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Terry Jones and Preemptive Capitulation
by Roger Kimball
I have been thinking about Afghanistan again because of the riots that broke out this weekend. So far about a dozen people, including U.N. and NATO personnel, have been killed and scores injured. Why? Because Terry Jones, the Florida "pastor" who made headlines last September when he threatened to burn copies of the Koran, finally made good on his promise on March 20th, when he presided over a "trial" and burning of the Koran.
The incident went largely unreported here, but Afghan President Hamid Karzai got wind of the stunt and denounced it. Officials in neighboring Pakistan denounced it, too, sending a letter to the head of Interpol demanding that Jones be arrested for his "violent crime." Then the natives got restless and started smashing up whatever there is to smash up in Afghanistan, which turns out to be mostly other human beings, buildings and other emblems of modern civilization being in short supply in that wretched country.
Well, once the rampage started, Westerners were quick to comment. From Tweedledee to Tweedledum — from Harry Reid (D. Nev.) to Lindsey Graham (R., sort of, SC.) — American lawmakers fell over themselves to condemn Jones and insist that his pyromanic exhibitions be "investigated." "I wish we could find a way to hold people accountable," said Graham. "Free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war."
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