President Obama is absolutely correct to apologize for the apparent Koran burning at the Bagram Air Base. (See Alana’s earlier post. ) The incident should not have happened. His apology shows goodwill which Afghans appear to accept. After all, in Kabul–a city of five million people–only 1,000 protesters took to the streets. That’s hardly respectable even for a rent-a-mob.
Still, Obama’s apology fumbles the opportunity to go on the offense. Incidents in which Americans desecrate the Koran–or any holy book–are few and far between and are punished. But, not so the Taliban. Every time the Taliban bomb a mosque–something they do with frequency when they disagree with those mosque’s traditional, moderate mullahs–they desecrate the Koran. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is two-faced in his refusal to hold the Taliban to account for their actions. Why Obama refuses to engage adeptly in the battle to win hearts and minds is a question which still stumps.