Two American soldiers were shot and killed last week in Afghanistan at least ostensibly because of outrage over “Koran burning.”Two more Americans were killed yesterday as the protests continued.
In other words, four Americans (and many other people) have now been murdered because of an inadvertent “insult” to some old books.
If you haven’t read the details about the Koran burning incident, you might assume that American soldiers created a huge pile of Korans, poured gasoline all over them, and then cheered and fired their guns in the air as they set it ablaze.
That would be the sort of insensitive, bigoted act that might be expected to lead to protests (if not murders, which are a crime of a whole different order).
But that’s not what happened.
What happened, at least judging from initial news reports, is that Americans wanted to stop some Korans from being used to pass notes at a prison… so they threw them away. And the trash was then burned.
That’s not a symbolic gesture. And it’s presumably hardly the first time that old Korans have been thrown away. (How else are you supposed to get rid of them?)
The treatment of the trash probably did not enter into the minds of the folks who threw the Korans away. And they probably had no idea how this treatment of old books might be viewed.
So the insult, if any, was inadvertent.
But, despite an apology from the President of the United States, the retribution for this inadvertent insult has now led to four murders and counting.
Murders. Human beings intentionally shot and killed.
No matter what moral universe you live in, thinking that an act like this somehow justifies premeditated murders is outrageous.
And if that can’t be understood by reasonable Muslims and the leaders of Afghanistan–the latter of whom should now be extending their deepest and most sincere apologies for this abhorrent conduct–we really are screwed.
(Perhaps, as some are arguing, the recent protests are really about pent-up frustration at the American occupation and at how many innocent Afghanistan civilians have been killed by Americans in recent years. If so, that’s certainly a more justified reason to protest. That said, it’s pretty hard to find an American or American soldier who actually wants to be occupying Afghanistan.)
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