just wanted to give my two cents about the dynamic of this discussion...
i think that to people who consider circumcision to be genital mutilation (category #1), they feel like they are being kind, loving, protective, advocates, etc., and standing up for the rights of children. to these folks, it's as common sense as saying "it is never okay to allow someone to beat, molest, or rape, another. it is a child's right not to have these things done to them, and it is a parent's obligation to protect them from these injuries". they don't see themselves as being "closed-minded" to the "debate" about circumcision. they choose not to circumcise precisely because they consider it an evil, a harm, to young children, done to them against their will. they don't think it's a parent's right to choose to do this to them any more than they think it's their right to harm their child in any other way. when they plead very intently with those who don't seem bothered by it, and seem angry, it is because of the fact that now, knowing what they know, it is a devastating reality to think of anyone doing this to a little baby. they consider those who would perform circumcision to be the bullies. they consider themselves to be defending the poor, helpless little babies of this behind-the-times country. because of what they know.
and i think that to people who are still considering it (category #2), they do NOT feel this way about it yet. they think (as many of us have thought at various points in our past) that it is a relatively minor decision, but one that some people feel very strongly about, not always for reasons they know a lot about. they think it's one part cosmetic, one part hygiene, one part religious relic, one part cultural norm, and a few other things, but they do not think of it as genital mutilation. the moment a thoughtful person puts circumcision in that category, they are, by definition, no longer on the fence about it.
so, there's a little bit of a problem with the communication when those in the first category are just jumping right to the "you're awful if you choose to do that to your kiddo", addressing it at the second category people, who haven't yet connected the procedure with mutilation, but who are seeking information. the fact is that you only come to feel that way about circumcision (that it is cruel) by learning everything about it that the folks in the first category know. so the best way to help people in the second category come around is to present the very information that creates that awful churning and utter disgust you feel in your stomach when you think about this happening to anyone, especially a little one, against their will. you are feeling disgust for the procedure, not the uninformed individual. it is SO easy for it to come out sounding like the latter. but i don't think it was anyone's intention. nor do i think the folks in the second category would truly want to do anything cruel.
i think if we can all understand the places from which people are speaking, we won't speak past each other in a counterproductive way. i truly can't see anyone doing anything that isn't fair (from their own point of view) in this discussion. i just see some people asking innocent questions, and others defending the very honorable belief that we must protect our children from abuse and mutilation.