Qurans mistakenly burned by U.S. troops stoke Afghan fire

Qurans mistakenly burned by U.S. troops stoke Afghan fire

February 23rd, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

Common sense suggests it is unwise for U.S. forces in Afghanistan to inflame Muslim passions by desecrating copies of Islam's holy book, the Quran. And so it is regrettable that some copies of the Quran were burned by U.S. forces in Afghanistan -- though it apparently was an accident. U.S. officials had removed the books from a detention facility because detainees were writing extremist messages in the books which were then viewed by other detainees. The books were mistakenly mixed in with trash to be burned in a garbage pit. The incineration was halted as soon as the mistake became apparent, and the United States has apologized.

Yet what was the Afghan response? There were multiple riots, and at least seven people were killed.

While it is fair to fault the mistaken actions of our troops for angering Muslims in Afghanistan, it would be grossly unfair to suggest that riots and homicide are reasonable responses -- or that U.S. troops bear responsibility for that mayhem.