May 4, 2009

Skipped Subject

One of the subjects I skipped in my presentation was religious issues in the military. And wow, is there ever a doozy of an issue out there on the surface today. From, of all places, Al-Jazeera:
Hat tip to Friendly Atheist, who is as upset as me that we have to learn about this from Al-Jazeera. Our own military, should have taken action on this long before it ever hit the press. Particularly the Arabic press.

See, there is no First Amendment in Afghanistan. It's a crime to try to convert someone to a religion other than Islam. These chuckleheads getting caught on camera conspiring to violate the laws of the country in which these forces are hosted makes the whole military look very bad.

I'm going too fast, maybe. Maybe we should wait to see what they have to say in their own defenses, as they deliberated how to evade application of General Order One. "You can't proselytize, but you can give gifts," says the barracks lawyer. Is it just me or is that about the flimsiest argument you've heard in weeks? (And if you're like me, you've heard a lot of flimsy arguments in the past few weeks.)

Of course, it remains to be seen if the military will take any action at all on this subject. Seems to me it has to now that the stink bomb has gone off.

UPDATE: The military says that it has no evidence that Bibles were actually distributed in violation of General Order One and Afghan law. Which if true would be a good thing -- but all it's going to take will be one tribesman coming forward with one of these things to blow a hole in that theory. In the meantime, we've lost a measure of trust with Muslims who were already suspicious of us.

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