As Chris Beneke notes over at Religion in American History, there is a historical parallel to General Petraeus’ warning about the dangers posed to US troops by Qur’an burning: George Washington’s order to stop burning effigies of the Pope during the American Revolution. Beneke writes:
For decades, English and American Protestants had burned effigies of the Pope to celebrate the thwarting of (the Catholic) Guy Fawkes’ attempt to blow up Parliament on November 5, 1605. [...] But in November 1775, with Catholic support for the American war effort desperately needed, an irritated Washington ordered his soldiers to forgo their beloved Pope’s Day festivities.
Washington’s 1775 order read, in part, as follows:
At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada
“The campaign in Canada didn’t end well,” Beneke concludes. “But Washington’s sentiment—that we have good friends, of different faiths, aiding us against a common enemy—might still be of some value.”
See Beneke’s post here.