Friday, February 24, 2012

With 2 U.S. troops dead at Afghan hands, should Obama have apologized?

~T.J. Conrad, a 2007 graduate of Roanoke's North Side High School, killed in Afghanistan~

No one deserves to be killed over the burning of a book ... any book. Ever.

But that's exactly what happened this week in  Afghanistan when an Afghan soldier shot and killed two U.S. troops after the Quran, the Muslim holy book, was burned on an American base in that country. Accounts say it was either accidental, or had been defaced by Taliban prisoners who had written notes in the margins, neither of which was an intentional slight to Afghanistan.

Democratic President Barack Obama, however, lost no time apologizing to Afghanistan for the burning but, to my knowledge, there has been no apology from them for the killing of two young Americans who were there with NATO troops to help their people.

I posted about this on my Facebook wall and a discussion followed with some agreeing with Obama's apology, saying it would cause less danger for remaining American troops, and others adamantly disagreeing. Some commenters were military veterans and one was the wife of an Air Force pilot.

I then asked my Bearing Drift colleagues if I was being naive in my disappointment at Obama's apology on America's behalf -- again -- to another country.

It was then that Bearing Drift contributor Ken Falkenstein shared with the rest of us that one of the young American soldiers killed was his niece-in-law's brother and that her family was, understandably, devastated. Ken then posted on Bearing Drift, "Obama owes an apology to the American people," noting the tragedy and sacrifice of a Virginia military family:
One of the American soldiers who was murdered in Afghanistan was a member of my family (by marriage).  He served honorably and selflessly in Afghanistan to help those people even though he had a wife and baby son back home.
That brought the killings and the president's apology into a personal light as Ken expressed the outrage of many who question the president's move:
Today, President Obama issued a formal written apology to the Afghan government for the accidental burning of some defiled Korans.  What he did not do was demand an apology from the Afghan government for the intentional murder of two American soldiers who were in that country to help the Afghan people.
Indeed, it was reported that "the Taliban issued a statement on Thursday calling on Afghans 'not to stop at protesting' but instead target foreign military bases and personnel to "teach them a lesson that they will never again dare to insult the Holy Koran."

Remind me again that this is a peaceful religion ... and, from what that statement says, an apology does not seem to insure anyone's safety. Ken concluded his post with a similar sentiment:
This good man deserved and deserves better than a President of the United States who cares more about throwing his own military officers under the bus at the demand of a bunch of radical lunatic enemies of his country than he does about honoring the sacrifice of the American soldiers who were murdered by those very same radical lunatics.
Those men gave the ultimate sacrifice, and so did their families, so that we could continue to enjoy the freedoms the we hold dear. After all the time, money, and energy America has put into Afghanistan, it seems to me the families of those dead soldiers are the ones who deserve an apology.

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