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Obama says apology to Afghan President about Koran burning “calmed things down”



But, one has to ask, did it?

President Obama said his formal apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the burning of Korans by U.S. troops last week has "calmed things down" after the incident sparked an outbreak of violence across the country.

"We’re not out of the woods yet," Obama said in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Bob Woodruff at the White House. "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."

Of course, the murder of two officers by an Afghan soldier in Kabul came after the apology.  And, the riot in which hand grenades were thrown at the gate Forward Outpost Fortitude wounding 7 US Special Forces soldiers did as well.  Finally, today’s murder of two US soldiers by their erstwhile Afghan compatriots again comes after the apology.  The apology took place on or about the 23rd of February.  The 4 deaths and 7 woundings afterward.

Hardly “calmed down”.  But of course, much like the “saved jobs” claim, Obama can always claim the unprovable, and as usual, he has.

This actually points to a larger and growing problem.  A problem that has been exacerbated by the President announcing a withdrawal date for our combat troops.  The problem? The “green on blue” fratricide such as that seen during these Koran riots.

The growing divide between Afghan soldiers and their mentors has already been stretched to the breaking point after six days of violent and deadly protests over the Koran burning that have left around 30 dead, including four U.S. troops previously killed by Afghan soldiers or men in Afghan-security-force uniforms. The burning of Korans by foreign troops on one side and the killing of foreign troops by Afghan soldiers on the other have pushed the level of alienation between the two sides to what could be an all-time high.

The Saturday murders were only the latest of at least 22 similar killings that have occurred since last April. Smith says there have been at least 35 in the past 12 months, though NATO spokesman Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson refused to confirm that number. The Wall Street Journal reports that at least 77 coalition troops have been killed in the past five years in "green on blue" incidents, with around 57 of those having taken place since early 2010. Smith is not sanguine about improving the situation, even as the allies pour more money and effort into training ever more locals. Says he: "You only ever rent an Afghan, you can’t buy one."

The Army published a study in May of 2011 that, if you read the conclusion, points to failure in regards to ever fielding a competent and able indigenous Afghan security force.  The study, entitled “A Crisis of Trust and Cultural Incompatibility” had this to say:

The report concludes that "the rapidly growing fratricide-murder trend committed by Afghan national security force [ANSF] personnel against NATO members" confirms the "ineffectiveness [of] our efforts in stabilizing Afghanistan, developing a legitimate and effective government, battling the insurgency, gaining the loyalty, respect and friendship of the Afghans [and] building the ANSFs into legitimate and functional organizations." The report says that these complaints and murders challenge the usefulness of the "partnering" concept. "This is all the more a paradox given [NATO’s] assumption of and planned reliance [on] the [ANSF] to be able to take over the security burden before it can disengage from this grossly prolonged conflict."

Much of what is happening can be tied to the absurd notion that announcing your withdrawal well in advance will not have negative effects.  Of course, the feeling of abandonment by the Afghan government and armed forces are just one of the many negative effects.  And, for the less stable and easily influenced among them, it has translated itself into the murder of American soldiers who are there, ostensibly, to help the ANSF. 

What the Obama administration has managed to do in its three years is completely reverse the gains of the previous years in Afghanistan, push the government of Afghanistan toward accommodation with the Taliban and condemned those American troops we leave behind to mentor the ANSF to a very dangerous role in which their lives are just as threatened by their allies as the enemy.

Obama ought to apologize for that.


Twitter: @McQandO

14 Responses to Obama says apology to Afghan President about Koran burning “calmed things down”

  • “They love us… They really, really love us!” Two more killed today from the news. Obama made it worse.

    • @Ragspierre No no, the apology made it better, the economy is getting better, GM is a tremendous success. Last time there was this kind of information stream, they were ordering non-existent panzer divisions to destroy the Russians in a pincer movement around Lviv.

      • A modern alternative would be the glittering victory of Saddam’s forces in Baghdad.

  • Yes, pandering and giving special treatment to murderous animals ALWAYS improves the situation. Too bad Mormons don’t chop heads off…

    • @The Shark The more I learn about the religion of peace, the less respect I have. My opinion was much better before I didn’t know how peaceful they really were.

  • Is this really about Koran burning, or is it also partly frustration with a very long “occupation”?

    Oh, and for all of the Monday morning quarterbacks who said we should not have disbanded Saddam’s army, just imagine this happening in Iraq, but with entire units flipping while our forces were dispersed as we would be in occupation mode.

    • @Harun There was an incident recently of Koran’s dumped in a sewage ditch (literally sewage) and being cleaned up by someone who cared. However as I understand it, no westerners were involved so there was no cause for alarm over the desecration.

      We were crazy to go into Afghanistan with any goal larger than a massive punitive expedition to destroy the Taliban.

      • @looker Well, and the nice terrorist detainees were descrating the Koran by writing messages in them. The real problem was we did not burn them sufficiently (the Korans, that is…).

  • “absurd notion that announcing your withdrawal well in advance will not have negative effects.”

    There really is no choice. It isn’t as if the Afghans are going to wake up one morning and find us gone. Any sort of withdrawal is going to be known about well in advance, announcement or not. It is probably better to announce it.

    Time to reread the ‘ Anabasis’. I would certainly not like to be the commander of the rear guard when we withdraw. I don’t sleep well as it is.

    • And, as far as I am concerned, the sooner we leave the better.

      • @timactual It was pure incompetence to announce the withdrawl date when announcing the surge. You win first, then decide to leave. And if the plan wasn’t to win, there should have been no surge.

  • Well, we’ve entered an era where people are ignoring 10,000 years of human history.

    In less than 30 years, Reagan demonstrating ‘Peace through Strength’, we now have …

    Ron Paul running around selling ‘Peace through Weakness’, and
    BO running around trying to make ‘Peace through Submissiveness to your Enemies’ work.

    I shudder for the future.