But neither are generals. Missing a teachable moment -- "Turn the other cheek?" "Nuts!" "The soldier fired on an inanimate object that urges jihad; he didn't self-detonate in a teeming marketplace to advance jihad" -- Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond chose to abase himself before the local Sunni tribe. "In a most humble manner, I look into your eyes today and I say 'Please forgive me and my soldiers,'" he said. Then he called his sniper's actions "nothing more than criminal behavior."
The general was dead wrong -- unless, that is, he was talking about criminal behavior under Sharia, or Islamic law, which isn't, or certainly shouldn't be, the guiding light of the U.S. military. But, alas, this is what increasingly appears to be the case. For example, in presenting a new Koran to this gathering of local Sunnis who were very likely insurgents not so long ago, another American officer kissed the Islamic book. Last time I looked, kissing Korans wasn't a Yankee custom -- unless dhimmitude now counts as one.
Let's play around some more with the story. Imagine if, during the Allied occupation of post-Nazi Germany, a GI had been discovered using "Mein Kampf" for target practice. Would Gen. George S. Patton have kissed a new copy of the Nazi bible as he presented it to a cadre of former Nazis? In the words of Ol' Blood and Guts -- oh, wait; this is a family newspaper. Let's just put it this way: Not likely. Difference is, of course, the anti-Semitism and imperialistic supremacism contained within "Mein Kampf" were recognized and treated as an existential threat to the rest of the Western world. In the so-called war on terror, however, our primary strategy is directed at masking or ignoring the overall anti-infidelism and imperialistic supremacism contained within the Koran.
And -- in spite of the actions of the occasional "criminal" soldier -- that's one front where we're certainly winning.
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