Commentary Magazine


Obama: Apology for Koran Burning “Calmed Things Down”

President Obama has received a storm of criticism for apologizing for the accidental Koran burning in Afghanistan, and some of it has been unfair. Mistakes were made at the Bagram Air Base, Afghans were offended, and the president wasn’t necessarily wrong at the time to acknowledge the error.

But it’s quite another thing for Obama to insist his apology worked to quell anti-American violence — and in a sense downplay the horrific way Afghan extremists have used the Koran burning incident to justify attacks on our troops — which he did last night during an interview with ABC:

While Republican presidential candidates and others have criticized Obama’s action, the president told ABC that his letter to [President] Karzai has “calmed things down.”

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Obama said. “But my criteria in any decision I make, getting recommendations from folks who are actually on the ground, is what is going to best protect our folks and make sure that they can accomplish their mission.”

No, the apology did not “calm things down,” as anyone can see from the news today that two more American soldiers were killed, reportedly by Afghan National Army members. That’s in addition to the six American soldiers and civilians killed last week. By claiming the apology diffused tensions, Obama is giving a pass to the extremists who’ve exploited the accidental Koran burning to incite anti-American and anti-NATO violence.

Obama needs to stop talking about his apology and start condemning the actions of extremists, for which there are no excuses.