Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 12:19 PM ET, 09/ 8/2010

Koran burning spurs ex-CIA official to lead protest

By Jeff Stein

Suzanne Spaulding, a figure with long experience in U.S. intelligence circles, including a stint as assistant general counsel at the CIA, is urging former national security officials to speak out against a Florida preacher’s plans for a public burning of the Koran on Sept. 11.

Spaulding’s petition drive dovetails with an appeal Tuesday by Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, to pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Fla., to drop his plans for a ritual burning of Islam’s holiest book.

“It saddens me personally and worries me from a national security perspective because it fuels the terrorists' propaganda,” Spaulding wrote in a letter to friends and former associates.

“Moreover, I don't believe it is a true reflection of America. While I think we need a long-term effort aimed at education and tied in some respects to broader counter-rad(ical) efforts, I am launching a short-term effort that I'm hoping maybe you will join.”

Spaulding’s petition calls for religious tolerance and includes the statement: “We condemn the act of burning the Koran, a sacred text for millions of Americans and others around the world, as we would condemn the burning of all sacred texts."

Spaulding, who has held top staff jobs on both the House and Senate intelligence committees and served on numerous intelligence-review commissions, is not approaching only former national security officials. She has also netted spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, who is promoting the cause on his Web site.

About 2,080 people from all walks of life had added their names to the petition, launched over the Labor Day holiday, by the time Pastor Jones capitulated to appeals not to burn the Koran Thursday afternoon. The major names on Spaulding's petition included former Virginia Democratic Sen. Chuck Robb; former FBI Director William S. Sessions; John Gannon, a former deputy director of national intelligence, and Mickey Edwards, a prominent former Republican congressman from Oklahoma.

The list was sprinkled, however, with the names of lesser known but senior former intelligence officials, such as former FBI counsel Marion “Spike” Bowman, former CIA officials Paul Pillar and Ronald Marks, Nicholas Rostow, who served on the Reagan White House national security council, and Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, the first female general counsel at both the National Security Agency and CIA.

"We cannot allow this kind of blatant bigotry to stand unanswered,” said Marks, who also served as intelligence counsel to former Republican senators Bob Dole and Trent Lott. “The Muslim Community in the United States should not be judged by the smallest of small minorities any more than any other group should be.”

By Jeff Stein  | September 8, 2010; 12:19 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy, Intelligence, Politics  | Tags:  Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, Marion “Spike” Bowman, Nicholas Rostow, Paul Pillar, Ronald Marks, Terry Jones  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gareth Williams probe focuses on mystery couple
Next: Blackwater founder Erik Prince targets Democrats in memoir

Comments

The petition website now says it has 918 signatures, you should update the post!

Posted by: alphabetsoup1 | September 8, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Sadly this blind hatred has a long history in this country - ask the Jews, ask the Irish, ask any minority. Just seems the nutty right wing always needs to hate - and they seem to get the media coverage. Where are the media comparisons between the book burnings of 75 plus years ago in another so called Christian country? We all know where those book burnings lead to. How easy people forget.

Posted by: rspecht52 | September 8, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Free speech is free speech. If the "belt way" does not like it, pull our troops out of the Middle East.

Posted by: speedo1 | September 8, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see support for this effort is bipartisan. Our great nation is bigger and better than this bigotry.

Posted by: novaescapee | September 8, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

You do not have to go back even twenty five years to find hideous disrespect for religious people in the USA.
You only have to look at the so called art that many defended that insulted Christianity and Christians.

If you have groups of people who feel free to harass and disrespect others under the self righteous banner of free speech, consider who has taught them and encouraged them to do this over the last few decades.

Morality that is set by political agendas is not morality at all. It is only propaganda to achieve power.

Posted by: Elisa2 | September 8, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

We have now given up most of our Fourth Amendment rights to the war on terror, so now we start destroying the First Amendment too? Do you really want our rights to now be defined by the terrorists who threaten us? Sorry, I am not with you on this. The act of burning the Koran is stupid and hurtful to many, but so to many people is burning the American flag as protest "speech," but this is America and political speech, particularly political offensive speech, is one of the pillars of democracy. Those who think we should stifle free speech do not understand, yet, the meaning of freedom.

Posted by: Retired62 | September 8, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Saudis repeatedly burned the US flags all the time. And here are no synagogues in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, etc except in the bowels of specific embassies. And Pakistanis always have anti-U.S. protest on anything while we can't here due to the ACLU.

Posted by: Rockvillers | September 8, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

It is certainly "safe" for officials like Hillary Clinton to oppose the proposed burning of a Koran. It is not safe, however, to publically announce an intention to burn a Koran. The worldwide threats against the U.S. and Obama and the burning of countless bibles and American flags should tell people a lot about the type religion Islam is. It is an intolerant religion. Thousands of other churches and other groups should have supported the announced claim that the Koran was going to be burned to commemorate 911. How long will U.S. officials and US media be afraid to do anything which might offend Islam? It is an offensive religion. While most religions offend any rational thinking person Islam is very deserving of disrespect. As has been pointed out the supporters of Islam, usually in the form of a ranting mob, routinely disrespect other religions and burn U.S. flags. Lets quit appeasing Islam. Require all Moslems in the U.S. to register as foreign agents. Closely monitor all Mosques and other gatherings of Moslems. For years U.S. Mosques and "holy" Imans have preached sedition against the U.S. It is time that Americans take their babblings seriously.

Posted by: jimeglrd8 | September 8, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"It is certainly "safe" for officials like Hillary Clinton to oppose the proposed burning of a Koran. It is not safe, however, to publically announce an intention to burn a Koran. The worldwide threats against the U.S. and Obama and the burning of countless bibles and American flags should tell people a lot about the type religion Islam is. It is an intolerant religion. Thousands of other churches and other groups should have supported the announced claim that the Koran was going to be burned to commemorate 911. How long will U.S. officials and US media be afraid to do anything which might offend Islam? It is an offensive religion. While most religions offend any rational thinking person Islam is very deserving of disrespect. As has been pointed out the supporters of Islam, usually in the form of a ranting mob, routinely disrespect other religions and burn U.S. flags. Lets quit appeasing Islam. Require all Moslems in the U.S. to register as foreign agents. Closely monitor all Mosques and other gatherings of Moslems. For years U.S. Mosques and "holy" Imans have preached sedition against the U.S. It is time that Americans take their babblings seriously.

Posted by: jimeglrd8 | September 8, 2010 4:43 PM"
======================

Great idea! While we're at it, let's create a special camp for them, and make them wear special symbols so that we always know who they are and where they are! Do you happen to have a small mustache?

Your bigotry and mouth-foaming hatred makes you sound like one of them.

Posted by: ClandestineBlaze | September 8, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey kids! Stop believing in false gods… and start believing in yourself! And the community of other humans around you.

We need to ADD to the fire. Make it "Int'l Burn A Bible, Torah, Koran and Book of Mormon Day." I hereby deem it a sacred and very solemn day! Amen - let it be. Because all four texts are "evil". And they are all the cause of -countless- wars and ignorance and suffering, including today's. All four need to be soundly condemned, and their leaders shamed. Teaching the people to be ignorant… wow, what a thing to be ashamed of. Can we have more old old men please tell us how to live our life? PLEASE! Our feeble minds just can't live without you! (not).

Posted by: LawsLuvr | September 8, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

All this over a handful of bible banging wackos who are not killing anybody, just crazy. Actually I would rather the muslims burn bibles than blow people up.

Posted by: jm125 | September 8, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Let Republicans be Republicans - reactionary, racist, redneck, and Republican!

Any vote for any Republican is a vote for STUPID...

Posted by: alfa73 | September 8, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Rather than just being a name on a list, one could chose to do something rational. That's why today, I bought another Quran.

www.therewillbetruth.com/?p=115

Posted by: lperdue1 | September 8, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

The derranged priest has a "right" to burn the quran.
I love it when american politicians advocate "human rights" in iran but kill 2 million iraqi civilians next door because of WMDs, and help apartheid israel in ongoing ethnic cleansing of palestinians.

Posted by: MumboJumboo | September 8, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

The pastor says that this is meant as "a warning to radical Islam" that "if you attack us, we will attack you." It seems that he must have missed the last 9 years where our armed forces have been attacking radical Islam in Afghanistan and elsewhere. This is not really a first amendment issue; it's analogous to not being allowed to should "fire" under the first amendment, since there are foreseeable problems that result from their action. The pastor and his flock should be held accountable for any deaths which result from their actions, because they are being told now that their actions will put our armed forces and civilians in harm's way. Deaths are a foreseeable result of their actions and therefore they are acting with a depraved indifference to the lives of our soldiers and civilians.

Posted by: asm_ith | September 8, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

When will the media will report on the cult like boarding school that Terry Jones is running?

It is interesting that someone posting compared this book burning with frenzy that occurred in Nazi Germany because Terry Jones has spent a signficant amount of time there.

Jones doesn't care about what may happen to our GIs because he can operate from the safety of his church while surrounded by police, fire fighters and federal agents.

Although Jones claims that he is only after radical Islam, nowhere on his posters or book covers does he make this qualification; instead he attacks all Muslims in which he likens their religion to a demonic cult.

The best defense to Jones' ignorance is to go beyond discussing how we feel about the issue and deal with the facts. How can Jones a so called Christian burn a book that references Moses, Abraham and Jesus. Although the Koran does not acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God as we Christians do, Muslims accept the virgin birth of Jesus, the Ascension and that he will return on Judgment Day.

One of the fruits of the spirit of true religion is love, not just for your fellow believers but also for those with whom you disagree. Where is the love Pastor Jones?

Posted by: anansi | September 8, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

firstly these guys don't even have a permit to have a bon fire. They are breaking the law even if they do not burn a single koran.
If they really feel that strongly about it, lets all chip in and buy all 50 members of this "church" plane tickets to Kabul where I believe there is no ordinance to prevent people lighting bon fires and they can do their little act there.

Posted by: sushshaf | September 8, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I dont think this guy realizes how close he is to an Islamic extremist. You burn something you havent read and know nothing about.

He's afraid of Sharia yet believes in a book that commands stoning for adultery...similarities anyone???

Posted by: Chops2 | September 8, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

No one is banning this church from banning the Koran, therefore it is not a free speech issue. Rather, most others are exercising their own free speech rights to condemn the actions and to clearly state that they will not allow this minority group to represent us.

Posted by: lcyoon | September 8, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

This America hating pastor should move to Afghanistan, he's no different than the Taliban.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | September 9, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

"

Saudis repeatedly burned the US flags all the time. And here are no synagogues in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, etc except in the bowels of specific embassies. And Pakistanis always have anti-U.S. protest on anything while we can't here due to the ACLU.

Posted by: Rockvillers "

In other words, we would be just like them, except for the ACLU.

Thank God for the ACLU.

Posted by: thrh | September 9, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

"It is time that Americans take their babblings seriously.

Posted by: jimeglrd8"

Many American babblings are posted on this website. It is extremely difficult to take them seriously. Yours is a good example.

Posted by: thrh | September 9, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

It is not permitted to say "movie" in a crowded firehouse.

--Groucho Marx.

Posted by: thrh | September 9, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Your wish is my command. It was updated near midnight. -js

Posted by: Jeff Stein | September 9, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

republicans = white taliban

Posted by: MumboJumboo | September 9, 2010 2:25 AM | Report abuse

"free speech is free speech" wow, really?

You seem to have it wrong. Free speech means it's OK to lie in an advertisement, and that's all it means anymore. The people who crow about it are so unreservedly stupid that free speech has lost all meaning.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | September 9, 2010 4:52 AM | Report abuse

I'd be so much more impressed if they'd publicly come out against the torture committed by American "intelligence."

But that's not safe, now is it?

lol.

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | September 9, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

I'd be so much more impressed if they would come out against the torture committed by American "intelligence."

But that's not safe, now is it?

lol.

Not much of a force when the world's first reaction to you is contempt.

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | September 9, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

We should burn ALL religious texts or NONE, as they're ALL frauds.

Posted by: Garak | September 9, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

"Religious tolerance"?
It is fine for others to attack us but we cannot use the First Amendment. Why do some folks trust a religion that demands their followers to " kill the infidels"? The muslims cheered when learning of 9/11...
Time to demonstrate that we are angry at the muslims

Posted by: rodrigo57 | September 9, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

How typical of a senior former CIA official to engage in meaningless blather. Ms. Spaulding and her liberal friends no doubt see themselves as noble warriors against bigotry, hate, corn pone redneck Americans, etc. While I also oppose the burning of the Koran on grounds of simple good manners, I must add to the list of sacred texts not to be torched the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Playboy magazine, Hustler, and most editions of the Superman comic books. Had Ms. Spaulding shown similar spine in defending the Christians who are under vicious attack almost every day in the Muslim world, I might have applauded her efforts. Of course, she didn't. As for a "tiny minority" of Muslims being responsible for terrorism, that may well be true, but the large majority not directly engaged sure hasn't done a hell of a lot to stop the others. The vast majority won't even speak out against their murdering co-religionists. Let's cut to the chase. Had another "American" religious minority not press-ganged our country into supporting their own little ethno-religious state in the Middle East, we would not even be having this little dialogue right now. Want to see Spaulding and the rest of her CIA senior officials touch that one? Heh heh. Or let's tackle the 1965 revision to our immigration law, which allowed a so-called "Muslim community" to be created in our country. Now that was a brilliant idea. It was pushed by certain folks who resented so-called WASP's running the country their ancestors had created. Well, they got their wish, but it sure hasn't turned out like they expected. I suppose those folks are packing their bags right now, as they have so often in the past when they have fouled the nests others have so gracefully lent them. Frankly, I don't give a damn about the "religious" sensibilities of any of these people. They can all go to Hell or Haifa as far as I am concerned. I don't want dual loyalists in my country any more than I want muddle-headed liberals like Spaulding or Muslim women running around with hideous black bags or masks on their faces. Nobody has ever troubled themselves to guard my tender feelings. All of these primitives (and that is what they all are, bedouins) should just get used to it.

Posted by: chuck1776 | September 9, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Humor me, and do a little 'what-if' for a minute. What if there was a fringe imam in some remote village of Pakistan planning an event Saturday to burn a stack of Bibles. Would it be an international incident? Would the media rush to project the riots and violence that may ensue in the U.S. if Christians were to see a pile of Bibles being burned in Pakistan?
So far I have yet to see one editorialist, reporter, or talking head on tv ask the simple question: why are Muslims so easily riled by the actions of a lunatic 'pastor' of a church with fewer than 50 people? Are Muslims that emotionally weak? Are Muslims that insecure about their faith? Do Muslims lack even a mediocre allowance of intestinal fortitude?
Of course those are hard questions...even inflammatory questions. But why does the media spend 100% of their time in this case focusing on the 30 idiots burning books, and not on the tens of millions of offended Muslims threatening violence over it?

Posted by: dbw1 | September 9, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Why was the Jewish circles around the world so upset by book burning in Germany in the
Thirties. Was it only books written by Jews that was burned or was it only a propaganda ploy at that time? It is noted that the Jewish community this time do not care to comment about Christians burning Koran. The comment posted by thegreatpotatospamof2003 is really a great comment which is worthwhile to read and to contemplate over.

Posted by: jibsail | September 9, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

speedo1 @ September 8, 2010 2:34 PM wrote "Free speech is free speech."

Yes indeed, free speech is precious.

That does not mean that a bigot goes unanswered. Above all, remember that silence means consent. So, if you let the bigot talk unanswered, you agree with the bigot.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | September 9, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Elisa2 @ September 8, 2010 3:25 PM: I found that 'work of art' offensive as well. It further offended me that it was actually financed with public money. In my opinion, that type of work should not receive public funding.

I am not denying the artist's right to create it. I simply do not want the public to show support by financing it, or exhibiting it in a public venue.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | September 9, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

While I certainly respect the right to burn the Quran here in the United States, it is clear that doing so is meant to do nothing but garner media attention.

Any printed text of the Quran is considered sacred. Even if someone has a brief quote on a card, it is equally as sacred as the Quran itself.

Here's the part that I have not seen mentioned elsewhere. The World Trade Center had equally as many Muslims as any other part of New York (which is quite a few) as well as book and newsstands. It is safe to say that the attack on those towers destroyed not only actual copies of the Quran, but likely thousands of texts with excerpts from it as well. There didn't seem to be any concern whatsoever about this. Mind you, this destruction was caused by extremist Muslims who by their very nature should be even more mindful of this. Their desire to destroy far outweighed their concerns over their religious text (if it was something that they were even remotely concerned with at the time). I would think people of any religion would be far more incensed about their own members having such disregard for their respective texts than those who do not follow those texts.

I do feel that we should be free to perform such actions as burning religious texts without fear of inciting international riots. But, people tend to follow the beliefs they are raised with. If people are raised under certain beliefs, they tend to stay with them.

I personally don't think any one particular religion is more or less likely to be correct. People raised under any religion tend to feel their religion is the correct one.

The world has a lot of growing up to do. People have always twisted their religions to meet their needs. They have excused violations of their texts when it was convenient to do so and exploited only those parts that suited their needs.

Posted by: NJ-Joey | September 9, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company