It’s not often that I react strongly to the words of a politician. Usually, I am more concerned with what they do than the banal, calculated script that they seem to recite when in front of cameras. But today was different.
Earlier this week, troops at a military installation in Afghanistan burned several Qurans which sparked demonstrations and acts of violence throughout the country. 2 American troops were killed in an attack by an unknown assailant wearing an Afghan National Army uniform. In response to the incident, several members of the U.S. government including Pentagon officials and the President issued a formal apology to the people of Afghanistan and the muslim world in general. And this is where the problems started.
Obama said in the letter delivered by Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan,
“We will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, including holding accountable those responsible”
The commander of NATO’s ISAF, Gen. John Allen, apologized Tuesday. The materials had been gathered for disposal and were inadvertently given to troops for burning, Allen said.
“It was not a decision that was made with respect to the faith of Islam, it was a mistake. It was an error. The moment we found out about it, we immediately stopped and we intervened.”
The Taliban rejected the apologies and called on Muslims to attack NATO military bases and convoys and to kill soldiers following the admission that NATO troops had incinerated the books at Bagram Airfield.
When I read about President Obama’s apology I almost fell out of my chair. Why is there no apology from Afghan President Karzai regarding the troops that were killed when an angry mob attacked a NATO base? Does Obama not understand the implications of what he has done? By apologizing to the Afghan people (and muslims everywhere), the President has, in no uncertain terms, stated that human life is less important than inanimate objects…in this case, books. Additionally, this apology condones the barbaric reaction of the mob. By expressing contrition about the book burnings, the President has given tacit approval for the use of violence as a means of expressing disagreement or apostasy. He is trampling upon the fundamental ideals that this country holds as central to our identity. There is no argument of logic or ethics that can justify murder as a means of dealing with opposing points of view. I don’t care how offended a group of people are, no civilized society should condone acts of violence as a response.
As if that were not bad enough, the apologies issued by the President and the Pentagon dishonor the soldiers that were killed and every service member in uniform. This apology reduces the perceived value of our soldiers to a station below that of a book. It’s inexcusable. I have not seen a reaction by our government this bad since President Clinton sent our troops running home from Somalia after the “Black Hawk Down” incident. Both then and now the highest levels of leadership in this country failed to live up to the principles that they supposedly covet: honor, duty, loyalty. Instead they sold us out for political expediency. Unfortunately, we can’t count on our main-stream news services to call this what it truly is, an act of cowardice. Our government is more concerned with not offending someones beliefs that condemning barbaric behavior.
And people wonder why I don’t vote!