This is not the beginning of the end for the international community in Afghanistan. This is the end. Terry Jones and others will continue to pull anti-Islam stunts and opportunistic extremists here will use those actions to incite attacks against foreigners. Unless we, the internationals, want our guards to fire on unarmed protestors from now on, the day has come for us to leave Afghanistan. – This Attack is Different – UN Dispatch

The last time something even close to this occurred it was over cartoons of Mohammed.

A cleric in Afghanistan drives around inciting citizens about something a crazy American did and people end up paying with their lives. All because of something that happened 12 days ago.

The religious fanatic, Terry Jones, made good on his threats and miles away Afghans, foreign and UN workers paid for it, 12 killed, because Jones burned a Koran in Florida. Pres. Karzai has demanded that Jones be held accountable. This is a unique moment in international relations for the U.S.

From the New York Times:

The Ulema Council recently met to discuss the Koran burning, Mullah Kashaf said in a telephone interview. “We expressed our deep concerns about this act, and we were expecting the violence that we are witnessing now,” he said. “Unless they try him and give him the highest possible punishment, we will witness violence and protests not only in Afghanistan but in the entire world.”

Mr. Jones was unrepentant. “We must hold these countries and people accountable for what they have done as well as for any excuses they may use to promote their terrorist activities,” he said in a statement. “Islam is not a religion of peace. It is time that we call these people to accountability.”

The demand from Afghanistan to hold an American citizen responsible for burning a holy book represents a challenge for U.S. diplomacy in the world that is unprecedented.

It’s understandable that people are immediately declaring that this event signifies the need for a change in our presence in Afghanistan, because our involvement should have ended the second McChrystal was fired because he blew a fuse in public. It’s not every day a revered general goes off and a member of the press is privy.

But the Pastor Terry Jones incident and the inciting Muslim clerics of this world shouldn’t be allowed to hold the rest of us hostage, because of their religious sensibilities. A connected world gives these people a lot more power than they’d otherwise have. Freedom of speech and action in America is just that, as we had to swallow recently when the Supreme Court announced Westboro Baptist church protests at funerals were protected.

On the other end of the spectrum, Rep. Peter King’s un-American House hearings symbolized the willful ignorance of religious bigots, something that sends a terrible message to a large group of people that don’t deserve to get lumped in with killers.

Let’s hope this doesn’t escalate into our very own Mohammed cartoon catastrophe, which could escalate into something even bigger.