Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | September 9, 2010

It’s Official: Anger in the Muslim World Should Drive Our Policies

President Obama, General Petraeus, and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf are all agreed.  If Americans burn the Koran or decline to accept the Park 51 mosque, there could be an explosion of anger in the Muslim world and people could get hurt.  It’s a matter, says, Rauf, of “national security.” Obama, by implication, agrees with him.

The choices in question are separate and unrelated, in spite of Terry Jones’ drive-by implication today that there’s a link.  Burning the Koran is inherently distasteful and pointless; whether there should be a mosque on Park near Ground Zero is a topic reasonable people of goodwill can disagree on.

But in the space of 24 hours, the paroxysm of identical themes from multiple sources – “the anger of the Muslim world should constrain our actions” – has risen to a crescendo.

The timing is interesting.  Rauf made his comments the evening of 8 September, after Petraeus’ concerns had flooded the infosphere.  He would have known what Petraeus said, and therefore knew he was only paraphrasing and repurposing the concern expressed by America’s most respected military leader.

I believe Obama, for his part, was expressing his own reaction on Good Morning America.  He probably wasn’t even aware of what Rauf had said.  He simply regards Petraeus’ objection as the paramount concern.  People will have different opinions as to why he does; I attribute it to his very conventional intellectual bent, which always leads people reflexively to the most defensive posture.

But what’s interesting is that everyone – US authorities and Muslim cleric alike – reverted to the same theme.  Resisting this reaction, if you’re a civil-liberties, consensual-governance constitutional republican, requires active effort.  Mere passive pragmatism will lead you to, well, dhimmitude.

Some critics have really pounded Petraeus for voicing his concern, some of them implying he shouldn’t even have it.  I agree Petraeus should have voiced the concern through his chain of command, but not to the press.  It was, however, his duty to voice it to his seniors.

It’s the president who has to do the right thing in a situation like this.  No one else can snatch the brand from burning.  It’s not Petraeus’ job to express what the highest principle is for America.  And only the president can commit us as a people – troops or civilians – to facing the consequences of Muslim anger in upholding that principle.  The latter is what he should have done in the case of the planned Koran-burning.  It’s what he should do in the case of Rauf’s veiled threat.  He shouldn’t do it belligerently; he doesn’t have to.  He should just do it.

Cross-posted at Hot Air.



  1. If nothing else this should start a real discussion in the U.S. on what we are doing with troops in any Muslim country. I know longer buy the whole”coin” military strategy. I once down loaded hard copy portions of what purports to be the “coin” manual available on the internet. Maybe many Muslims don’t want democracy. The West can always offer democracy but perhaps many even a majority of Islam are not ready for or may never be ready for democracy. Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan both see no hope for compatibility with Islam and participatory democracy. History may prove both of these women wrong but right now anyone backing participatory democracy should realize that the West appears to have a real fight on it’s hands(metaphorically or otherwise).

  2. It’s a given that those inclined toward dhimmitude will offer every sort of rationale and justification for their appeasement.

    Moral cowardice always seeks accommodation.

    Petraeus’ concern is with his troops welfare and the most efficient way to accomplish his mission.

    Obama like Lincoln is charged with seeing the larger picture. Alas, Obama is no Lincoln but he is Carter writ large.

    • Hey, I’m with you, Geoffrey. But until we’ve either wiped out or bent the Christians to our will, we have to put up with the Moslems. Let’s get rid of the first apostates first.

  3. It’s like a 2 year old – “If you make me mad, I’m gonna throw a tantrum!”
    Well, let ’em throw a tantrum, and paddle their bottoms if they do!
    And make it hurt bad enough that they don’t do it again !!!!!

  4. An international Muslim response to the goofy Florida Koran stunt that includes violence toward Americans in the middle east indicates that humankind is dealing with truly irrational, illogical crazies. If this is the excuse they need to act out, then just about any excuse will do and any effort by us to appease them is doomed to be insufficient. Our best response is to ignore both parties in this episode until their behavior actually does physically affect us. Using the idea of potential danger to Amercian troops to rein in obnoxious domestic activities is laughable on one hand and sinister on the other.

  5. The whole media uproar with the burning of the Koran misses the point. The pastor should not burn the Koran but ask his congregation to READ the Koran. They would get a clear understanding and could not be accused of cherry picking certain verses out of context. The full context will become clear.

    I find it absurd that the whole western world is discussing the burning of a text very few have read. Should not our political elites be the first to read it and finally understand the mindset of the Muslims?

  6. Right that candidate in Afghanistan who wanted to kill two westerners for every Koran destroyed, something Luce’s former publication seems to have little trouble with.

  7. “The pastor should not burn the Koran but ask his congregation to READ the Koran.”

    Indeed, Mladen Andrijasevic. Chuck martel made that point at the “Burning Korans? I’m Agin It” post. He suggested news outlets should publish passages from it daily.

    I wonder if we’ve had a president since Jefferson who had read the Koran sometime in his life.

  8. Rauf is a contemptible jerk. It’s disgraceful that he compel Americans to allow the mosque in the current spot, otherwise there will be violence by Muslims. Why doesn’t he graciously move the mosque to a new location and compel Muslims not to riot?

    • “Why doesn’t he graciously move the mosque to a new location and compel Muslims not to riot?”

      why shouldn’t he graciously do whatever he wants isn’t of being pushed around and compelled by yahoo protestors to change his plans?

      • Can you ask that again fuster? Your question is a little garbled.

  9. chuck, good point.

    Mladen, good point (via chuck’s earlier post).

    J.E., I think you unintentionally asked a pretty funny question about post-Jefferson Koran reading presidents! OBAMA has read the Koran – he’s a Muslim don’t ya know!! Haha!! Actually, I suppose he HAS read some of it given his upbringing, but probably not all of it. I’m guessing about that though – I have no idea.

    • RE — good point. But I believe what Obama read is the “HOLY Qu’ran.”

  10. He may have but he seems to have missed some of the more curious passages;

  11. Some clarifications of the inventor of Islamophobia

  12. Can you ask that again fuster? Your question is a little garbled.

    might be a problem with your receiver. check it again, RE.

  13. The Terry Jones Koran-building incident certainly confirms that we live in terror–whether it is terror of what Muslims will do to us, or terror of what we will do to them if our oikophobic betters don’t restrain and chastise the xenophobic mob can be debated. I think it’s the latter, and therefore much more dangerous.

  14. By all means the church members should read the Koran, so they will see how the Hebrew and Christian bible is caricatured in it. And maybe we could use a few scores of demonstrators outside of Saudi embassies protesting the burning of Bibles.

  15. Margo — your comment reminded me of the Quds Day protest in London the Friday before last.

    US media carried absolutely nothing about the proliferation of Quds Day/”Palestinian” solidarity protests across Europe, but there was a big one in London. It marched to — you guessed it — the US embassy, and settled down there with its platforms and microphones and Hezbollah flags (which were numerous in the crowd).

    The protest speakers made a point of positioning the protest in front of the US embassy, because of our “complicity” in the “genocide in Gaza.”

    As always (if you’ve been to London and seen the US embassy, it really is ALWAYS), there was a long line of visa applicants visible in the videos taken of the protest, spilling across the street and snaking down the sidewalks into the distance. Some of them hunkered down defensively as the protest crescendoed. Others eyed it covertly and giggled uneasily.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: