Afghanistan: Enraged crowd of 2,000 rallies, shouting “Die, die, foreigners!” over alleged Qur’an desecration at U.S. air base, U.S. General abjectly apologizes, orders investigation
General Allen clearly has now idea how weak and pusillanimous his repeated apologies in this video will make him appear to many, if not most, of “the noble people of Afghanistan.” He should know enough about Islamic culture to know that it respects strength and sees apologizing and attempts at conciliation as weakness, only to be despised.
Note also the General’s eager endorsement of Sharia provisions regarding treatment of the Qur’an, and unquestioning acceptance of the fundamental proposition that the burning of these Qur’ans was something heinous and to be apologized for in the first place. He makes no attempt whatsoever, even in the gentlest way, to suggest that rioting and calling for killing people because of the burning of these books is irrational, unjustifiable behavior.
And even though his assumption of a duty to enforce Sharia in this case is a matter of tactics, not belief, it is unwise: it will not win the hearts and minds of Afghans, and it sets yet another bad precedent for the responsibility of Infidel authorities vis-a-vis Sharia.
I am not saying that he should have been confrontational or defiant. As long as the pointless and self-defeating U.S. adventure in Afghanistan continues, he should do what he needs to do to protect American lives. But this abject statement, while it may (or may not) defuse tensions in the short run, in the long run it will only make matters worse.
What if 2,000 Americans rioted and protested against General Allen’s imbecility? Would we get an apology, too? An apology for the waste of the “nation-building” exercise in Afghanistan, and for the U.S. Government’s bowing to Sharia? Are violent and irrational voices the only ones that U.S. authorities heed?
“Angry Afghans rally over Quran disposal at US base,” by Deb Riechmann for the Associated Press, February 21 (thanks to all who sent this in):
KABUL, Afghanistan””More than 2,000 angry Afghans rallied Tuesday against the inadvertent burning of Qurans and other Islamic religious materials during trash disposal at an American air base. They demanded to meet the country’s president over the issue and threatened to demonstrate again if their demand was not met.
U.S. Gen. John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, apologized and ordered an investigation into the incident, which he was “not intentional in any way.”
The incident stoked anti-foreign sentiment that already is on the rise after nearly a decade of war in Afghanistan and fueled the arguments of Afghans who believe foreign troops are not respectful of their culture or Islamic religion.
Early Tuesday, as word of the incident spread, about 100 demonstrators gathered outside the sprawling Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul in Parwan province. As the crowd grew, so did the outrage.
“Die, die, foreigners!” the demonstrators shouted. Some fired hunting guns into the air. Others threw rocks at the gate of the base.
Ahmad Zaki Zahed, chief of the provincial council, said U.S. military officials took him to a burn pit on the base where 60 to 70 books, including Qurans, were recovered. The books were used by detainees once incarcerated at the base, he said.
“Some were all burned. Some were half-burned,” Zahed said, adding that he did not know exactly how many Qurans, the Muslim holy book, had been burned.
Zahed said five Afghans working at the pit told him that the religious books were in the garbage that two soldiers with the U.S.-led coalition transported to the pit in a truck late Monday night. When they realized the books were in the trash, the laborers worked to recover them, he said.
“The laborers there showed me how their fingers were burned when they took the books out of the fire,” he said.
Afghan Army Gen. Abdul Jalil Rahimi, the commander of a military coordination office in the province, said he and other officials met with protesters, tribal elders and clerics to try to calm their emotional response. “The protesters were very angry and didn’t want to end their protest,” he said.
One protester, Mohammad Hakim, said if U.S. forces can’t bring peace to Afghanistan, they should go home.
“They should leave Afghanistan rather than disrespecting our religion, our faith,” Hakim said. “They have to leave and if next time they disrespect our religion, we will defend our holy Quran, religion and faith until the last drop of blood has left in our body.”…