Still and all, it boggles my mind that right wingers in American these days are pushing all the wrong buttons and making a bad situation even worse for people serving and living over there. The Manhattan mosque controversy sends a bad enough message to Muslims and puts the whole hearts and minds thing in jeopardy.
But even that is pretty mild compared with the international reaction to the plans of a "church" in Florida to mark the anniversary of 9/11 by burning copies of the Quran.
Here's how it played in Afghanistan, according to a weekend AP report:
Hundreds of Afghans railed against the United States and called for President Barack Obama's death at a rally in the capital Monday to denounce an American church's plans to burn the Islamic holy book on Sept. 11.
The crowd in Kabul, numbering as many as 500, chanted "Long live Islam" and "Death to America" as they listened to fiery speeches from members of parliament, provincial council deputies, and Islamic clerics who criticized the U.S. and demanded the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country. Some threw rocks when a U.S. military convoy passed, but speakers shouted at them to stop and told police to arrest anyone who disobeyed.
These kinds of deliberate and gratuitous provocations are likely to get a lot of Americans and Afghan civilians killed. It's little surprise that General Petraeus was not amused:
"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort," Gen. Petraeus said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community."
As the saying goes, with friends like these, who needs enemies?
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