The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Troops still embrace the Infidel label.

I still have a few "infidel" stickers and a patch.  That is what we are to the islamic crowd.  To say anything else is being dis ingenious.   We are expected to be "sensitive" to them but they are not to us.  This isn't a 2 way street, it always goes 1 way.  We are courteous because that is our nature but they treat us with contempt because they perceive that as weakness.   The political correctness is getting cloying.  I am glad that the troops still embrace the label.  it shows that we still have a humor.

An 'Infidel' Zippo lighter
In the wake of the recent setbacks in Afghanistan, American commanders are working overtime trying to instill sensitivity among U.S. troops toward their Afghan counterparts and their Islamic culture.
But many American servicemembers already wear their feelings on their sleeves -- sometimes literally -- choosing a powerful term to represent the way they believe they’re perceived by the Muslim world: “Infidel.”
There are infidel hats, infidel T-shirts and infidel uniform patches -- an entire genre of morale wear that emerged from the ashes of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Now that a decade has passed, the movement is booming. Type “Infidel Strong” into Google and page after page of military gear sites pop up, peddling what has become an ersatz symbol of patriotism.
It started as a humorous tactic for poking fun at intolerant Islamists ignorant of American ideals.
Clayton Montgomery, owner of a well-known online vendor called Mil-Spec Monkey and designer of some infidel patches, said his most popular item has been his “Pork-Eating Crusader” patch, which includes a translation into Arabic.
“Everybody sort of hates occupying forces anyway, so it’s kind of embracing that,” he told Military.com “If you are going to hate us anyway, we might as well pretend to be the great white devil.”
Continued Montgomery: “Originally, when we made the patch, we thought it would be this small thing, the equivalent of an ‘I’m with stupid’ T-shirt. We didn’t think we would sell many, but the demand was there,” Montgomery said, describing how his company has sold about 10,000 of the patches.
Some veterans, however, have begun to question whether these “infidel” products do other than fuel anger across the Middle East, among both friend and foe alike, and breed confusion in one of the most complex wars U.S. combat troops have ever fought.
Tension between U.S. and Afghan leaders increased after it was discovered in late February that five soldiers unintentionally disposed of several Qurans, the most sacred of Muslim holy books, in a burn pit near Bagram Air Field, touching off a backlash that left six U.S. personnel dead.
The incident caused international scrutiny and prompted President Obama to apologize to a furious Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Gen. John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, directed all coalition forces in Afghanistan to undergo training in the proper handling of religious materials.
But this was not the first battlefield faux pas of recent days. A video of Marine snipers urinating on the bodies of enemy corpses ignited a firestorm of controversy at the beginning of the year.
And more recently, a real tragedy occurred -- a rogue American soldier allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians in the village outside his base.
Military experts maintain that such behavior is a contributor to what one U.S. report last year called a “crisis of trust and cultural incompatibility” that has sometimes led to Afghan soldiers turning their weapons on their coalition partners.
The Pentagon deals with such incidents as it always has -- investigate, punish anyone in violation of military regulations, and give the troops more cultural-awareness training.
But Marine Corps Reserve Maj. Ramsey Sulayman, who serves a legislative associate for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said such instruction has little value when troops are bombarded with anti-Muslim messages at home.
They range from “Major League Infidel,” “American Infidel,” and “Infidel Strong” to the politically strident media personalities painting Islam itself as the enemy.
“When you are trying to hold the moral high ground and you’re trying to say, ‘This is who we are and this is what we do’ – those sorts of incidents and the ‘Major League Infidel’ just erode that ground under your feet that you are trying to stand on. Pretty soon you’re in the swamp with everybody else,” Sulayman said.
Sulayman, a Lebanese American who commanded a Marine infantry platoon in Iraq’s Anbar Province in 2008, said he had one Marine who made “Kill Hadji” stickers.
“When your Iraqi interpreter sees that, what does he think? Your partners in the Iraqi army -- when they see that, what are they going to think?” he would ask his Marines. “You wouldn’t walk up to sergeant so-and-so and drop the ‘N’ word on him.”
Montgomery said his patches are more about letting troops make fun of themselves and not designed to direct hate toward any group.
“We do draw the line; I’m not ever going to make anything that says ‘I think all Muslims should die,’ ” he said.
Sulayman said the intense media coverage of the war and the speed that information moves over the Internet put combat troops under a microscope of scrutiny that never existed in past wars.
“You are asking someone who is 19 or 20 years old to flip a switch from being a cold-blooded killer to someone who has to be cognizant of cultural realities,” he said.
Sulayman said he doesn’t think the companies that market infidel products to troops mean any harm. He also said he’s certain that Florida pastor Terry Jones didn’t mean any harm when he oversaw a public burning of a Quran last year because he believed it promotes violence.
“It’s his right,” Sulayman said. “But is it really helpful?”

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