You don’t have to believe Sarah Palin. You don’t have to believe Newt Gingrich. You don’t even have to believe me.
If you want to know whether President Obama was right or wrong to apologize for an inadvertent burning of some Qurans, you need but read the news from Afghanistan.
The New York Times entitles its story: “Koran ProtestsResume in Afghanistan Despite U. S. Apology.”
Then ask yourself, what does the Times mean by “despite?” And what does it mean by “protests?”
The Taliban is using the incident to foment holy war and insurrection; the Times sees “protests.” In place of "despite" how about "because." The Afghans see the American apology as a sign of weakness and thus use it as an occasion to assert their own special kind of false pride.
Under normal circumstances if you are angry with someone and he apologizes, your anger will dissipate.
Under abnormal circumstances, that is, when nations are at war, an apology is a sign of weakness, an intimation of defeat.
As we watch Muslim fury over the incident, we should be reminded that anyone who brings a Bible into Saudi Arabia will have it confiscated at the airport and destroyed.
No one finds anything defamatory and insulting about that. No one expects the Saudi authorities to apologize for their blatant disrespect for the religion of others.
If Afghans (and Saudis) wish to earn the respect of other people in the world they would do well to heed some advice in a book they universally abhor: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
If you cannot show respect for the beliefs and customs of other people don’t expect to receive any in return.
If you fail to respect others but demand respect by committing acts of terror, you will have lost the respect of others and your own dignity.