Gen. David Petraeus may be trying to sabotage the transition effort in Afghanistan, but he is at least sensitive to the fact that a large demonstration of burning Korans in America wouldn’t have the greatest effect on his efforts to win hearts and minds:

The top US commander in Afghanistan has warned that troops’ lives will be in danger if an American church sticks to its plan to burn copies of the Koran.

Gen David Petraeus said the action could cause problems “not just in Kabul, but everywhere in the world”.

Pastor Terry Jones, of the Dove World Outreach Center, plans to put copies of the holy book in a bonfire to mark this week’s anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

There have already been protests in Afghanistan and Indonesia.

While Petraeus is merely saying to the American Taliban (see what I did there) that riling up their parishioners by deliberately antagonizing the entire Muslim world will put American lives at risk, his daring to suggest such a thing has conservatives up in arms:

Shut the Fuck Up Pussypants Petraeus!… If we want to help our troops, we need to remove Obama and Petraeus from the battlefield and let our troops do their job—eliminate the enemy—the ragheads. Not fucking coddle and community organize them…

General Petraeus treasonous to freedom… Let it be known that in the name of freedom others may burn the Bible, build mosques on our sore spots but they cannot stomp on our freedoms… To imagine that we should give up freedoms in order to help an Islamic nation is beyond absurd. It is treason to the cause of freedom…

If there’s one freedom I’ve been itching to exercise, it’s setting fire to the holy book of a billion other human beings. Aren’t these the same people who wanted to make flag-burning unconstitutional?

Maybe, but surely they were the same people who shed a tear for Jesus Petraeus when MoveOn.org dared to criticize him from a policy standpoint. Apparently the Koran-burners’ constitutional right to desecrate an object means more than Petraeus’ constitutional right to say it’s a pretty bad idea. After all, when has that general ever fought for freedom?

In a perfect world we wouldn’t be deliberately provocative to the Muslim world because it’s just bad manners, not because it might get the 150,000-odd troops we have occupying their countries killed. In fact, you begin to wonder what’s worse, burning a Koran from thousands of miles away or a night raid. If Petraeus is that attuned to the sensitivities of Muslims, he’d probably have to get out of his line of work.