On Book Burnings

Gen. David Petraeus has criticized a Florida church for intending to burn Qurans on the anniversary of 9/11. The general cautioned that, "It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort." Adam Serwer is uneasy in more than one way:

I've long argued that the way Americans treat Islam and Muslims definitely has an effect on the fight against terrorism abroad, but I'm uncomfortable with Petraeus drawing a direct line of responsibility between whether or not American troops live or die and whether or not a group of radicals holds a "burn the Quran day." There's something about that statement that crosses the line for me -- I just don't think that in a democracy people in uniform are the proper arbiters of what constitutes appropriate free expression, even when it's an event with fascist overtones as obvious as a public book burning.

I tend to agree. But I also see Petraeus's point: in a war of ideas where American soldiers are fighting a brutal counter-insurgency, the parading of anti-Muslim bigotry and hatred in America is a moral disgrace and a strategic disaster. That is is being enabled by a party that claims to take national security seriously is an indication of just how farcical and dangerous the GOP now is.