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Calming effect: Obama's apology to Afghanistan

Two more American servicemen were gunned down in Afghanistan late last week, less than a day after President Obama said his apology for the accidental burning of some religious materials had &#';calmed things down.'' The U.S. death toll, post-burning, is now seven, with another half-dozen wounded. If things get any &#';calmer'' for our troops and other personnel there, God help them.

What really happened at the Bagram Air Base incinerator may never be fully known. Supposedly, the material involved illegal writings seized from Taliban prisoners, but may have included some Quran copies. With all the sensitivity we show to Muslims and their faith, it is curious that Americans at any level would still botch the handling of their holy books.

When a Union Leader-Sunday News team was at Bagram briefly in late 2010, the locals were up in arms over just such an alleged incident at the same incinerator. In that case, it turned out that the Taliban, in setting fire to a nearby Afghan police sub-station, had actually burned the books.

If any American apology was owed, it should not have come from the President of the United States, but from an in-country U.S. spokesman. If he felt compelled to make any statement, President Obama should have made it a strong and clear summation about the untold number of sacrifices and the amount of money and material America has spent in the last decade in defending the Afghani people from their Taliban brothers.

Instead, in the face of calls from Afghan government officials as well as Muslim clerics for &#';death to Americans,'' our American leader says he is sorry and brags that this has calmed things.

If the President is to get the credit for Osama bin Laden having been killed on his watch over our amorphous war on terror, then he bears the responsibility for what continues to go wrong with it.


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