Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Robert Spencer's "Accidental" Apologia for Qu'ran Shooting

I'd ask how credulous he could be... but then I think we already know the answer to that.

By now you've probably heard the story of the unnamed American sniper who decided to use a copy of the Qu'ran for target practice.

A bullet-holed and graffiti-scrawled edition of the Islamic holy book was discovered by Iraqi police last week.

The soldier responsible has been sent home. Before he went the unnamed staff sergeant apologised to the military calling his actions "shortsighted, very reckless and irresponsible — but not malicious".

While a shocking example of back-biting (and effort-destroying) stupidity in the field, it's pretty much an open-and-shut deal. A soldier did something very stupid, his superiors dealt with him, and then they apologized to the local tribes for their soldier's stupidity so as to mollify their anger and secure their further cooperation.

Ah ah ah! Here comes Islam "Expert" Robert Spencer to save the day. Guess what? It was just an accident, and it was bad of us to apologize as thoroughly as we did.

No, really.

An accident? At Frontpage Magazine, where I found the article, the lead-in blurb read: Accidentally shooting a Qur'an was stupid; the way we apologized may have made matters worse.

How does a copy of the Qu'ran wind up on a firing field by accident? How did the graffiti get there? Accident? Give me a break.

Now, to be fair, it's possible that Spencer didn't write the blurb himself. It may have been the work of one of Frontpage's editors, who, as we know from past experience, can be a little slap-dash about things.

But when we read the article, we have to wonder:Inside, Spencer writes The soldier said he didn’t know that the book he used was a Qur’an, but military brass rejected this and announced plans to reassign the soldier to duty within the United States ... Assuming that the soldier really did know that the book he was shooting at was the Qur’an, this story illustrates many things ... If he knew what the book was, the soldier was stupid

"Assuming" and "if." How could the soldier not have known? Spencer seems pretty quick to play both sides of the coin on this one in order to make his larger point: that we really shouldn't have bent over backwards to apologize, because the reaction on the other side was "Hysterical."

The possibility that Muslims worldwide might be incited to murderous rage because of an incident like this can never be discounted. Major General Hammond and his staff are trying to head that off. That’s fine, but it also just plays into the mentality that to riot and kill because of something like this is a perfectly natural and rational reaction to it. At a certain point, someone is going to have to have the guts to stand up and say, “Wait a minute. The incident that set you off may indeed have been offensive, but your reaction is insane. If someone insults you, that is no justification to kill him or anyone else, or to destroy anything.”

This is true, and it would be nice when that day comes around. Unfortunately, we are nowhere near it. We probably won't be near it for a good long while, either, so long as attitudes like Spencer's (Islam=Terrorism, Prophet Mohammed=Terrorist) are predominant in the media, and he constantly stirs things up along those lines, ensuring a steady stream of insult-incident-insult-incident that keeps things at a near-boiling point, until the inevitable occurs.

Until then, we have to handle the situation with kid gloves, which means sometimes we have to grovel today to fight better tomorrow. Given that we have been enmeshed in a stupid, go-nowhere war that has no easy exit, and no clear end in sight, we may have to do a great number of grovels just to get the job done.

Spencer won't acknowledge that, though: he'd rather try and make excuses for callous snipers who didn't get the memo.


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