May 18, 2005


The Other Side of Newsweek (New York Sun, May 17th, 2005)

Indeed, the Bush administration has been so quick to condemn this particular press blunder that it's in danger of committing a blunder of its own. "Disrespect for the holy Koran is something the United States will never tolerate," Secretary of State Rice said last week. It seemed only an afterthought when the White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, yesterday made a meek plea for religious leaders to refrain from inciting violence, as if this bout of chauvinistic rage were entirely understandable. Why do we assume these riots were inevitable, especially since it follows a pattern? Every spring since the liberation of Kabul, the Taliban has ginned up anti-American crowds in Afghanistan and Pakistan using pretexts real and imagined. This year the pretext was 10 sentence column in Newsweek.

It would have been nice if our secretary of state acknowledged that it is every American's right to voice all kinds of opinions in respect of all kinds of religious texts. This is a fact the rioters know full well. It is no doubt one of the reasons they hated America long before the Newsweek article went to press. Ms. Rice is a brilliant individual, but she - and a number of other individuals in the administration - are reacting to the Newsweek imbroglio in a way that comes close to pandering to the sensibilities of our Islamist enemies. If there is one lesson we should have learned from the recent developments in the Middle East, it is that there is a large constituency that rejects the narrow sectarianism of those most visibly offended by the alleged Koran incident.

The last message America needs to send to the Islamic world is that it is acceptable for Salafist leaders to gin up deadly riots over errors in the press, and in the same sermon implore worshipers to kill infidels. It was only a few years ago that the Taliban was blasting Buddhist statues out of the side of a mountain. No one in America - or China or elsewhere - rioted. The Pentagon is certainly entitled to excoriate Newsweek for maligning American soldiers with a story that clearly was not fully reported out. But it would be a better use of Pentagonian outrage were the Defense Department to warn President Musharraf that the next shipment of F-16 spare parts won't come until he addresses the hostile activities of extremist madrassas and replaces them with schools that don't teach young men that the holy Koran provides a license for suicide murder.

It’s hard to imagine Secretary Rice warning that the U.S. would never tolerate disrespect for the Bible or the Torah.

Posted by Peter Burnet at May 18, 2005 9:06 AM

Hey, cut 'em some slack - they know that their governments, societies, and religion are heading for the dustbin of history...
They've failed in every area of life.
Naturally, they're a little sensitive about it.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at May 18, 2005 9:12 AM

It's easier to be magnamous when you know the military can go in an take out any really serious Taliban uprising. No need to be "in your face" about that fact. Plus we've got the problem of a politically unstable ally up in Uzbekistan to worry about. As long as we stick with him against a rising tide of protest, there's no reason to add to the demonistrators' anger unnecessarily.

Posted by: John at May 18, 2005 9:45 AM

The trick is to remember who our long-term adversaries are and not be distracted by the current scuffle with a bunch of clowns.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 18, 2005 9:57 AM

Ah who are our long-term adversaries? Maybe this bunch of clowns.

Posted by: h-man at May 18, 2005 10:34 AM

That's the trick.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 18, 2005 10:45 AM

via Neal Boortz today....

I getting just a bit beyond the point where I'm all bent out of shape trying to understand Islamic sensitivities. If there is something about your religion that should make me feel badly about poor Muslims getting their feelings hurt, you had better get it out there on the table now. All I see is a religion that seems to take great pleasure in passing condemnations and "death sentences" on various people around the world for all sorts of meaningless infractions of some great system of Islamic law.

I'm just not going to get all worked up worrying about the sensitivities of devotees of a religion that will stone a woman to death for adultery, while letting the man go unpunished.

Sensitivity would not be the word to describe how I feel about a religion that is in some way involved in more than 95% of the actual shooting conflicts and wars around the world.

Muslims shoot school children in the back! Remember Chechnya? They brag about bombs in schools in Israel! Tell me again about how I need to be sensitive?

The daughter of a devout Muslim gets violently raped. The devout Muslim takes a knife and, in front of the entire family, cuts his daughter's throat because she has dishonored her family .... by being a rape victim. Yeah, sport. Let me just pour out my sensitivities to this practitioner of the religion of peace.

There's a school on fire outside Riyadh. It's a girls school. The girls are trying to escape! But wait! Their faces aren't covered! It's the Islamic defenders of the faith to the rescue! They block the doors to keep the young Muslim girls from escaping ... from a burning building. The dignity of the great and wonderful religion of peace must be protected, even if young women burn to death! Yeah ... my respect for your sensitivities is on the way.

Those insurgents who are killing innocent civilians in Iraq? The suicide bombers in their cars and trucks? Haven't you heard? Most of them are from Saudi Arabia. They're crossing borders to kill innocent women and children because they don't like the idea of people being able to chose those who will rule them. I'm feeling so sensitive to that.

Tell you what: When you stop killing your own daughters; when you stop trying to lock young girls into burning buildings; when you eschew shooting school children in the back; and when I can look in a newspaper and read that Muslims are NOT involved in one way or another in revolts, insurrections and hot wars around the world --- and when you're not working so hard to kill American civilians --- and when you start to show some tolerance and respect for the world's other religions .. then maybe I'll feel a bit more worm and fuzzy toward your incredible religion of peace

Posted by: BJW at May 18, 2005 10:56 AM

Jews and Christians don't control much of the world's oil and haven't spent the better part of the last half century paying off the President's family and much of the permanent DC apparat.

Posted by: bart at May 18, 2005 11:30 AM

Christians and Jews (and secularist for that matter) do "control" world oil in the sense that they and not Muslims make it valuable. The Bush family is a class operation, so therefore I hope they have set their price high. The rest of the DC apparat can go to h*ll.

Posted by: h-man at May 18, 2005 12:19 PM


Somebody better put out a fatwa on that guy for telling it like it is.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at May 18, 2005 3:04 PM

Careful, BJW, language like that could get you beheaded in the Mideast, or expelled from a U.S. university.

Posted by: Pontius at May 18, 2005 4:19 PM