Money, insurance and religion driving the Afghan response to accidental Koran burning, Re: Afghans won’t accept US justice for Koran blunder-cleric, Reuters, March 3, 2012

Five American soldiers inadvertently confiscated Korans and other religious materials at a U.S. run detention facility in Afghanistan last month and dumped them into a trash pit for incineration. An American military investigation concluded that the soldiers misinterpreted orders to dispose of the Korans and that there was no intent to desecrate or defile them or to show disrespect for Islam or anything else. The soldiers simply made a mistake. The Korans had already been desecrated and defiled in any case by Islamic prisoners who were using them to send jihadist messages to others.

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When news of the incident became public riots erupted all over the country which resulted in widespread destruction and death. 30 Afghans were killed in the rioting, six Americans were murdered and hundreds of Western military and civilian advisers working in government offices were withdrawn for their own protection. While the immediate crisis has abated somewhat it is by no means over and violence could start up again at any moment, even though there have been profuse and abject apologies from President Obama on down and American commanders and officials have made it clear that the soldiers will face disciplinary proceedings and American military justice.

Not surprisingly none of this has been enough to soothe Afghan sensibilities or prevent the government from trying to take advantage of the situation. Senior Afghan clerics and parliamentarians have demanded that the soldiers be tried in public and punished under Afghan law, a position which is endorsed by President Karzai. President Karzai is also demanding that the detention facility be placed under Afghan control and trying to curry favor with the Taliban as insurance for when the Americans leave in 2014.

Karzai and his government are reacting the way they are for personal and political reasons and are trying to play both ends against the middle as the saying goes. They are trying to extract concessions from the Americans and keep their money flowing while convincing the Taliban that they really support them and should therefore not be thrown out or murdered after the Americans leave. Money and insurance, that’s why Karzai and his government are acting the way they are. As for the clerics and the Afghan people, they’re doing what Islamists always do when they are offended or insulted…they riot, destroy and kill. Its a response that is rooted in Islam and is as old as Islam itself and no one should be surprised in the least that it is happening in this instance. Its just Afghans practising Islam, that’s all.

One of the senior Afghan clerics has in fact threatened a “storm of fury” if the soldiers aren’t publicly tried and punished under Afghan law, which means of course that there will be more rioting, more destruction, more deaths and more murders of Americans and Westerners if they don’t get their way. That could very well happen. President Obama could overrule his commanders and officials and turn the soldiers over to the Afghan authorities. Even if he doesn’t it is certain that the Afghans will demand reparations and that he will pay them regardless of the cost. Obama’s character and mentality coupled with the Afghan’s character and mentality guarantee that they will keep the threats, intimidation and pressure on until they get everything they possibly can, until they squeeze out every drop of blood and treasure they possibly can.

Money, insurance and religion.

Opportunists, bandits and atavists.

Afghans are many things but they are not America’s friends and allies and never have been.

The sooner President Obama stops this charade the better.

The sooner Americans leave the better too, for them anyway. Afghanistan will descend into the darkness from whence it came but that is not America’s fault or responsibility and staying is serving no purpose for Americans at all.

Neither was going in the first place, but that as they say is another story.

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