Now that I'm back up and running on this whole regular blogging thing, I fear I'm obliged to make a comment on this Florida Koran-burning brouhaha. Firstly, I'll make perfectly clear that this so-called pastor's plan to celebrate 9/11 with a ritual Koran-burning is both un-Christian and thoroughly contemptible. It would be entirely appropriate for fine dining establishments to refuse him service and for elderly ladies to curse him in the street. I do not think it appropriate, however, for a US general to advise a civilian on the proper use of constitutionally-protected speech. Yes, if this church goes through with their imbecilic plan, US soldiers' lives will certainly be further endangered. But there are all manner of ways that adherence to the Constitution makes the military's day-to-day work more difficult. We could save more soldiers' lives if we set aside the fourth through eighth amendments, for example, but the Constitution of the United States is the very thing that we soldiers have sworn an oath to defend. That is the fundamental mission of the armed forces, and that doesn't change just because a particular exercise of that constitutional freedom is foolhardy and reprehensible.