Contrast that with the abject obsequiousness over Koran-burning. Perhaps the president, or at least our military’s strategic communications experts, could point out that the U.S. military is officially a secular organization which refuses to accede to Christian “fundamentalists” when it comes to the Bible, and thus in the name of scrupulous fairness also insists on behaving likewise when it comes to the Islamic holy book.
During my first stint in the U.S. Army when I served as an Arabic interrogator, a favorite line often spouted by one of my 101st Airborne Division First Sergeants when critiquing lower-enlisted shortcomings was: “It don’t take a GED.” Today, “it don’t take a PhD” in Islamic history to figure out that even by Islamic rubrics the disposal of tainted Korans via fire is not just appropriate, but well-nigh mandatory (you can find the aforementioned Saudi fatwa with about 30 seconds of Googling).
Why is it that the intensely intellectual and Islam-savvy Obama administration — which includes Muslim advisors such as Dalia Mogahed in the office of faith-based partnerships and Rashad Hussain as envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — cannot make a coherent case defending the Koran burning utilizing these three points? One would think the Islamic brain trust in the executive branch could figure this out and advise the president accordingly, to the effect that the U.S. has nothing to apologize for this time. That they haven’t indicates either willful ignorance or political expediency. My money’s on the latter.
I think the president is embarrassed by the real and perceived sins of Western civilization in general and Christianity in particular, and his default position on almost every geopolitical issue is to apologize for both, early and often.
The Obama administration, admittedly expanding upon policies which began under the previous administration, is waging counterinsurgency and counterterrorism in Afghanistan — and indeed, globally — against primarily Islamic enemies. (According to the State Department, 31 of 50 foreign terrorist organizations are Muslim.) Simultaneously, the administration is attempting to abide by Islamic rubrics. At Guantanamo, U.S. military police — almost certainly Christian, but undoubtedly not Muslim — are forced by military orders to literally handle Korans with kid gloves. Bin Laden was given an Islamic burial.
Contrast this obsession with respecting the faith of our enemies with that accorded Shintoism when the U.S. occupied Japan from 1945 to 1952.
If the American occupation of Afghanistan and the execution of the global struggle against (mainly Islamic-based) terrorism is going to be conducted in accordance with Islamic norms, then let’s be fully informed about them, use them to our geopolitical advantage whenever possible, and not automatically and preemptively apologize — and show weakness — where there is no need to do so. The worrisome bottom line: the U.S. government seems ready to do what foreign Muslims, even those who are quite radical and anti-American, tell it to do. This is not “respecting Islam,” but rather appeasing Muslims who threaten, intimidate, or engage in violence.
As for the larger strategic question of whether our foreign and military policies should be held hostage to the ideology of our enemies — that is a burning question which will be decided in November.