Plastic Patriotism is the tawdry coin on display at virtually every Tea Party rally. While the aged white crowd might well remember a curse or two for Hanoi Jane…
The Baghdad Baggers are guilty of very much the same thing.
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said the planned burning of Qurans on Sept. 11 by a Florida church could put the lives of American troops in danger and damage the war effort.
Gen. David Petraeus said the Taliban would exploit the demonstration for propaganda purposes, drumming up anger toward the U.S. and making it harder for allied troops to carry out their mission of protecting Afghan civilians.
“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.”
Hundreds of Afghans attended a demonstration in Kabul on Monday to protest the plans of Florida pastor Terry Jones, who has said he will burn the Quran on Sept. 11.
Afghan protesters chanted “death to America” and speakers called on the U.S. to withdraw its military convoy. Some of the protesters threw rocks at a passing military convoy, although officials told the rock-throwers to stop.
Military officials fear the protests are likely to spread beyond Kabul to other Afghan cities. In interviews with various media outlets, Mr. Jones has denied his protest will put troops in danger. Mr. Jones has been denied a permit for the demonstration but has said he plans to go forward with the his protest anyway.
Mr. Jones leads a tiny church of just 50 people, but his threat to burn the Muslim holy book has been condemned around the world and has garnered him international attention.
Gen. Petraeus declined to elaborate on precisely what kinds of threats or violence could occur in the wake of such a demonstration. But westerners in Afghanistan have been warned away from restaurants and other public places as tensions arise over the matter.
A report in Newsweek, later retracted, that a U.S. interrogator at the Guantanamo Bay prison had flushed a Quran down a toilet set off riots in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world.
Officials fear that video of a members of Mr. Jones’s church burning of Qurans could set off similar violence and stepped up attacks against U.S. troops.
Military leaders usually try to distance themselves from politics, so the decision by Gen. Petraeus to speak out to try and stop the burning is unusual. But last year Gen. Ray Odierno, the top commander in Iraq, asked President Barack Obama to stop the release of photos showing the abuse of Iraqi detainees, arguing pictures of Muslims being abused could touch off violence in Iraq and potentially slow down the withdrawal.
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