Eight dead because four Qur’ans burned

UPDATE: Note that the Qur’ans were apparently burned in private, not publicly, but some Muslims found the not-quite-consumed volumes and publicized it.

_____

How many lives does it take to expiate four charred books?  As you probably know, a few copies of the Qur’an were incinerated by Americans at Bagram air base in Afghanistan. According to the BBC:

US officials apologised on Tuesday after Korans were “inadvertently” put in an incinerator at Bagram airbase.

Officials at Bagram reportedly believed Taliban prisoners were using the books to pass messages to each other.

The charred remains of the volumes were found by local labourers.

That set off a series of riots that are continuing. Six Afghanis were killed by their own police, and now, according to today’s New York Times, two NATO troops have been killed as well. That is eight lives snuffed out by an accidental burning of words on paper—eight people who had friends and family who loved them. Think how you’d feel if your husband, daughter, or best friend were suddenly taken from you by a bullet.  Now multiply those feelings by eight: that’s the amount of pain that this incident has caused. And that, of course, is only the latest in a string of  deadly Islam-inspired “offense.”

President Obama has issued an apology:

“I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident,” Mr. Obama said in a letter to President Hamid Karzai. “I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies.”

The letter was handed to Mr. Karzai by the American ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan C. Crocker, on Thursday afternoon in Kabul.

The acting spokesman for the American Embassy in Kabul, Mark Thornburg, confirmed the wording of the letter and that it had been hand delivered by Mr. Crocker to Mr. Karzai.

“The error was inadvertent,” Mr. Obama said. “I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.”

Okay, apologies are necessary to stem this lunacy, but must they really discipline those who made the mistake?

It’s just pieces of paper.

165 Comments

  1. Somite
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Just downloaded 10 copies of the Koran and unceremoniously deleted one by one. Also, used safe erase so even the sectors are gone.

    • Griff
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Burn him!

      • Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        “Delete! Delete!”

        (Hmm… perhaps the parallel between fanatical Muslims and Cybermen isn’t inappropriate…)

        /@

        • Occam
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

          “I’m afraid, Ant. Ant, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a… fraid.”

          • HaggisForBrains
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

            “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do…”

    • Stan Pak
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Put this blasphemer to erase! And do it very safely. Let him feel slowly with great pain how his sectors are taken from him one by one!

    • Occam
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Yet another strike for iBooks: have ISAF distribute iPads, and Apple draft the EULA so that iQur’an™ may not be deleted without Apple’s express consent.

      Spontaneous emergence of iOS jailbreaking underground in the Panjshir valley predicted.

  2. GBJames
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    The religion of peace.

    • Lynne Haywood
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      Peas be upon him! Is that how it goes?

  3. Steve
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    This is what comes from half the world being below average in intelligence.

    • Posted February 25, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Someone should broadcast Prairie Home Companion into the Taliban heartlands so that they can aspire to Lake Wobegon’s levels of intelligence.

      • Filippo
        Posted February 25, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        And they can soil their drawers in rage at the idea that a woman can get up in front of people and speak and sing (and be clearly heard because she is not enveloped in a muffling burqa).

  4. Griff
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    So my plan to release a Jesus and Mo book in Afghanistan is badly timed.

    • Achrachno
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Wait! Your plan to release … ? Am I behind on something everyone knows?

      • DocAtheist
        Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Google “Jesus and Mo”, or just go to http://www.jesusandmo.net/, and enjoy!

        • Achrachno
          Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, but is Griff the artist or publisher? “So my plan to release a Jesus and Mo book …”

          I thought this was all very anonymous.

          • DocAtheist
            Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

            I’m guessing anyone could share a Jesus and Mo book and call that sharing anything they want.

          • DocAtheist
            Posted February 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

            On the other hand, you could be right…

          • Griff
            Posted February 25, 2012 at 4:27 am | Permalink

            Neither, it was a weak joke

            • Diane G.
              Posted February 26, 2012 at 3:32 am | Permalink

              If it matters, Griff, that’s exactly how I took it. (Minus the “weak.”)

  5. NoAstronomer
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Don’t even bring up the point that the reason they were being burned at all was because muslims* had scribbled in them.

    Mike.

    * Obviously not ‘true’ muslims.

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Really? Is scribbling in the Qur’ān blasphemy, too?

      /@

  6. Manfredi La Manna
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    The appropriate response would have been to incinerate four bibles. So simple and yet so beyond the grasp of the mind of the [insert any nationality] military …

    • Bacopa
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      It would be just like the trade off in Fail Safe.

      • Llwddythlw
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        Except that as far as I can remember, the rather peculiar trade-off in Fail Safe actually produced the desired resolution.

        • Bacopa
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          True, though I found the premise implausible.

          Dr Strangelove is a much better film.

  7. Heber
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Sorry, Jerry. I have to disagree with you this time. I don’t think apologies were necessary. I think Obama’s spinelessness in failing to condemn the real perpetrators of violence only speaks to the iron grip in which we are still being held by Muslim lunatics.

    I CANNOT believe Obama apologized for the ‘inadvertent incident’, while making no mention of the actual crime. I’m truly disappointed. I’m sick of this acquiescence on the part of liberals.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      I absolutely agree that he should have condemned the violence far more vehemently than he condemned those who accidentally burned a few books. That WAS cowardly.

      • Heber
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

        Either I’m confused, or your response implies something unintended. As far as I can read in what you quoted, Obama didn’t condemn the violence less vehemently than he condemned the inadvertent burning (as you I think conveyed in your reply). He didn’t condemn the murderous act AT ALL. That’s my chief concern.

        • Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          Uh…maybe because it was Americans who committed the minor faux-paus (plural?) whereas it was citizens of other countries that acted stupidly?

          A president has to be aware of perceptions, however absurd.

        • truthspeaker
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          Most of the people who were killed were demonstrators, killed by Afghan security forces. I doubt Obama is going to condemn Afghan security forces for killing Afghan demonstrators.

    • jhx
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Obama’s ONLY apology should be to the families of those killed. Not to the criminals or their supporters.

    • Mary - Canada
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Couldn’t agree more. This has been nothing but a long, boring, unnecessary charade

    • DV
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Filippo
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      In Obama’s dealing with these noble Islamofascists, I’m reminded of how I, in my early double-digit years, necessarily refined my skills of accommodation in dealing and coping with my violence-prone, Seagram’s-soaked redneck stepfather, trying to figure out what (not) to say or do to try to keep him a “happy camper.”

      Being President was described by Lyndon Johnson as being “like a mule out in a hailstorm; you just have to stand there and take it.”

      In some NYT article, some noble Afghan noble Islamofascist ragged on about Americans “killing innocent children.”

      Do those innocent children include those young girls permanently scarred by having acid flung in their faces – by noble Islamofascists – because they sought to obtain an education? Or those young women who, in the flower and prime of their youth, had their noses cut off – by noble Islamofascists – because they dared to presume to have some same in their matrimonial destiny?

      Or, are these merely “tribal,” “cultural” situations, to which Islam has no relevance? The perpretrators never confess to its being due to (the influence of) Islam.

    • Mettyx
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 3:52 am | Permalink

      I agree, it is disgusting that Obama apologized, such insane pandering is what got us here in the first place.

      There should be zero tolerance for terrorism, in any form it might come.

  8. Tulse
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Okay, apologies are necessary to stem this lunacy, but must they really discipline those who made the mistake?

    I would hope that the military has made clear to its soldiers the importance of being sensitive to the locals’ lunacy, so yeah, given that someone failed to take that into account, discipline is appropriate. Punishing those who burned the Qur’ans is not a statement that Qur’an-burning is in itself wrong, but that a) burning Qur’ans could cause trouble for relations, and thus b) soldiers should not burn Qur’ans. It’s a pragmatic issue of military discipline and local relations.

    • Veroxitatis
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      +1

    • truthspeaker
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      +2

    • Lurker111
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      And if you _must_ burn a Koran, at least stir the ashes to make it unrecognizable. Sheesh!

      • Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        Or do it under the cover of nightfall, at least!

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Yeah, I was going to say something along those lines. Seriously, in 2012, burning some Qurans in broad daylight in Afghanistan is such an incomprehensibly boneheaded error, that yeah, maybe discipline is justified. It’s not because they burned the books per se, it’s that they engaged in an action that was virtually guaranteed to provoke violence, and which they should have been well aware.

      This is not the same as, say, writing a book that happens to offend Muslims, or a principled protest against radical Muslim intolerance. This really truly was needless offense, in that the personnel responsible weren’t trying to engage in some kind of speech that happened to be offensive, they just carried out their jobs in a way that was virtually guaranteed to result in violence.

      I will fight tooth and nail for a person’s right to engage in offensive speech, even gratuitously offensive and unnecessary speech, and even when that speech is certain to result in a stupid backlash like this that causes needless death and destruction. Speech is that important. Moreover, I will not assign moral blame to the boneheaded-burners for the violence: the violence is the fault of the perpetrators of said violence, and the holy men who incite them, nobody else.

      But I will assign them blame for doing something so incredibly stupid, when they should have known better, and when there was no principled stance behind it. Should they be disciplined? Quite possibly.

      (On a side note, it’s unfortunate that in this comment most of the text is talking about what the boneheaded-burners did wrong, and not what the violent fucktwists did/are doing wrong. Rest assured that if I were to right my own blog post on this topic, most of the text would be about the latter, because there’s a big difference between making an inexcusably dumb mistake vs. being a violent homicidal piece of shit. It’s merely because I am responding to a comment from Jerry that the text is mostly about the boneheads. It should go without saying that their error pales in comparison to the vile crimes being committed in response. There’s no “I condemn the violence, but…” here. I condemn the violence, period. The only “but” is in regards to whether the boneheads should be disciplined.)

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        +1

      • Penman
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        And PZ’s wafer incident?

    • Jon Hendry
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Exactly.

      Stupid as the reaction is, stuff like this has gotten Americans *killed*. In fact, it appears some Americans were killed today, because of this incident.

      We’ve known this for years. This outcome is entirely predictable, and nasty people are waiting to take advantage of screwups like this.

      Therefore, some disciplining is justifiable, just as it would be if a soldier did something else sloppily, and put fellow soldiers’ lives at risk.

      Diplomacy and protocol are full of stupid shit. Quibbling about who get invited to a meeting, and who sits where. “Don’t burn the host nation’s stupidly precious religious text” is no more stupid than worrying about the seating chart at an international conference so you don’t blow your shot at getting a trade deal.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

        After all, it was exactly as stupid as pastor Terry Jones. Nobody needs that sort of thing. I think an apology was well in order, it’s the ‘we don’t ever apologise for anything’ attitude that plays a large part in making the US hated in many parts of the world. (An attitude shared by many others, unfortunately). When you’ve f*cked up, and everybody can see you’ve f*cked up, apologise!

        As for the Korans, one doesn’t have to regard them with reverence to condemn leaving them lying around, just think of them as the equivalent of explosives, or tapes from Wikileaks – would the soldiers responsible have been so casual about leaving them in the trash?

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

          Except, of course, Terry Jones did it on purpose. (Why no edit function in WordPress?)

  9. Knuckle Pushups
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Sorry, I have to disagree with the wording a little here. Eight are not dead because four Korans were burned. Eight are dead because Muslims are insane, blood lust savages. We are using their language and falling into their trap when we say that their savagery was “caused” by something we did. They love it when we’re stupid and blame ourselves for their actions. Believing that we can somehow reach a state of behavior that doesn’t “offend” Muslims is utter delusion. The only state they want from us is our own deaths. But, even that pisses Muslims off, as evidenced by their dead body mutilations. We cannot win their hearts and minds. It is a delusion to think so. Don’t even try.

    • Linda Grilli Calhoun
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Thank you for this.

      This is so very similar to domestic abusers, whose argument is always, “Her behavior provoked me into it.”

      GAAAA!!!! L

    • daveau
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Exactly. The wrongness is with the murderers, not with people who failed to abide by others’ superstitions. Oh those poor, poor bullies. Now look what you’ve made them do.

    • Mary - Canada
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      It is evident that any efforts have been fruitless

    • DV
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      so you’re saying people have free will?

    • Jon Hendry
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      “Eight are dead because Muslims are insane, blood lust savages”

      Oh look, a bigot. You probably send fan mail to Anders Breivik.

      • Steve
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        Wait a minute… maybe those remarks were meant metaphorically.

  10. Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Sheik Nasser Al Omar must have been the forensic book examiner.

  11. Simon
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    eight people who had friends and family who loved them. Think how you’d feel if your husband, daughter, or best friend were suddenly taken from you by a bullet. Now multiply those feelings by eight: that’s the amount of pain that this incident has caused.

    I think many Afghan people could empathize quite a bit with this sentiment. In fact, here’s what one that was quoted in the NY Times article that is linked above:

    “This is not just about dishonoring the Koran, it is about disrespecting our dead and killing our children,” said Maruf Hotak, 60, a man who joined the crowd on the outskirts of Kabul, referring to an episode in Helmand Province when American Marines urinated on the dead bodies of men they described as insurgents and to a recent erroneous airstrike on civilians in Kapisa Province that killed eight young Afghans.

    “They always admit their mistakes,” he said. “They burn our Koran, and then they apologize. You can’t just disrespect our holy book and kill our innocent children and make a small apology.”

    • Llwddythlw
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      I wonder what Maruf Hotak would propose as appropriate recompense.

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Simon, that’s still not the point. Complaining about dead children is one thing, but about burnt paper is another. Combining the two is to get the whole matter out of sync. Burning books becomes as serious as killing kids. By any reasonable measure, it’s not, but the response was to the burning of books, not to the killing of kids.

      • Simon
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        Well there have been protests in Afghanistan against the killing of civilians: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_casualties_of_the_War_in_Afghanistan_(2001%E2%80%93present)#Afghan_public_protests_over_civilian_deaths

        • Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          So what? They still aren’t connected!

          • truthspeaker
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

            Except that the perpetrators are the same.

      • Paulo Jabardo
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        Afghans have suffered a lot over the paste few decades. They have lots of reasons to protest. If they protested for any of those reasons, the following would probably happen: they would be labelled as taleban and they would be shot at, arrested and tortured. Neighbourhoods would probably be bombed.

        Protesting against “desecration” of the Quran is probably one of the few legitimate reasons (as in allowed by the government) to organise a protest.

        Burnt paper might be the “causus belli” of the protests but it is hardly the reason. The same argument could be used for the Danish cartoons. The recent electoral victories of islamists in Tunisia and Egypt indicate something along this line: their religious crap was probably the only dissent tolerated by the government during long dictatorships. So the muslim brotherhood was the only “opposition” to be minimally organised and have mass following. Now that they are in government (at least in Tunisia) I give them 1-2 years before they lose popular support. Religious crap make good opposition but not good governance.

        • Simon
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

          If they protested for any of those reasons, the following would probably happen: they would be labelled as taleban and they would be shot at, arrested and tortured.

          Indeed. Although even in this case six of the eight people who died were protesters themselves.

        • Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

          God, you guys make me sick. There are lots of things wrong in Afghanistan, the position of women not least. Who is standing up for the girls with acid in their faces? Who protests that? So, what is your point. There are always lots of things to protest about, but about a fucking book!?

          • Scott near Berkeley
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

            And what was Kabul in the 1990s?? Reduced to rubble by incessant rocket attacks from various Islamic factions. No doubt, hundreds of Qu’rans were destroyed, damaged, desecrated. Not a peep. Same with bombings in Baghdad. If every NATO vehicle carried a dozen Qu’rans, would they dare blow them up?? How about Qu’rans strapped to fuel tankers?

            For males in Islam, women are chattel. Make no mistake. The men may pay lip service for the need to educate women, not disfigure them (genital mutilation) but it’s only to gain NATO action for “their side”.

            NATO is close to winning, but I still say, let the whole mess go…..

          • Simon
            Posted February 24, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

            Who is standing up for the girls with acid in their faces? Who protests that?

            There are many people in Afghanistan standing up for the women. Here’s one that comes to mind: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malalai_Joya

            • Filippo
              Posted February 25, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

              I don’t think anyone is surprised that women would stand up for women. I myself am looking for at least one Afghan male to similarly, publicly, stand up for female equality and freedom (at least freedom to not be defaced by acid and nose amputation).

    • Griff
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      How is it that he can equate burning a book with killing children?

      • truthspeaker
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Because the two incidents are related. The same people who burned the books are the ones killing Afghani children.

        • Simon
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          +1

        • Saikat Biswas
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          Are you really saying that if an Afghan inadvertently burned a Koran, they would be less offended?

          • truthspeaker
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

            Yes, they would be less offended. They would probably execute the guy who did it, but not riot.

            • Saikat Biswas
              Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

              Your expertise on Afghan psychology is fascinating.

              • truthspeaker
                Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

                Their country has sort of been in the news for the last 30 years.

        • Persto
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

          Are you suggesting that the American soldiers ,who inadvertently burned four books,–which contained hidden messages being exchanged among detainees–are killing Afghan children?

          Firstly, the Afghan police were responsible for the 8 killings not American soldiers. Why? Protestors were hurling grenades and shooting at them. A Norwegian soldier was injured after a grenade was thrown into the coalition compound.

          Two American troops were killed by an Afghan soldier who turned on coalition forces. Wonder why?

          “The Taliban used the opportunity to incite more attacks on foreign forces. In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid described the burning as an “unforgivable crime.” He urged Afghan army and police to become “real sons of the nation” by turning their guns on coalition forces.”

          • Simon
            Posted February 24, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

            Are you suggesting that the American soldiers ,who inadvertently burned four books,–which contained hidden messages being exchanged among detainees–are killing Afghan children?

            1) It’s worth pointing out that both the ‘inadvertent destruction’ and the ‘hidden messages’ are claims made by the US military. They may well be true, however the US military has been known to make false claims during wartime.

            2) No of course I’m not saying these specific soldiers killed Afghan children.

            Firstly, the Afghan police were responsible for the 8 killings not American soldiers. Why? Protestors were hurling grenades and shooting at them. A Norwegian soldier was injured after a grenade was thrown into the coalition compound.

            Two American troops were killed by an Afghan soldier who turned on coalition forces. Wonder why?

            “The Taliban used the opportunity to incite more attacks on foreign forces. In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid described the burning as an “unforgivable crime.” He urged Afghan army and police to become “real sons of the nation” by turning their guns on coalition forces.”

            See my comment elsewhere in this thread re: this.

            • Persto
              Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

              (1)Ok?
              (2)Ok?

              What is your +1 about then?

              • Simon
                Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

                The fact that the obvious was stated by thruthspeaker, and that is that the Afghans see the US/NATO military presence as responsible for many of their woes.

                You or I may see different incidents as isolated, however to them it’s not a terrible stretch to see everything as part of a strategy.

        • Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          You mean no Afghanis are killing children? No girls have been killed just for going to school? No teachers who care for children are being killed because they teach children? Really? The same people who are protesting the fact that some Qu’rans are killed are quite willing to throw acid in girls’ faces because the girls want to learn. They’re quite willing to sell girls to old men. They’re quite willing to beat them, cover them up, disfigure them, just because of the same Qu’ran and its 7th century beliefs about women. Is that what your +1 is all about, Simon?

      • Jon Hendry
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        Because both indicate disrespect of the locals.

    • Filippo
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      I say again, to emphasize my previous post, do the innocent children include young girls and women defaced by acid and amputated noses – courtesy of noble Islamofascists – for presuming to have a say in their educational and matrimonial destinies?

  12. Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    This is so tiresomely predictable! It seems as though, every time a Muslim gets offended, somewhere someone dies, or four or six or eight — or 2 or 3 thousand — just because of offended religious sensibilities. And then someone comes along a tells us that Islam is no danger. It’s a continuous and continuing danger, because so many Muslims simply cannot control what they do, mullahs keep urging their people to bring about murder and mayhem in the name of their god, the imaginary being who prescribes death for those who offend his devotees. And dim-witted Christaians keep telling the old lie, that religion is about love, peace and self-control, and grovel before Muslim dramatics. Religion is not abut love and peace. It’s about power, about demand for respect, about submission, whether to the pope, the mullahs, or anyone who claims to speak for their god or gods. Atheists are condemned because they so stridently condemn religion and its consequences — but never stridently enough, for the religious continue to play the power game, exaggerating their offence, so that others will be cowed by their zeal. Islam is the worst, because its scriptures and other supposedly sacred texts demand death and other physical harms for offences agaisnt the prophet or the stupid god that Mohammed created, and someone who burns a book is held to account, instead of the people who respond with such predictable offence. No one should be held accountable for burning paper, and those who are offended should just be told to stuff it. NATO troops are in Afghanistan precisely because Muslim offence led to a heinous crime, and far more than 8 people have died as a result. Apologising for offence is a way of keeping this stupid mindset alive. The only way to stop the inevitable response of offence is to cause more offence, until we have marginalised and trivialised the drama of offended sensibility — the tantrums thrown by the religious, who have found that behaving like children gets others attention. The way to deal with them is to treat them like the spoiled children they are, and tell them to grow up.

    • Simon
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      NATO troops are in Afghanistan precisely because Muslim offence led to a heinous crime, and far more than 8 people have died as a result.

      Yes, and it makes perfect sense to mobilize a NATO force of over 100,000 troops to go after Al-Qaeda. A group for which US military intelligence stated in late 2009 that there are “perhaps fewer than 100 members of the group left in the country”

      Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/10/AR2009111019644.html

      • truthspeaker
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        That’s different, because we’re the good guys. Why do you hate America?

        ^sarcasm

        • truthspeaker
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          Sorry, meant to reply to the Apache helicopter comment, not this one.

      • Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        Simon, why would you respond to one of the subsidiary points that I made, instead of to the main drift of what I said? Religions demand respect, and Muslims in many places will riot if they don’t get it. Don’t forget, like it or not, Islam is at the heart of all this, and will remain so until we cut the Gordion knot of paying attention to temper tantrums. The best way of dealing with tantrums is to ignore them, and show that you won’t get your way just because you throw them. That means, offending, until people get tired of throwing temper tantrums because they’re offended. Then perhaps we can even have a reasonable discussion. But so long as Islam responds with temper tantrums, there is no future in trying to talk about it reasonably.

        • GBJames
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          Sadly, I get into similar arguments with my brother. I object to Islam-induced violence somewhere and he responds with comments designed to shift the responsibility elsewhere. It is as if downtrodden people are incapable of rational behavior. He doesn’t seem to recognized the insult embedded therein. And while he is perfectly able to recognize offenses of his own government, riots-for-allah are viewed the cry of the oppressed.

          Drives me crazy.

        • Filippo
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

          Last week I saw a 3- or 4-year old protofascist wannabe trying to bully his mother in the grocery store to do his bidding . . . wailing and whaahing and ululating and exhortating and spewing and grabbing at Mom so much he was choking himself, until he finally started to tire and tapered off. The mother resolutely kept her cool.

          It would seem that noble Islamofascists are prone to group tantrums.

          “We bear the stamp of our lowly origin.”

          – You Know Who

  13. Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    If we insist in foreign adventures in irrational lands, we must play by the prevailing irrational rules, somewhat. Saying we will punish the soldiers responsible isn’t te same thing as actually doing something.

    • Steve
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Unless there is made a demand that we turn the perpetrators over to some kind of Islamic tribunal.

      I think we have lost sight of why we are in their country in the first place (and second place and third place). We are now like the fox stuck with all limbs in the tar-baby.

      • truthspeaker
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        I don’t think so. American defense contractors are still making money off the American taxpayer. That was the primary reason for our troops being there.

        • Steve
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          Well, yeah, there is always that.

  14. Sigmund
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I think you are all mistaken. The Islamists are not suggesting that it is never wrong to burn a Koran. They are simply pointing out that burning Korans in a garbage pile is the wrong way to do it.
    The right way to burn Korans is by strapping a bomb to a child and sending him into a Shia Mosque to obliterate those infidels, and no doubt, incinerating any Korans on the premises.
    Does anyone care to consider the total number of Korans destroyed in such attacks – or other incidents of wanton destruction of places such as schools that contain such books?

    • Simon
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Indeed, soooo barbaric. Unlike our enlightened and sophisticated Apache helicopter attacks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_casualties_in_the_War_in_Afghanistan_(2001%E2%80%93present)

      • Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Who said anything about the Afghan war being enlightened or sophisticated? War is barbarism at it’s core. We shouldn’t be there, period, and I’ll even grant that the whole Qu’ran burning outrage is just an offshoot to the civilian horrors that we have visited on that country, salt in a wound so to speak. This probably isn’t the best example of Islamic sensitivity out there, but Sigmund’s example of strapping bombs to children just to kill people of a slightly different religious sect is no less horrific just because America’s actions in Afghanistan are atrocious. Though your link makes me want to cry, it’s a tu quoque fallacy to dismiss one horror for another. Sure, it would be easier to hold the moral high ground if we weren’t bombing children and pissing on corpses (tax payer funded), but let’s not defend barbarism with barbarism.

        Obama apologizing for a pile of ash is considerably more absurd considering the piles of bodies that go un-mentioned. I do not condone senseless violence no matter what side it comes from.

        • Simon
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          I’m not dismissing anything-war is terrible. However it is hypocritical to finger-wave at the Afghans and not hold our own leaders to account. So yeah, if “moral leadership” is something we care about as US citizens, then we should try a novel concept like leading by example.

          • Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

            No, I think what you’re doing here is straight-up tu quoque. You insist Justin’s term “dismissing” is inaccurate, but when someone who writes something critical of Islam is accused of hypocrisy, “dismissing” doesn’t seem an entirely inapplicable term.

            Besides, who here is actually guilty of hypocrisy? Be it known that I, and I would suspect most others on this forum, denounce just about ALL forms of violence. I didn’t send anyone anywhere to kill civilians, or perhaps lose their own life, and I’d never vote for a leader who demonstrates a ready willingness to do do.

            What’s wrong with pointing out one particularly batshit insane cause of violence?

            • Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

              “to do so.”

              • Llwddythlw
                Posted February 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

                I think your original “do do” was just as apposite given the actions described above.

          • Persto
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

            You mean like opposing superstition and tyranny?

        • truthspeaker
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          I didn’t read that comment as condoning any violent acts. It was more about removing the plank in one’s own eye before condemning someone else’s.

          To me, condemning acts of barbarism carried out by my own government, in my name and with my tax dollars, is a much higher priority than condemning acts of barbarism carried out by foreigners in their own countries.

    • Mary - Canada
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Good evidence!

  15. Hempenstein
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    The last balloon of the last frame still applies.

    • Steve
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      I can’t agree with Gwynne Dyer’s take on the matter.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        I don’t either (& intended that all else be jumped over). But it’s the only place I’ve been able to find a copy of that Doonesbury.

        If anyone knows of another source, pls post.

  16. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    … but must they really discipline those who made the mistake?

    They’ll have to choose an appropriate punishment. Maybe send the perpetrators out of Afghanistan and back home?

  17. Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    If “being disciplined” means “being sent home”, well…is that bad? :)

  18. truthspeaker
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Going apeshit because someone burned a book is, of course, insane.

    But it’s their country and our troops our unwelcome visitors there. In circumstances like that, it’s important to make sure your people don’t trample on the feelings of the people whose country you’re occupying, even if those feelings are based on insanity.

    All the more reason not to have any NATO troops there.

    • Steve
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      I think the reason to go to another country is because you don’t “like” the prevailing feelings of the people living there, and you intend to modify those feelings to be more in keeping with the way you’d rather them be… else wise why bother. (This is not to say I think this is a prudent policy.)

  19. Mark
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Every time Muslims bomb each other mosques, Korans are destroyed and there is no outrage. Every time Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad orders the bombing of a civilian neighborhood, Korans are destroyed and there is no outrage.

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Very good point.

    • Simon
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Yes, no outrage whatsoever:

      Friday, January 28, 2011
      BAGHDAD – Violent protests erupted in a Shiite neighborhood here Thursday after a powerful car bomb ripped through a funeral ceremony, killing 48 people and wounding 121

      Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/27/AR2011012707508.html

      • Saikat Biswas
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        They were so outraged that somehow it was confined to pelting stones and the killing innocent people was avoided. I wonder why.

        • Simon
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

          You do realize that in this incident the majority of the people that died were the protesters at the hands of the Afghan police?

          • Persto
            Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

            You do realize the protestors were throwing grenades and shooting at the Afghani police? You do realize an Afghani soldier shot two American troops? You do realize the Taliban urged the Afghan army and police to become “real sons of the nation” by turning their guns on coalition forces for burning the quran?

            “Apologies are not enough,” declared Mohammad Qasim Sediqi, leader of the Khoshi district council. The culprits “have to be put on trial and culprits should face the law.”

            • Simon
              Posted February 24, 2012 at 6:37 am | Permalink

              You do realize the protestors were throwing grenades and shooting at the Afghani police?

              You know this for a fact now do you? If that were the case why have no Afghan police been killed by these allegedly lethally armed protesters?

              You do realize an Afghani soldier shot two American troops? You do realize the Taliban urged the Afghan army and police to become “real sons of the nation” by turning their guns on coalition forces for burning the quran?

              Yes I do. It’s a war and calling for defections is standard fare. Do a search on PSYOPS and get a sampling of what the US does: http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/psyop.cfm

              “Apologies are not enough,” declared Mohammad Qasim Sediqi, leader of the Khoshi district council. The culprits “have to be put on trial and culprits should face the law.”

              Yes, even in a war-ridden and corrupt country like Afghanistan, there are calls to put people on trial. A luxury we’ve been unable to provide the Guantanamo detainees.

              • Persto
                Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

                “You know this for a fact now do you? If that were the case why have no Afghan police been killed by these allegedly lethally armed protesters?”

                Yes, I am certain. A Norwegian soldier was injured by a grenade that was hurled into a coalition compound.

                “Yes I do. It’s a war and calling for defections is standard fare.”

                Not the point. I was identifying that Taliban leaders were beseeching people to kill not only coalition forces, but Afghans, as well, for inadvertently burning four Qurans, which contained hidden messages. This thread is not about discussing the merits and tactics of war.

                “Yes, even in a war-ridden and corrupt country like Afghanistan, there are calls to put people on trial. A luxury we’ve been unable to provide the Guantanamo detainees.”

                “The culprits “have to be put on trial and culprits should face the law.”

                He wasn’t vociferating for merely a trial, but for them to “face the law.” So, you conclude they should be permitted to place people on trial for unwittingly incinerating Qurans? Are you aware of the punishment for burning a Koran?

                Not germane. Who is talking about Guantanamo?

      • Persto
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        You do realize they were upset that people were killed and wounded not that Qurans were destroyed?

        • Saikat Biswas
          Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

          +1

  20. Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    It is easy to criticize the president who must speak to two audiences, Afghanis and Americans.
    Personally, he probably would love to tell the Afghanis to go to hell, but politically he cannot. Give him a break.

  21. Ray Moscow
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Better Obama:

    “We’re sorry that so many people in your country value a few copies of an book more than human life. We were hoping you were smarter than that, but considering that you country has a history of harbouring religious murderers, in retrospect we should have known better.

    “We will take every means to ensure that other copies of this book be made available at your local bookstores at a modest price. In the meantime, stop killing people.”

    • Simon
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Yes, because the US government never supports murderers like say MEK, even when they are on our own designated terrorist list:

      On January 05, 2009, Time Magazine published an article about PMOI and reported: “Despite its position on the U.S. terrorist list since 1997, and reports by former members of abusive and cultlike practices at Ashraf, the MEK has gathered support from some surprising places abroad — especially since the U.S. invasion — by pitching itself as a viable opposition to the mullahs in Tehran. “They have been extremely clever and very, very effective in their propaganda and lobbying of members of Congress,” says Gary Sick, a Persian Gulf expert at Columbia University’s Middle East Institute and the author of All Fall Down: America’s Tragic Encounter With Iran. “They get all sorts of people to sign their petitions. Many times the Congressmen don’t know what they’re signing.” But others, Sick adds, “are quite aware of the fact that this is a designated terrorist organization, and they are quite willing to look the other way for a group that they think is a democratic alternative to the Iranian regime.”

      Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People's_Mujahedin_of_Iran#Designation_as_a_terrorist_organization

      • J.J.E.
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        God Simon, you have a serious non sequitur issue. Your incessant appeals to hypocrisy in this thread are either:

        1) a tu quoque fallacy if you are defending the acts of the killers;
        2) off topic if you are merely criticizing U.S. policy;
        3) simply irrelevant if you are doing neither.

        I doubt it is #1. And, as has been pointed out, most people here probably aren’t too enamored of U.S. policy in Afghanistan anyway, so you aren’t really disagreeing in any meaningful way, so, in addition to being off topic (we are criticizing the role of Islam in these killings) #2 is ALSO preaching to the choir. So, I’ll provisionally peg #3 as describing your protestations.

        Sure, we’re all very proud of you that you can determine that waging war in a nation tends to piss of the populace if they suffer as a result. Gold star and a complete on your six-weeks report card! But c’mon, what exactly are you trying to communicate here that either we don’t already know or that we actually disagree with?

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 24, 2012 at 2:32 am | Permalink

          Precisely.

        • Simon
          Posted February 24, 2012 at 6:56 am | Permalink

          I’m an atheist and I’m a citizen of the US. These mean two things in my case:

          1) I’m not going to try analyze the religious motivations of someone else in this case. There are others more qualified than I in this regard and more power to them.

          2) I don’t see myself as having a moral responsibility for the actions of the Afghans. I do however pay taxes and vote in the US so as a citizen I do have a moral responsibility to speak my mind with regards to US policy.

          And no, I don’t know that people on this blog are not “enamored with US policy”. And how would I when I see people as being referred to as ‘blood lust savages’ and I see righteous indignation over Afghans protesting when there is a giant elephant in the room of our seemingly endless military onslaught of their country.

          • J.J.E.
            Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

            And by “protesting”, you actually mean “killing 8 people”?

            I doubt this will get enough responses to answer the question, but I’m willing to put my hypothesis to the test:

            1) Jerry, support the ongoing war in Afghanistan?
            2) Readers who criticize the role of Islam in these killings, do you support the ongoing war in Afghanistan?

            You have provided sufficient evidence of your thinking for me to outline it as follows:

            1) People are criticizing Islam and Muslims in Afghanistan;
            2) The U.S. is engaged in a war in Afghanistan;
            3) One cannot support 1 without supporting 2;
            4) Therefore I must tell people that the war in Afghanistan is bad and that their criticism of Islam supports it.

            That’s pretty poor thinking.

  22. John K.
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    The “yes, but” arguments here are not very compelling. When someone get angry and kills someone else, they do not deserve an apology from the one that got them upset. The apology ends up being validation.

    U.S. poor behavior cannot be used to validate other poor behavior, especially with such drastically unequal offenses.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      I think they do when the one who got them upset is an unwelcome “guest” in their country.

      If Americans want to burn Korans here in the US, more power to them. But going into a country where you know the population has an irrational attachment to the Koran, killing a bunch of them, and then burning some Korans is a little different.

      • Steve
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        If Americans want to burn Korans here in the US, more power to them.

        Apparently not… just awhile back some US Pastor wanted to stage a big ol’ Qur’an bonfire stateside and there was all sorts of wailing and gnashing of teeth… loins were girded up and swords were rattled until the bonfire was canceled.

    • Ray Moscow
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      If people acted this way because of the (no doubt many) bombs that got dropped on innocent people, that would be more easily justified.

      I suppose one could argue that the anger was largely about this collateral violence and that the Quran burning was just a spark that set off the powderkeg. Whether this idea has any validity, I don’t know.

    • Occam
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Seriously now: how many of those who have posted brave statements here have served on the dark side of the moon? How many have been shot at in an ambush?

      Much as it makes my stomach turn: it’s one thing to take a brave stance on a website, it’s quite another thing when you’re a walking target in the sights of an AK-47. I’m quite OK with a politician playing the coward, eating humble pie, and trying to calm things down a bit. Those guys deployed in the Afghan shitholes have enough on their plate as it is, without this new piece of craziness. I wouldn’t mind being called an arch-accommodationist this time, if it helps preventing a single serviceman having his butt shot off for this crappy lunacy.

  23. Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The insanity is hitting the home front as well. Some guy wears a Zombie Mohammed costume at a Halloween parade in Pennsylvania and gets attacked by a man showing his son how Muslims must “defend their prophet”. The judge scolds the Zombie Mohammed, calling him a “dufus” and lets the defendant off the hook for being provoked.

    http://atheists.org/blog/2012/02/22/muslim-attacks-atheist-muslim-judge-dismisses-case-blames-victim

  24. NelsonMuntz
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    But apologies won’t stem the lunacy. Any hope of having a positive impact, of maybe getting past the barbarity and ignorance and misogyny of that patriarchal, backwards culture was lost after March 20th 2003. I hate to think what life will be like for women and for those who supported the US and NATO after we leave, but it is time to leave.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      It was lost long before that.

      There never was any hope.

      I don’t think it’s possible for a foreign power to change Afghani culture, especially not with bombs and guns.

    • Mark
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      When NATO leaves we should find a home in the west for any Afghan woman who wants to leave.

      • Filippo
        Posted February 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Yes, including those who have been defaced by acid or nose amputation by noble Islamofascists.

  25. Sigh
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    The league of morons is out in full force again, oh that reminds me of the movie Burn After Reading.

    • GBJames
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Indeed (about the league). As to the other bit, I find myself wondering if what we need now is a sequel called “Burn Before Reading”.

  26. JBlilie
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Minor nit:

    Afghanis is sort of a double-plural.

    I think it would be Afghani over there (plural) or Afghans here …

  27. Patricia Kayden
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Where in his apology does the President indicate that he will discipline those responsible for accidentally burning the Qur’ans? I don’t see it.

    • Steve
      Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      “The error was inadvertent,” Mr. Obama said. “I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.”

      Maybe holding accountable does not equal discipline… but maybe it does.

  28. ForCarl
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    With the way our military is saturated with fundamentalist radical christians from the ground up into the Pentagon, it would not surprise me at all if this whole Koran burning was not an accident.

  29. Diane G.
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    (subscribing)

  30. Achrachno
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    I suspect that the anger is the result of being disrespected by outsiders. People are often touchy about that. Burning their holy book (on top of all the other outrages they’ve suffered, including having their country occupied) is probably emotionally similar to having someone you disliked anyway flip you off. The rage boils up. A Muslim blowing up mosque may not have the same impact as a Xian doing something less bad.

  31. Harbo
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    If one “memorises” the Qur’an and then forgets a word, or more, is one then obliged to commit suicide?

    • GBJames
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      Only if one memorized the original Arabic.

  32. Harbo
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    Or perhaps, my old copy has faded and is now illegible, am i guilty of destruction by neglect?

  33. Katie G
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I can’t seem to get over the fact that this seems pretty simple….ALL soldiers/private hires are given very strict rules about the Q’uran and pretty much all customs in the Middle East. In fact, it’s reviewed often.
    I can’t make myself believe that these were burned by accident, just no way.
    Secondly, regardless if it’s right or not, some of these Muslims are just plain psychos, I think we all understand that. In fact, that’s exactly why these rules/customs are reviewed often with soldiers.
    They fu*ked up, got caught and now they’re in shit. In fact they could have caused/still could cause a MASSIVE uprising if not handled well.
    It was irresponsible at best but really ignorant and selfish. If Muslim soldiers burned a bible there would be insane Christians willing to kill also….. and someone would expect at very least an apology or severe resolution.

    Peace of some kind needs to be established. Who the F cares is we apologize or not?? Let’s move on. Geez…we did wrong and shit needs to be stabilized.

    • GBJames
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Katie G, how do we “move on” in a world where being offended is considered reasonable cause for killing people? Sure, you shouldn’t go around offending people. But nobody has the right to not be offended. If I slur you with an offensive sexist comment is it reasonable for you to shoot me? If you insult my children do I have reasonable cause to slash your throat?

      This isn’t about whether or not people should be offensive. Of course they should not. But so what? The problem we must confront is that some people feel that offending their delicate religious senses is reasonable cause for them to slaughter people. We’re talking about the difference between violations of decorum and pure insanity.

      And saying that some insane Christians would do the same thing is totally irrelevant. If they did it would be just as inexcusable.

    • DocAtheist
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      I’d go one step further and worry that this situation would be used as grounds for terrorist attacks here, and particularly against churches as well as government, moreso than secular locations.

  34. Bjarte Foshaug
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    You know that something has gone horribly wrong when:

    1) anything other than discrimination in Islam’s favor is considered anti-Islamic discrimination or “islamofobia”.
    2) a set of abstract, philosophical ideas about theology and metaphysics is seen as deserving of the same rights, equality, tolerance and respect that used to be reserved for living people.
    3) the interests of beliefs, practices, ideologies and ways of thinking are allowed to trump the interests of real live human beings.
    4) beliefs are thought to become especially deserving of respect if they are held for bad reasons (otherwise we never talk about “respecting people’s beliefs”, we simply evaluate their reasons).
    5) ”respect” has become synonymous with infantilization (i.e. assuming a priori that people are too immature to handle your honestly held reasons for not sharing their beliefs).
    6) people who consider themselves liberal and “progressive” assume that anyone not of white, European decent cannot possibly have any other goal in life than to carry on living as proscribed by their ancestors (even if they have never been given any realistic opportunity to choose).
    7) even the most basic human needs, like freedom from oppression and violence, are believed not to apply to anyone who’s (ancestors’) culture doesn’t explicitly endorse it.
    8) the same people who would be the first to object if a western secularist did X are the most offended if someone criticizes a Muslim for doing X.
    9) Muslims resort to threats, violence and even murder over cartoons, tweets and the names of teddy bears, and the only thing that many people can bring themselves to criticize are the cartoons, tweets and teddy bears.
    10) news like the one that sparked this thread are becoming too typical to even qualify as news, yet people are more concerned about “militant” secularists whose only weapons are logic and humor.

    • Bjarte Foshaug
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      “6) people who consider themselves liberal and “progressive” assume that anyone not of white, European decent cannot possibly have any other goal in life than to carry on living as proscribed by their ancestors (even if they have never been given any realistic opportunity to choose).”

      There is always one more error left, isn’t there…

      It should of course say “prescribed” not “proscribed” :P

  35. Simon
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    @Persto #19 (the thread can’t go any further):

    Who is talking about Guantanamo?

    The Taliban certainly are. NY Times journalist David Rohde was kidnapped and held hostage by the Taliban for seven months starting in late 2008. Here’s his recollection of a discussion with his captors:

    For the next several nights, a stream of Haqqani commanders overflowing with hatred for the United States and Israel visited us, unleashing blistering critiques that would continue throughout our captivity.

    Some of their comments were factual. They said large numbers of civilians had been killed in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian territories in aerial bombings. Muslim prisoners had been physically abused and sexually humiliated in Iraq. Scores of men had been detained in Cuba and Afghanistan for up to seven years without charges.

    To Americans, these episodes were aberrations. To my captors, they were proof that the United States was a hypocritical and duplicitous power that flouted international law.

    When I told them I was an innocent civilian who should be released, they responded that the United States had held and tortured Muslims in secret detention centers for years. Commanders said they themselves had been imprisoned, their families ignorant of their fate. Why, they asked, should they treat me differently?

    Other accusations were paranoid and delusional. Seven years after 9/11, they continued to insist that the attacks were hatched by American and Israeli intelligence agencies to create a pretext for the United States to enslave the Muslim world. They said the United States was forcibly converting vast numbers of Muslims to Christianity. American and NATO soldiers, they believed, were making Afghan women work as prostitutes on military bases.

    Their hatred for the United States seemed boundless.

    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/19/world/asia/19hostage.html?pagewanted=4&hp

    • Filippo
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      ” . . . were making Afghan women work as prostitutes on military bases.”

      Had these Afghan women been defaced by acid or amputated noses? Were there ever any mass male Afghan protests about their own abuse of their Afghan chattel – I mean – women?

    • Persto
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Other than you, no one on this thread is talking about Guantanamo. BTW, I could give a damn what the Cowardly Taliban thinks or says about Guantanamo.

  36. DocAtheist
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Book burnings… How very “Chtistian” of our U.S. Military.

    • jay
      Posted February 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      This kind of verbal ‘equivalence’ is where we can go wildly off the rails.

      Book burnings were a tool of censorship and intimidation when they were destroying rare or valuable books to keep people from reading their contents and intimidate other owners of banned books.

      THIS IS NOTHING OF the case. NO ONE was depriving an Afghan of access to the Quran. NO ONE had their books confiscated. NO ONE lost opportunity to read the Quran. NO ONE. Destruction of unwanted copies of mass produced books is no more offensive or censorious than throwing our extra copies of the NY Times.

      Get over it.

      • DocAtheist
        Posted February 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Consider those burning the Quran: If they believed in what they were doing, on religious grounds, and not simply doing this accidentally, then it gave them a sense of empowerment, one religion over the other. Even the book-burning you describe was a two sided coin, intimidating to the book owners, empowering for the book burners.

  37. Posted February 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Is Obama’s apology letter to Karzai available to read anywhere? I’ve searched but can’t find the full text, just a line or two quoted in articles. I’d love to read what he actually said and how he phrased the apology, and exactly WHAT it is he’s apologizing for.


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Eight dead because four Qur’ans burned February 23, 2012By adminVia Scoop.it – Modern AtheismHow many lives does it take to expiate four charred books?  As you probably know, a few copies of the Qur’an were incinerated by Americans at Bagram air base in Afghanistan. According to the BBC: …Via whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com [...]

  2. [...] people. The title gives us a clue as to the question to which he was seeking an answer: “Eight dead because four Qur’ans burned.” He begins by asking this pointed question: How many lives does it take to expiate four [...]

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