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01 April 2011

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psc

The recent photos from "Rolling Stone Magazine" may have been the impetus for these murders.

It's easy to blame all this shit on a redneck preacher in Northern Florida, the real reason is that we are there, where they live. They do not want us there, so why do we stay?

If we look at this problem broadly, the solution would be to restrict immigration to America for all muslims.

Yellow Dog

Agree with every word, and would add that we should look very carefully at our "ally" Karzai, and his actions in publicizing this incident.

If this does help to finally end our involvement in Afghanistan, then I will say again that the Lord works in mysterious ways, even through the corrupt and the deranged.

graywolf

Moral equivalence: the left's favorite rationale.
Sure, this guy Jones is an asshole, but...
There is a BIG difference between 12 dead innocent people and Congress threatening to defund a government agency.
Apples to apples?
More like tomatoes to a red volley ball.

Adam L. Silverman

PSC: as I wrote everything we do is strategic communication. That said the reporting on this makes clear that Pastor Jones' actions were the impetus for the attack and it was specifically retribution for mistreating the Quran. The Kill Team story, minus the photos, had been widely reported on before the Rolling Stone story.

par4

@psc,Your logic escapes me. Please expound further on this to clarify your position.

Adam L. Silverman

Greywolf: there's no moral equivalence. In the past two years in the US there have been over two dozen actual acts of terrorism and political violence, motivated by some combination of white supremacy, extremist Christianity, and/or anti-government ideology. Again: everything we do is strategic communications. So when elites and notables repeatedly demonize Muslims or when claims are repeatedly made that Christians and Christianity are under attack in the US, or that the US is being over run by non Americans, or that Sharia will replace US Law (Speaker Gingrich somewhat incoherently hit all those themes in an interview last week...) or tha Muslims are unfit to serve in a president's administration (both Governor Romney and Mr. Cain said that they didn't believe being a Muslim would be compatible with serving in their cabinets were they to be elected President. Two issues: 1) the Constitution FORBIDS religious tests for office and 2) the former is a member of a religious minority that has been historically demonized and persecuted and the latter part of an ethnic minority that has been historically persecuted and demonized) it provides the same behavioral drivers to some in the US that these outrages have to be dealt with, just as the Afghan clerics did by whipping up the young men who attacked the UN. But it provides a second set of signals that we don't like to talk about: that a large portion of American political elites from one political persuasion either truely believe or are cynically acting as if they do believe that Muslims and Islam are the enemey. And that signalling tells Muslims all over the world that the US is there enemy. Whatever anyone may think or say about President Bush 43 and almost all the high ranking members of his Administration: they understand that we are 1) not at war with Islam itself and 2) made sure not to signal this.

Finally, we are all still waiting for you to define your terms Greywolf I believe I asked for you to simply define what you mean by socialist about a year ago. Lets add Left to that as well. I have a feeling that you'd put President Reagan in at least on of those categories. After all he raised taxes 11 times, pulled out of Lebanon after the second attack on the Marines there, and negotiated with the Iranians under the table and they sponsor terrorism. Oh My: President Reagan was a squish! Seriously, President Reagan realized that ideology can't trump reality. I suggest you reflect on that lesson from the President we calll the Great Communicator.

rick

Dr. Silverman, it's like you found my letters and read each one out loud.

Jose

Last night's local news (Miami), reported that his Church is near bankruptcy and for sale.

The Preacher has lost most of his congregation and is now planning to move to Tampa as soon as possible.

Moving to a bigger media market only adds to what stupid acts he could do to get attention.

Burning The Koran, The Rolling Stones article, and the Drone Strikes, plus the ten-year war only add to the fact that most Afghans want us the hell out.

It is only going to get worse as the new enters the blog-sphere.

William P. Fitzgerald III

Dr. Silverman,

As usual, your piece is objective and well written.
While I don't care for stereotyping, I submit that Americans, in general, have trouble defining terms and separating fact from opinion. That's my opinion. My recipe for fixing the problem is to re-introduce the study of grammar, logic and rhetoric to the curricula.

I do recall, regarding Pres. Bush and the matter of a war against Islam, that in 2003 , as we were invading Iraq, he stated publicly that we were engaged in a crusade. I can't think of any statement more likely to have convinced people that the war was against Islam. I can think of two possible reasons for saying it, one, of course, being ignorance. That was my immediate reaction. The other possibility has to do with his notion,particularly in the 2002 - 2003 period, that the Almighty had put him in the presidency for the purpose of saving the nation from the dire threat of terrorism. It was also reported that American groups were stockpiling Bibles in Kuwait for the purpose of moving in behind the army and converting the population. The conclusion must surely have been drawn that this could not have been done without the co-operation of the American governmental and military authorities in Kuwait.

WPFIII

Adam L. Silverman

Mr. Fitzgerald: you are correct about President Bush's remarks, but they quickly walked them back and managed not to make that mistake again. I too recall the news reports about President Bush telling allies and friends that G-d wanted him to be president. I think that reflected two things: 1) the way the President understood his own faith and 2) the language that members of that faith use to speak to each other. Brings us back to the strategic communications issue: President Bush's speeches conveyed different messages to different constituencies and you had to be in the group, or know something about it, to catch the differences. As for the missionaries: I think there are a lot of folks who think that what the US has been doing is the first step in their greater religious goals. I also think that if they actually try to follow through and witness to Iraqis and Afghans they're likely to get killed.

The beaver

WRT the missionaries

Just do a search on : Bible Belt Missionaries Set Out on a "War for Souls" in Iraq

jerseycityjoan

I sure don't know how the members of that church can live with themselves.

However, doesn't this pale in comparison to less than nothing to what happens when the US and Western military leave? Even though the NCOs and other Westerners will remain, when the many billions associated with the military and its tremendous need for fuel go, what will the newly rich Afghanistan elite do, after becoming used to tapping into billions in bribery funds annually over the past 10+ years?

They must know the local populace can't replace 1/10 of the money they got from Western sources, but of course that won't stop them from trying.

I can't tell you how stupid and ashamed I feel at my own gullibility in thinking Afghanistan was lucky to have Karzai when Iraq had no obvious, visible leader.

As little as I want to abandon Afghanistan again, part of me feels sure that's would be the bsst thing we could do: to leave tomorrow (if we could), and get the country started on Western money addiction withdrawal as soon as possible. Surely the withdrawal symptoms will be worse with each passing day we remain.

Fred

Adam,

These were some of Bush's biggest supporters, they got the message loud and clear:
http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2005/12/what_the_left_b.html

MRW

Dr. Silverman:

Ever heard of a paragraph break?

confusedponderer

Nice opportunity to follow up on that story of Dari bibles, Koran burnings, Bible burnings and perceptions and opinions on that among folks on the Christian right in the US:

The first Dari Bible now available for Afghanistan

Despite the fact that Afghanistan has had no visible church for many hundreds of years, there are a growing number of believers in that country, reports Michael Ireland, chief correspondent, ASSIST News Service.
...
After about 20 years of work under the supervision of United Bible Societies, the Dari Bible is ready for Afghans to read.
...
... The new full Bible in Dari is a great gift and tribute for me and my fellow countrymen. I pray that it will be a lamp of guidance for my people."

US army 'does not promote religion' - Anger after Al Jazeera airs footage of US troops discussing Afghan Bible distribution.
The US's highest ranking military officer has said it is not the US military's position to promote any specific religion, after Al Jazeera revealed footage of troops apparently preparing to convert Afghans to their Christian faith.

"From the United States' military's perspective, it is not our position to ever push any specific kind of religion, period," said Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Monday.

The US military has also confiscated Bibles that Christian US soldiers in Afghanistan had apparently intended to give to local Muslims, a military spokesman told Al Jazeera.

In addition, some of the soldiers who appeared in the video have also been reprimanded, US government and military officials told Al Jazeera's James Bays.

The video, shot about a year ago, appeared to show military chaplains stationed in the US air base at Bagram discussing how to distribute copies of the Bible printed in the country's main Pashto and Dari languages.

In one recorded sermon, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, tells soldiers that, as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility "to be witnesses for him".

"The special forces guys - they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down," he says.

"Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the kingdom. That's what we do, that's our business."
...
"Do we know what it means to proselytise?" Captain Emmit Furner, a military chaplain, says to the gathering.

"It is General Order Number One," an unidentified soldier replies.

But Watt says "you can't proselytise, but you can give gifts".

And what could be more apt than to give the greatest gift of all, the message of God?

If anything, outsiders underestimate the urgent fervour and near compulsive if benign desire to witness. I remember a train ride to Munich where I met some evangelical Germans, Freikirchler, who 'witnessed to me' for about three hours. It was as illuminating as it was exhausting.

US burns Bibles in Afghanistan row - Bibles at centre of row over Christian "proselytizing" in Afghanistan are "destroyed".

The US army in Afghanistan has burned Bibles printed in local languages, a US colonel in Afghanistan has said, amid concerns they could have been used to try to convert Afghans.

"My understanding is that the [military] leadership confiscated these Bibles so that they could not be distributed around Afghanistan," Colonel Greg Julian told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

"It was their best judgement at the time, that the best way to deal with it, was to destroy them and I understand that they were burnt."

As for a (imo representative) assessment of that from the US Right, constructing an equivalence between Koran and Bible burning. This will probably be offending to Muslim readers:

Petraeus Condemns Koran Burning; Didn't Seem to Care About Bible Burning Though - The U.S. Army Burned Soldiers' Bibles Over Fears They Would "get Out." World Outrage Mysteriously Absent

General Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan has attacked the planned burning of copies of the Koran as something that will endanger our troops. I have two questions for General Petraeus, who up until now I considered one of our top soldiers. The first is, who are you to make such a ridiculous statement? Second, where were you when the U.S. Army was burning Bibles?

You see, General Petraeus, it's not your place to tell us what rights we may or may not exercise based on whether or not you think it will make life harder for your soldiers. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is the job of a soldier to safeguard the rights of American citizens, not to tell those citizens not to exercise those rights in order to protect the soldier! And yes, General I was once an 11 Bravo Infantryman, so I know exactly what I'm saying.

Next General Petraeus, why are you spouting the ridiculous liberal pantywaist nonsense that we shouldn't do something because it will make the Islamic nut jobs hate us more? Will the Taliban invite you over to dinner and drinks if the Koran is not burned? Did we burn any Korans before 9/11? Quit playing butt kisser to Imam Obama and get back to killing the enemy.

And General Petraeus...where was your outrage when your United States Army was burning Bibles? The United States Army on orders from our government, confiscated and burned Christian Bibles in order to avoid offending the enemy with them and you said...what? It's okay General. The media, NATO, the Vatican, and all the other suddenly outraged whiners who can't stand the burning of a book which is the motivating factor behind the deaths of thousands of Americans were apparently all out to lunch together the day the Bible, which represents the religion of the vast majority of those same Americans, was burned. Not even burned by the enemy, but by our own government.

The way our government treats Christians and Jews these days, who is to say whether or not the Islamonazis are the only ones we should be worried about ...
...
If our own military can seize Bibles from soldiers and burn them (after classifying them as trash) then a private citizen in his own country should be able to burn the "holy" book of the people killing our soldiers every single day.

The impression to take home is that the author doesn't have either an appreciation of nor a concern for strategic communication.

Also, imo Republicans allowed Islam and Islamofacism into their talking points only when Obama ran for president because doing that promised polarisation with benefits for better turnout for their candidate(s). One can expect the theme to be poll tested.

confusedponderer

Addition: When I wrote 'on the US Right' I phrased it too broadly; I meant the islamophobic faction of it.

Adam L. Silverman

MRW: nope, I must have been out sick from elementary, middle, and high school, as well as college, both my my masters degree programs, and my doctoral program every time they taught that...

Seriously, I indicated below the footnote that I experienced formatting problems with typepad in doing this post as I'm traveling and only have my iPad with me and not a regular laptop computer. For whatever reason it won't allow me to use the rich text option only HTML. I have gone in and reformatted the thing three times and it still comes out this way. In fact typepad ate the post the first time and I had to recreate it.

confusedponderer

Re: Poll tested, here's a youtube video of Frank Luntz with an Iowa Republican focus group. Brief description of the video:

An Iowa Republican focus group ripped Obama over his handling of the Egyptian crisis. Nearly half of the focus group members believed that Obama was acting against the interests of the United States because he was a Muslim.

Cal

Freedom of expression and that stuff--but there ought to be a way to shut down people like Jones---prevent them from inciting violence in their own and other religious nut jobs.

The problem with all religion is the disturbed and ignorant who latch onto it.

Although the product of Catholic kindergarten,Jesuit high school and Catholic university it still amazes me Christians worship a God who destroyed a entire city of sinners, turned people to salt and asked a follower to kill his only son to prove his loyalty...if you take the bible literally.

I guess people are willing to believe and rationalize the bible in return for being comforted that they will have some kind of eternal life.

Fred

Confusedponderer:

"The way our government treats Christians..." D.K.Ramakers (author of the article you linked to) sounds like Timothy McVeigh.

"...it's not your place to tell us what rights we may or may not exercise based on whether or not you think it will make life harder for your soldiers. "

Last time I looked Afghanistan (and Iraq) were not part of the United States and thus the US Constitution is not the legal basis of government there. That appears to be a point lost on many.

I wonder just what these folks would do if a couple hundred US Citizens who were Muslim started the 'American Muslim Militia' and showed up at political rallies openly armed, just like various tea party groups? I'm sure all talk of "it's not your place to tell us what rights we may or may not exercise" would go out the window.

confusedponderer

Fred,
there is a lot lost on them.

One should keep in mind that mainstream evangelical churches have condemned the Koran burning. Pastor Terry Jones is a crank, and his group is fringe, no question.

But it plays into the politics of Islamophobia that have generated a climate in which Jones would do it as a publicity stunt, and receive substantial coverage and at best only lukewarm condemnation from those pols on the Right who invoke the spectre of Islamofacism or demonize Obama as The Other, a Muslim.

I admittedly picked a crasser example. It was not the crassest I found.

The milder and more prevalent theme was claims of discrimination of Christians through political correctness (a variant of an already prevalent theme), since Bibles are allowed to be burned - but not Korans!

Christian Broadcasting:

"... the Bibles were burned because the rules on the base say that all garbage is burned at the end of the day. But just asking here; if the U.S. Military seized a stack full of Korans, would they be burned? You think that might cause a little outrage in the Muslim world?"
This is leading slightly off topic, but as for service members proselytising when on deployment in Muslim countries, what Evangelicals of course have in mind is The Great Commission:
"(G)o and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."
They see it as that He commands that they witness. What are laws and orders against that?

The argument they will bring up, even though it is already discredited, is that witnessing is an integral part of their free exercise of religion. To prohibit it would discriminate against them. Of course that's nonsense, in particular in the military context. But such arguments live long, if the assertion that America is a(n exclusively) Christian Nation is any indication (just listen to what that kook David Barton tells on Glenn Beck's show (or of course, the theme that Obama is a secret Muslim)).

That's the other aspect that I find striking is the underlying narrative that Christians in the US are under siege, and are something like a persecuted minority. Preposterous, but that sense of grievance is almost palpable when one listens to pols who woo the Christian Right. Volatile stuff, that narrative.

This is leading off topic some more, but still related - IMO it cannot be a good idea to have US troops engaging in spreading the gospel when serving abroad, in particular not in Muslim countries. This here makes my hair stand up: OPREV, 'A Ministry Of Mission To Unreached Peoples - Helping Service Personnel With Cross Cultural Ministry' - with the picture of a soldier reading the bible. The point that organisations like OPREV communicate couldn't be clearer. I gather it is not the sort of message that serves US interests.

shanks

This Quran burning may be the final straw in confirming the religious bent to the invasions. I understand, that the current wars are viewed partly like the crusader invasions and this is certainly not helping. The fallout is fairly clear that all NGOs would be fair game in a'stan as they'd be viewed as proxies for conversion.

And worse, the fallout for native Xians are going to be bleak in SE Asia where they're a minority. My personal understanding goes along these lines.

The Catholic crowd, they seem to mind their own business and working things behind the scenes in their conversions and rigging. The American based Pentacost and Baptist preachers, they're quite a package. They're literally asking themselves to be lynched or burnt alive
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Staines

"harvest a million souls"

attempting conversion in Tirupati (akin to, trying to do conversion to Islam near the Basilica)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tirumala_Venkateswara_Temple

I don't know what these people get out of it but they're certainly endangering local Xian communities in hypercommunal India.

And I may have mentioned this here before, it also seems that they don't like the converted that much. As related by a Californian native, she happened to go to a church dinner where a small group of pastors from all over the world were having dinner. The Swedish pastor turned to the Indian(Kerala native) pastor in a benevolent tone "Since when are your family Christians?" implying a recent conversion case and all that jazz.

Not catching the intent, the Kerala native in all seriousness said "I can trace my family back to the 13/14th century and were all Xians and if our family stories are true, we were probably converted in the 8th century, a few centuries after Thomas came"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_the_Apostle

The American snorted into her wine glass, seeing the colour drain from the Swede.

Make of that, what you will but the way these chaps are doing it, it's wonder that there's not been a pogrom yet.

Patrick Lang

shanks

"the crusader invasions" What? it was Christian land before the Islamic conquest. pl

shanks

Sir,
Of course, it was. But we aren't talking logical and chronological facts, are we? Mostly whatever propaganda has gotten hold in the minds of the people in SE Asia or ME.

In my informal dipstick survey of my office colleagues, there is an overwhelming religious bent to the reasons for the carnage happening in the ME or A'stan. And it doesn't help that the wikileaks tends to confirm a catholic conspiracy in Asia as the selected leaks seem to indicate. Well, quite simply 'Xians hate Muslims', is the simplest and pithy answer I get. I can't argue logically with that when seen in the places where the current wars are being fought.

Again, personally, the cleavage is complete at least in Asia, over Xianity and Islam. Never the twain shall reconcile.

William R. Cumming

I saw an interesting French movie over the weekend called "Gods and Men" subtitled involving the spiritual crisis of monks in an Algerian monastery post French withdrawal but threatened by both sides in the ensuing civil war. Their ultimate deaths not depicted and the perps unknown.
But an interesting take on religion and spirituality. Recommend for those with need for movies with intense subject matter. It did bring to mind my need to read more about the Algerian post-
French withdrawal civil war and wondering if a replay may be forthcoming given events in the Mahgreb. This movies definitely not to be confused with the "Battle for Algeries"! (Sic)

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