…that doesn’t mean it’s either smart or honorable.
This strikes me as troubling. Not because Petraeus is wrong; on the contrary, I think he is probably right. Already, mobs in Pakistan have demonstrated against the planned Koran burning by, among other things, burning American flags. History, e.g. the homicidal response to the Danish cartoons and the false report, circulated by the American press, that U.S. soldiers had flushed a Koran down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay, suggest that Petraeus’ fears are well founded.
Moreover, I personally am not in favor of burning Korans. My advice to the Florida church would be, don’t do it.
Still, is it not highly problematic when a senior military officer warns American citizens against exercising their undoubted First Amendment rights? This situation is different from the Koran-down-the-toilet story. We criticized news outlets at the time for endangering American troops, but that was mostly because the story was false. Presumably we can all agree that newspapers and magazines should not circulate false reports that endanger our troops. But what about accurate stories of Americans exercising their constitutional right to criticize Islam by burning Korans?
In one respect this is similar to the ground zero mega mosque. In both cases the people in question have a legal right to do what they intend. It both cases it is not only insensitive but provocative.
In the end we are going to have to fight to defend these people’s right to be glory seeking idiots. The provocation of course doesn’t make any violence by those offended justified, in fact it will simply prove their barbarity and insecurity
Update: Saw the preacher on the air declare this as a statement against Sharia law and for the 1st amendment, that’s a pretty good and strong argument but this still doesn’t sit right with me.