If this were a flag-burning, do you think Holder, Clinton, Gibbs and all the rest would be speaking this way? I don't support the Qur'an burning, as I don't like the idea of burning books in general, but what Holder, Petraeus, Clinton and the rest seem to have forgotten, if they ever knew it, is that burning this book will not harm Muslims in Indonesia, Afghanistan or anywhere else. It isn't as if there aren't any other copies of the Qur'an. And if Terry Jones and his followers want to do something that Muslims and Holder and Clinton and Petraeus detest, that just makes them detestable in their eyes. It doesn't warrant or justify murderous rage and cries of "Death to America."
And the idea that the Muslim world's response to this is reasonable and that we must do our best to placate it is simply aiding and abetting a madman in his madness. Holder, Clinton, Petraeus, Gibbs and the rest should be seizing the opportunity to say that in America we believe strongly in the freedom of expression, and will protect our citizens' right to express themselves even in ways we may dislike. They should be pointing out that what Terry Jones does affects only Terry Jones, and does not harm Islam or Muslims -- and that Muslims bring far more harm to themselves by going crazy over this, issuing threats, and potentially victimizing innocent people. (Which is not to say that if they killed Jones or someone else connected with this event, that that would be justified, either.)
This could have been a teaching moment for what it means to live in a free and pluralistic society. Another lost opportunity.
"Attorney General Eric Holder calls Rev. Terry Jones' 'International Burn-a-Koran Day' 'idiotic,'" by Michael Sheridan for the New York Daily News, September 8:
The protest orchestrated by a fire-and-brimstone Florida pastor was called "idiotic and dangerous" by the U.S. Attorney General on Tuesday, according to reports. [...]
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also came out to sear the Florida preacher.
"I am heartened by the clear, unequivocal condemnation of this disrespectful, disgraceful act that has come from American religious leaders of all faiths," she said on Tuesday.
The comment follows warnings from Gen. Petraeus, who fears the incendiary act will spark more attacks on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan," he said. "Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult."
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs echoed this concern on Tuesday, noting that anything "that puts our troops in harm's way would be a concern to this administration."
Jones' planned book-burning has already ignited angry protests in Afghanistan, where hundreds chanted "Death to America," while earlier thousands gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Jakatra, Indonesia. [...]
Although pressure is mounting to cancel the Koran-burning, Mayor Bloomberg insists the pastor should be allowed to do what he wants.
"In a strange way, I'm here to defend his right to do that," he said on Tuesday. "I happen to think that it is distasteful... [but] the First Amendment protects everybody, and you can't say that we're going to apply the First Amendment to only those cases where we are in agreement."...
Bloomberg, of all people, actually gets it right.