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Why Apologize to Afghanistan?
The reaction to an accidental Koran-burning was inexcusable.

An anti-U.S. protest in Mehterlam, Afghanistan, February 23, 2012

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Andrew C. McCarthy

Understand this: Muslims are killing Muslims all the time. Sunnis attack Shiites, Shiites attack Sunnis. Ahmadi Muslims are attacked in sundry Islamic countries. Often, these Muslim-on-Muslim atrocities involve not only murder but also the torching of the other sect’s homes and mosques — necessarily meaning Muslims are burning Korans, and with far more mens rea than the American personnel had in Afghanistan. None of these atrocities incite global Islamic rioting — it is just Muslim-on-Muslim violence, the numbing familiarity of which calls for no comment, except perhaps to mumble that it must have something to do with how “fiercely protective of their Islamic faith” Muslims are. (Actually, it has to do with Muslims’ deeming the perceived heresies of other Muslims to be apostasy, for which sharia prescribes the death penalty.)

Also understand this: In sharia societies, non-Muslim religious articles are confiscated and destroyed every single day as a matter of policy. In Saudi Arabia, where sharia is the law of the land, where Mecca and Medina are closed to non-Muslims, government guidelines prohibit Jews and Christians from bringing Bibles, crucifixes, Stars of David, and similar artifacts emblematic of their faith into the country. When that prohibition is violated, the offending items are seized and burned or otherwise destroyed. Moreover, though Saudis deny having an official policy that bans Jews from entering the country at all, reports are rampant of travelers’ being denied visas either because they are Jewish or because their passports bear stamps indicative of prior travel to Israel.

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In spite of this shameful, conscious, systematic abuse of non-Muslims and their religious articles, King Abdullah has yet to send a letter of apology to Obama. All the presidential bowing in the world will not change this, not when Muslim supremacism is the irreducible core of mainstream Islam — not al-Qaeda Islam, mainstream Islam. And where is Mr. Karzai’s apology over the Afghan soldier who just killed two Americans? That is only the latest incident in a largely unreported epidemic: our “allies” turning their weapons on their Western trainers.

On second thought, who cares if Karzai apologizes? Our troops do not belong in Afghanistan. They have given more than enough, way more. So has our country.

If our government believes the Taliban and other factions are our enemies, allied with al-Qaeda to kill Americans, then we should unleash our military to destroy them. This should not be an endless counterinsurgency experiment that prioritizes the protection of Afghan civilians and the construction of Afghan civil society; it should be a war that our vast might enables us to win rapidly and decisively.

But our government has repeatedly professed that the Taliban are not our enemies. If that is true, we lack not only the will but the cause for waging war. We should leave — now. It is immoral to keep our young men and women there as sitting ducks in a place where the people hate Americans but we are not trying to vanquish them. We routed al-Qaeda years ago. We don’t need to defeat the Taliban or waste time negotiating with them, Karzai, the warlords, and the rest. Let them have their Korans and work it out for themselves with the compassion that has been such a Religion of Peace hallmark for the last 14 centuries.

That, however, cannot be the end of it. If, according to the president, we need to apologize to Muslims because we must accept that they have such an innate, extraordinary ardor for their religion that barbaric reactions to trivial slights are inevitable, then they should not be invited to enter a civilized country. At the very least, our immigration laws should exclude entry from Muslim-majority countries unless and until those countries expressly repeal repressive sharia laws (e.g., the death penalty for apostates) and adopt American standards of non-discrimination against, tolerance of, and protection for religious minorities.

If you really want to promote freedom in Islamic countries, an immigration policy based on civil-rights reciprocity would be a lot more effective, and a lot less expensive, than dispatching tens of thousands of troops to build sharia “democracies.” It would also protect Americans from people whose countries and cultures have not prepared them for the obligations of citizenship in a free society.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.



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