Obama to Koran-burning pastor: Think of the troops

posted at 4:12 pm on September 9, 2010 by Allahpundit

A partial list of people who’ve weighed in thus far on Terry Jones’s publicity stunt turned mega-clusterfark: The U.S. Secretary of State, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, the presidents of Afghanistan and Indonesia, the prime minister of Iraq, the home minister of India, the Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., the FBI, Interpol, the Vatican — and now, inevitably, the president of the United States. What this is, basically, is a global hostage situation, and while Obama (and Petraeus, and Romney) is making a shrewd rhetorical move by framing this as a plea to protect the troops, the danger obviously goes far beyond that. You’re not seeing Indian ministers opine here because they care about U.S. soldiers, and needless to say, if there’s anyone in the world who’s capable of handling himself against a threat, it’s an American G.I. with a M-16. The real worry is that unarmed civilians are going to die somewhere — in Afghanistan or Europe or Indonesia or Africa or, heaven forbid, here at home — because there are now enough Muslim fundamentalists spread around the world that realistically no one is safe. The “do it for the troops” gambit is essentially just a clever smokescreen aimed at appealing to Jones’s sense of patriotism. And it might work: He told USA Today earlier that a direct request from Obama to stand down would “cause us definitely to think it over.” Well, here’s the official request, which might be followed by a phone call from The One himself to Jones. (How’s that for creating a perverse PR incentive?) Frankly, at this point, Jones might as well drop the idea and declare “victory.” If he’s trying to make a point about “the dangers of radical Islam,” he can just point to the list of hand-wringing statesmen above and declare that the point has already been made. No need to actually strike a match.

I’m not going to rehash my objection to criticizing free speech on grounds that it poses a risk to soldiers, so let me make a few other points instead. First, to Robert Gibbs: No, burning the Koran doesn’t go against “every one of our values.” Book-burning is a repulsive means of protest but it’s as much a First Amendment matter as flag-burning is. Breathe into a paper bag, Gibbsy. Second, to Obama (and Petraeus and Romney): No, burning the Koran does not “endanger our young men and women in uniform who are in Iraq, who are in Afghanistan.” The reaction to burning the Koran is what endangers our men and women in uniform (and everyone else). This is a crucial point, worth always bearing in mind when speech is met with violence. When you blame a speaker for the violent response to his speech, you absolve the violent actor of the moral choice he made in deciding to act. If you think it’s Jones, rather than some Taliban suicide bomber, who’s a mortal threat to the troops, then presumably you also think Theo Van Gogh got what was coming to him. After all, he knew the risk when he made “Submission,” right?

Third, as tempting as it is to blame the media for giving this crank a megaphone, I’m uncomfortable with doing so. Make no mistake, their behavior’s been typically loathsome. Clearly, they pursued this story in the wake of the Ground Zero mosque kerfuffle in order to buttress their pre-midterm “Islamophobia” narrative — but something went wrong on the way to page one. By calling attention to it, they brought it to the attention of fundies, and now suddenly the worldwide fretting about imminent violence makes the “Islamophobes” look a bit less crazy than before. So now, as Tom Maguire says, they’re trying to climb off the tiger: The AP announced today that it won’t distribute photos or audio of the Koran-burning (if it happens) while Fox News insists that it won’t cover the event at all. This is their way, however belatedly, of denying jihadis easy propaganda from the event. So why, given all that, is it wrong to blame the media? Well, for one thing, doing so would make the same mistake about moral choices that I warned of above. If Jake Tapper covers the Koran-burning and some jihadi filthbag sees the footage and blows someone’s head off in Islamabad, it ain’t Jake Tapper who pulled the trigger. Filthbags have moral agency just like everyone else. The deeper reason, though, is that blaming the media can only encourage them to censor themselves in the future for fear of offending Muslims. American newspapers have already largely suppressed the Mohammed cartoons, and Comedy Central has taken to bleeping Mohammed’s name on “South Park.” And now, already, we have Fox out-and-out refusing to cover news events lest some excitable fundie crank go berserk. Where do we draw that line?


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99 percent of the “take away” here should be that we clearly now have a tyrannical government, and it’s lackeys, that has in mass set upon like a pack of wolves on a lamb, one mere citizen to intimidate him into giving up Constitutional rights. Some would say he was just kindly convinced to not exercise them, but that is bull and in any case is clearly a distinction with little, if any, difference. It would be as if you won the lotto but the state sent police officers to your home to convince you that it would be in no ones best interest if you spent any of the money and that you would be responsible for murders if you did spend any of it, so you decide that you better not spend any of it. The Founding Fathers are weeping.

Luka on September 9, 2010 at 7:09 PM

All of a sudden he cares about the Troops????

Viper1 on September 9, 2010 at 7:11 PM

It appears that the Pastor of that small Christian Church in Backwater, Florida was intimidated by the full force of a tyrannical government, and it’s lackeys, into giving up his Constitutional rights. I suppose some would say just convinced not to use them, but then that is a distinction without much of a difference.

Luka on September 9, 2010 at 6:42 PM

IF that’s what happened, this is Congressional hearing material. If the FBI intimidated the New York Times into not publishing something, the lefties would go bonkers, rightly so. This should be no different.

Gates reasoning with the minister is one thing, FBI strong-arm tactics are another.

slickwillie2001 on September 9, 2010 at 7:21 PM

Gates reasoning with the minister is one thing, FBI strong-arm tactics are another.

slickwillie2001 on September 9, 2010 at 7:21 PM

Even Gates could have been intimidating, especially if he had any military with him. Petraues, a 4 star, even long distance saying he would be responsible for American deaths would be pretty intimidating. What Obama might do next if none of that seemed to work could be even more intimidating. They had no business even getting into it. Diana West put it very well in the speech she wrote that they should have given on the matter if they were going to say anything.

Luka on September 9, 2010 at 7:29 PM

All of a sudden he cares about the Troops????

Viper1 on September 9, 2010 at 7:11 PM

He cares 100 times more about one golf game. Maybe even one golf swing.

Luka on September 9, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Where was the President when Phelps was burning the Qoran?

Where was the public outrage then? Where was that same list of people who have chimed in on the Jones’ event? Where was the middle east backlash?

The phenomenon of how one story gets elevated while a similar event fizzles is mind boggling!

geckomon on September 9, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Luka on September 9, 2010 at 7:29 PM

Agree somewhat there; Gates gets a bit more benefit of the doubt, imho, because he has no history of abusing his office in the way Eric Holder has.

slickwillie2001 on September 9, 2010 at 7:45 PM

“Allah’s most glorious gift is the Quran:

denounce sin but be gentle and kind.”

Some people just read passages or parts of passages that suit them.

And anyway, if we can refrain from destroying their Holy Book can they not build a mosque in an insulting location?

IlikedAUH2O on September 9, 2010 at 7:49 PM

Two months ago, this was a “local issue” to Obowma until he weighted in with his flip flop flip responses.

Isn’t this the guy who said this about the Iraq war? If you are against the war you are against the troops. Wrong then and wrong now.

Hey hypocrite Obowma, why didn’t you “think of the troops” when you took 6 months to make a decision on adding troops in Afghanistan?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhpKmQCCwB8

dthorny on September 9, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Where were all of these outraged people when the Democrats such as Reid, Kerry, and Murtha were loudly endangering our troops????? Where in the HECK were they??

mobydutch on September 9, 2010 at 8:20 PM

And Mr. Obama, YOU are the king of stunts, and you really shouldn’t be pointing a finger here.

mobydutch on September 9, 2010 at 8:28 PM

This war is lost.”

That didn’t hurt the troops, right Barry?

Or voting against their funding during the worst of the war in Iraq?

What a clown.

profitsbeard on September 9, 2010 at 8:54 PM

He’s lying……cause he could care less about the troops.
What about not wise but Constitutional?

lilium on September 9, 2010 at 9:14 PM

I find it ironic that he thinks this is insensitive, but putting a mosque near ground zero is fine…. does he ever listen to what comes out of his mouth??? they both are wrong…. period…

momof2 on September 9, 2010 at 9:55 PM

Great post, AP.

I sure miss Condi Rice. And all the grownups from W’s administration.

TN Mom on September 9, 2010 at 10:07 PM

Does this mean the troops were in no danger prior to all this kerfuffle? The world has gone mad and we are watching and listening to clowns on the left, media and US government.
This episode only points out how much danger we have already been in with this cult of death on the move worldwide.

wepeople on September 9, 2010 at 10:17 PM

Madness.

I tell ya what.

We start seeing muslim clerics that call for “death to america” punished, and then we’ll talk about not burning an inanimate object.

When I see the Basilica of Constantine returned to it’s rightful owners and cleansed of blasphemy, then maybe I’ll consider returning the favor.

But I live by the OTHER golden Rule: “Do unto others as those others have done unto you.”

Jones Zemkophill on September 9, 2010 at 11:09 PM

Great post, AP.

I sure miss Condi Rice. And all the grownups from W’s administration.

TN Mom on September 9, 2010 at 10:07 PM

I liked her once too, quite some time ago now, before the onion was pealed.

Condi is a dangerous incompetent

Considering her remarks about America’s “birth defect” — an egregious term for any secretary of state to use about a nation that has brought more liberty to more races, colors and creeds than any in history — I am struck anew how deeply Rice’s vision of race in America, or, perhaps, in segregated Birmingham, affects her vision of America in the wider world. It is as if Rice sees American influence as a means by which to address what she perceives as disparities of race or Third World heritage on the international level.

This would help explain her ahistorical habit of linking the civil rights movement to the Bush administration’s effort to bring democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, in a 2003 speech to the National Association of Black Journalists, she argued that blacks, more than others, should “reject” the “condescending” argument that some are not “ready” for freedom. “That view was wrong in 1963 in Birmingham and it’s wrong in 2003 in Baghdad,” she said. In 2006, she made a similar point. “When I look around the world and I hear people say, `Well, you know, they’re just not ready for democracy,’ it really does resonate,” Rice told CBS’s Katie Couric. “It makes me so angry because I think there are those echoes of what people once thought about black Americans.”

There’s something shockingly provincial at work here. In seeing so much of the world through an American prism of race, Rice has effectively blinded herself to historical and cultural and religious differences between Islam and the West. To put it simply, neither Baghdad nor Gaza is Birmingham. And nothing in all of history quite compares to Philadelphia.

Luka on September 10, 2010 at 12:34 AM

Folks, Folks!
Remember we’ve been told over and over. Islam is a religion of peace
So why should we be worried?
Surely nothing bad will come out of such a peaceful creed!
/SUPER SARC

-Wasteland Man

WastelandMan on September 10, 2010 at 1:49 AM

I hate to quote scripture to prove a point, but darn it if this doesn’t fit even the most secular of arguments.

http://bible.cc/matthew/7-16.htm

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on September 10, 2010 at 1:55 AM

Actually one could argue this helps the troops. When people start fighting because their emotions get the upper hand they are harder to stop (not kill), perhaps. But they make vastly more stupid errors. So more of them will end up dead if your troops are well warned and prepared for the mistakes.

{^_^}

herself on September 10, 2010 at 3:11 AM

Y’know…Obama ordered the burning of Bibles in Afghanistan…
No lie. See for yourself.

http://www.factcheck.org/2009/05/burned-bibles/

Army Brat on September 10, 2010 at 4:11 AM

I see muslims as the victims of islam. I view them in much the same way I viewed the victims of Jim Jones.
The Jonestown crew went willingly. Not all of those that practice moahammedism chose to do so willingly. Slavery is like that. Regardless of how they came to embrace mo the false prophet, the result is the same. Trapped. Whether trapped in a compound on foreign soil or trapped in the totalitarian slavery of islam. Dead ends both.
Slavery will not be tolerated by free men, thus islam will cease to exist
If the Truth about mo and his various…”appetites” were more generally known far fewer would care to be associated with him…in any way, shape or form.
See Father Botros on Youtube. The things that can be found in the “holy” writings of islam regarding the false prophet will turn your stomach…unless you approve of necrophilia amongst other things.
Not my kind of prophet to say the least.

No islam…Know Peace.
Know islam…Throw Up!

Army Brat on September 10, 2010 at 4:21 AM

Y’know…Obama ordered the burning of Bibles in Afghanistan…
No lie. See for yourself.

http://www.factcheck.org/2009/05/burned-bibles/

Army Brat on September 10, 2010 at 4:11 AM
Crap…
Is my face red… I’d heard it…believed it…searched for it and in my haste posted the story without reading the damned thing.

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa.

I’ll deprive myself of ice cream for a week as punishment.
When I screw up I’ll man up and ‘fess up.

I shall now slink off in to the night…

Army Brat on September 10, 2010 at 4:41 AM

“This war is lost.”

That didn’t hurt the troops, right Barry?

Or voting against their funding during the worst of the war in Iraq?

What a clown.

profitsbeard

Excellent

congma on September 10, 2010 at 7:54 AM

Allah,

Most impressed. Excellent and thoughtful. Your best one yet, seriously!
Bush did such a disservice by framing the war in terms of an act (terrorism) and not the actors (fundamental Islam).

joshlbetts on September 10, 2010 at 8:52 AM

Obama to Koran-burning pastor: Think of the troops

Pastor to Obama: You first!!!

landlines on September 10, 2010 at 2:44 PM

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