Unintended Consequences

The Dove World Outreach Center plans on publicly burning  a Koran, on Sept. 11th.

“On September 11th, 2010, from 6pm – 9pm, we will burn the Koran on the property of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, FL in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil!”

We understand the anger but most people think that shows disrespect to those who haven’t done anything to us.  Most Muslim peoples weren’t a part of the 9-11 attacks.  The protest have already begun.

About 3,000 members of a hard-line Islamic group marched Saturday to the U.S. Embassy in downtown Jakarta, waving banners and posters condemning the plan. The group organized similar rallies in five other cities across Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation.

This is all well and fine, and I’m sure the Dove World  are thrilled that they have got all this attention in the Moslem world, but the protest have reached even further into, Kabul Afghanistan.

Hundreds of Afghans attended a demonstration in Kabul on Monday to protest the plans of Florida pastor Terry Jones, who has said he will burn copies of Islam’s holy book to mark the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Afghan protesters chanted “death to America,” and speakers called on the U.S. to withdraw its troops. Some protesters threw rocks at a passing military convoy.

All this prompts General David Petraeus into making a statement condemning the Koran Burning.

“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort,” Gen. Petraeus said in an interview. “It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community.”

Petraeus, has legitimate concerns and fears. There can be no good for his mission and the troops whom he is responsible.  Mr Jones of the Dove Center feels otherwise.

Mr. Jones, head of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., said in a statement that “We understand the General’s concerns. We are sure that his concerns are legitimate.” Nonetheless, he added, “We must send a clear message to the radical element of Islam. We will no longer be controlled and dominated by their fears and threats.”

Rev Jones must think he has a better understanding on how to fight the Jihadist than Gen. Petreaus.

John Hindraker is concerned that Petreaus may be crossing the line.

This strikes me as troubling. Not because Petraeus is wrong; on the contrary, I think he is probably right. Already, mobs in Pakistan have demonstrated against the planned Koran burning by, among other things, burning American flags. History, e.g.the homicidal response to the Danish cartoons and the false report, circulated by the American press, that U.S. soldiers had flushed a Koran down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay, suggest that Petraeus’ fears are well founded.

Moreover, I personally am not in favor of burning Korans. My advice to the Florida church would be, don’t do it.

Still, is it not highly problematic when a senior military officer warns American citizens against exercising their undoubted First Amendment rights? This situation is different from the Koran-down-the-toilet story. We criticized news outlets at the time for endangering American troops, but that was mostly because the story was false. Presumably we can all agree that newspapers and magazines should not circulate false reports that endanger our troops. But what about accurate stories of Americans exercising their constitutional right to criticize Islam by burning Korans?

I don’t agree with Hindraker, I think that Petreaus is doing what is right in protecting his soldiers and mission, part of this war is to win the hearts and minds of of the Afghan people. Hindraker makes an good argument and deserves to be read.

3 thoughts on “Unintended Consequences”

  1. I’m more of a mind with Hinderaker. I’m wary of military leaders (or the White House, which has now weighed in) making the argument that Americans should refrain from exercising their constitutional right if it might lead the enemy to get mad at the US and fight harder, and that failing to refrain from exercising those rights falls just short of treason. That is especially true in light of the fact that disclosing secret programs and publishing purloined documents in a fashion that truly undermined the war effort was lauded as being covered under the rubric of “Dissent (against the US government) is the highest form of patriotism.” It now appears that, since the regime change that brought about the Obama Presidency, “Dissent against Islam is disloyalty to America.” Doesn’t that disturb you?

    1. Thanks for stopping by! 😉
      While, I don’t believe that generalized attacks on Islam or its people is constructive, There is certainly the right, but I don’t think that actions solely intended to offend serves any constructive purposes. There are many things that I find offensive with Islam, but actions solely intended to offend does nothing to either correct, nor to educate, and shouldn’t be confused with reasonable criticism.
      Gen. Petreaus’ statement was to make a point to make folks aware that these actions have consequences. There are already demonstrations in Afghanistan, and it is possible that the people whom the general is responsible for might get killed as result of widespread videos of Americans burning Korans. Did people in the Dove Center actually think this out before they decided to stage this thing? Petreaus’ statement didn’t have the tone of chastisement that, “Dissent against Islam is disloyalty to America.” did but, is a reasonable forecast and warning of what could happen. I do agree with you that The White House should stay out of the discussion. Once they made their statement it becomes a political. Another thing to keep in mind is that Petreaus is a strategist and his words will be weighed by the Afghans whose hearts and minds he is tasked to win over.
      I’m all for reasonable debate and criticism of Islam but, actions designed to solely offend without making a point are just as wrong as when done to the Christian faiths. I must admit that my first reaction when I heard of this was to find and burn a Koran myself and post the video it on the blog, but I realized it is sorta like urine art with the Madonna, pointless and offensive.

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