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Apologizing to Afghanistan


World  (tags: Afghanistan, taliban, Obama, violence )

Stan
- 2577 days ago - secureamericanow.org
Should the President of the United States have apologized to President Karzai? When we heard that President Obama sent a letter of apology to Afghan President Karzai for the accidental burning of some Korans several questions came to mind.



   

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Comments

patrica and edw jones (190)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 12:33 am
No certainly not. How do we know that this was not a 'put up' job - making it look as though the soldiers had organised it?. Do these people apologise for burning Bibles/and our flags- of course not. It would be wonderful to think an apology would be accepted by the Taliban and Karzai - but their visceral distate for everything the West stands for is not going to be assuaged by an apology - no matter who it comes from. Any excuse to start another war is what they are about. Nancy - it was more than 'book burning' that started WW2.
 

pam w (139)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 12:38 am
He's taking the diplomatic "high road," as he should. Our soldiers are not idiots and it's hard to understand how such an "accident" could have happened. Nevertheless, it should NOT have happened and, as representative of the US, President Obama did the right thing to apologize.

It's one thing if the book is mine----I can burn all the bibles and copies of the quran I own. They're mine & nobody can tell me what to do with them.

This was different, and, if we're honest.....we all know it.

So...be proud we've got a President with good manners and good diplomatic sense. AS IS USUAL...he has OUTCLASSED the Muslims who are LONGING for a reason to be OFFENDED (AGAIN!)
 

Stelizan L (258)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 1:38 am
'accidental burning'? that's a bit hard to swallow, but I don't know the details of the situation - but whoever were 'party to the deed' should have apologised as well!
 

(0)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 1:47 am
Here is the situation; we are dealing with an archaic culture and religion that has a value system in total conflict with the Western one. It is a system that values bits of paper, dress code, images and oft repeated words and phrases way above human lives, justice and logic. The million dollar question is what exactly is the compulsive neurosis lodged in the fuzzy brains of our decision makers in Washington and London that motivates them? This strange neurosis allows our leaders to imagine that with a half-baked amateurish military operation, some AID and much grovelling, fawning and backside licking they will change the 15 (or more) centuries old lifestyle of Afghanistan to that of the USA (Complete with Halal McDonalds and Coca Cola) in just over a decade. 10 seconds logical, sane thinking after a little research would indicate surely that not even two hundred years of these sad NATO policies would have much impact on the hearts and minds of our Afghan brethren.
 

Alexa R (319)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 2:51 am
IMHO, the problem is not whether Obama apologises or not.

The problem is the fact that Obama's apology is making matters worse, increases hostility, focuses the world's attention on something relatively trivial, while injustices, crime, and far worse atrocities are completely over-looked.

In an ideal world it is good to apologise, but in an ideal world an apology improves things, make peace possible. I don't see Obama's apology improving anything. I sadly only see Obama's apology inflaming the fires of anti-American hatred. Not even a thousand apologies will make any positive difference. Only the death of US will satisfy her enemies for burning Qu'ran.

Just like the fleeing Saudi Arabic journalist caught in Malaysia; no repentence from him will atone other than being beheaded.
.
 

Barbara K (61)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 4:25 am
Yes, it is the diplomatic thing to do. How the Afghanistan people take it is up to them.
 

Taina B (80)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 4:54 am
Im in doubt about this
 

Alexa R (319)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 5:11 am
I quote from this article: "When we heard it Alexander Hamilton's words came to mind:

"A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.""
 

Nancy C (806)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 6:05 am
I don't walk in our President's shoes, nor do I take any of the steps he's taken. I do, however, believe that there is inherent wisdom, sometimes hidden, within actions which may seem overtly ludicrous.
 

Michela M (3964)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 6:18 am
Noted
 

Craig Zimmerman (86)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 7:10 am
I think the apology was appropriate. We need to respect everyones beliefs.
 

. (0)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 7:34 am
I don't know, but it's exhausting that so many people - in every country and religion in the world - get offended over so many things. Why can't we all develop the maturity level of something over a 5-yr-old??
 

Beatrice B (112)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 8:17 am
Why don't we hear apologies from Muslims who are murdering Christians wholesale in Nigeria? Does it always have to be USA who grovels all the time?
 

James W (257)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 9:56 am
NObama & anyone that supports him should go fight the war & bring our troops home!!!!!
 

Beth S (330)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 11:28 am
A simple sorry and "now get over it" would have been preferred over a three-page letter.

Obama doesn't seem to either get it or care that apologies and Dhimmi behavior encourages Muslims to act more bratty, demanding, violent, and irrational. Maybe if he had advisers in his administration drawn from others outside the Muslim Brotherhood, who seem to encourage him to play right into the Islamist demands, Obama may see that theirs a better path than to have his highest Pentagon official and Obama kiss the Muslims' behinds.
 

Kit B (276)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 11:43 am

"The facts are that the Korans were seized at a jail because jihadists imprisoned there were using them not for prayer but to communicate incendiary messages. The soldiers dispatched to burn refuse from the jail were not the officials who had seized the books, had no idea they were burning Korans, and tried desperately to retrieve the books when the situation was brought to their attention."

If that is an accurate account then of course Obama made the only respectful move. I amazes me that many find it okay to destroy an Islamic holy book, but would light their hair on fire should the same happen to their holy book.

This is a simple and proper diplomatic courtesy on the part of our president.

 

Barbara DeFratis (21)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 11:51 am
Yes, President Obama should apologize, since he is the Commander-n-Chief. After all, anyone with half a brain should know better than to burn any holy book. After the uproar that was when 'that' church, I forget which one, that threaten to burn the Koran and the uproar that was when they did. What they should have done, was to stop and think--How would I feel if some one burned my holy book, If I would be offended then I should not burn any holy book.
 

Elsa O (1)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 12:16 pm
of course...
 

. (0)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 12:22 pm
I suspect that exactly what happened will ever only be known by the handful of people directily involved in the event. However books being burned will always bring forth comparisons with the events organised in Germany by the Nazis, although this event was clearly on nothing like the same scale nor with the same underlying motivation.
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 12:53 pm
why tell anybody you did?
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 1:00 pm
Whatever the rights and wrongs of it, a bad mistake was made and people have died beccause of it. No doubt much effort is put into winning Afghan hearts and minds and then something like this happens and it's right back to square one again. A spectacular own goal.

So, yes. Of course you apologise for making a mistake.
 

Carmen S (611)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 1:01 pm
noted, thanks Stan for posting this
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 1:02 pm
Of course he shoul've apologised.
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 1:03 pm
And, by the way, I'd love to see how fundamentalist Christians would react to Muslims burning The Bible.

Not well, I suspect.
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 1:17 pm
Patricia/Edw J

"Do these people apologise for burning Bibles/and our flags- of course not"

You clearly think this is poor behaviour. So by saying Obama shouldn't've apologised, you wish to behave as badly as the people you hate so much.

You two are so shallow.
 

David Anderson (72)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 1:21 pm
Absolutely not. First, by correctional standards, anything altered from its original form or used for purposes other than its intended purpose is contraband. By using these books as hosts for incendiary messages and presumably information for acting on the basic messages, they became contraband and were treated appropriately. My advice to those Moslems: If you don't want your book destroyed, do not deface it with notes pertaining to the perpetration of unacceptable behavior. Second, I am thoroughly sick of the idiot in chief groveling over minor issues to some of the most barbaric people on the face of the planet. Given the relative nature of offenses, I would conclude that retribution, not reverence is in order.
 

Esther S (45)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 1:32 pm
He did the right thing. Our enemies in Afghanistan (the fanatic Muslims) could use the burning of the Quran to show the others who might be more moderate that this is proof that we have contempt for their religion. That would help to turn more of them against us. It was important for Obama to apologize and explain that it was a mistake and was not done out of contempt for their religion. One of the problems is whether the facts are being given to all the people in Afghanistan and other Muslim countries. In addition to making sure that all those who are protesting and being violent as well as others are aware of the facts, they should also tell them it is wrong to kill people for this reason. I repeat Obama was trying to let them know that this was not done out of contempt. Has the leader of Afghanistan made that clear to all of the people?
 

mar l ene dinkins (264)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 1:43 pm
noted thnx
 

Patt wedt (2)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 1:46 pm
I apologize for humans.
I am glad the animal kingdom is so different
 

Billie C (2)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 1:51 pm
what he should have done was start pulling our troops out now and tell them to go jump off a cliff. they are not worth our young people dying. they have been fighting and killing each other for thousands of years and will not stop. telling them sorry for anything just makes them think they can do anything they want and obama will come kiss some more butt. get our troops out and let the whole area rot. all the radical muslims can kill each other. while they are doing that we can go on with our lives. just keep them away from our boarders. any that are already here that don't like it can be shipped over to the muslim country of their choice and stay there.
 

Henrik Thorsen (31)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 1:55 pm
I have no problem with President Obama apologizing, but I'm still waiting for President Karzai to apologize on behalf of his people for their insane reactions to this petty perceived insult.
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 2:56 pm
Obama is very wise and highly conscious. I do wish that he had also mentioned the fact that Muslims in prison had already themselves corrupted the Korans which had been kindly provided to them. "...The facts are that the Korans were seized at a jail because jihadists imprisoned there were using them not for prayer but to communicate incendiary messages..." The entire truth must always be spoken, so that those who are protesting and calling for the murder of Americans based on this burning of books can not claim that this was an act of blatant disrespect. My other problem is that no book is "holy", only those passages which tell us to find the "Word" or "Logos" within when our eyes are single in meditation (third eye) and allude to the inner living water or sound current that we can be initiated into mystically. Physical words written in books are not holy, and anyone who reads these words can interpret them in any fashion that suits them. If they are lovers of violence, they can find passages that give them permission to murder. If they view themselves as superior to any other human or sentient being, they can find passages that promote killing and judging. If one is a vegetarian who meditates and sees past lives, one can easily find passages that refer directly to the Path to Enlightenment, as well and the equality of all in the Vibrational Energy and Nature. If a male wishes to dominate a female or child, he can certainly discover phrases giving him the right to do so.
 

patrica and edw jones (190)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 3:12 pm
Enlightenment won't come easily to this world, Yvette. These 'Holy' Books are written by men - and we interpret them as we wish. Until we can attain to a higher level of consciousness - we are doomed to repeat our mistakes. Also it is hard to reason with people who have such a visceral distate for the West.........just like it is hard to reason with such people as JOHN THE PILLOWBITER who insists on throwing insults into the ring instead of making intelligent comments.
 

Cam V (417)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 3:16 pm
Apparently the way to dispose with corrupted Korans IS TO BURN THEM! So if this is true then where is the problem? Where is the apology for the American soldiers who were killed? Obama has made a huge mess out of this whole thing and needs to go.
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 3:20 pm
Oh dear. More homophobic comments from Patricia/Edw.
 

Christopher Fowler (82)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 3:36 pm
Patricia and Edw Jones; You don't get it. The Muslims are not occupying our country and disrespecting our religions here, but our troops, who represent ALL OF US HERE, are doing that there, in a country that OUR military is occupying.
Having served in foreign nations, in the MILITARY, I know for a fact, that we must conduct ourselves with the highest level of respect for the cultures of the people in those countries. To do otherwise creates enemies from allies and adds animosity to people in occupied nations.
Because we always took the high road, in previous wars, we gained the respect of, not only the civilian populations, but also the military personnel that we took as combatant prisoners. Your attitude is stuck in the "empire" philosophy of the Bush era, where our incompetent leaders thought that we could do anything that we wanted and were not accountable for our actions; that makes more enemies than allies. Even the Romans knew that much. The President, as CIC of our armed forces, did the right thing to help maintain peace that is shakey at best, in a country that no longer wants us there.
 

Michael Ruger (17)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 3:46 pm
Let bring that General who took responsibility fot those burning home. Discharge him People it hasn't been a secret for a very long time how Moslims feel about their Koran.You realize we were just about to get out of Afghanistan even with a little pride. Now look at us. Americans willl be targets by many more people. And no we just can't sit back and bring more trouble upon us. If that genneral hjaD ANY TRUE PATRIOTISM hE WOULD FALL ON HIS SWORD, YOU ALL LIKE THE IDEA OF MORE WARS? Some of you talk about how backward some of the Moslem countries are. Well burning their sacred books won't bring them forward a single inch. Bring that General home for a trial A real trial. And also include others high ups that knew about this burning but said nothing.You know if anyone would care to look back to the Soviet Union era.They woulld cfind much the same things done buy them,to keep the people under them down. now that did not work too well for them did it. By the way how many of you writers out there are going to join up a and fight in our military perhaps 20 or 30 years,with constant turn arounds going right back into harms way? not that many huh? Well how about when the holy war comes to your town. More lkely most of us will run and hide.
Come on now lets getr together and insist the people in charge of those burnings.be punish and not with ju\st a slap on the hands.
 

Robert O (12)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 4:30 pm
Yes. Reagrdless of the hostilities, we need to respect other people's rights and religions.

Patricia and Edw Jones, clueless and callous once again.
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 4:33 pm
noted
 

Cam V (417)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 6:44 pm
Hey Patricia and Edward, you like me have obviously been following the burning and pillaging and murdering of all the Christians overseas in the Muslims countries. These incidents are on the rise. WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE IN THIS THREAD ABOUT THIS HAPPENING???

 

Carol Dreeszen (346)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 9:09 pm
Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"

You cannot currently send a star to patrica and edw because you have done so within the last week.
 

Carol Dreeszen (346)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 9:14 pm
There is never any outrage over any killings of Americans or burning of the American flag or Bibles or anything to do with Americans! Obama just made the US look weaker again with "another" apology to a Muslim country and he thinks it's making it better for America!? I will say he is smart enough being a Muslim to KNOW what it means to have someone who is not Muslim apologize to a Muslim so he knew exactly what he was doing! The only thing worse is one Muslim apologizing to another Muslim! And Obama wants the Taliban to be a part of the governing in Afghanistan!? Good move Obama! Put them right back to where they started!
 

William Y (54)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 9:26 pm
@ Kit B & Barbara DeFratis, you are both correct.
 

greenplanet e (155)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 10:08 pm
Apologize for bombs and invasions?
 

. (0)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 10:27 pm
Burning the Koran insulted the entire Afghan population. We are there as visitors on their soil. Of course, he should have apologized. What should be done is an investigation should be held to see why it happened at all. This book burning of the Koran definitely shows someone's incompetence. This put our soldiers at risk more than many other things that have been done.

As for the killing of 2 American soldiers, it is very sad. Our soldiers shouldn't be over there in the first place. But you have to remember, this is a war. People are going to get killed. How can you blame all Afghans for these two deaths when most are on our side and fighting beside us?

As for Newt's comments... it is sad that anyone cares what he says. He is a sleazy, washed-up, nobody as far as I'm concerned. Ronald McDonald would have a better chance of winning the Republican presidential nomination than Newt. But, I guess there are enough clowns in that race....
 

Jay S (116)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 10:29 pm
Well, it would be nice for the ones who are for apologizing for the qur'an burning to feel the same outrage for the daily atrocities committed by Muslims the world over.

In August last year the Islamic dictatorship of Iran burned 6500 Bibles to try to stop the swell of Iranians leaving Islam (only 2% attend mosques there). There wasn't a peep here on Care2 nor from any western leaders that we are aware of AND no apology for this act of disrespect from the mullahs of Iran.

You who keep saying the silly mantra that Christians would react the same to Bible burnings are incredibly naive and ignorant, not to mention bigoted. No one rioted, looted, murdered or burned anything when those 6500 Bibles were burned, nor when any of the hundreds of churches have been burned lately in Muslim occupied countries. No one was killed.

People may feel offended or shocked at Bible or church burnings but no one riots or kills over it. Two more churches were bombed in Nigeria by islamists this Sunday. Where was this even mentioned on Care2? Only in the members' C2NN section. Coptic Christians, the original Egyptians, are being burned out of homes, churches and shops, beaten, terrorized and driven out of their ancestral land in the tens of thousands by Islamists in the 'New' Sharia Egypt most here applauded. Obama wouldn't even meet with their reps who came to beg for his help in stopping this ethnic cleansing. Where was his great leadership then? Where is the compassion and outrage here? Silence.

Where is the article on oh so caring Care2 about the Iranian man who converted to Chritianity and has been condemned to death in Islamic Iran? Where is your outrage? Silence. Only when Muslims have a bad day do you and Care2 and most of the western leaders bother to work up a lather.

Where are the apologies from so-called 'moderate' Muslim leaders for all of this daily persecutions, bunings and deaths of non-Muslims? Silence.

Such blatant hypocrisy here from oh so caring (NOT) Care2. The beatings and murders of gay people in some EU cities, the soaring rapes and sexual assaults of women who aren't wearing hijab (they're 'uncovered meat'), the Nazi level terrorizing and violence against Jews, the desecration of churches so that in some places in France church services must have police protection from the Muslims who have taken over their surrounding neighborhoods, Sharia zones established in some EU cities where natives and even police fear to enter - all from the increasingly hateful and violent Muslims, and not a word of outrage from any of you great humanitarians or Care2.

Yet let some pompous Muslim woman in her burqa, which is telling those around her to F-off, I don't want anything to do with you, get refused entry to a bank (and rightly so) and Care2 and all of you want apologies and punishment.

What incredible hypocrites all. When you start caring about real atrocities for everyone, not just Muslims, then maybe you'll have some credibility.
 

Lloyd H (46)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 10:44 pm
Yes!My views are best summed up with a few excerpts from the "Military Religious Freedom Foundation", that has to work to stop Christian Bigots from harassing, discriminating against and violating the Freedom of Religion of Members of the US Military, from their 2/23/2012 statement. "...our profound revulsion at the latest and by far, most egregious expression of Christian supremacist chauvinism and exceptionalism aimed at the Afghanistan people. The incident, a mass-burning of Qurans and other sacred Islamic material at Bagram Air Base...is the inevitable outcome of a culture of impunity within the US Armed Forces whereby militant Christian fundamentalism and its attendant Islamophobic racism are coddled and nurtured, resulting in a near-total disdain towards internationally-recognized human rights norms.... However, the events of the past month have depicted a pattern of surpassing arrogance and unprofessionalism on the part of the US military personnel in the country, ranging from the bestial act of videotaped Marines urinating on the corpses of dead irregulars, to the disgraceful display of the genocidal Nazi SS flag by USMC Scout Snipers. ...MRFF has reported in the past, local villages are used as the backdrop for fundamentalist Christian reality shows about evangelical missionaries preaching and distributing New Testament Bibles translated into the local Dari language along side the US Army. Indeed, the militant Islamist extremists' primary propaganda tool is their depiction of the American presence in the region as one of "Crusader Occupation...unceasingly bolstering this narrative, the religious extremists and ant-Muslim bigots within the US military... As we at MRFF are fond of repeating,"any sufficiently advanced incompetence is completely indistinguishable from malice."...this shocking pattern... has been enabled by a culture which willfully denigrates the crucial strategic need for religious tolerance and respect for human rights, i.e. the foundational principals embodied by the US Constitution which all servicemembers have sworn an oath to uphold. It is incontrovertibly clear that an activist clique within the ranks of US military leadership is hell-bent not only on sabotaging public perceptions of our mission in Afghanistan, but causing onerous harm to the core values of the United States of America.
Disingenuous mea culpas excusing these hideous acts as "accidental" or "unintentional literally strain credulity, ans Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's toothless and oft-repeated promises to launch investigations are now impossible to take seriously.....Ths tragic metastasizing trajectory has led to the sociopathic mindset that non-fundamentalist Christians are unworthy of basic dignified treatment as human beings and that their sacred texts, in this case the Qurans, are undeserving of the slightest respect."
 

Tommy S (11)
Sunday February 26, 2012, 11:15 pm
cross post
Caliph Uthman had a product recall on all the various interpretations of the koran and then wrote the standardised version (by committee) he then ' sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur'anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt.
so Caliph Uthman actually burned the originals

So when the koran is burned you are burning only Uthmans version as he had the original sources destroyed as they were confusing the people
 

Stephen Brian (23)
Monday February 27, 2012, 12:40 am
Hi Cam, Carol, Rob and Jay :)

Where is the outrage? I read an interesting comment on that a while back: The Taliban, their supporters, and their ilk are the bad guys. This sort of stuff is expected of them so there is no shock. It is rarely considered newsworthy when they kill, let alone every time they maim or destroy property. That they are monstrous is so thoroughly accepted that it is not even discussed. Of course, this acceptance without note also amounts to a dismissal of their crimes: The silence removes it from public discourse and the public consciousness, leaving people with a horribly lopsided view of the world, where only those of whom barbaric acts,violence, etc. are the exception get condemned for it to the point where the acts of true villains get ignored and, where not ignored, rationalized.

I am outraged by the acts of the Afghans who killed over a report of a burned Koran. Leaving aside the backwards insanity of the matter, we live in the world of the printing press, where more can be easily produced. Leaving aside the crime itself even, they accepted the message that Americans had burned a Koran, spread by opponents of the West, and acted upon that information without listening to the details that those Korans had been desecrated and that even then the burning was accidental in the disposal of materials from the base. This tells me what they are more ready to believe, where their biases lie, and with that where their sympathies lie. Does this change what I think should be done? No. (I'll go into what that is only if you want. I'm not going to just volunteer something that grotesque here.) It changes nothing of substance. Is it even noteworthy that I am outraged? The outrage itself is meaningless, but the public note of it is important for its own sake.
 

Tommy S (11)
Monday February 27, 2012, 2:02 am
Quote...KABUL: Two US advisers who were shot dead in the Afghan interior ministry by an Afghan colleague had been mocking anti-American protests over the burning of the Koran, a government source said Sunday...Unquote
http://bit.ly/wgrM40
 

Tommy S (11)
Monday February 27, 2012, 2:20 am
Seems it is only offensive if non muslims destroy a koran
Why are Pakistanis throwing away 100s of Korans into sewage filled canal?
In Pakistan a Man Digs Korans Out of Sewer – Been Doing It For 10 Years
see the video
http://bit.ly/zfVO10
 

William Y (54)
Monday February 27, 2012, 2:51 am
@ Rob & Jay B. Just because they are uncivilized doesn't mean that we have to be. What's more since the president is the commander in chief, he has no choice but to apologize for this stupid action.
 

(0)
Monday February 27, 2012, 2:56 am
Maybe this might put a little perspective on the issue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=69VIER7nzz8

Worth watching and mentally digesting
 

Past Member (0)
Monday February 27, 2012, 3:17 am
William Y

I agree with you up to a point. Of course there should've been an apology.

However, your comment raises questions. You say they are "uncivilised". What does that mean? That they have a culture and tradition that differs from ours? They certainly believe that we are uncivilised (and oerhaps we are) because we kill, drop bombs, destroy countries, trample on norms of others and think they should adhere to ours.

Just a thought.
 

Past Member (0)
Monday February 27, 2012, 3:19 am
"murdering of all the Christians overseas in the Muslims countries"

And where is your outrage about the Muslims we are murdering and maiming in their own countries?
 

Jennifer Ward (40)
Monday February 27, 2012, 3:48 am
They're using the Koran for toilet paper in Pakistan. All this sanctimony is just an excuse to riot and kill.

The president should not have apologised at all- the general in charge should have issued an official expression of regret and a promise to investigate and punish the perps.

 

Jose Ramon Fisher Rodriguez (13)
Monday February 27, 2012, 3:58 am
Green star for Christopher Fowler.
 

Jose Ramon Fisher Rodriguez (13)
Monday February 27, 2012, 3:58 am
And an apology to the Iraqis would be warranted as well.
 

Past Member (0)
Monday February 27, 2012, 5:02 am
Phyllis B

"They're using the Koran for toilet paper in Pakistan"

Except you're lying, aren't you Phyllis? Muslims tend not to use anything except soap and water to wash their bums after the lavatory. They think lavatory paper is disgusting, unhygienic and dirty.
 

Past Member (0)
Monday February 27, 2012, 5:05 am
Carol Dreeszen

"I will say he is smart enough being a Muslim"

Are you, loonily, alleging that Barack Obama is a Muslim? As for the rest of your ravings, I guess the sensible can safely ignore them.
 

Joy W (100)
Monday February 27, 2012, 5:42 am
Noted, thanks.
 

Esther Z (94)
Monday February 27, 2012, 5:53 am
Yes, it's called diplomacy.
 

S. C. (6)
Monday February 27, 2012, 6:05 am
This is not the first time American soldiers, in an invasion of another country, has been caught burning the Koran.Causing riots and killing on both sides. IMO The only weakness Obama is showing is that apparently the chief executive officer of the armed forces of our country can;t shape the country;s soldiers. It means about as much, I would say, to these Afghans as the effort it took to push the air out of his mouth. Did it stop the burning? No. Did it stop the burning before? no. Do we know the results of what occurs when American soldiers burn the koran, and did it stop anyone from doing so? they knew, but they did it anyway. The weakness ain;t in apologzing. the weakness is that soldiers apparently did it anyway, and Obama's apology thus again probably has about as much weight to the afghans as the air it took to say it.
 

Alexander Werner (53)
Monday February 27, 2012, 6:34 am
I don't remember Karzai, or any other top Afgani guy, apologizing from destroying Budda statues - a sign of ancient civilization established before Islam.

Nobody knows where the burnt books came from, nobody checked if they weren't planted.

And to whom Obama is apologizing? To those, who approve killing random people, not related whatsoever to the "committed crime"? Who for the sake of a darn book kill people?

Obama may apologize to Afganis for having burnt books on army's property, he may bow to Saudi King and call him a guardian of something, he can flirt with fanatical rulers of Iran - nothing of these will bring him or US which he represents - any respect.
 

S. C. (6)
Monday February 27, 2012, 7:16 am
While I approve of Obama's diplomacy, it means nothing to Afghans, I would guess, while Korans continue to be burned, shot at, and whatever else had been done. It's empty air.

Whatever soldier desecrates the Koran puts his fellow soldiers and other citizens in danger, ruins attempts at establishing trust and goodwill with the Afghan people, and sets back relations months. if not years. I would think soldier's rules and regulations about how to conduct themselves among some of the most conservative and religious groups of people around, would be very strict and to the point on this issue. But it still keeps happening. Some higher-up, one would think, would make it abundantly clear that this is completely and totally unacceptable, and soldiers doing it will recieve the consequences of not following this very common-sense regulation. I mean, what soldier over there doesn't understand yet that you don;t burn their holy book, or shoot at it, or whatever else soldiers have done to it over the years? If he/she doesn't get that by this point, he/she has no business whatsoever being there.
 

marie C (163)
Monday February 27, 2012, 9:30 am
Not sure about this noted
 

Gloria H (88)
Monday February 27, 2012, 10:57 am
through childish display of taunting, the soldiers put others at risk through retaliation. People died. Now it is up to the adults to make amends.
 

Stephen Brian (23)
Monday February 27, 2012, 3:30 pm
Hi S.C.

Whoever is willing to kill over a burned book puts people in danger, not the people who burn the book. Do you think that Afghans are incapable of such basic human decency as not committing murder over a burned book? I understand such barbarism is to be expected, but does the expectation of a person being evil really make a third party responsible for murder because he or she acted in a manner to which a civilized person would not react so harshly? Is a woman who wears a short skirt and passes through an area where she should expect to find potential rapists make her responsible for what happens to her and her friends?

besides, the fact is that higher-ups had made it abundantly clear. The burning was part of a burning of materials to be discarded as a base was abandoned.
 

Jennifer Ward (40)
Monday February 27, 2012, 3:59 pm
Good grief! How long are we expected to put up with, and excuse these backward savages for there terrible tantrums?

The Korans had been defiled by their own and had been disposed of as required by Koranic laws.

Okay, maybe they should have gotten in an Imam to recite some mumbo jumbo mumblings while it was being done- but folks, really- isn't it time we started with the 'tough love'?
 

S. C. (6)
Monday February 27, 2012, 4:50 pm
Um, i would not say that wearing a short skirt and being attacked is in any way comparable to anger over their holy book being burned. I can;t say I'm impressed with your analogy.

Time and time again , I've heard what's the big deal. So what if we as invaders used canine attack dogs to invade afghan/Iraqi houses, even though that's against their customs. So what if soldiers piled them naked on top of each other. So what if soldiers shot their holy book, burned it, desecrated it. So what. Which is the same arrrogant and hubristic viewpoint that has caused the deaths of, what, at least two soldiers this week? Great attitude.seems to me this arrogant and hubristic thinking has gotten us nowhere close to resolving any of thisand is causing more issues. Quit thinking what you as a westerner in the first world personally would do and not do, and consider that there are really and truly other cultural issues and customs that don;t align and imitate the United States.
 

S. C. (6)
Monday February 27, 2012, 5:07 pm
I hate to tell you this, but a lot of cultures just don;t see the United States as the great upstanding moral example of what their people should strive to achieve.
 

Ira Herson (13)
Tuesday February 28, 2012, 4:31 am
Of course and apology was necessary. The President is representative of the United States and it is his position that demands he take responsibility for the actions of his army. I also think that the President of Afghanistan should apologize to the USA for the killings of murdered western workers by mobs in Kabul. I think it is always a tragedy that inanimate objects no matter what their religious significance should take precedent over human life.
 

Alexa R (319)
Tuesday February 28, 2012, 9:07 am
Why would any pious Muslim “tolerate” an infidel culture that jeopardizes the eternal souls of Muslims, and that stands in the way of others’ converting to Islam? As the Ayatollah Khomeini said, “Those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation.” Such confidence is reinforced when we acquiesce in a standard whereby burning a Qur’an or insulting Mohammed with a cartoon is worse than killing people.

We know why many of our leaders accept this double standard. They have bought into John Lennon’s juvenile utopia in which there is “nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too.” Shorn of their transcendent, non-negotiable foundations, all our beliefs are now contingent and negotiable, easily traded away for security or comfort. At the same time, multiculturalism bestows on the non-Western “other” a finely calibrated sensitivity to his culture and religion, no matter how dysfunctional or oppressive, all the while the West refuses to extend such consideration to its own. Why would it? Haven’t generations of Western intellectuals and artists told the world how corrupt and evil the West is? Haven’t they asserted, as Pascal Bruckner put it, that “every Westerner is presumed guilty until proven innocent”?

Having culturally internalized this self-loathing and lack of conviction, we are vulnerable to those who are filled with passionate intensity about the rightness of their beliefs and the payback due to us for our alleged historical sins such as colonialism or imperialism or globalization. And then we wonder why the jihadist considers us ripe for conquest, and destined to be subjected to the superior values of Islam.
Bruce Thornton

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/02/27/koran-burning-and-destructive-double-standards/

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
 

Stephen Brian (23)
Tuesday February 28, 2012, 2:04 pm
Hi S.C.

I'm not that impressed with my own analogy either. There are problems with it, but the point still stands. Violating other people's customs in their country and in their homes makes a person responsible for making the locals angry. It does not make a person responsible for how the locals express their anger. Different cultures will encourage different responses, so I would not expect other people to behave as I would. However, I would still demand that the response not be something so egregiously opposed to my principles. There are some culturally condoned behaviours which may be normal in some places, but I still don't consider them morally acceptable and would treat them accordingly.

"Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs." - General Napier

In the end, moral judgements like these are about what actions are appropriate in response. They may kill in accordance with theirs, and I would place blame, act, and support response according to mine.
 

S. C. (6)
Tuesday February 28, 2012, 2:57 pm
Stephen- act and think however you will. But the proof is, yet again, in the pudding. This hubristic attitude of "I want them to act according to my own particular, western-european, First world, ultra modernized-nation- US beliefs" has killed American soldiers because of these attitudes in the past, and most likely will continue to get more of them killed. Not to mention the citizens there too, and setting cooperation and stability back by years. Most don't want the US there as invaders as it is. Treating their culture, including their holy book, with complete contempt pretty much insures that there is only going to be more ill feelings and and reciprocal contempt and hatred.
 

S. C. (6)
Tuesday February 28, 2012, 3:04 pm
....You can demand whatever you want. But to try putting it tactfully, I truly doubt that they really care very much. While, however, they DO care about having their holy book desecrated by invading and non-muslim soldiers. If you don;t want them to riot and further harm them, then I suggest any US soldiers don;t shoot the Koran, burn it, or desecrate it as in the past.
 

Past Member (0)
Tuesday February 28, 2012, 3:50 pm
Stephen. We find the fervent reaction of the Afghans to be reprehensible over "just a book". They find its burning just as bad. We cannot expect people of different cultures to behave or react in the same way.
 

Alexa R (319)
Wednesday February 29, 2012, 8:38 am
John D: "We cannot expect people of different cultures to behave or react in the same way. "

'We' cannot, but 'they' can!?!? (by demanding 'we' treat their holy books in the 'same way' they treat their holy books for if 'we' don't they're going to kill more of US soldiers..)

What sort of utter nonsensical double standard!!!!

 

Alexa R (319)
Wednesday February 29, 2012, 8:41 am
"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them." Ray Bradbury
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday February 29, 2012, 11:41 am
Alexandra, where do you get your flights of imagination from?
 

Stephen Brian (23)
Thursday March 1, 2012, 11:43 am
Hi S.C.

I understand that they don't care about where I think the blame should be. However, if the murderers get identified, they will probably care very much about what happens to them, and Western attitudes about where the blame lies will have an impact on that. I also know that American attitudes regarding Afghan culture do act as enabling agents (though not causative) for these killings and setbacks. However, not all Westerners have American attitudes. I am Canadian and I am proud of how well my country's people were able to work with the locals, that my country's officers wrote the book on "Take and Hold" which is now NATO's counter-insurgency doctrine, and that they received recognition before the Canadian combat-mission ended as having run their operation "as close to by the numbers" as the Afghan NATO commanding officer had ever seen.

Hi John,

We can't expect it. However, we can demand it.
 

S. C. (6)
Friday March 2, 2012, 6:57 am
Let's see. you can demand, of which they don;t care, that the entire afghan people and nation change their ultra conservative devotion to their holy book and their thousand-year old culture to satisfy a bunch on non-muslim invaders, when the even russians couldn't do it, or- you can simply quit burning and desecrating Korans. Which is easier and safer for people.
 

Alexa R (319)
Friday March 2, 2012, 9:29 am
S. C. "Let's see. you can demand, of which they don;t care ... or- you can simply quit burning and desecrating Korans. Which is easier and safer for people. "

Which is easier S. C.? Let's see .. you can demand the freedom to wear what you like whether they care or don't, or- you can simply quit walking around 'naked' in their eyes, drawing unto yourself insult and assault, even rape ..

Which is easier and safer for people?

You know what, I will NOT let another religion dictate to me how I must live my life, EVEN if they threaten to harm or even kill me ..! I will stand up for myself against those trying to force their beliefs on me! Whether it's the safe choice or not!

Do yourself the favour of watching this video of a BBC reporter insulted for being 'naked' and for trying to 'seduce' somebody with such 'naked' dress .. while being taunted "UK go to hell".
 

Alexa R (319)
Friday March 2, 2012, 9:30 am
Do yourself the favour of watching this video of a BBC reporter IN her HOME town insulted for being 'naked' and for trying to 'seduce' somebody with such 'naked' dress .. while being taunted "UK go to hell".

http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/blog/id.9562/blog_detail.asp
 

Stephen Brian (23)
Friday March 2, 2012, 2:14 pm
Hi S.C.,

I didn't just mean better behaviour should be demanded with words. It should be demanded with guns and arrests too. Placing the blame on those who actually killed, deeming them criminally responsible for murder, means supporting an investigation and appropriate response to the murders. For the immediate case, is it safer for the people to take precautions to avoid another accidental burning and let murderers go free, or to arrest them? I'd say in the long-term, it's safer not to condone murder, nor let people get away with it. On the larger scale, if that ultra conservative devotion means letting people get away with murder, then the place is a source of violent barbarians and all the people everywhere else would be safer if the country were turned into a glass crater. Assuming that we place our own long-term safety first, then the choice is not between getting them to change and "playing nice", but between getting them to change and genocide. Which do you think is preferable?
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 4:10 am
Alexandra, i don;t want to hear it. Did you know In Israel they're stoning 8 -year old girls for dressing like whores? Yes, go watch that video.
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 4:12 am
by all means go check that one out. you know, It's not just in Muslim countries they do this.
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 4:23 am
Stephen, your demanding with guns, while at war, has STILL not changed how Afghans react when their Koran and their culture is held in contempt. How are you going to talk about murder of the soldiers that invaded their country AND burned their book that while they're AT WAR? hello. You do realize- that's what happens in war. You can;t be that naive. You can't invade a country and then expect the conquered to play nice and politely with the conquerers.... I'm sorry, that's not what war is about. So you'd rather they burn the books and everything else they've done that you think afghans should have no right to be enraged about, and have dead soldiers and civilians, than just show a bit of freaking respect to another culture that you've wrought war upon. You really think that's the way to go. Hm. Are you a soldier? I wonder how most would feel about that approach.
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 4:26 am
In fact, think about how various other religious countries would feel about having soldiers of another culture burning their various holy books. I bet it wouldn't go quite so smoothly in some other places on the planet either.
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 4:31 am
Alexandra- here's that story i'm talking about. Right here on Care2.
http://www.care2.com/news/member/456093751/3057740
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 4:42 am
Stephen, really, please tell me you're not condoning genocide, just because the civilians of Afghanistan would simply demand their holy book be given some respect.
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 5:00 am
Hm. seems they took down the video. Here's the story. \

http://jezebel.com/5871293/orthodox-israelis-spit-on-whorish-8+year+old-girl-for-going-to-school
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 5:40 am
Here it is. go farther down the page. Yes. This is in ISRAEL. Not in Afghanistan or some other Muslim country. Keep that in mind.
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 5:40 am
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2078771/Israel-braced-protests-treatment-women-girl-8-spat-Jewish-extremists.html
 

Alexa R (319)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 6:41 am
Have you ever been to Israel S. C.?

Just wondering, rhetorically. No need for a response.

BTW. The Israel you're trying to convince me about is NOTHING like the Israel I know and love .. Israel is a country where even gays don’t get killed for being gay, let alone “whorish 8-year old girls“ for how they dress ..!

S. C. “Alexandra, i don;t want to hear it.”

Or do you not want to know about the real Israel either?

Just wondering again, rhetorically. No need for a response.
 

Alexa R (319)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 6:42 am
S. C. : “think about how various other religious countries would feel about having soldiers of another culture burning their various holy books. I bet it wouldn't go quite so smoothly in some other places on the planet either”

Perhaps S. C., this burning of Quran was ‘pay-back’ for burning Bibles in 2011?

Flashback: Iran launches Bible-burning campaign

Read more at: http://times247.com/articles/flashback-iran-launches-bible-burning-campaign

Also at:

Iranian authorities began to systematically seize and destroy Bibles after a Shiite cleric issued an urgent warning about the spread of Christianity.

Authorities in northwestern Iran seized 6,500 Bibles, according to the Iranian Christian news organization Mohabat News, which quotes an official as saying of the seizure that “all religions are strengthening their power to confront Islam; otherwise, what does this huge number of Bibles mean?” The agency has reported several other recent incidents of Bibles and other Christian literature being seized and sometimes publicly burned.

Mohabat reports that the government-connected cleric, Ayatollah Hadi Jahangosha, warned of “the spread of Christianity among our youth,” pointing to burgeoning satellite programming, literature, and religious articles promoting the Western tradition.

“Everyone in society should feel responsibility in this matter and play his or her role in spreading of pure Islam and fight false and distorted cultures,” the news agency quotes him as saying.

© Newsmax. All rights reserved.
Iran Launches Bible-burning Campaign
Friday, 26 Aug 2011 02:44 PM
By Tom O'Connell


Read more on Newsmax.com: Iran Launches Bible-burning Campaign
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 7:02 am
Alexandra, your response is, "let's blame another country's culture, while closing my eyes to what's happening right in my own country". I'm sorry that's occuring in YOUR OWN COUNTRY- but but the fact is, it is. You'ere going to deny what's happened to this little girl and other little girls going through the same there, while decrying all the chauvinistic elements in another's religion? not cool.
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 7:07 am
Yeah, no kidding they burn bibles. I thought we were supposed to be more tolerant and respectful of other religions though.

What you ask me about knowing about the "real Israel" , is what a muslim could ask you about knowing about "Real Islam". besides the extremism we hear about only in the news.
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 7:09 am
Sorry, but "this doesn't happen in Israel" is not true.
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 7:40 am
Perhaps you could also explain the attacks on women that ride in the front of the bus in certain parts of Israel, while we're on the subject.
 

Alexa R (319)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 7:43 am
S. C. "I'm sorry..."

Apology accepted.
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 7:56 am
not quite. how about, "SC, I don;t want to acknowledge how Israelis treat women and girls and getting away with it, , while raising hue and cry about the repressiveness of Islam?".
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 7:57 am
Or exalain why it's modetsy and culture that dictates some women wear veils there, and yet it's repressiveness for Islam? Or loose clothing?
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 8:13 am
Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"

You cannot currently send a star to S. because you have done so within the last week.
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 8:14 am
She won't have a word to say about the repressiveness of Jewesses having to wear wigs either.
 

Alexa R (319)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 12:36 pm
John D and S. C.

Perhaps you both misunderstood the point of the UK video clip? The point is that the BBC reporter was insulted, assaulted in her own home town for the way she dresses under taunts of "UK go to hell".

The point is NOT whether Islamic dress code is repressive or not.

And what, if I may ask, does modesty in Judaism have to do with ANY of this?

BTW, for you John D. as you said: "She won't have a word to say about the repressiveness of Jewesses having to wear wigs either. "

For me, I do not find modesty in Judaism repressive. My modesty is entirely my choice and I do not force my modesty on any other woman, and since you seem to be curious about Jewesses and wigs - no, I do not wear a wig or wigs, but often wear hats or caps (just like my avatar pic) even though I'm not married and never had a husband. It tends to be more the married women with husbands who wear wigs, hats, scarves, veils etc.

Hope this answers your question about veils in some Jewish communities too S. C. Else try the Internet, as I would not wish to waste everybody on this thread's time with a lesson on modesty in Judaism.
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 1:39 pm
No, my question is, why are you saying how you would not wish to be repressed, as you say Islam does, while people in your own country do it without an honest examination or commentary about that? Why is it "personal modesty and cultural choice" in Judaism, while oppression in Islam? Let me tell you, from my American eyes, I don;t see a whole lot of difference in Jewish grown men stoning an 8 year old child and spitting on her for dressing like a whore, and attacking women on buses to religious zealots, from Islamic men doing it wherever. Or women there wearing headcoverings and loose clothing vs. Islamic women that do.
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 1:43 pm
Alexandra.

"For me, I do not find modesty in Judaism repressive."

Your post begs more questions than it answers. Perhaps there are Muslim women who find wearing a veil non repressive. And perhaps there are some Jewesses who are forced to wear wigs.

As for the video, so what? A few loons reprehensibly harangued a BBC reporter. What is that meant to prove? That there are loons?
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 1:45 pm
Aklexandra

"Perhaps S. C., this burning of Quran was ‘pay-back’ for burning Bibles in 2011? "

Is this the extent of your thinking, Alexandra? Bibles were destroyed in another country a year ago, so these grunts destroyed Qurans?
 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 1:47 pm
And I bring this subject up, because you did.

"Which is easier S. C.? Let's see .. you can demand the freedom to wear what you like whether they care or don't, or- you can simply quit walking around 'naked' in their eyes, drawing unto yourself insult and assault, even rape ..

Which is easier and safer for people?

You know what, I will NOT let another religion dictate to me how I must live my life, EVEN if they threaten to harm or even kill me ..! I will stand up for myself against those trying to force their beliefs on me! Whether it's the safe choice or not!"

Do yourself the favour of watching this video of a BBC reporter insulted for being 'naked' and for trying to 'seduce' somebody with such 'naked' dress .. while being taunted "UK go to hell".
 

Alexa R (319)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 2:38 pm
John D: "As for the video, so what? A few loons reprehensibly harangued a BBC reporter. What is that meant to prove? That there are loons? "

Thanks S. C. for repeating my point. Here goes my point John D: "You know what, I will NOT let another religion dictate to me how I must live my life, EVEN if they threaten to harm or even kill me ..! I will stand up for myself against those trying to force their beliefs on me!"

It happens to also be the point of Gingrich: “Obama regime is so pro-Islamic that it can’t even tell the truth about the people who are trying to kill us

... There’s something sick about an administration which is so pro-Islamic that it can’t even tell the truth about the people who are trying to kill us.” –“President Obama is very quick to apologize for Islam while he attacks the Catholic Church.”


 

S. C. (6)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 2:53 pm
.....Otherwise, I am talking about starting a huge freaking fight meaning deaths of soldiers and Afghan citizens alike over whether or not US soldiers have some God- given arrogant right to burn and desecrate another country's holy book in that conquered country just because they feel like doing it. Is it a smart PR move? no. Is it a smart Diplomatic one? no, Take a look at the freaking risk- acessment of equipement, soldiers, citizens and the ruin of stuff there and more American money poured back in to rebuild after rioting, so soldiers can piss on another's culture because they just want to. Is it easier and safer and a better scenario alltogether to avoid doing it? Um, you think maybe? Otherwise, was i talking about rape? No. Was i talking about easier and safer in refering to attacking women somewhere?No. so don;t put other situations in my mouth. ? Or- was i referring to a specific scenario where it's freaking stupid and uncessarily risking lives so that some soldeirs can flaunt their contempt because they just wanted to? Um, Yes.
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 3:26 pm
Alexandra, please, use that tiny brain of yours.

"You know what, I will NOT let another religion dictate to me how I must live my life"

"another religion" is NOT dictating to you anything at all. A few loons harangued a BBC reporter, "loons", Alexandra, not a "religion".
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday March 3, 2012, 3:29 pm
Good grief, the USI doesn't give a toss about brown people, does it?

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/03/02-3

CIA's ploy to use a fake vaccination scheme to track down bin Laden has increased distrust of polio drops in Pakistan

March 2, 2012

Nearly 200 international aid and humanitarian groups have issued a letter to the CIA to voice their opposition of the US intelligence agency's use of a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign to help pinpoint the location of Osama Bin Laden in Abottabad, Pakistan in early 2011. The groups link the covert operation to increased suspicion of aid workers and a subsequent polio crisis that has gripped Pakistan in the last year.

"The CIA's use of the cover of humanitarian activity for this purpose casts doubt on the intentions and integrity of all humanitarian actors in Pakistan, thereby undermining the international humanitarian community's efforts to eradicate polio, provide critical health services, and extend life-saving assistance during times of crisis like the floods seen in Pakistan over the last two years," the InterAction coalition wrote to the CIA director, David Petraeus.

The Guardian reports:

[Pakistan] recorded the highest number of polio cases in the world last year, a health catastrophe that threatens to spiral out of control.

In July the Guardian revealed that the CIA used a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, in the hunt for Bin Laden. In the weeks before the 3 May operation to kill Bin Laden, Afridi was instructed to set up a fake vaccination scheme in the town of Abbottabad, in order to gain entry to the house where it was suspected that the al-Qaida chief was living, and extract DNA samples from his family members.

However the ruse has provided seeming proof for a widely held belief in Pakistan, fuelled by religious extremists, that polio drops are a western conspiracy to sterilise the population.

The letter said the CIA should avoid tactics that "erode the ability of humanitarian actors in Pakistan and the rest of the world to work on behalf of the poorest and most vulnerable".

The Dawn in Pakistan added:

The fact that the CIA had launched such fake campaigns was confirmed by US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta in an interview on Jan 27 where he praised a doctor named Shakil Afridi for helping the agency. Dr Afridi is in custody of Pakistani security agencies for launching the fake polio vaccination campaign and tipping the US government about Osama.

"The CIA’s use of cover of humanitarian activity for this purpose casts doubt on intentions and integrity of all humanitarian actors in Pakistan, thereby undermining the international humanitarian community’s efforts to eradicate polio, provide critical health services and extend life-saving assistance during times of crisis like the floods seen in Pakistan over the past two years," InterAction chief Samuel A. Worthington said.

The ChildFund International, Mercy Corps, World Wild Fund, Plan USA, Helen Keller International, Action Against Hunger US and Relief International are among key members of InterAction.

Mr Worthington noted that since reports of the CIA campaign surfaced last summer, "we have seen continued erosion of US NGOs’ ability to deliver critical humanitarian programmes in Pakistan and an uptick in targeted violence against humanitarian workers. I fear CIA’s activities in Pakistan and the perception that US NGOs have ties with intelligence efforts may have contributed to these alarming developments".

"Distrust of the US government runs high in parts of Pakistan and NGOs must take great care to avoid overt association with the US government. The CIA-led immunisation campaign compromises the perception of US NGOs as independent actors focused on a common good and casts suspicion on their humanitarian workers."
 
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