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September 07, 2010

Dear General Petraeus

If burning a book endangers the troops, the troops should not be there in the first place.

We should just nuke the site from orbit.

For your consideration: A wide variety of things Petraeus does not think endanger the troops; Christians being denied flood aid in Pakistan, Iranians chanting "death to America", Pashtun paedophilia, girls schools being targeted by poison gas, outraged anti-burning book protestors trampling on the American flag, etc. and so forth. I could go on but the list of things our "allies" find entirely inoffensive and unworthy of protest is too long to bother with.

If it is only their feelings that count, it isn't a relationship, it is servitude.

Small reminder: They attacked us. Fuck their feelings.

Observation: I assume this means David Petraeus is running as a Democrat in 2016.

Related: Baron Bodissey is thinking along the same lines.

What I want to talk about is the presence of American troops in Afghanistan, and what they are there to do.

Are they fighting and dying to avoid “insulting Muslims”?

What does our military stand for? Does it stand for protecting Islam from insult? Or does it stand for protecting the rights and the well-being of American citizens?

Public funds for the Obama Mosque and the gaping wound at Ground Zero are the best answer to that question.

Update: An argument against burning books.

Look, as a Protestant, I am used to thinking of books as sacred. But even I make exceptions. For example, the Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson "Dune" prequels should be burnt to the last copy and all trace of their existence chiseled from the temple walls.

Update: A counter-counter argument on the necessity of giving offense.

Remember folks, Indonesia is one of the often sited examples of a “moderate Muslim country”, and yet a Westerner who asks what kind of Muslims he’s dealing with, has to run for his life and then arrested by the police to in jail for his troubles.

Update: Allahpundit.

I wish they wouldn’t do it either — burning books is an almost singularly offensive form of protest, needless to say — and I appreciate Petraeus’s concern for his men. But it’s hard for me to imagine him asking, say, anti-war protesters to stay home from a rally lest a public show of division among American voters give hope to the enemy. Citizens and political leaders can and should criticize or counter-protest this preacher, but if military brass are willing to start weighing rights against American blood spilled, where’s the line?

Just so we are clear, this post is opposed to General Petraeus, not in favour of a "protest". If it is to be done, it should be done as a calculated insult.

It is the sort of gesture that would be illegal "hate speech" if you tried it in Canada.

Along those lines, Jihadwatch (via Five Feet of Fury).

The idea that in wartime one should be careful not to do anything that the enemy is likely to respond to with irrational and even murderous anger may seem tactically wise at first glance, but ultimately it is a recipe for surrender.

According to the I-read-Fahrenheit-451-in-high-school people, the de-Nazification of Germany was an unacceptable infringement on America's commitment to freedom of speech. It sounds absurd, but such is America's approach to this war under Barack Obama and, yes, under George W. Bush.

But it is even more important to undertake the equivalent of de-Nazification now than it was after the War. The enemy isn't conveniently located in any one country with an industrial infrastructure for us to destroy but is instead a networked, deniable adversary joined in arms by an ideology we cannot bring ourselves to criticize.

We need to end this Westphalian farce which allows enemy regimes to deny responsibility for their warriors. We need to stop paying enemy regimes for the natural resources we discovered and continue to extract and administer. We need to engage in punitive military action against every government expressing and/or condoning the assault on our civilization. We need to censor and ban enemy propoganda in all its forms and arrest and intern its exponents for the duration.

Or we can carry on until two cities are nuked on the same day. At which point, I expect the same people agonizing over how much freedom a Florida pastor should be allowed to enjoy will be too busy agonizing over the next imaginary backlash to worry about how we allowed it to happen.

Update: More from Baron Bodissey, who is experiencing the same static.

LONDON, June 19, 1944 — The top American commander in Normandy has warned that plans by a small Florida church to burn copies of Mein Kampf on Tuesday, the anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Russia, could play into the hands of the very extremists at whom the church says it is directing that message.

Burning copies of Mein Kampf, the founding document of Nazism, “would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Germany — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence,” the commander, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower said in a telegram to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Update: Small Dead Animals suggests an alternative plan.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at September 7, 2010 10:09 AM


"Small reminder: They attacked us. Fuck their feelings."

Again, Sir, well said. If I believed in such things, I would believe you to be channelling a colour sergeant from Victorian times, a no-nonsense fellow with high standards and the ability to make his point with very few words.

I think the solution to the increased danger faced by the troops because of Koran burnings is to let them kill more of those who would do them harm. Seems straightforward really.

Posted by: soirish [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 7, 2010 10:53 AM


Never a good thing.

Yet, if light is the best disinfectant, I'd say the nation has been ill-served by its media content providers. It is easy to connect the dots; followers of the Prophet are anathema. Isn't there a Pottery Barn rule that applies?

Posted by: OregonGuy [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 7, 2010 11:36 AM

The day a crowd of Taliban stage a peaceful protest against burning "The Catcher in the Rye" is the day I start to worry about the book burning angle in this story.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 7, 2010 12:06 PM

I don't want to piss you off.

Fahrenheit 454 was a story about tolerance: about ideas we don't agree with; about ideas we don't understand; about ideas that spawn movements.

I don't know where ideas come from.

Ideas, seemingly, come out of thin air. The good ones have a robust vigour that claws them out of the mud of stupidity. Ideas have to fend for themselves. We need not fend for them.

I'm in the process of hiring a new New's Director. What truth would I share if I incorporated your current attitude? Those ideas I vigorously oppose, which aren't worth mention? Those ideas I oppose, but I am not willing to oppose vigorously? Or, those vigorous ideas, I am not willing to oppose?

What if, just for example, all the ideas I choose not to oppose, for lack of mention, lack of willingness, or lack of vigor, are all wrong?

What is the thermometer of tolerance for belief or disbelief if we choose not to follow-on with inquiry simply because we are of different shades of apathy?

Bub, you are a young, interesting writer and teacher. I, haltingly, offer you criticism for your statements. But, these are offered to you as I would offer this criticism to my sons. Burning books is a trivial display of the worst of us. I wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of book burning, and I'm stridently opposed to being on that side that this would be right. If book burning is to be found the correct solution.

You cannot burn ideas.

Posted by: OregonGuy [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 7, 2010 10:56 PM

So what are you suggesting, exactly? Pastor Whatsit should be charged with something?

Because otherwise, point taken. But so what? He has the right to burn his property - in ths case a book - as much as he would if he were to burn an American flag. You find the symbol of burning a book offensive, Muslims find the symbol of burning their holy book offensive and both of you want to stop him from a) enjoying his property as he sees fit and, b) from enjoying his freedom of expression.

This isn't the state burning books or even a local schoolboard refusing to include a book in the local library. This is someone engaged in an act of political expression. You don't agree with it. Next.

The only thing I find annoying about your statement is your condescension. Yes, I've heard of Ray Bradbury. My post, by contrast, is about General Petraeus' assertion an act of free speech in the United States is endangering US troops. He is probably right.

That's what you should be concerned about. That's the freedom on the bonfire. Publish your libertarian lectures elsewhere, thanks.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 8, 2010 04:49 AM

The problem is that this would not only anger enemies but allies and neutrals as well.

During WW2 the Allies were not fighting to defend non-Nazi Germany from marauding German Nazis.

But one goal of the War on Terror is to separate the Jihadists from other Muslims just as we are working to separate Afghans from the Taliban.

Why, then, do something that will make people we want on our side more sympathetic to the Jihadists?

Wasn't the success of the surge due, in part, to a rapprochement with formerly militant Iraqi Sunnis? We want them on our side. We don't want to alienate them or people like them - because they are current or potential allies.

Posted by: Recruiting Animal [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 9, 2010 09:13 AM

I don't agree with a word you've said - not not historical analogy nor your interpretation of what makes an ally - but let's say I did.

What's your point? Serving generals should tell civilians how to comport themselves (this at least would address my case)? Or that the United States Constitution should be amended to prevent offense to Muslims? Because otherwise neither you nor I nor David Petraeus can stop this pastor or his congregation from doing what they say they are going to do.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 9, 2010 12:21 PM

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