In today's New York Times (3/3/12) the paper writes about the February 21st burning by U.S. personnel in Afghanistan of Muslim holy books, including at least four Qurans, which has sparked nationwide riots, citing the conclusions of a joint commission of three Afghan security officers and an American official:
"the military personnel involved in making the decision to get rid of the Korans and those who carried out the order did not set out to defile the Muslim holy book.
“'There was no maliciousness, there was no deliberateness, there was not an intentional disrespect of Islam,' he said."
I wonder if the writer of this story, Alissa Rubin, and/or her editors, are aware that this distinction that the joint commission is trying to make is a distinction without a difference. If you have already made the decision to "get rid of the Korans" by burning them in a big pile of books (over 1200 confiscated holy books and other books, taken from the prisoners being held by the U.S.), then where does the lack of "deliberateness" even enter the picture? How is the fact that the actors in this drama might not have "intentionally" meant to disrespect Islam change the fact that they decided to "get rid of the books" in the first place and thereby showed their disrespect by their actions?
Let us consider this from the perspective of fundamentalist Christians: suppose it is they who are being held captive by Muslims who are an occupying army in a heavily Christian nation. The Muslim authorities find that some of their American Christian prisoners have made marginal notes in English in their Bibles, which their Muslim captors can't read, and the prison authorities suspect that these Christians may be actually passing notes to each other and "organizing." The Muslim captors confiscate the Bibles and other holy books and decide to burn them.
What would the response be of the other fundamentalist Christians in the occupied Christian nation? If one of those under occupation was a certain Rick Santorum, who nearly vomited when reading JFK's speech asserting the centrality of the separation between church and state, what would be his response, since he thinks that his holy book, the Bible, contains the literal words of God? What would all of the other fundamentalist Christians do who also think that the Bible consists of the literal words of God, just like their fellow Abrahambic Muslim bretheren who think that the Quaran contains the literal words of God? Would they not respond in a similar manner?
Would Santorum's near vomiting result in his being force fed by his Muslim captors to ensure that this prisoner, this terrorist, was not signaling to his fellow terrorists that he and they should carry out a protest/hunger strike?
For the rest of this essay, please see DennisLoo.com where this was first posted.