Gen. Patraeus & Koran Burning Redux

“No reasonable person would dispute that burning Korans is idiotic and highly offensive, not to mention counter-productive for Christian dialogue with our Muslim friends and neighbors.  However, what disturbs me about General Patraeus stepping into it, is the mindset that it reveals when it comes to how we as a country will deal with Islam.  President Bush, who I generally agreed with, said that “Islam is a religion of peace.”  I believe many Americans — rightly or wrongly — have grave doubts about the truthfulness of that statement.” (Burning the Koran: Gen. Patraeus Speaks)

You just have to love the “religion of peace.”  When the burning of a Koran by a clearly unstable and publicity-hungry “pastor” of a small “church” in central Florida can cause three days of rioting (and counting) and killing in the streets of Afghanistan, maybe it’s time to bring the troops home.  If Afghanistan, which is not even living in the 20th century — much less the 21st century — is so unstable and prone to violence by mobs of radicalized Muslims, then we must ask ourselves the question:  “Why are our men and women of the United States Armed Forces being placed in harm’s way for a country that will never leave the stone ages?”

How many more fallen American heroes will be laid to rest who have died for a people who do not want us there and who will never — I repeat, never — understand the most basic concepts of a democratic society?  Such is Afghanistan.  While I wholeheartedly supported President Bush’s decision to take the war on terror to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, I have come to believe that political correctness and the rules of engagement are making it near impossible to win in Afghanistan, whatever winning might look like.  If winning looks anything like the corrupt government led by President Hamid Karzai, then we need to get out as quickly as possible so that no more American military personnel are killed or injured.

I’m sure that Gen. David Patraeus is a fine soldier and person (as we both share the same middle name — Howell — would’t he have to be), but when will he stop making excuses for radical Islam?  In responding yet again to a kook in Florida, Gen. Patraeus lets violent Muslim extremists off the hook in the streets of Kandahar:

“Every security force leader’s worst nightmare is being confronted by essentially a mob, if you will, especially one that can be influenced by individuals that want to incite violence, who want to try to hijack passions, in this case, perhaps understandable passions,” (emphasis added) Gen. Petraeus said in the Sunday interview. “Obviously it’s an additional serious security challenge in a country that faces considerable security challenges.”

And, just who are the “individuals that (sic) want to incite violence?”  I’m not sure if Gen. Patraeus means Terry Jones of the World Dove Outreach Center or the government-paid clerics in Mazar-e-Sharif’s (home of the U.N. headquarters) main mosques who sermons were literally inciting the mob to violence this past Friday.  Somehow I think he blames the American-born cleric for the rioting and killing in Afghanistan.

And, what are all the causes of additional serious security challenges in Afghanistan?  On second thought, what doesn’t cause additional serious security challenges among a huge population of radicalized Muslims who are responding to their “perhaps understandable passions?”  Why Gen. Patraeus and others use this reasoning to excuse the vicious attacks by radical Muslims in Afghanistan is simply amazing.  It’s like the now discredited defense that a rapist’s attorney would use when trying to create reasonable doubt in the mind of the jurors:  “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my client should not be convicted of the violent and heinous crime of rape.  After all, when he saw how scantily-clad the alleged victim was, his understandable passions took over.  It’s really her fault for dressing the way she did.  My client cannot be held responsible for his own actions.”

Enough  with the excuses.  When will our government learn that no matter what we do in Afghanistan, it will not make a difference?  When young, Afghan religious students like 25 year-old Karimullah say: 

We cannot see the difference between that man in Florida and the American soldiers here.  They are killing our people here while in the U.S. they burn the Holy Quran.  America just wants to humiliate the Muslim world.”

maybe it’s time to get out of Afghanistan.  Maybe it’s time to realize that it doesn’t take much to humiliate the radicalized Muslim world — cartoons, South Park, words, feelings (here and here).  If CAIR and other radicalized Muslims had their way, we would be at the end of the slippery slope that may have started with banning Koran burnings but will not end until all opposition to Islam is completely silenced.  Passing laws, rioting mobs or beheadings are all apparently acceptable ways to enforce that code of silence.

If our American military commanders and politicians are going to continue to excuse the inexcusable violence perpetrated by a small, but growing group of extremist elements within Islam — particularly in Afghanistan, then maybe we need to rethink our strategy of boots on the ground.  After all, I hear that UAVs — unmanned aerial vehicles, otherwise known as drones — can be pretty effective.  Something that Gen. Patraeus might want to consider the next time riots break out.  And, there will be a next time.  Hopefully, by that time, American troops will be long gone from the wilderness known as Afghanistan!

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About Howell Scott

I have been a Southern Baptist pastor for the last fourteen years. Before entering the ministry, I was a practicing attorney in my homestate of Florida. I have been married to my wife, Brenda, for 18 years and we have three sons, Stephen, Jacob, and Andrew.
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9 Responses to Gen. Patraeus & Koran Burning Redux

  1. Dave says:

    My problem with Terry Jones is the same problem I have with the those of his ilk – they talk big & tuff in the safety of US & further endanger the lives of others overseas. If they believe they are right come burn their Qur’ans in a Middle East country if they want to make a statement or resign their church & move to a Muslim country and preach on the street corner. But no that will never happen – the arrogant never are just like the radical Muslims of these crowds and those who dance in the street when a bus is bombed in Israel – they are cowards hiding in a crowd or safety of their homeland – neither are right!

    • Howell Scott says:

      Dave,

      I agree that Terry Jones and his ilk are pathetic. And, even if what burning Korans is protected by the First Amendment (which it is), that does not make it the right thing to do. What I find so frustrating is the political correctness of most within our ruling class who sees Islam as a “religion of peace.” While not all Muslims (especially in America0 are radicalized, there are countries which are home to large populations of extremists and their sympathizers. Afghanistan seems to be one of those countries. I think that anything negative spoken against Islam would be provocation enough to instigate rioting in the streets of many Islamic countries. I do not believe that radical Islam will stop until they have silenced any opposition to Islam. We should not appease these cowards in any way. But, if we are not going to let our military engage the enemy or mobs, then we have no business over in Afghanistan. As for Terry Jones and cowards like him, I think we just need to ignore them. When there is no spotlight on them, they will become insignificant. Which is why Gen. Patraeus’ calling out Jones by name only serves the interests of radical Islam.

      I understand that you are back in Israel. Hope your ministry is going well. Things seem to be going well here at Bethel. Have been in our new Christian Education & Conference Center for about a month now. Thanks for reading and commenting. Take care and God bless,

      Howell

      Howell

  2. Dave says:

    Oh, by the way were the clerics who insight the mob there or were their children – No

  3. Bennett Willis says:

    Since I had not heard anything about Mr. Jones’ acts, I was surprised to find that he had “done it this time.” I suppose that he was hoping to get the sort of attention that he got last fall and when he did not, he “lit it off.”

    The people who want this rioting are obvious–they are the Taliban and the radicals. The people who are riled up are a combination of Taliban (and friends) and people who are angry about being subjected to us being there. Added to these are those who riot because it is something to do. The Afghans are equal opportunity people–they always don’t like foreigners living in their country so this turns out a few more. (Like it or not, from most points of view we are occupying it militarily.) One puzzle is why it took so long for the riots to come. Spontaneous riots can take a lot of organizing and this is likely to be one of those times.

    The people who really want this behavior are likely to be a relatively small (but still noticeable) fraction of the population. Remember that if you are a reporter, you select the most interesting quotes—and maybe make up a few when you need to. And if you are called upon for a quote by a reporter, you tend to try to come up with something “interesting.” (At least I certainly do.)

    I suspect that there are several communities in the US where you could get a speaker truck and (as spring comes and people respond to the warmer weather) generate riots by going through and pointing out how someone had “dissed” you and your friends. And even if you might have a hard time this year, there have been years (not so long ago) when this very sort of thing happened in the US—in a BIG way. We even riot when our team wins a championship (and burn stuff).

    While I think the riots are foolish and pointless (except as they promote their organizers agenda), I do think they were certainly predictable and were expected by most who thought about it. Recall that this was the exact reason that so many asked Mr. Jones not to do his book burning last fall.

    • Howell Scott says:

      Bennett,

      I agree that these riots were entirely predictable. Why anyone is surprised at the reaction the radicalized in the various Muslim countries is astonishing. What most of our ruling elites (political and military in both parties) will not admit is that it does not really take anything to provoke hatred of America and the West. We can be as tolerant and appeasing as possible, but there is a growing radicalized Muslim population that sympathizes with Al-Qaeda and their hatred of the United States. As for Afghanistan, I’m not really sure why we still have troops on the ground. At this point, I think we need to withdraw most of our troops and just let the predator drones do what they can with pinpoint targets. There will always be fools like Mr. Jones, but refraining from buring a Koran will still not do any good in the long run. Thanks for the comments. Have a great day and God bless,

      Howell

  4. Bennett Willis says:

    During the late 1960’s, I despaired of ever having normal years. It just did not seem like it would happen. Repeatedly we had riots in numerous cities. Assassinations seemed the normal termination of the lives of anyone who was active in pushing for much of anything. But somehow, we “got over it.” I am not sure how we did that. The “irritation” of the Viet Nam war disappeared and that was a major change. The organized gangs of anarchists somehow disappeared and peace returned to most of the US for most of the time. Our behavior during those years was not a lot different from much of what we see today in the Muslim world.

    Maybe it would be worth trying to understand how we did it. Maybe some of the same things that worked for the US would work in these other countries too.

    I am concerned that the constant “harping” on the government being the enemy may move us back toward those bad times.

    • Howell Scott says:

      “I am concerned that the constant “harping” on the government being the enemy may move us back toward those bad times.”

      Bennett,

      I agree with your sentiment. I think that being critical of the government is fine. However, when either the far left or the far right try to paint the government as “evil,” then the disenchantment will only grow worse. I think that we need to follow the Biblical model of praying for and respecting the authority that God has ultimately placed over us. That doesn’t mean we cannot peaceably assemble or vote or try to change government. We just need to be careful that we are working toward a positive solution, not making things worse. Thanks and God bless,

      Howell

  5. Tammy says:

    I hope we get out of Afghanistan soon. Bill is due to go back overseas in 2013 and will most likely be stationed there. Very scary.

    • Howell Scott says:

      Tammy,

      Hope all is well in Minnesota! Has the weather gotten any warmer now that spring has sprung? We had a relatively mild winter here in NM. I don’t know if you read two of my earlier posts back at the end of December and first part of January, but our interim Music and Worship Pastor’s son — age 22 — stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and was killed on December 27. He was serving in the Marines. Since that tragedy, it has caused me to re-evaluate why we have troops (other than UAV’s) in that country. I do hope that all the ground troops are home prior to Bill’s next deployment. When are you in Florida again? Mom moved into a new house in Lake Placid last week. We will probably go down sometime in the summer. Take care and have a great rest of your week. Love,

      Howell

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