Obama apologizes for Koran burning in Afghanistan
The apology was apparently not accepted. An Afghan soldier turned his gun on his allies and killed two Americans.
President Barack Obama apologized on Thursday for the burning of copies of the Koran on a U.S. base in Afghanistan as the White House sought to quell spiraling furor among Afghans while also staving off Republican criticism at home.
The burnings could make it even more difficult for U.S.-led NATO forces to win the hearts and minds of Afghans and bring the Taliban and Afghan government to the negotiating table ahead of the withdrawal of most foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.
In a letter to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Obama apologized over the incident in which Afghan workers found charred copies of the Muslim holy book on a military base near Kabul, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One.
Carney said the incident, which has sparked angry protests against U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and underscored the divide between many Afghans and the foreign forces who have been battling the Taliban for a decade, was not intentional.
While Carney said the apology was "wholly appropriate given the sensitivities" about treatment of the Koran, he said Obama's primary concern was "the safety of American men and women in Afghanistan, of our military and civilian personnel there."
I don't like the idea of an apology any more than most of you, but we still have 100,000 + troops in Afghanistan and the locals would be taking potshots at them if Obama hadn't sent the apology. They still might be targets but the president has done what had to be done to try and protect them.
There are actually calls from some Americans to put the soldiers who burned the Korans on trial. That would be a mistake. We can be sensitive to the cultural values of others. But we have to stand up for our own principles first. Under our law, the soldiers did not commit a crime.
That's the way it should remain.