Saturday, April 02, 2011

Pleasantly Surprised

UPDATE: Expectations Met

In all honesty, after yesterday’s events in Mazar-e-Sharif, I had this post already written in my head.  It was going to be titled “Profiles in Cowardice” or “Be-TRAY-us Redux”, which tells you most of what you need to know about where my baseline expectations have fallen.

So you can imagine my gratification when I heard this during the COMISAF standup:

Well, obviously what took place in Mazar is tragic, horrific, reprehensible and beyond any comprehension by any religion and it was good to see President Karzai put out a condemnation statement last night, along with of course the NATO secretary general and many others.  The fact is that this event in the United States, which drew all of about twelve people, never would have drawn interest out here had it not been for the way it was echoed and highlighted, and that is a tragedy in and of itself frankly.  We’re going to have to watch very very carefully to see if this escalates elsewhere in the country now, keep our finger on the pulse of various events . . . .

Again, this is a very worrisome development.  I’m not sure what repercussions it will have for the international community.  I think we need to ensure that it is the first topic on the senior security shura today, so for DCOS STRAT  Engagement, please make sure that we would like an explanation from the Minister of Interior what is being done, what has been done, what will be done.  We need to contact the religious leadership we have established relationships with.  Tell them that they need to do some serious soul searching because it is my impression that elements of the religious establishment are the ones that fanned the flames on this and poured gasoline on it, and frankly, they probably have to do, again, a bit of internal examination to ask themselves if this was something they want to be associated [with], is this something their religion stands for in Afghanistan and so forth.  There is a fine line between a peaceful demonstration and violence in this country.  And they obviously – their actions at the end of the day – got out of control.  It’s interesting, because President Karzai has cautioned once or twice, he’s noted that peaceful demonstrations don’t always stay that way in Afghanistan, and yet this is how this came about . . . .

But indeed, there’s got to be some serious soul searching here by people who are supposed to be giving moral guidance to citizens of this country.

Now, while the boss of course put some thought into this – he’s nothing if not careful – keep in mind he was speaking extemporaneously without a prepared text.  Obviously, this was not the speech I would have given; I was over my illusions about the true essence of Islam by September 12, 2001.  But note what he did not do:  he did not attack Terry Jones for exercising his constitutional rights, he did not try to play both sides by calling for “mutual tolerance” or any of the multi-cult phrases of national suicide.  He instead put the blame squarely where it belonged, no equivocation.

Well done, sir.

UPDATE: I noticed P4 giving a press conference Sunday. Here he is "protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States." Pathetic. (H.T.: månesteiner in the comments.)


Dexter said...

beyond any comprehension by any religion

I am no Middle East expert but I can easily comprehend mobs of Muslims going apeshit and slaughtering people for some real or imagined "insult" to Islam, because it seems to happen so often!

månesteiner said...

Well, the non-extemporaneous statement is a little more disappointing:

"In view of the events of recent days, we feel it is important on behalf of ISAF and NATO members in Afghanistan to reiterate our condemnation of any disrespect to the Holy Qur'an and the Muslim faith.

We condemn, in particular, the action of an individual in the United States who recently burned the Holy Qur'an."

- General David Petraeus and Ambassador Mark Sedwill, Kabul, April 3, 2011