The war on terrorism is difficult enough without our own side shooting us in the foot. It happened when those photos of humiliated prisoners at Abu Ghraib became public. It happened at Guantanamo Bay when it turned out there was indeed something to the allegations that the Koran was being desecrated. And it’s happened again in Afghanistan where U.S. troops apparently torched the bodies of two dead Taliban, an act of terrible desecration under Islam.
What were they thinking?
The U.S. military and diplomatic corps immediately went into damage-control mode: It was an aberration; an investigation will be conducted; the guilty will be punished, etc., etc. But it was clear that a whole lot of good will painstakingly _ and expensively _ built up in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world had gone down the drain.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai seemed to accept the incident as one of those horrible things that happen in war. We can only accept that the rest of the population is equally as forgiving because without them, as the Soviets found out, our position is untenable.
Aside from tactical considerations, there is a moral point to be made here. Desecration, sacrilege and blasphemy are not acceptable weapons in the war on terror.
(Contact Dale McFeatters at McFeattersD(at)SHNS.com)