The recent contrived uproar over the inadvertent burning of the Koran led by corrupt Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his controlling mullahs should be seen for what it is: a power-play tactic to make our military forces more submissive to the dictates of Islam, a concept they call "dhimmitude."
President Obama's groveling apology to Mr. Karzai and the Afghan people only further inflamed this unfortunate situation. It not only conveyed a sense of weakness but, in fact, gave legitimacy to the mob violence, which resulted in the senseless murder of six military personnel plus two International Force members. All told, at least 30 people were killed for the burning of a book.
No matter how the apology is explained, it is seen throughout the Middle East and by our "Muslim outreach partners" as Mr. Obama submitting and giving in to the sacredness of an inanimate book. Instead of an apology, why didn't our commander in chief express outrage at the senseless uproar and demand that those responsible for the murders of the eight military personnel be captured and brought to justice under our criminal code?
Instead of appeasement, why hasn't Mr. Obama stated in unequivocal terms the reason the Korans were burned? The fact is that the books were confiscated because they had messages written in them by the terrorist prisoners inciting violence and attacks against our forces. For all we know, some of those messages could have been written in the books before they were given to the prisoners by their Muslim clerics.
According to leading Muslim scholars, when a Koran is intentionally desecrated by writing in it, the book is considered to be unclean and becomes unusable and must be disposed of by burying or "burning." So what's the uproar about? This is the message our commander in chief should have put out to Mr. Karzai, with the further message that we will continue this practice in the future if the Koran is going to be used to pass messages of violence against our forces.
Adding to the chaotic situation, on March 1, the U.N. representative to Afghanistan, Jan Kubis, joined the mob scene by stating that "after the first step of a profound apology, then there must be a second step of disciplinary action." He went on to imply that after acceptable disciplinary action, NATO forces then can say, "Yes, we're sincere in our apology." What unbelievable audacity. Bear in mind that he represents the same U.N. that for years granted effective immunity for U.N. troops when they raped young African girls.
In a March 4 article, Army Special Forces Maj. Fernando M. Lujan noted that as a result of the burning of the Koran and the violence that followed, he and others were worried about the future prospects for the advisory mission in Afghanistan, as well he should be. He thinks a crisis of trust exists between Afghans and Americans and the way to resolve it is for us to show more respect for Islam. He apparently ignores the fact that Islam is a totalitarian legal-military-political system that is designed to control every aspect of an individual's life and is antithetical to our concept of freedom, democracy and our respect for individual human rights.
Maj. Lujan highlights some common-sense tactical points in his article that our forces must follow if they want to survive and gain a greater degree of "street respect." It is this "street respect" that is essential in Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East for building trust and a relationship.
However, the major's underlying theme is that in order to regain Afghans' trust, we must show more respect to Islam. What does he mean by that? I believe the major, unfortunately, has fallen into the trap of being submissive to a seventh-century mentality. The Pentagon has as well with its new guidance on how to treat the Koran. Now it will be virtually impossible to detect when the book is being used to pass messages between terrorist prisoners.
Clearly, our appeasement approach to the Koran-burning situation has not strengthened our hand in Afghanistan or elsewhere in the Middle East, particularly Iran. I would suspect that the president's apology and his declaration that he does not "bluff" with regard to Iran's nuclear program has further hollowed out his credibility. I have great confidence in our military forces, particularly our enlisted personnel. I know when the chips are down, they can be counted on to take the proper action. As part of their preparation for overseas deployment, they need to be made aware of Islamic subtleties to which they will be exposed and how to respond. Furthermore, military forces whom we send in harm's way must have the confidence that when they carry out their leaders' orders in good faith, they will have the backing of not only their immediate superiors but their commander in chief as well. That is not clear now.
The personnel involved in the Koran burning should be returned to the United States if that has not been done already. No disciplinary action should be taken to pacify the likes of Mr. Karzai and his controlling mullahs. We Americans stand behind our military men and women who are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom.
Retired Adm. James A. Lyons was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.
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