With the furor over the Islamic community center dying down slightly, it is apparently necessary to find some new front on which to facilitate Samuel P. Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations“. This arrived in the person of Pastor Terry Jones, who plans to burn Qurans in order to “send a message to radical Islam.”
General David Petraeus has said that this is a bad idea, as it will be used by Muslim extremists to justify more attacks.
On the one hand, you could make the argument, as made over at Private Buffoon, that Pastor Jones has the right to burn Qurans under the First Amendment, and that a government official like Petraeus condemning it is rather disturbing. The comparison with the old “the anti-war demonstrators encourage the enemy” argument is an interesting one.
To make matters worse, I see that Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State Clinton have both weighed in on the issue. While their hearts are in the right place, I fear that this is, strategically speaking, a bad idea. The reason is that it now gives the Republicans the chance to complain that government officials are pressuring the guy; and make it into a First Amendment thing, as opposed to a open-and-shut case of radicalism run amok.
However, I don’t think the Republicans would dare say that to General Petraeus, because he is by far our most accomplished General, he salvaged something out of the Iraq invasion, and I think he might actually be a Republican. It wasn’t that long ago they were clamoring for him to run against President Obama in 2012, at any rate.
None of this, however, should distract us from the issue at hand, which is the sheer stupidity of Pastor Jones’s absurd plan.
Got some news for you, Pastor: radical Islam already hates us. That is why they commit acts of terrorism against us. Radical Islamists probably think that every child in America burns a Quran a day, if I know how propaganda works.
Therefore, the only possible outcome of this behavior will be to alienate other, non–radical Muslims. This cannot possibly be considered a good thing. It all goes back to what me and thingy (whose post on this matter you should definitely read) discussed on this post: “many Republicans, at some level, seem to equate ‘being Muslim’ with ‘being a terrorist’.” (Perhaps it would be more accurate to say “Conservatives” instead of “Republicans”.)
It may not be conscious, even, but it’s hard to explain this sort of behavior any other way.