Sniping at the Koran
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.