In case you hadn't heard, last Tuesday American military forces put a (or many, depending on the account) Qur'an(s) in a burn pit (allegedly accidentally, but I have my doubts given recent events) at the main NATO base in Afghanistan. Predictably, the event has sparked outrage and protests in Afghanistan (and by Muslims everywhere), which have lead to at least 10 deaths. Luckily, the Obama Administration took exactly the right course and apologized for our culture's idiocy. But, again predictably, Republicans don't like it when President Obama does something. According to Santorum,
Say it’s unfortunate…but to apologize for something that was not an intentional act is something that the president of the United States in my opinion should not have done...I think it shows weakness.I don't know how Santorum was raised, but even if the burning was not an intentional act of disrespect, apology is exactly the right reaction, at a minimum. As decent human beings, we apologize for mistakes all the time. We apologize to show our sympathy and to demonstrate that we'll try to do better in the future. This was not an "unfortunate" occurrence, like a natural famine in their country. It was a mistake brought on by our ineptitude and idiocy, if not a deliberate act of malice. And we ought to show our remorse for that.
Are riots and death a severe overreaction to the burning of a book? Of course, and no sane person denies that. (Of course, no sane person denies that attacks are also a severe overreaction to the burning of a flag, but that didn't stop Republican Klan members from trying to protect those who commit aggravated battery against flag burners.) I know the Golden Rule doesn't get much play among the religious right these days, but maybe Santorum (the 'paragon' of religious candidates) should pay a little more attention to it: we must show respect for others if we expect respect in return.
Of course, Santorum isn't alone. Newt also criticized the show of respect by President Obama, and Mitt once again demonstrated his lack of an emotional capacity. As far as I can tell, Ron Paul's been silent on the issue: better than his rivals, but not exactly a ringing endorsement of his moral fortitude, especially given how clear cut this is. In other words: vote Republican this fall if you want America to have the moral development of a five-year-old.