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Koran-burning apologies are ineffective and counter-productive

By Chris Carter

The Obama administration has been busy apologizing to the Afghan people for the burning of Korans at a military base in Afghanistan that has sparked a massive and deadly uprising. But this political prostration is actually undermining our mission and further endangering US service members.

US troops seized Korans from prisoners who allegedly used the books to pass information to other prisoners at Bagram Air Base's detention facility. Following a plethora of apologies from the Obama administration and the military, Gen. John Allen, the commander of both US and international security forces in Afghanistan, has promised that the military will undergo more training in the “proper handling of religious materials.”

Perhaps it’s the Afghans themselves that need the sensitivity training.

Military policy requires troops in combat zones to burn their trash. So while the government is busy prostrating itself to the Afghan president, they should ask themselves what the troops are supposed to do with Korans that allegedly were used to convey enemy intelligence (besides collecting said intelligence).

In 2009, the military confiscated and burned unsolicited Bibles sent by a church to Afghanistan. In this case, the Bibles were intended for distribution, not for enemy intelligence purposes. Christians did not respond by rioting and shooting US troops, and neither the military nor our government apologized. The military simply burned them and stated that it was policy.

That is how exactly how the military should have handled the Koran incident. Once the burnings were reported, announce that prisoners were using them for intelligence, and we disposed of them as per policy. And let Muslims know that if they don't want non-Muslims to destroy their Korans, then they shouldn't desecrate them in the first place. 

Instead, our government has thrown those responsible under the bus and dishonored their service— for following the government's own policy! 

We could require every warrior we send to Afghanistan to have a master's degree in Islamic sensitivity and the outcome would be no different. Trying to appease an enemy (and the population that supports them) that is so barbaric that they attack little girls on the way to school should be out of the question.

John Bernard, a retired Marine who has written extensively on the conflict in Afghanistan at his website Let Them Fight Or Bring Them Home told The US Report that Washington's reaction has been ineffective and counter-productive and that further sensitivity training would only make the situation worse.

 "Sensitivity training is a fruitless effort,” Bernard said, “because it is a reflection of the [US government's] flawed understanding of the ideology [Islam] and the adherent. In essence, all it does is compound the problem by neutering an otherwise affective military presence.”

Sanitation of anything critical to Islam in the US government or military documents and lexicon began under the George W. Bush administration and expanded under the Obama administration. 

Bernard wrote:

“Our leadership chose to do a knee-jerk apology rather than explain the truth of the matter,  that those texts had already been desecrated by [enemy prisoners of war] who had used them as combat field notebooks, writing in them against Koranic instruction and rendering them necessary for destruction, ironically, by fire.

The ensuing riots and murders were orchestrated by the base urges of men who have been seeking to kill American, NATO, and ISAF forces all along. This allowed their consciences what they needed to engage in uncivilized, animalistic behavior. Apologizing only further justified the belief of their seared consciences, that they were justified in their acts of violence.”

Bernard added, “Apologies in this part of the world are not seen in the same context as they are in western society. They are seen as admissions of guilt and of weakness. They are then acted upon as a pretext to violence. This cycle will not end until the Muslims get what they want.”

         Related at The US Report: Violence over Koran suggests irreconcilable differences

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