owe its readers the truth? 

Ombudsman Deborah Howell seems to think not. In a piece on the newspaper’s decision not to run the cartoons-now certainly the most newsworthy cartoons in history-she quotes Executive Editor Len Downie saying the it was a matter of “judgment, not courage.” Nonsense.

Printing the cartoons would be a risk, and it’s understandable that an editor wouldn’t want to anyone on his staff to end up like Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker stabbed to death for a movie offensive to Muslims. But it is reprehensible that Howell lets the boss off the hook, all the while proclaiming herself a “First Amendment freak.”