Full title “Patreaus Gives FL Lunatic More Attention Than He Ever Envisioned”. Patreaus is an extremely impressive individual and we’re all indebted to his unparalled service. However, last week he made a big mistake when he brought global attention to a FL pastor of a 50 person church (of which apparently 12-15 show up most Sundays).
Patreaus has no regrets. Here he is in a recent Christian Science Monitor article. “I’m not commenting on an issue of free speech. I’m providing an assessment of the likely impact of an action by a fellow American citizen on the safety of our troopers and civilians. I think I’ve got an obligation to those I’m privileged to lead to provide such an assessment.”
“It’s perfectly fine for a four-star general whose mission depends on developing goodwill to say that the action of this small group of extremists in Florida is going to undermine what we’re trying to do,” says Christopher Swift, a fellow at the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. That doesn’t mean, he adds, “that they are going to shut down these folks. He’s concerned about an 18-year-old private running into an 18-year-old Afghan. How is that Afghan going to give the American soldier the benefit of the doubt when he has pictures of Koran-burning on his mobile phone? Petraeus is right to call that out.”
I strongly disagree. Patreaus and Swift have forgotten what everyone learns on playgrounds when first starting school. . . the simple effectiveness of ignoring and isolating oneself from problematic people, or in the case of the FL “pastor,” the seemingly unstable.
Here’s what I suspect Patreaus would say to me. “Assume the burning goes ahead in the church’s parking lot. At minimum, the local paper covers it, which would most likely provide all the necessary kindle for a much larger media firestorm anyways.”
We are a rubber-necking, tabloid loving, reality television watching people, so maybe Patreaus is right about that, but the FL “pastor” is absolutely loving his fifteen hours of fame. The way he’s playing it, his fifteen hours is about to turn into fifteen days.
Patreaus has exacerbated a problem that all of us, bloggers included, should have ignored. Odds are had we turned our back to the burning and not written or spoken about it, it wouldn’t have ended up on any Afghans’ mobile phones.