Politics means never having to say you’re sorry.
Or sometimes, it means seeing someone else saying he’s sorry and expressing outrage. That’s the story today as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich condemned President Obama for apologizing after US troops burned Qurans earlier this week. Gingrich argued that the Afghans “do not deserve the apology of the president of the United States period” and that doing so amounted to surrender. Newt also said Hamid Karzai should apologize to the US over the incident.
Which sparked a White House defense of the apology that showed it was every bit as cynical as the Afghan protesters have seen it to be. Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman, said that the apology came only after President Obama had discussions with his entire security team to decide whether or not such an apology was strategically wise.
The destruction of the Qurans as part of a military-organized book burning at the Bagram Air Base has spawned days of anti-US protests nationwide, and a number of deaths. US Commander Gen. John Allen confirmed the burnings but promised that future book burnings would not include Qurans.
Which seemingly would eliminate the question of US military culpability in the burnings, though many were still terming them “alleged” in reports today. The sudden US comfort with burning books has not lent itself to sincere apology, and the question has really boiled down to whether or not pretending they are sorry is strategically wise, since no one really thinks those involved, from Obama on down, really mean it.
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