Monday, May 19, 2008

Soldiers: Want to Get Out of Iraq? Shoot Al-Qu’ran – and Then Apologize.

In the news yesterday and today is an incident that occurred earlier this month, in a Sunni-controlled area of western Baghdad. An American soldier, a sniper, used Al-Qu’ran, the holy book of Islam, for target practice on a police shooting range.

The soldier first denied that he knew that this book was Al-Qu’ran, but since books aren’t generally used as targets anyway, nobody believed him.

The shot-up book was discovered by an Iraqi soldier who complained to his commander. Word spread to the local Sunni community, who were justifiably indignant, and they demanded an immediate apology.

It finally came, first as a written apology from the offending soldier, who, among other things wrote this:

“I sincerely hope that my actions have not diminished the partnership that our two nations have developed together. ... My actions were shortsighted, very reckless and irresponsible, but in my heart [the actions] were not malicious.”
My guess is that the soldier now has some practice at taking dictation.

Yet later a verbal apology came from the soldier’s commander, Major General Jeffery Hammond, who spoke at an apology ceremony. Among other things, Hammond said this:

“I come before you here seeking your forgiveness. In the most humble manner, I look in your eyes today, and I say please forgive me and my soldiers.”
Well there you go. Apology asked for and delivered. Twice.

Punishment issued to the offending soldier included a reprimand “with prejudice” and an immediate reassignment back to the United States.

They punished the soldier by sending him home.

Now upon hearing this, leaders in the Sunni’s most powerful Iraqi Islamic Party most strenuously objected, and demanded that the army “inflict the maximum possible punishment on this soldier so it would be a deterrent for the rest of the soldiers in the future.”

Good point.

My guess, that upon hearing news of the crime, and its punishment, more soldiers went online to to order themselves up some “targets”.

It is, after all, a fairly painless way to get a one-way ticket out of a war zone. The other method was accomplished by Staff Sergeant Michelle Manhart who was discharged from the army for posing nude in a Playboy pictorial.

That method doesn’t work for everyone though because, first, you have to have something nice that someone will want to take a photograph of. That leaves a lot of people out.

So this new ploy seems to be the way to go.

That is, unless the army comes up with a draconian punishment that will appease the sensibilities of these Sunni Muslims, people who live their lives by Sharia, or Islamic Law. A system of laws that calls for death by beheading for being a homosexual or an adulterer. A system of laws that calls for amputation of the hands for those found guilty of thievery.

What, I wonder, would be an appropriate punishment for desecration of a book containing the revealed words of Allah, as spoken to His Prophet, Muhammad, through his angel, Gabriel?

Maybe the Sunnis have come up with one all by themselves. In their demonstrations decrying this heinous act, Sunnis were heard to be reciting this chant: “Yes, yes to the Quran". And this one: “America out, out.”

You see? These are the minority Sunnis who Bush, Cheney et al. want to protect from certain genocide that will fall on the heels of a US troop pullout.

Sounds like the Sunnis, though, have a different plan. A plan that I like.

US out of Iraq . . . Now.

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