So let me get this straight. Florida preacher Terry Jones burns the Koran as part of a religious protest and is promptly condemned by General David Petraeus? Jones’ act, the general says, “was hateful, it was intolerant and it was extremely disrespectful and again, we condemn it in the strongest manner possible.”
Meanwhile, the United States military condones and participates in the burning of the Christian Bible. As CNN reported in May of 2009:
Military personnel threw away, and ultimately burned, confiscated Bibles that were printed in the two most common Afghan languages amid concern they would be used to try to convert Afghans, a Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday.
The American media elite are also wringing their hands over the burning of the Koran, and not just on the Left. Even Jonah Goldberg of National Review laments that “(b)urning books — any books — is bad. Burning holy books is really bad.” Uh, no. A book is a product, a piece of property, which can legitimately be used for reading, propping a door open, hiding cash (senior citizens only), decorating a shelf, shredding for an art project, burning in protest, or anything else its owner may desire.
You see, I’m terribly old fashioned. I believe that our constitutionally protected rights to free speech and private property were designed exactly for men like Jones (whose views are unpopular), and to provide sanctuary for exactly his kind of protest (which we may find morally unsavory). I also was under the impression that untold numbers of Americans have given their lives overseas so that all of us can enjoy these privileges here at home.
Terry Jones may be a bigot, but that is hardly the point. As far as I’m concerned, he is more of an American patriot that General Petraeus, who ought to be ashamed of himself for siding with the savages in Afghanistan, who have rioted and killed dozens because their “sensitivities” have been inflamed by the actions of one private American citizen. Really, who does he think he is? How dare Petraeus, the president, or any other U.S. official condone the state ordered burning of the Christian Bible, which is a far, far graver offense than the preacher’s inconsequential conflagration. You see it is when, and only when, the government decides which books are to be consigned to the flames that it is “really bad,” to use Goldberg’s eloquent formulation.