He could have said, and should have said, that while he disagrees with the idea of burning the Qur’an, he would defend the liberty of Americans and the principle of freedom of expression. He could have said that anyone who murders an innocent person in Pakistan or Afghanistan or anywhere else because of this is entirely responsible for the murder, and Terry Jones and the other Qur’an-burners bear no responsibility for the actions of others. He could have said that to threaten violence and to commit acts of violence because of this is irrational, it’s madness — and, for that matter, it confirms the image of Islam as a religion of violence that Obama himself is so anxious to refute.
Instead, he surrendered American principles and semaphored once again that violent intimidation works.
“Obama implores minister to call off Quran burning,” from AP, September 9:
…”If he’s listening, I hope he understands that what he’s proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans,” Obama said. “That this country has been built on the notion of freedom and religious tolerance.”
That’s why Jones ought to be able to do what he wants.
“And as a very practical matter, I just want him to understand that this stunt that he is talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women who are in uniform,” the president added.
Said Obama: “Look, this is a recruitment bonanza for Al Qaida. You could have serious violence in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan.” The president also said Jones’ plan, if carried out, could serve as an incentive for terrorist-minded individuals “to blow themselves up” to kill others.
“I hope he listens to those better angels and understands that this is a destructive act that he’s engaging in,” the president said of Jones.
Indeed. But a more destructive act would be for any Muslim to harm anyone, Jones included, because of this.