You couldn’t hope to frame a better demonstration of the characteristic intellectual and moral confusion of the Western establishment leadership class than occurred over the last weekend.
In the United States, an absolute nobody, the Rev. Terry Jones of the ludicrously named “World Dove Outreach Center” in Gainesville, Florida, obviously feeling neglected since he had graciously canceled a burning of the Koran last year, got himself back into the news by putting the Islamic holy book on trial, finding it guilty, sentencing it, and carrying out his own Koran barbecue.
In the aftermath, in a variety of locations in Afghanistan, mobs of howling savages threw temper tantrums in response, blocking a main highway with burning tires, attacking US soldiers, storming a UN compound and brutally murdering seven innocent people with no connection whatsoever to Reverend Hookworms, and even immolating a effigy of Barack Obama.
The Encyclopedia Brittanica, one hundred years ago, described the same Afghan primitive:
The Afghans, inured to bloodshed from childhood, are familiar with death, and audacious in attack, but easily discouraged by failure; excessively turbulent and unsubmissive to law or discipline; apparently frank and affable in manner, especially when they hope to gain some object, but capable of the grossest brutality when that hope ceases. They are unscrupulous in perjury, treacherous, vain and insatiable, passionate in vindictiveness, which they will satisfy at the cost of their own lives and in the most cruel manner. Nowhere is crime committed on such trifling grounds, or with such general impunity, though when it is punished the punishment is atrocious. Among themselves the Afghans are quarrelsome, intriguing and distrustful; estrangements and affrays are of constant occurrence; the traveller conceals and misrepresents the time and direction of his journey. The Afghan is by breed and nature a bird of prey. If from habit and tradition he respects a stranger within his threshold, he yet considers it legitimate to warn a neighbour of the prey that is afoot, or even to overtake and plunder his guest after he has quitted his roof. The repression of crime and the demand of taxation he regards alike as tyranny.
The British of a century ago did not apologize for outbreaks of insane violence on the part of hirsute barbarians. They punished them and got on with it.
Today, any occurrence of native violence, proving all over again that we are dealing with the kind of people who are half-devil and half-child, instead of prompting the despatch of a useful punitive expedition to set an example long remembered among the hills instead produces a epidemic among our own elite of chin-stroking, grovelling, and bed-wetting.
Michael Walsh was appropriately indignant in the New York Post.
In a series of disgraceful statements, Sens. Harry Reid and Lindsey Graham, along with Gen. David Petraeus, have laid the blame for the unrest where it doesn’t belong: at the feet of the US Constitution.
Reid, the feckless Senate majority leader, said the body would “take a look” at Terry Jones’ actions in burning a copy of the Islamic holy book, and threatened hearings, as if the Senate didn’t have far more pressing issues — such as passing a budget and tackling the country’s fiscal problems.
Even more disgraceful was Graham, who said on “Face the Nation”: “I wish we could find a way to hold people accountable,” referring to Pastor Jones. “Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war. During World War II, we had limits on what you could do if it inspired the enemy.”
This is jaw-dropping in its ignorance and stupidity. Graham is arguing against freedom of speech — why else should an American citizen exercising his First Amendment rights, however offensive to some, be “held accountable” for the reactions of superstitious goatherds half a world away? — and equating an insult toward the religion that explicitly animated the 9/11 hijackers with the Bund marchers who supported Hitler.
But the prize for disappointment goes to Petraeus and NATO Ambassador Mark Sedwill, whose statement read in part: “In view of the events of recent days, we feel it is important . . . to reiterate our condemnation of any disrespect to the Holy Koran and the Muslim faith. We condemn, in particular, the action of an individual in the United States who recently burned the Holy Koran.
“We further hope the Afghan people understand that the actions of a small number of individuals, who have been extremely disrespectful to the Holy Koran, are not representative of any of the countries of the international community who are in Afghanistan to help the Afghan people.”
To this we’ve come: Bogged down in an increasingly ineffectual military operation in Afghanistan that should have ended years ago after we defeated the Taliban and routed al Qaeda, we are instead apologizing to the very people who are killing American soldiers, and treating their holy book better than we do any other.
Petraeus’ statement can perhaps be excused on the grounds that his job is as much diplomatic as martial — but that, of course, is precisely what’s wrong with his current mission. He shouldn’t be “helping the Afghan people.” That’s a task for after the Islamist threat to the West has been eliminated.