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The general and the Koran-burning preacher

Is it just me, or are General David Petraeus' warnings about the consequences that might flow from a Florida pastor's plan to burn copies of the Koran utterly bizarre? Since when do generals in the field overseas feel obliged to respond to an oddball back home? And claim that the success of the war effort depends on how that obscure eccentric responds?

Florida preacher Terry Jones says he will burn copies of the Koran to mark the September 11th attacks, and he has been widely criticized for it. Petraeus, the top US commander in Afghanistan, said that Jones' stunt would put American lives in danger:

It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort. 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.

How Petraeus can pin any US lives being at risk to Jones' escapade is beyond me.  As backward as Jones and his cohorts are, we shouldn't pretend that he represents the first wave of Nazi-style book burners. And more to the point, we don't need a general being the arbiter of what forms of protest are acceptable or not. Petraeus' outspoken reaction says more about him, and the elite running the anti-terrorist campaign, than it does about cranks who burn Korans.

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