Showing restraint against extremists

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The late Keith Blackledge, editor of the North Platte Telegraph and historian of that community to the north, once recalled the criticism once leveled against newspapers more concerned about distant happenings than local events, that they were "addicted to Afghanistan."

As we recall, he made the observation during the Soviet invasion of that country in 1979, back when the Islamic extremists were our allies and decades before we returned to that exotic land to fight some of the same people.

His point then, and our point now, communications is shrinking the world at an exponential rate. Events on the far side of the world affected us then, and do so even more today.

And it works both ways.

The latest example is cited by the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus.

Plans by a Florida church to burn Korans on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, will endanger troops and damage the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan, Petraeus said.

The pastor of the church, paradoxically named the Dove World Outreach Center, was already burned in effigy at a protest rally attended by about 500 people in Kabul.

That Pastor Terry Jones' 50-member church in Gainesville, Fla., could have that kind of an impact that far away shows just how far out of proportion media coverage can be magnified once it's seized by extremists.

The same could be said for the tiny Westboro Baptist Church, who once made an appearance at a McCook funeral, blaming gay rights for military deaths. That group, which recently won a flag desecration case in Nebraska, is now targeting the Roman Catholic church on something called the "GodSmack Tour."

It's tempting for either side of an issue to overreact to such stupidity, but unless cooler heads can muster the courage to show restraint, the extremists will have won.

View 2 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • Shame on Pastor Terry Jones if he does burn the Koran.

    Shame on General Petraeus for his words that sounded Radical strengthening.

    Shame on us, if we allow this to make us fearful.

    'As we would have another do to us, do to them.'

    We need declare 'Open-Season' on anyone using this event to harm Americans anywhere in the World.

    Arley Steinhour

    -- Posted by Navyblue on Tue, Sep 7, 2010, at 7:46 PM
  • The McCook Gazette editorial was correct in their opinion opposing burning the Koran, but fell far short. Images of Muslims burning the American flag, burning the Florida church in effigy and shouting death to America give us a clearer picture that so called Muslim extremism in the world is not just a small faction. They regularly execute Christian converts and expell Christian missionaries from their countries. Now there is extreme opposition in this country to building a mosque two blocks from ground zero and the Imam said that the reaction in the Muslim world would be dangerous if it was not built. This is extortion. The question is just how far should the non-Muslim world go to accomodate an intolerant and hateful religion? Where is the backlash from the so called Muslim moderates? Why are there not Muslim armies fighting this extremism? It is time for the entire world, Muslim and non-Muslim, to hold the feet of Muslims in the proverbial fire for equal tolerance and treatment of Christianity, much less all religions. The God of Christianity said to "love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Mt.5:43,44). It would be well if the world would follow this advice.

    Mike Nielsen

    -- Posted by niechiro on Thu, Sep 9, 2010, at 3:11 PM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: