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April 5, 2011
Stay out of it, General
David Petraeus commands the US troops in Afghanistan, and if he wishes to order them to conduct themselves in a given manner in regard to a book -- any book -- that is the commander's prerogative.
General Petraeus, however, does not command the American People.
Even the President of the United States does not command the American People.
The US Constitution commands the American People.
Furthermore, unlike a soldier -- who effectively relinquishes his First Amendment rights upon induction, and for the duration of his military service -- a US private citizen retains his civil liberties uninterruptedly and for as long as he remains a non-felonious, citizen. The Constitution guarantees that -- and said guarantee is protected in perpetuity by armed troops who willingly forego some of their own rights to provide, with their very lives, the protection which the Bill of Rights guarantees to the American citizenry and to its cherished, honored and celebrated liberties. That's how that works.
That is the burden -- and the glory -- of military service on behalf of a free country.
Publically burning one's privately owned, non-stolen, copy of the Qur'an may (or may not) constitute, under selected circumstances, an act of stupidity.
However, killing somebody for burning it, or killing an associate of the burner for the deed, is an act of unspeakable evil.
Those who presume to equate Qur'an burning with the murder of Qur'an burners (or the murder of friends, families, associates or co-religionists of same) are effectively announcing that they personally lack the moral perspective and sound discernment to see the difference between stupid and evil. I suggest that such myopiacs are both stupid AND evil -- and that they provide a tailwind to both qualities in this fallen world.
I suggest, further, that they need to be told that -- calmly, bluntly, unyieldingly. And often.
A few more musings and I'm done for today.
As long as Muslims are permitted to get away with intimidating the world into according them and their beliefs a privileged, exclusive status denied everybody else, they will never be obliged to question their bullying and barbarous, egotistical and triumphalist deportment in relation to that world.
The politically savvy and (apparently) politically ambitious General Petraeus is hardly so stupid as to have presumed -- this time or the last time he did it -- to speak up on his own while still on active duty. (His in-country predecessor was fired for letting a personal view become public.) I think he spoke up because he was under orders from the Commander-in-Chief to do so.
Can I prove that? -- of course not. Am I entitled to share my opinion? (I'm not in uniform.)
As I've noted, the President does not command the American people, but my dollar-to-your-donut says the Anointed One thought to use the General's stateside popularity and prestige to impose himself on the people -- to secure their compliance by indirection. The ploy may have proved unavailing in getting the Reverend Terry Jones to pass, one more time, on the opportunity to do the combusting -- that, after all, happened more than two weeks ago -- but Mr Obama has far bigger fish to fry.
The party he has in his sights is none other than Yourself.
And now the Congress is poised to get into the act with its own muddy-mettled proposition: which will do nothing but communicate the fear of cowards to the foreign bullies it encourages and energizes, while it plays directly into the hands of His Wonderfulness at home. Our congressional representatives may have forgotten that while only a president can fire a general, We-the-People -- and only we -- can fire a senator or congressman. Or at least decline the option to renew his contract.
We did it recently -- and we can do it again. Call yours today, and remind him.
Now -- while you're thinking about it.
Michael Zebulon was once the youngest Eagle Scout on the eastern seaboard. Actor, narrator, writer -- he remains an Eagle Scout (there are no ‘former' ones), but is no longer the youngest: on either coast (or anywhere else). Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org