Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Burning of Quran: The Continuing Conduct Unbecoming of US Troops in Afghanistan

The people of Afghanistan have never reconciled the presence of foreign troops on their soil since the Russians marched in in the early 80s. But foreign troops continue to violate their sovereignty even after decades. After Russians, now it is the NATO troops under the so called UN ambit who are trying to subdue them. The ISAF troops, mostly US have committed atrocities of every kind by killing innocent civilians and never feeling ashamed of their deeds.

Rather they always come up one flimsy explanation after the other to justify their stand and actions. And the world community always buys the US story. 

Although the Allied Armies have been shown being garlanded in the WW-II movies and other propaganda films, they have never been angels. Although portrayed so, since the media in those days was under strict control and no leakage occurred of what the allied soldiers did to the Germans, Italians and the Japanese.

 Now that the media is free and interdependent, any acts of aggression and violation of human rights is noticed by independent media and published immediately. And this how the world has now come to see the Dr Jackal face of Mr Hyde clearly with gory details.

The killing of innocent civilians through drone attack and other means in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and even Libya has many times been exposed but USA has always one story or explanation up their sleeves to justify their acts. They even brushed aside the atrocities committed in the notorious Abu Gharib prison, where even the female soldiers joined in to strip naked the prisoners and made them perform inhuman acts and had the sagacity to photographs with the poor prisoners completely naked with big smiles on their faces.

Then came a group of US soldiers urinating on dead bodies of the Afghans - and yet their conscious did not prick for they are the masters over poor Afghans. It is not easy to understand now what atrocities the Us and Allied troops may ave committed in WW-II which must have been given blanket cover since the so called deliverers could not have been expected to do inhuman acts.

The US high command even did not apologies for killing Pakistan soldiers twice in tow separate incidents in cross border firing and even did not take any actions against those violating the agreed upon charter of joint operations.
Burning of Quran by US troops: The aftermath
But this latest incident of Quran burning is something that cannot be forgiven and forgotten. Even those who have been supporting US invasion of Afghanistan feel that such acts are not only deliberate but also provocative. No solder soldiers or officers could be that naive that they cannot differentiate between ordinary books and the Muslims holy book of Quran. The burning of Quran in the incinerator in cannot be taken as a mistake. It is the same adventure of Abu Gharib prison or urinating on the dead bodies, which is taken as lightly by a few soldiers in a 'jolly good mood.'

It may be added here that the Quran is the most sacred object in the daily lives of Muslims and burning it is considered an offense against God. The Quran is so important in the faith that Islamic teaching spells out how it should be handled, including directing anyone who touches it to be in a state of ritual purity. Muslims can only dispose of Quran in very specific ways, including burning or burying those that have been damaged or corrupted to prevent God's word from being defiled.

The so called 'prompt' apology by none other than the top U.S. and NATO commander, Gen. John Allen is nothing but cosmetic and rendering apologies is very easy to do after a misadventure by the soldiers of the biggest democracy of the world. In fact such inhuman acts every day expose the level of morals the US soldiers have and the respect they carry over the laws and flouting the religious sentiments of the local population.

Soldiers it seems have learnt good lessons from the priests back home who burnt copies of Quran in public not long ago to display their hatred towards Muslims. Even moderate Muslims like myself would not buy the story that the act of burning Holy Quran was by'mistake.' The act is similar to other conduct unbecoming which the US soldiers have committed since they jumped in to fight the war on terror.

The Afghans have every right to protest on the issue and it is time that US soldiers learn to respect the religious sentiments of the people who consider them as foreign troops violating their values, culture and religious beliefs.

And after the incident, it is rather strange for Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, to be hopeful he incident would not rupture relations with the Afghan government.

such like unbecoming conduct by the occupational forces have trig erred incidents in which A rising number of Afghan security forces, or militants wearing their uniforms, have shot and killed U.S. and NATO service members on a number of times. As late as Monday, gunmen in Afghan police uniforms opened fire on NATO troops in southern Afghanistan, killing an Albanian soldier. Last month, France suspended its training program and threatened to withdraw its forces a year ahead of schedule after an Afghan soldier shot and killed four French soldiers on a base in the east.

Although Gen Allen has issued a new directive ordering all coalition forces in Afghanistan to complete training in the proper handling of religious materials no later than March 3. The training will include the identification of religious materials, their significance, correct handling and storage. But shouldn't this had been done before occupational forces entered Afghanistan?

It is time now that US soldiers are asked to remain within the norms of military and Geneva convention rules and respect the local laws and religion sentiments if the want to be respected by the locals. Otherwise quitting honorably from Afghanistan is likely to become a nightmare for the NATO troops. Also those found guilty of such crimes must be punished adequately so as to serve as warning for the others for repeating such like acts.


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