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Patraeus's flawed reasoning -letter

US commander in Afghanistan Gen David Patraeus has said planned burning of the Quran by members of an evangelical Christian church in Florida on 9/11 should not go ahead as it would put the security of US troops in Afghanistan in jeopardy -What a sick reason at that.  Patraeus's views actually speak the mindset of the American government. The Americans have become so haughty and contemptuous that they conveniently ignore universal principles of respect for other's emotions and beliefs and measure everything according to their own whims and material interests.  -- Feroze Ali Shah, Islamabad, 08 Sept 10

Comment 1

Ref my esteemed friend Feroze's letter, I shall try to explain that General Patraeus was talking to the people in Florida who planned to burn the Quran, and that he needed to talk to them in language likely to get a result. They had already made up their minds to burn the Quran so an appeal to their sense of reason was unlikely to succeed. However, saying that their actions were likely to endanger American lives was very likely to get the result. --Boyd Munroe, UK, 08 Sept 10

Comment 2

Ref the exchange about .Gen Patraeus remarks, even though we agree that stressing American interests as a reason for not burning Quran sounds careless to Pakistani ears, the reader from the UK is correct when he observes that Patraeus is speaking to an American audience and attempting to persuade them using language and arguments that he perceives are more readily compelling than kindness and good manners. Obviously there are other Americans who are offended by the Florida pastor's threat because it is an offense to all people who are trying to live in harmony and respect each others' traditions and religions. But Americans live in a free, if not always a sane, country, and it seems the pastor's right to protest--no matter how repugnant it is to the rest of us--Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others--is protected by laws of free speech. Though that guarantee is being contested by some. See the two stories in today's New York Times (links given below) to understand how people are responding. Please note that according to the article the pastor's "church" consists of only some 30 people. --Anita Christy, NY,USA,  09 Sept 10


Comment 3
Ref the above two comments and NYT news stories, it is heartening to know that the American people overwhelmingly do not support pastor Terry Jones's plans to desecrate the Quran. But then that makes all the more reason that Gen Patraeus should have given ethical reasons based on principles and courage, for not burning the holy book, and not merely made a scary statement for the consumption of the thirty odd people of the belligerent church (as mentioned in the comment and in NYT stories). Principles should override expediency at all times, specially when it comes to beliefs and morals, other wise the world will sink further into the quagmire of dissention and polarisation. --Feroze Ali Shah, Islamabad, 09 Sept 10


Comment 4
This is with reference to the exchange of views and comments on the subject under discussion. Before reacting to the statement made by General Patraeus, I would rather look at the orientation and background he comes from. For a military commander, be it Gen. Patraeus or Gen. Kiyani, nothing is more important than the security of the troops under his command.


Like other military commanders, Gen. Patraeusís education and training has been to safe-guard the soil, people, and interests of the USA. He therefore would first think of the security of the US people and the army under his command. I therefore would not expect any altruistic statement from Gen. Patraeus given the background he comes from and the context in which he has made the statement.


However, if the same statement was made by president Obama or any other political, social, or religious leader, it would have been very unfair and selfish reason for not burning the holy Quran. The good thing is that Terry Jones's plans did not succeed and that good sense still prevails. --Dr. Mir Tajik, Chitral, 16 Sept 10


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