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Week In News: Quran Burning Enrages Afghans

GUY RAZ, Host:

We're back with ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

ALAIN LE ROY: Part of the demonstrators rushed into our compound with weapons, and they stormed the compound, they put fire on it, and they killed several of our staff.

RAZ: Jim, hi.


RAZ: It seems, Jim, it seems almost bizarre that what we would perceive as obviously ugly but protected behavior - the burning of a Quran - could set off murders halfway around the world.

FALLOWS: While Pastor Terry Jones was certainly within his rights, his legal rights to do what he did, I think it was wise for the U.S. and world news media to play it down as much as they could. And it cannot help but be another problem, you know, to put it in the mildest possible terms between the U.S. and Afghanistan.

RAZ: It must mark some kind of shift, though, in the thinking among U.N. officials, I mean, has to.

FALLOWS: I think it may also mark a shift in American opinion about Afghanistan. It's inevitable, but at some point, the U.S. public would come to the conclusion that we are not going to be there forever. And it's possible that this kind of explosion, this kind of horror may have a ripple effect in that way.

RAZ: Jim, I want to turn to Libya for a moment, because, of course, we all watched the president's speech this past week. He never used the word war. But I wonder whether this is already being framed as Obama's war.

FALLOWS: But the only precedent I can think of, of a American leader taking the responsibility for such an action so entirely upon himself was Ronald Reagan with the Grenada Invasion of 1983, which was relatively contained and which President Reagan actually welcomed the idea of reasserting American military after Vietnam. I think this means among the many consequential events that turn on how this goes in Libya is the president's own fate, too, because he has - this is his war for better or for worse.

RAZ: It's also been interesting to see how Obama's supporters, those who elected him, have responded to the intervention in Libya.

FALLOWS: It was striking to see a column by Thomas Friedman in New York Times whose concluding paragraph was, well, I hope President Obama is lucky. And Andrew Sullivan, a very prolific blogger at my own Atlantic Monthly site, again, had the same argument that he was weary and cheery(ph) of the judgment that went into this. But now, he just hoped it turned out well.

RAZ: Jim, thank you so much.

FALLOWS: My pleasure. Thank you, Guy. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.