« Won't have Paul Krugman to kick around anymore? | Main | Whine, wine, whine. »


Newsweek most likely got it wrong, and people are being killed in Afghanistan. And lots of folks are angry - at Newsweek. As for me, I tend to agree with Michael Demmons that such ire is misdirected [emphasis in original]:

You really have to wonder what kind of a barbaric people would react this way to the Newsweek story. Really. Newsweek deserves to be punished. But are they really responsible for deaths here? I mean, if I insulted the schoolyard bully, and he stabbed me for it, is it my own fault? I might have instigated the aggression, but I’m not going to be held responsible for my own death - even if I knew about the bully’s dangerous temper.

Newsweek made an egregious error in reporting. Whether it was intentional or not, they are not the ones who went on a killing spree. It is a people incapable of rational thought that caused the death and destruction over there. It was animals who are so religiously fanatical that they believe it’s worth it to kill, maim, burn and pillage because of a story in a magazine.

Others echo this point. But it seems that everyone has missed another important aspect of the story [emphasis mine]:

Ahmed's comments came a day after Pakistan's President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, both allies of Washington, demanded an investigation and punishment for those behind the reported desecration of the Quran.

Investigation and punishment? In America, destroying a Koran, or a Bible, or an American flag is not illegal. I would hope that someone important explains - politely, diplomatically, and firmly - to Musharraf and others, that punishing someone for flushing a book, no matter how holy some may regard it, is something that is just not done here. And something even *less* likely to happen is our handing anyone over to some religious tribunal:

The [Shoura] council warned against hurting the feelings of the world’s1.5 billion Muslims and emphasized the importance of respecting the religious faiths and beliefs of other people to avoid conflicts. “Islam is a great religion with a large number of followers all over the world and is known for its long history and humane and just teachings,” the statement said. [...]

In Afghanistan, a group of clerics threatened to call for a holy war against the United States in three days unless it handed over military interrogators who are reported to have desecrated the Qur’an.

That's a "humane and just" group of clerics, I'm sure. You know, America is often accused of not understanding and respecting other cultures, but it's clear to me that others often fail to understand and respect us as well.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (3)


I'm not sure Newsweek deserves to be "punished" in a legal sense. But I appreciate your take on the issue in general, which is much more rational than most conservative bloggers.

In America, destroying a Koran, or a Bible, or an American flag is not illegal.

Not to make too big a point of this, but soldiers can be punished for things that would otherwise be legal for civilians. I would hope that desecrating religious symbols and books would violate the military's rules for handling of prisoners and interrogations (and I'm sure the administration will say that's the case if these allegations are found to be true).

Thanks. I'm not looking for punishment, either (I said I only "tend to agree" with Demmons, though I suppose I should have made that specific point clearer). I do find it sad that the standards for printing something in Newsweek appear to be low, and I do find it easy to believe that Newsweek ran with the story solely to embarass the administration. If the story is indeed untrue, Newsweek should obviously apologize and retract it, and someone should perhaps get chewed out by his boss. Yet no matter what, I'm not going to hold Newsweek responsible for the actions of some Afghan mob.

As for punishing soldiers, I see what you're saying, but I would still rather hold them to the same standards I'm holding Newsweek - perhaps a chewing out, a reprimand, a reminder to be more sensitive in the future, but certainly we're not going to be turning them over to Pakistan.

Thanks for making some very good points.The 1.5 billion Muslim world community, in my mind, is a clear and present danger to democracy and stability not only in the Middle East but Europe followed by Canada and the U.S. as well. Not to say that I don't respect Islam and its teachings. On the contrary I have the highest esteem for any religion, especially one followed by so many of my friends(I live in Israel). It's just that so many things the Quran preaches are taken out of context these days, that one must be on a constant lookout for excuses for evil based on religious teachings.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 16, 2005 5:00 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Won't have Paul Krugman to kick around anymore?.

The next post in this blog is Whine, wine, whine..

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33