Fox News Sunday pundit Brit Hume just can't understand how Afghan Muslims could be so upset by something as "trivial and minor" as Pastor Terry Jones' nasty little stunt of burning Korans, despite being asked by the State Department months ago not to, out of fear of inflaming anti-American sentiment in the Middle East.
In Hume's mind, because Terry Jones is the head of such an insignificant following (Mara Liasson's estimation of two dozen followers may be generous), it's not that big a deal that he desecrated the holy book for 1 billion Muslims worldwide. Right, and Fred Phelps and his church comprised of 18 family members shouldn't bother the families of fallen servicemen when they demonstrate at military funerals.
There's nothing that can justify the irrational lost of life of those NATO workers. But likewise, this kind of violence was predictable and avoidable. I doubt very much that Brit and Co. would be as sanguine if some imam burned a stack of Bibles and a crucifix as a statement of the evils of Christianity. In fact, conservatives have been less than tolerant of what they view as condemnations of Christianity, from Jesse Helms and Alfonse D'Amato demanding Serrano's Piss Christ be removed from exhibition, to Boehner and Cantor demanding the National Portrait Gallery remove Wojnarowicz’ “A Fire In My Belly,” to Maine Gov. Robert LePage not wanting to be reminded of the labor movement in a mural in the state building. Over and over again, they demand that their intolerance be respected above all else. But when the shoe is on the other foot...
We can invade, destroy, then abandon and re-occupy a country, sending 10,000 Afghanistan civilians to their death, millions of Afghans left homeless, evidence of the callousness of the American servicemembers in their treatment of regular citizens rounded up and imprisoned and tortured at Bagram and even posing with the bodies of other Afghans like hunting trophies. Is it any wonder that Afghans--already pushed to the limits of stress for having lived in a war zone for more than five years--feel murderous rage towards those who claim to want democracy for them? And then Terry Jones in all his righteous and oblivious hatred, shows them (and seriously, do you think it matters to them if there are 10 or 10,000 members in his church?) even more callous disrespect by desecrating their holy book. Sure, his Freedom of Speech rights give him the right to act that way...but it does not mean Freedom from Consequence, and in this case, it was not Jones who suffered the consequences.
Hamid Karzai has asked for Washington to condemn Jones' actions, and I hope that they do as well as condemn the killings of the NATO workers...to show that this is not a war against Islam, that we have tolerance for all religions and respect for human life.