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Sniping at the Koran

May 18, 2008

I’ve taken my shots my shots at religion, and even a holy book or two. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to do it for many years to come. Of course, I use the phrase “taking shots” figuratively unlike a U.S. Army sniper who quite literally used the Koran for target practice.

The Koran in question was used as a target at a police station firing range in Radhwaniya, where it was found bullet-ridden two days later. The offending soldier was relieved of duty and shipped back to the U.S., where he issued an official apology. There are a few things about this incident that bother me:

  1. That it happened in the first place. Soldiers are under a supreme amount of pressure and stress that no civilian will ever truly understand. Because of this, they can do some pretty assholish things. However, there’s a big difference between taking a photo of an Iraqi holding a derogatory sign that you’ve written and desecrating the symbol of everything the vast majority of Iraqis hold dear. Not only that, the U.S. military has lost face in the eyes of the very people we’re supposed to be out there helping.
  2. Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond’s quote, “The actions of one soldier were nothing more than criminal behavior.” While the tribal leaders see this as a crime, Hammond does need to keep in mind that this is not criminal behavior in the U.S. Back home, that sniper could have propped that Koran up against the King James bible, shot them both full of hole, set them on fire, and pissed on them to put the fire out, and more power to him! Shooting people is criminal behavior, shooting books is certainly not!
  3. Hammond presented a gift of a Koran to the offended Iraqis, but also kissed it. Unless Hammond is muslim, he has no business showing such deference to that book. Respect for the book would be to refrain from shooting it, and Hammond crossed a line in his show of humility.

Another small point, but we have to take a broader look at the state of the world when things like this happen. If you have an unused hunk of paper that holds little value, you still have to treat it correctly.

Recycle, people. Trees are a dwindling resource.

UPDATE: Check out Delaware Liberal for a different perspective on the kissing.

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34 Comments leave one →
  1. bryan permalink
    May 18, 2008 11:02 am

    when is cutting someone’s head off going to cause the same type of uproar from the civilized world? The tribal leaders call it a “attack on the entire muslim world”. What a joke. That book might as well be toilet paper just as the bible could be toilet paper to someone else. If you don’t believe in it then it is just words. What happens to the bible in Iraq? Never mind there are none.

  2. May 18, 2008 11:55 am

    Still sad to do something like this in the first place. I mean was the Quran used only because it is a sensitive/holy scripture for Muslims? Howcome the soldier didn’t have anything else to use, You know, like A Bible, A puppy (as I know people are sensitive to puppies), maybe a toilet paper roll as Bryan is suggesting? I mean is American Army so poor that they are running out of regular target practice red dots??
    Exactly so, there are lots of things a sniper can use for target practice, but there must have been something bothering him that caused him to do such an erratic act. Is it fascism, racism, anger, radicalism, you decide. In my opinion the soldier should be court martialed as he did do something that he very well knows is offensive and irrational for that particular culture. If the soldiers don’t know this, then they are not being trained properly for cultural insensitivies of the lands they occupy!

  3. SEAL permalink
    May 18, 2008 11:57 am

    You fail to understand that not everyone in Iraq was behind the beheadings. It was carried out by a few extremists that the rest of population has no relation to, and hence no obligation to take responsibility. Why should they apologize for something they had no part in? If you are a Christian, do you apologize for Hitler’s crimes?

    However, the burning of a Quran WILL offend the entire Muslim world, because the entire Muslim world holds it dear. In the least, it is an incredibly stupid thing to offend an entire nation of people that the US set out to “save” under false pretenses.

    Lastly, I’m sure there are Christian Iraqis that live just as well as anyone else. I doubt most Iraqis make it a point to go burn down churches and deface bibles.

  4. May 18, 2008 1:23 pm

    I am batshit crazy!!!

    *Removed spam links and cut&paste conspiracy theories, then summed up the comment* -Joe M

  5. May 18, 2008 1:38 pm

    You may notice that I did indulge in a bit of moderation for the first time ever. At first glance, qazi’s post seems like a very long anti-semitic rant with nice spam links.

    Qazi, if you have an argument against your little cut and paste tirade, feel free to post it, and I will consider putting your original comment back.

  6. May 18, 2008 1:47 pm

    SHANE… Youre an idiot…. we apoligize over a shot up Koran and you have suicide bombers and others who have zero care about human life but nothing is said about that. Hell, he might as well just shot babies at the hospital.. wouldn’t have caused as much of an outcry. Funny that muslims can denounce any religion but as soon as the table is turned they are up in arms.. Hmm… yes the religion of peace!!! I really don’t care if we would kill them all….. yea courtmartial him becasue you’re a fucking pussy… Whaaa!!!! I wish we would use the same tactics we did in WW2… this would all be over.. bomb them into submission… that is all those animals understand…

  7. May 18, 2008 1:54 pm

    Joe-E,

    I find it interesting that you’re supporting eradication of all muslims because some of them have killed thousands. Certainly, you understand that is we use the same tactics on them, it makes us no better than the suicide bombers?

    However, I don’t expect rational discourse from someone who writes with the immature rage of a 13-year-old whose skateboard was stolen.

  8. Paul permalink
    May 18, 2008 2:06 pm

    Another case of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. What if that had been the Bible? What about the people who burn the American Flag? Since when is it a crime to shot a Koran? What about the beheading of Westerners? The list can go on and on. Feelings aside, war is war. The UNITED STATES is the only superpower left. The UNITED SATES is the policemen of the world, but yet a large part of the world hates us for no reason other than because who we are. So maybe would should let the world go the way that it did in 1917 the Great War, 1938 WWII, 1950 Korean War, 1959 Vietnam War and 1990 the First Gulf War, just to name a few, but with one exception. The UNITED STATES stays home. We do not destroy our own economy for the sake of somebody else, we do not send our young men and women to die for some body else, we do not waste our resources to solve someone else’s problems. Maybe then the world will understand that we are not the GREAT SATIN but a true believer of FREEDOM and JUSTICE for everyone. For Maj. Gen Hammond to call an American Soldier a criminal for shooting a Koran is ridicules. If anyone is a criminal with the handling of the war in Iraqi, is people like Maj. Gen Hammond that do not allow our young men and women the opportunity win this war and come home. All they are worried about is being POLITCALY CORRECT.

  9. May 18, 2008 2:15 pm

    Joe-M….
    Really don’t care…. show me a democratic Muslim led nation…. one where the people can choose who or what they want to believe in openly. believe this, if they had the means we would all be living under the sword. Just look at the Sudan… but I imagine this doesn’t mean shit to you becasue it isn’t an everyday issue you have to deal with. Go back to fantasy land where you think muslims just want to be left to alone to worship however they want…

  10. May 18, 2008 2:16 pm

    Paul,

    I think brushing it off as political correctness is a bit too reductionist. We’re supposed to be out there helping these people, and this soldier did a dumb-ass thing that could very well damage what they are trying to do out there. An apology was the correct response, though I doubt the wisdom of kissing the gifted Koran.

    I would like to see what the reaction in the US would be if a muslim or an atheist shot a bible. I have a feeling that that too would make national news.

    “we are not the GREAT SATIN”

    Correct. We are made of linen.

  11. May 18, 2008 2:28 pm

    Joe-E,

    Is this an every-day issue for you? Actually, that doesn’t even matter. Reducing the argument to let them walk all over us or on the other hand, wipe them all out shows an absurd lack rational thought.

    No, I don’t believe all muslims just want to be left alone, but I think if given time, education, and better diplomacy with western cultured, they may come to a point where they can have a democratic society in the middle east.

    One thing that will make certain that never happens would be wiping all of them off the face of the earth. But, I forgot, you don’t care about that, do you?

  12. May 18, 2008 2:32 pm

    that may be true Joe M, but democracy at our expense and American lives isn’t an option to me… they are a cancer on the world and should be eliminated…. See isn’t that nice we can have this conversation without being in fear for our lives? That in itself says it all to me….

  13. May 18, 2008 2:39 pm

    “See isn’t that nice we can have this conversation without being in fear for our lives? That in itself says it all to me….”

    I’m not sure what your point is here. If we can have this discussion without fear of what? Terrorist attack? Government reprisal?

    Honestly, I’m just happy we don’t give guns to 13-year-olds. If they did, I imagine we’d be seeing news about some asshole who finally logged off the ‘net for 15 minutes to go shoot up an American mosque!

  14. Paul permalink
    May 18, 2008 3:11 pm

    Joe-E

    I do not think these people really want our help or anyone’s help for that matter. But let’s take a look at political correctness over the past few decades. In the 1930’s Neville Chamberlain and the World tried to Appease Hitler. Where did that take us. A Great General by the name of Patton forgot about Political correctness was admonished about Russia and where did that lead us. We tried to be politically correct and not engage the North Vietnamese in Hanoi, and where did that lead us. An American soldier uses a Koran for target practice and is labeled a criminal, where is this going to lead. I’ll tell you where, more handcuffs, more rules of engagement, more Political Correctness, more useless killing of American soldiers.

    As far as it being a dumb-ass thing to do? Was it a dumb-ass thing to paint logo’s on the sides of aircraft and the number of kills that a pilot had during WWII and show it to the world? Was it a dumb-ass thing to draw pictures on the sides of bombs that were dropped on cities in Europe and Asia and take pictures and show them to the world? Was it a dumb-ass thing to take playing cards and place them on the dead enemy soldiers in Vietnam. The answer is no. It is war. War has very few rules and shooting a Koran or any of the items listed above are one of these rules!

    As far as the United States reaction to a Muslim or and atheist shooting the bible. There would be hardly none. We believe in the freedom of religion in this country and the freedom of speech. Most Muslim countries do not. They do however believe that it is ok to burn the flag of the United States, and effigies of our elected leaders and to behead kidnapped westerners. You do not see them demanding that this come to an end nor do they apologize for the action of a few of its’ citizens.

  15. SEAL permalink
    May 18, 2008 3:41 pm

    They never asked for our help. We forced out help on them, no matter which way you look at it, and in no way does that give us the right to deface anything that they (universally) hold dear. They are also under no obligation to apologize for the actions committed by a few. The VAST majority Iraqis had NOTHING to do with that. Association by race or religion is not a crime, and demands no apology.

    The US military, on the other hand, IS responsible for what its soldiers do. They are supposed to keep themselves in line, and “liberating” Iraq should not involve shooting something that they all hold most dear.

  16. May 18, 2008 3:46 pm

    Agreed, SEAL. Apparently, leading by example is no longer a virtue on the internets.

  17. Todd permalink
    May 18, 2008 4:59 pm

    Who cares about shooting a book of evil,.it is the devils book of lies!!!

  18. Todd permalink
    May 18, 2008 5:07 pm

    A religion of peace,..bullshit! Kill those who don’t believe,..only Satin would say that!

  19. Paul permalink
    May 18, 2008 5:16 pm

    As always, it is our fault. It is our fault the world is like it is. Never mind that it is their people that make up their army. They do not have a true army just mothers and dads and children that like to blow us up. But that is ok. We have to fight a war with both of our arms tied behind our backs but we are still the greatest country in the world. If you feel that a soldier is out of line for using a Koran for target practice, maybe he should use a dog. Some Muslims hate dogs. Hey i got a better Idea, let’s just bring our troops home, and let middle east continue fighting for another 1000 years. Then maybe we can secure our borders and stop illegal immigration. Oh wait a minute, that would make people from central and south america mad. Or we can continue this political correctness B/S and in 50 years we will follow in the footsteps of the Romans. I do not believe we need to apologize for anything. I think it is sad that bleeding heart liberals continue to believe the we owe everyone an apology and that we are the demons of the world. Maybe they should go live in a country that has no freedoms and justice, so they can see what it is like. America has been leading by example for over 200 years but some of their own people just don’t see it. One day when they have given away the last that this great country has to offer and they lose those freedoms of speech and religion, then maybe they will wake up and smell the roses. The only problem, it will be to late. It is a sad day in America when we blame ourselves because other people feelings are hurt.

  20. May 18, 2008 5:36 pm

    actually jackoff I got my first gun at age 10 that I saved for from working…. You miss the point, well why should that surprise me… You think muslims wouldn’t cut your throat if they had the chance which is why they love liberal dicks like yourself. Now don’t you have a rally to attend???

  21. jason330 permalink
    May 18, 2008 5:50 pm

    Dang Joe M!

    You brought out the crazebags with this one.

    Does anyone know if kissing the Koran when presenting it as a gift is a kind of cultural protocol?

  22. Todd permalink
    May 18, 2008 5:50 pm

    Do not forget 911,..!!!!! Who did this,..believers of the Koran. We are at war with evil and they are Koran worshippers. It is their religion to kill you, your mother, brother, sister daughter, etc. They think their “god” rewards them in heaven for this. They will be in for a big surprise!!

  23. jason330 permalink
    May 18, 2008 6:12 pm

    Todd,

    Are you for real? It sounds like you want to party like it is 2002.

  24. Flug permalink
    May 18, 2008 6:33 pm

    Bryon has it right! The Quran should be used as toilet paper. Every true non-mussle, should buy one a year and tear its pages using it as toilet paper. Kissing the Quran by a military offical is outrageous and sounds B Hussein Obama like…….

  25. May 18, 2008 6:34 pm

    Jason,

    With a quick google, I wasn’t able to find anything about kissing the Koran while gifting it, bit I did find that it is tradition to kiss the Koran 3 times before opening and after closing it to read.

    As for the crazies, I was linked on the CNN article blogs section relating to the article.

  26. Flug permalink
    May 18, 2008 6:35 pm

    Bryon has it right! The Quran should be used as toilet paper. Every true non-mussle should buy one a year and tear its pages using it as toilet paper. Kissing the Quran by a military offical is outrageous and sounds B Hussein Obama like…….

  27. May 18, 2008 6:36 pm

    “actually jackoff I got my first gun at age 10 that I saved for from working….”

    So, two years ago! Excellent!

    “Now don’t you have a rally to attend???”

    Nice! A guy talking about exterminating another race is saying I have a rally to attend! The irony just may kill me!

  28. Paul permalink
    May 18, 2008 6:37 pm

    Actually Joe-E I really don’t care when you bought your first gun, but I am sure you will be happy to turn it over to the liberal authorities when they taken that right away from you and you will apologize for owning it when you do so. You see I don’t own a gun and haven’t for over 30 years. I leave it up to soldiers like this sniper to defend my freedom and in return, I will be there to defend his action when times warrant. As far as Muslims cutting my throat, no I do not think that will happen, why because there are some Muslims who believe just as we do. The right to worship the God of your choice and the right to free speech. As far as a rally, the on rally I attend in held on the 4th of July of every year. That is the celebration of the founding of this GREAT COUNTRY. Liberal, no I don’t think so. Raciest, no I don’t think so. A true believer in my country, you bet! I just get tired of my own country men bashing this great land of ours and wish they would just move to IRAN. There they could live a life with so little freedom or justice, but at least they could bash the United States everyday.

  29. May 18, 2008 6:39 pm

    Paul,

    There is a huge difference between trying to be the better person and taking blame for other’s fate. Remember this, and you may have better arguments.

    As for leading by example for 200 years, minor flubs like an unjust war in Iraq and torturing helpless prisoners can do some damage to our reputation as moral leaders of the free world.

  30. Paul permalink
    May 18, 2008 7:06 pm

    Joe-M

    Was it ok for the Vietnamese to torture and kill captured americans and South Vietnamese troops? Was it ok for the North Koreans to invade South Korea? Was it ok for Germany to invade Poland? Was it ok for Muslims extremist to fly hijacked civilian aircraft and fly them into into the World Trade Center? Is it ok for Middle Eastern Countries to harbor extremist with the sole purpose of destroying the United States and its Allies? Helpless prisoners, why are they helpless? Why were they captured? What were they doing there? Why is it that we have to wait until we are attacked before we can protect our country? Why is it an unjust war? We are there, we have lost thousands of brave american men and women because of terrorist. Notice I did not say army, because they do not have one. They have terrorist! Let me see, over the years, our embassies have been attacked, our ships have been attacked, our country has been attacked by Muslims extremist but yet this is an unjust War? These are minor flubs?

    It doesn’t matter if they are Muslim, Germans, Japanese the questions above would still apply.

  31. Panda Power permalink
    May 19, 2008 1:22 am

    The only thing the Koran is good for is to be riddled with bullets since it was written by a false prophet.

  32. May 19, 2008 3:55 am

    Paul,

    You can’t react to atrocity with further atrocity and retain status as a moral leader. It just doesn’t work that way.

    Panda Power,

    All prophets are false. Your logic makes it okay to riddle the bible with holes as well. I don’t have a problem with that, but I have a feeling that you may.

  33. MND-B PAO permalink
    May 21, 2008 12:42 am

    Joe M.
    The general’s name is misspelled it is Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond (‘ery). Also he did not kiss the Koran – that was the brigade commander. All Soldiers receive religious and cultural awareness training before we deploy. Thus, not speaking directly about this incident, a Soldier would know that shooting a Muslim holy book was wrong. Soldier wrongdoing, especially if it puts other Soldiers lives at risk; is wrong and arguably criminal. Certainly, a wide range of judicial and non-judicial punishment in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice is available to the commander in cases of Soldier wrong-doing. In this case, we are here in Iraq to protect the Iraqi people. Not to offend them. It would be the epitome of foolishness to make enemies of those we are trying to help. We do apologize for the action of one as it affects us all. v/r, Lt. Col. Steve Stover

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