- By Daniel W. Drezner
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a senior editor at The National Interest. Prior to Fletcher, he taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Drezner has received fellowships from the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Harvard University. He has previously held positions with Civic Education Project, the RAND Corporation, and the Treasury Department.
I have a secret confession: I’ve occasionally aspired to found my own offshoot of Judaism. Let’s call it the Dreznerian variant. In my synagogue, all of Judaism’s teaching would be preserved, except for a Very Important Eleventh Commandment:
Thou shalt acknowledge that everything tastes better wrapped in bacon. Everything.
I mean, it’s not a deep theological insight or anything, but we have to take these nuggets of divine truth where we find them.
I haven’t made too much of an effort to create this religious offshoot. After seeing everyone and their President lambast this
group of ignorant jackasses small church that wants to barbeque Qurans, I’m beginning to see the appeal of organizing a small religious movement. In some ways, the public reaction to this is the flip side of Captain Underpants and the Times Square bomber. All it takes is a few crazy people to command public debate. Which, if you think about it, is pretty nuts. When, exactly, did U.S. leaders become obligated to comment on the actions of a few nutballs?
So, just for the record, my take on this is pretty much the same take I had with respect to Park51 (see also this exchange with Heather Hurlburt)– which largely consistent with what Michael Bloomberg, Adam Serwer, and Isaac Chotiner have been saying.
1) Of course it’s offensive to burn Qurans. I’m not even going to dignify this speech act with a response, because it should be obvious why it’s so offensive.
2) Quit using the national security argument to persuade these idiots to stop. A lot of public officials, including uniformed members of the U.S. military, have made a lot of public statements about this act undercutting national security. As I said before, I really don’t like this tactic being used in this way. If my choice is between these people exercising their freedom of speech or being barred or bullied from doing so because of national security concerns, I’ll take the former every time.
First, as previously noted, I don’t think the specter of Al Qaeda is a terribly persuasive argument at the moment. The United States has repeatedly overrreacted to a small group of extremists that has not done much of anything over the past few years. Here’s a thought: maybe the entire world should stop overreacting.
Second, to repeat something that Aaron Sorkin said once, "America isn’t easy; America is advanced citizenship." I really don’t like what the Dove World jackasses have to say — but I’m not going to accept the logic that they can’t say it because of national security concerns. The lesson of this episode is that as abhorrent as 99% of Americans might find this particular speech act, it can’t be stopped through force of arms or the state. This does not mean that Americans condone the burning of Qurans; it means that Americans will not permit the state to infringe on the people to make political statements, no matter how inane, offensive, or vacuous they may be.
Hopefully, the world will stop paying attention to what a small, select group of jackasses intend to do. Or I’m going to have no choice but to suggest that the Dreznerian church will rub 50 Torahs in pork fat — unless either Salma Hayek or Christina Hendricks is willing to talk me out of it.
And let us say,
more bacon amen.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |