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Two recent news stories about Afghanistan reveal the delusional mentality of those conducting our foreign policy. The first is about some Marines who urinated on the corpses of Taliban fighters. Such behavior, of course, is mild compared to the sort of brutal treatment of both the living and the dead typical of all wars ever fought. Nonetheless, this act is contrary to the rules of war and the professional code of the Corp, and as such should be punished. That’s all our official spokesmen need to say about the matter, for it concerns a violation of our military’s high standards that have helped make it the most professional, lethal, and ethical force in the world.
The foreign policy establishment, however, has fallen all over itself issuing solicitous apologies. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her “total dismay,” a reaction stronger than her comments about the Egyptian military slaughtering Copts. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta phoned the utterly corrupt and duplicitous beneficiary of our power and money, Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai, to assure him that those responsible would be found and punished for such a “deplorable” act. Of course, this is a part of the world where brutal violence against civilians is routinely used as a tool of politics, and where torture and mutilation of the living, let alone the desecration of the dead, are standard operating procedure. Yet we cede the moral high ground to Karzai, who said the soldiers’ behavior was “inhuman and condemnable in the strongest possible terms,” something I don’t recall him ever saying about the terrorists murdering our soldiers. Even more risible was the response of the Taliban, who condemned the “inhuman act of wild American soldiers,” one “in contradiction with all human and ethical norms.” This from a group that when it ruled Afghanistan, used a European-built soccer stadium to bury non-shari’a-compliant women up to their necks and then stone them to death, and to machine-gun and behead other miscreants.
I know the rationale for all these anxious protestations of our “dismay.” As one of the consistent purveyors of such pointless public relations efforts, The New York Times, put it, the video raised “fears in Washington that the images could incite anti-American sentiment at a particularly delicate moment” in the war. This is the same old delusion that has conditioned our behavior for a decade now: the notion that jihadist hatred of us is the consequence of our bad behavior and offenses against Muslims, and so we have constantly to apologize and remind them how much we respect and honor their wonderful religion. Even before 9/11, our foreign policy officials took every opportunity to tell Muslims how wonderful their faith is. Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, called Islam “a faith that honors consultation, cherishes peace, and has as one of its fundamental principles the inherent equality of all who embrace it.” Except, of course, for women, homosexuals, and infidels. George Bush wasn’t much better, claiming in his first address after 9/11 that Islam’s “teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.” Bush’s Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, called Islam the religion “of love and peace.” Hillary Clinton is on record praising Islam’s “deepest yearning of all––to live in peace.” No surprise, then, that these days official government policy proscribes any mention of “jihad” in public communications, and forbids any linkage of jihadist terror to Islamic doctrine. Of course, all this puffery is contradicted by Islamic theology, jurisprudence, history of conquest and occupation, and the continuing record of religiously sanctioned terrorist violence––18,283 attacks just since 9/11.
Complementing this flattery has been our hysterical reactions to bad behavior, both real and invented, perpetrated by our forces. The abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, most of which rarely rose above the level of a fraternity hazing, was labeled “horrific” by the Times, making us wonder what adjective the Times could use to describe what went on in Abu Ghraib when Saddam Hussein ran it. Then too, multiple investigations and public apologies followed from the government. Worse yet is the reaction to outright fabrications, such as the lie that prisoners in Guantanamo were abused and tortured, or the absurd allegation that a Koran was flushed down a toilet. Once again, apologies and investigations poured forth from the government in response to transparent propaganda. The reason for all this public breast-beating is the fallacious belief that Muslims really want to like us, but our insensitive misdeeds against their religion leave them psychologically vulnerable to terrorist “highjackers of Islam” who promise justified payback for infidel disrespect.
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