Thousands of protesters in Afghanistan rallied against the US this week after discovering that Americans had charred and purged copies of the Koran. President Obama was quick to extend an apology, but some of the GOP want things the other way around.
US President Barack Obama is being ridiculed by his Republican Party rivals after apologizing for this week’s incident in Afghanistan. Among his opponents that disagree with how he handled the ordeal is Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and current contender for the GOP nomination for presidency. Gingrich has insisted that he will receive the party’s nod and usurp Obama this November, but his latest challenge for the commander-in-chief involves the president’s attempt to avoid escalating the war overseas.
The US air base in Bagram has become the site of mass protests after it was revealed that Americans had destroyed copies of the Muslim holy book, which prompted the president to extend apologies to the Afghan people. As America prepares to pull the plug on its length military operation in Afghanistan, the Koran burning could escalate hostilities aimed at a country that has already, to many Afghans, overstayed their welcome.
“I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident,” Obama wrote this week to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. “I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies.”
Gingrich responded to the president’s attempt to qualm anti-American sentiment by insisting that Obama is in the wrong for trying to make peace with people whose religion has been ridiculed by US troops. Americans official are calling the Koran incident inadvertent, and, nonetheless, Gingrich says there is no point in the president saying he’s sorry.
“There seems to be nothing that radical Islamists can do to get Barack Obama’s attention in a negative way and he is consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology of the president of the United States period,” Gingrich told supporters during a campaign stop Thursday in Washington State.
"This destructive double standard whereby the United States and its democratic allies refuse to hold accountable leaders who tolerate systematic violence and oppression in their borders must come to an end,” Gingrich added in a statement.
So tense have relations been since the Koran burning that the protests outside the Bagram, Afghanistan base have in recent days turned violent. As thousands of Afghans have protested outside the property, one Afghan soldier reportedly opened fire on US troops hours after Obama’s apology, killing two Americans.
On Twitter, Gingrich added, "It is an outrage that on the day an Afghan soldier murders two American troops, Pres. Obama is the one apologizing."
Obama’s apology, however, was offered hours before the US troops were executed.
Even before any of the president’s opponents charged Obama over his apology, the White House attempted to preemptively counter any attack. Administration spokesman Jay Carney told reporters early Thursday that Obama’s apology was "wholly appropriate, given the sensitivities to this issue, the understandable sensitivities."
"His [Obama's] primary concern as Commander-in-Chief is the safety of American men and women in Afghanistan, of our military and civilian personnel there," said Carney. "And it was absolutely the right thing to do."
Gingrich said hours later that things should be reversed, in his opinion. "It is Hamid Karzai who woes the American people an apology, not the other way around,” said the speaker.
“And, candidly, if Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, doesn’t feel like apologizing then we should say good bye and good luck, we don’t need to be here risking our lives and wasting our money on somebody who doesn’t care,” he added.
“This president has gone so far at appeasing radical Islamists that he is failing in his duty as commander in chief.”
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin had similar words, tweeting Thursday, "Obama apologizes for inadvertent Koran burning; now the US trained & protected Afghan Army can apologize for killing our soldiers yesterday.”
This is not the first time that Gingrich has warned that a relationship between America and Islam-centric nations should be extinguished. “The left’s refusal to tell the truth about the Islamist threat is a natural parallel to the 70-year pattern of left-wing intellectuals refusing to tell the truth about communism and the Soviet Union,” he said while speaking at American Enterprise Institute in Washington in July 2010.