Fox News figures are lambasting President Obama as “weak” for apologizing to Afghans after U.S. military personnel burned copies of the Quran. This criticism is bizarre, as Obama's reaction to the incident is fully consistent with U.S. precedent: in 2008, President Bush similarly apologized to Iraq's prime minister following the desecration of a Quran by American military personnel.
Obama Apologized To Afghans For Quran Burning
AP: “President Barack Obama Apologized To Afghans ... For The Burning Of Qurans At A U.S. Military Base.” The Associated Press reported:
President Barack Obama apologized to Afghans on Thursday for the burning of Qurans at a U.S. military base, trying to assuage rising anti-American sentiment as an Afghan soldier gunned down two American troops during another day of angry protests.
The U.S.-led military coalition says the Muslim holy books were sent by mistake to a garbage burn pit at Bagram Air Field and the case is under investigation. [Associated Press, 2/24/12]
Obama Blasted As “Weak” After Issuing Apology For Quran Burning
Fox's McInerney: Obama's Apology Showed “Weakness,” “Exacerbated The Problem.” On America Live, retired Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, a Fox News contributor, claimed Obama demonstrated “weakness” with the apology:
McINERNEY: That showed weakness, Megyn. That showed weakness when the president did it. Now I think that it exacerbated the problem by him doing it, 'cause it showed the street, well, they were doing it deliberately. That's my interpretation on it -- and it may not have done it. And the way this was laid out, it happened so quickly, it may have been contrived in some instances, because they reacted very quickly. [Fox News, America Live, 2/27/12]
Fox's Goodwin: “Not Necessary” For Obama To Apologize For “Something Some Soldiers Did.” During a Fox & Friends appearance, Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin said:
GOODWIN: I think the apology was a mistake for two reasons. Basically, the president doesn't have to get involved on this level. There's not -- not necessary for the president of the United States to apologize because something some soldiers did in Afghanistan. This is not murder.
They didn't mow down a village. This is no My Lai massacre or anything like that. This is a simple mistake. And I think for the president to apologize elevates it. He also talks about holding those accountable. I mean, this is silly. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/27/12]
Fox's Gallagher: It's “Outrageous” For Obama “To Go Crawling To Karzai” And Say “We're Sorry.” During an appearance on America Live, Fox News contributor Mike Gallagher chastised Obama as “this apologist president” and said:
GALLAGHER: No one is justifying, by the way the burning of the Quran. Nobody's defending that. I'm certainly not going to, but ultimately for President Obama to go crawling to Karzai and say, “we're sorry that this Quran was burned,” where is the apology from the Afghan president? Where is any apology for the death of these Americans? It's outrageous. [Fox News, America Live, 2/24/12]
But Obama's Reaction Is Perfectly Consistent With Precedent
Huffington Post: President Bush “Apologized To Iraq's Prime Minister For An American Sniper's Shooting Of A Quran.” A May 21, 2008 Huffington Post article reported:
President Bush has apologized to Iraq's prime minister for an American sniper's shooting of a Quran, and the Iraqi government called on U.S. military commanders to educate their soldiers to respect local religious beliefs.
Bush's spokeswoman said Tuesday that the president apologized during a videoconference Monday with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who told the president that the shooting of Islam's holy book had disappointed and angered both the Iraqi people and their leaders.
“He apologized for that in the sense that he said that we take it very seriously,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said. “We are concerned about the reaction. We wanted them to know that the president knew that this was wrong.” [Huffington Post, 5/21/08]