In February of this year, American troops burned copies of the Qur'an at an army base in Afghanistan.  Western media were immediately abuzz with the Muslim response: massive riots causing the deaths of dozens of local Afghans, a Taliban revenge suicide attack on US troops, car bombs, an Afghan policeman enraged by Qur'an burnings murders two US officers, Afghan soldiers turn on US troops and shoot two, Taliban suspends talks with the USA, and  in an incendiary anti-American speech Afghan president Karzai calls America "a demon" comparable to the Taliban. At least 40 die and hundreds are injured.

The event spawned three (count'em, three!) parallel and separate legal inquiries. The soldiers may be disciplined;  but according to Congressman Allan West's interpretation of the events,  prisoners were writing extremist messages to one another in the pages of the Qur'ans, thus effectively desecrating them according to Muslim practice. And the incident provides support for Obama's call for a pre-election pull-out from Afghanistan.

Last year's Qur'an burning incident in Florida had similar effects. A publicity hungry pastor threatens to burn Qur'ans and riots break out across the Middle East; followed by murder and mayhem and destruction and endless anti-American propaganda.  But we respond with  cringing misplaced deference, as General Petraeus ignores the murderous Muslim mobs and instead condemns the Florida preacher.

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