Contrast: FLASHBACK: U.S. Military Burns Bibles in Afghanistan
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Remarks at the Annual State Department Iftar [video at link]
“We sit down together for this meal on a day when the news is carrying reports that a pastor down in Gainesville, Florida plans to burn the Holy Qu’ran on September 11th. I am heartened by the clear, unequivocal condemnation of this disrespectful, disgraceful act that has come from American religious leaders of all faiths, from evangelical Christians to Jewish rabbis, as well as secular U.S. leaders and opinion-makers.”
Council on Foreign Relations: A Conversation with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton [audio at link]
HAASS: Speaking of guns, I’m going to be shot if I don’t ask a question that comes from one of our national members . . . Several have written in about the impact of the mosque debate in New York, about the threat to burn Korans. How — what’s your view on all this from the Department of State? How does this complicate your life?
CLINTON: Well, you know, I mean, we — you know, we’re a country of what, 310 million plus right now? And, I mean, it’s regrettable that a pastor in Gainesville, Florida with a church of no more than 50 people can make this outrageous and distressful, disgraceful plan and get, you know, the world’s attention. But that’s the world we live in right now. I mean, it doesn’t in any way represent America or Americans or American government or American religious or political leadership.
And we are, as you’ve seen in the last few days, you know, speaking out. General Petraeus made the very powerful point that as seemingly, you know, small a group of people doing this, the fact is that it will have potentially great harm for our troops . . .
Attorney General Eric Holder
NY Daily News: The protest orchestrated by a fire-and-brimstone Florida pastor was called “idiotic and dangerous” by the U.S. Attorney General on Tuesday, according to reports . . . The Attorney General also plans to speak publically about the protest, the official said.
U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus
Yahoo (AP): “Images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence,” Petraeus said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs
Press Briefing: Q Good afternoon. Robert, there’s a church in Gainesville, Florida, that says it’s going to go ahead and burn copies of the Koran to mark the 9/11 anniversary. Is the White House — is there anything the White House is doing to discourage that or prevent them from going ahead with that?
MR. GIBBS: Well, look, I think the best place to look for the views of this administration would be to look at the — look at what General Petraeus said over the weekend. We know that that type of activity — we know that that type of activity is being transmitted back to places like Afghanistan, when General Petraeus obviously is our lead commander. As he said, it puts our troops in harm’s way. And obviously that — any type of activity like that would be — that puts our troops in harm’s way would be a concern to this administration.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates
Associated Press: A Pentagon spokesman says Gates told his staff Wednesday that he strongly endorses Gen. David Petraeus’ view that a Florida church’s planned burning of the Muslim holy book is risky and ill-advised. Petraeus commands U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, where the population is overwhelmingly Muslim.
U.S. Embassy in Pakistan
CNN: “We are deeply concerned about all deliberate attempts to offend members of any religious or ethnic group,” said Stephen Engelken, the second-ranking diplomat at the embassy.