Thursday, April 07, 2011

Exercise Your Right to Free Speech -- Burn a Quran

General Petraeus and President Obama, to name just two, should repeat 100 times: The Right of Freedom of Speech means Americans -- Americans -- have the right to burn a Quran without fear of government opposition.

Or so many of us thought. Have both the President and the General forgotten one of our most important rights? Seems they value the "feelings" of illiterate muslims over the Rights of Americans. Their comments are horrifyingly naive and horrifyingly good news for our enemies.

Petraeus Misfires on Quran Burning

Mobs murder more than 20 innocents in the name of God—and the commander of Afghan forces rebukes a publicity-hungry pastor in Florida


It must have come as a disappointment to the mullahs of Mazar-e-Sharif—who sent the faithful out on Friday with instructions to avenge the recent insult to the Quran—and to the mobs who consequently went forth to slaughter 12 people at U.N. headquarters, nine more in Kandahar the next day, and two more the next, that their bloody enterprise had counted for so little in the eyes of Western military leaders.

So it would appear at least from the response by Gen. David Petraeus, who delivered an impassioned rebuke of a publicity-hungry Florida pastor who had presided over the mock trial and burning of a Quran on March 20. This act was, the general declared in a video statement over the weekend, "hateful, extremely disrespectful, and enormously intolerant." It had endangered American troops. He wanted, he announced, to condemn it in the strongest possible terms.

No one listening could doubt it. The general would go on to say more, but nowhere in any of that condemnation was it possible to find a mention of the merciless savagery that had taken place in the name of devotion to God and the Quran. Mark Sedwill, the NATO senior civilian representative who joined Gen. Petraeus in the statement, did manage to find a moment to murmur in passing that, of course, condolences were due to "everyone who has been hurt in the demonstrations."

It's hard to conceive of a pronouncement richer in evasions of brutal reality than this one, with its references to people "hurt'' in "demonstrations." The participants in these "demonstrations"—a nice touch, that, suggestive of marchers, perhaps carrying placards—had in fact hunted down and killed, by shooting, stabbing and beating to death a total of 22 people by the end of the third day's expression of religious devotion.

In an interview Sunday in this newspaper, Gen. Petraeus reflected further on the problems caused by burning the Quran and how mobs could be influenced by those who might have an interest in hijacking passions—"in this case, perhaps, understandable passions."

To this the only sane response is no. They are not understandable, these passions that so invariably find voice in mass murder, the butchery of imagined enemies like the people hunted down in the U.N. office Friday, and of everyone else the mobs encountered who might fit the bill. We will not prevail over terrorism and the related bloodlust of this fundamentalist fanaticism as long as our leading representatives, the military included, are inclined to pronounce its motivations as "understandable."

It should be said that President Obama, to his credit, went on to declare, after denouncing the Quran burning, that to kill innocent people in response is "outrageous and an offense to human decency and dignity." It should be said, too, that it's a bleak commentary on the prevailing political atmosphere that the president's public recognition of the horrors committed by those rampaging soldiers of Islam should seem noteworthy.

Still, it was. And it came as a relief, after so much handwringing, all of it focused on the Florida pastor and the likelihood that he may have endangered American troops. (The same was said about the danger to American troops when Newsweek published a false report, in 2005, that American interrogators had flushed a Quran down the toilet—an event which set off days of rioting and bloodshed in Afghanistan and elsewhere.)

By making no mention of the perpetrators of the current massacres—while managing to suggest they were understandably driven to their action—Gen. Petraeus doubtless believed he was taking the appropriate politic path. It's a path that's unquestionably familiar—called appeasement—and one whose usual outcome is also familiar.

Displays of cringing deference to the forces loosed on the streets of Afghanistan over the weekend will not strengthen the American mission. They will stiffen the spines of the jihadists. Such displays count as victories, reassuring indicators that the threat of terrorism—mob terrorism, in this case—continues to work its wonders as a weapon of war. The sort that could send the commanding general of U.S forces in Afghanistan and a NATO official into swoons of apology while denouncing the pastor's act. For a moment there during their joint statement it seemed altogether possible that one or another of them might begin rending his garments.

That none of these emotional proclamations included any judgment, moral or otherwise, about the criminality of the zealots who had just taken so many lives, speaks volumes to those at war with us—all of it encouraging to them. Something to consider adding to the list of things that might endanger the lives of American troops.

Ms. Rabinowitz is a member of the Journal's editorial board.

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Blogger Wesley 'Whitey Lawful' Mcgranor said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Wesley 'Whitey Lawful' Mcgranor said...

I burned a Koran, Catholic Bible, Talmud, Mormon Bible and a Johovah Witness magazine several yeras ago and no one was attentive.

2:58 PM  
Blogger no_slappz said...


Good to know that you exercised your Free Speech Rights.

However, I do hope you burned the books in a public way. It's no good to burn them privately in a trash barrel out of sight in the back yard.

If you were unable to seriously offend anyone by the burning, then the burning was probably not much of a success. If that was the case, maybe you should torch another set of the same publications.

If you do, please video the fire, especially the part of the burning Koran and then post it on YouTube.

10:15 AM  
Blogger SNAKE HUNTERS said...

General David Petraeus is responsible for the lives and well-being of 100,000 troopers, and if he says that public displays of book burning may negatively impact his duties as a field commander, that should be enough for anyone.

Freedom of speech, press and religion are great, and in the USA we have more of it than anywhere else on the planet; but the freedom to agitate & destroy are often counter-productive to 'free choice'.

More literate muslims should actually READ their Qur'an, plus the grim Brotherhood Creed, and what their apostle said and did.. to inspire the on-going 1400 yr Muslim Crusade, with honor-killings and stonings of their young girls...

Since we all came from ancient Neanderthal/CroMagnon backgrounds,
is it really necessary for us to return to the Stone Age?

Wesley Is Literate; he has a computer. He must know that reading is preferred to burning books; burning them only fans the flames of mindless hatred.. and accomplishes nothing.


"The wisest mind has something yet to learn." - reb
___ ___

11:56 PM  

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