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The Shameful Truth: The Burning

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By dishonoring the Qur'an we dishonor the Bible, the Torah, the Kabala and every other sacred text.

I began this essay a month or so ago, when the tragic event happened that U.S. soldiers burned Qur'ans in Afghanistan. I intended to rewrite it so I would sound less angry and hostile towards our Commander in Chief, but as time passes, I do not feel less angry but more so.

I must first congratulate President Obama at his efforts to prevent a war between Israel and Iran. Which would, of course, mean we would be involved. And we don't need another war.

I like to think that he has learned a lesson. Talk of war is easy and relatively inexpensive. Being in a war is costly and ruinous for both sides, no matter which claims victory.

There is already too much hate everywhere. Too much tragedy. Too much death. Resources are scarce and tolerance even more so.

All this said, to begin with, we should never have been in Afghanistan, and we should never have escalated troops there. And if our Commander in Chief was going to escalate troops there, he should have made damn sure that everyone there was versed on a respectful protocol. He should have made damn sure that there was no mistake about the dignity of the people, their religion, and the way that sensitive matters were to be handled. There should have been a list – ten things one never does, beginning with never desecrating (or burning) a holy book.

I blame the president. I blame him because this is absolutely a leadership issue. Someone high up in the military chain of command ordered these books to be burned, and the soldiers followed orders. Whether the soldiers knew what they were burning or not is less important than the fact that the order was given by a senior officer in charge who should have and certainly did know better.

And the man responsible for this officer's blunder is the president himself. The president should have made sure that any officer with the clout in our military to make a decision that potent knew protocol and never ever broke it. In turn, they would have made sure that their officers of lower ranks knew protocol and never ever broke it. 

If we weren't buried in the mire of misunderstandings and provoking a culture and an entire religious population in the world (in 2009 there were 1.6 BILLION Muslims in the world) when we got into this war, we have certainly buried ourselves again and again while participating in irresponsible, disrespectful, and, now, completely abominable acts while on their soil. Wasn't the plan to get the country behind our "anti-terrorist" cause? To help train the locals to defend themselves? Wasn't that Mr. Obama's plan, to go into the towns, win the "hearts and minds" of the nation?

I always knew the war was "un-winnable." I knew from the brief history that I know about wars and Afghanistan. It is a tribal country. A religious country. It is a mountainous country. It is an old country with a history we can not fathom. The arrogance to think we could send ill-equippe (I mean in terms of cultural understanding, not weapons) boys and men and women to somehow gain territory in this country, is an absurd notion at best.

And then. 

Drones repeatedly killing civilians.

Rogue soldiers desecrating bodies and disrespecting a culture.

And, now, this burning of their holiest book, the Qur'an.

Wow. 

Can we bury ourselves deeper?

Can we create more enemies than we have right now?

I keep thinking the answer is "no," until the next fiasco surfaces.

Each of these debacles is an example of failed leadership, poor choices, and a disregard for the most important element in this war.

Respect of the people.

Our stupidity is already killing our nation, debt (much of it due to ludicrous wars), devastating oil prices, raping of our environment for non-renewable energy, never even having the serious discussion about what we need to do – renewable energy. 

But now, our stupidity, lack of foresight and insight, and lack of leadership has endangered our national security more than anything else. We have created millions more enemies, willing "terrorists," and opened the gate to more hate.

We have no one to blame but ourselves, the merciless path we have chosen, our leaders from Bush and Cheney to Obama, and ignorance and danger in thoughtless actions from the top down.

From the top down.

Okay, so Obama apologized. He now needs, for once, to act with courage rather than complacency and commiseration, and fire the person who ordered the burning of those books. He needs to show all Muslims everywhere that he understands that this is an atrocity that will not be tolerated in action.

My husband reads this and tells me I sound angry. That I am smarter than that. That it sounds like I am Obama bashing.

Oh.

I am angry. I am very angry.

But I am not intentionally bashing Obama – I am bashing policy, cultural ignorance, and a sense of superiority than many U.S. citizens carry that enables them to participate in these acts of disgrace. 

I am also very sad.

Our nation is a greedy, falling, failing superpower. We are suicidal in our exploitation of resources, people, and entitlement. 

So, next, I must point out that we are all culpable because our leader is culpable, not only for not ensuring there was proper protocol at the top, but also because he has not yet found his valor to publicly dismiss the person in charge. He cowers in his usual fashion of non-commitment while 1.6 billion people are shown that we do not honor their god enough. Or anyone's god enough. It is one and the same God, and by dishonoring the Qur'an we dishonor the Bible, the Torah, the Kabala and every other sacred text.

Let's call Obama and demand an action of dismissal, and show the Muslim world that we are sorry.  That's right. That we are sorry to the Nation of Islam that this heinous act was carried out by our people.

Then we can thank Obama for his stand against war with Iran. 

We, the people, can not tolerate such pandemonium and must demand the action, from the top down.

And that's the shameful truth. 

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