Obama Doctrine: Apologize First, Ask Questions Later
With all the controversy surrounding the recent burning of Korans in Afghanistan, there’s something has yet to be adequately addressed: why were they burned in the first place? If the answer to that question is that they were being used by prisoners to communicate? The discussion changes significantly, and it’s a question that should have been answered before President Obama felt compelled to rush an apology for that action.
The stories about why they were burned don’t even appear to be that conflicting. The Washington Post reported this:
NATO said religious materials, including Korans “identified for disposal,” were collected at the Parwan Detention Facility, a prison next to the base, and “were inadvertently taken to an incineration facility at Bagram airfield” Monday night.
A senior U.S. military official said the Korans were removed from the prison library because they had radical or inflammatory messages scrawled in them. A Western official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press that the texts were charred but that none were destroyed.
The US military is now investigating whether American military officials ordered Qurans to be destroyed because prisoners at a US detention facility were passing extremist messages in them, an International Security Assistance Force spokesman said Wednesday.
We haven’t got any proof of that yet, and that is a vital part of the investigation that is ongoing,” Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson said in a Pentagon briefing Wednesday.
Indeed, the entire library of the Parwan Detention Facility at Bagram Air Base, one of the largest US military facilities in Afghanistan, may have been ordered destroyed because of the extremist messages contained in texts, he added.
A military official said the materials burned were removed from a detainee center’s library because they had “extremist inscriptions” on them and there was an appearance that these documents were being used to facilitate extremist communications.
In fact, every report I can find suggests that the reason this was done is because they were indeed being used as a vehicle of communication between prisoners. The only thing that remains is to answer the question if this was done on someone’s orders or if it was an “inadvertent error” as President Obama stated. If something is being used as a method for unauthorized communications and can potentially threaten the safety of NATO troops, it should be destroyed – immediately. Why wasn’t this possibility explored before the White House issued an unconditioned apology?
And as far as burning Korans being forbidden? Not the case. From inter-islam.org:
The conclusion is, there are two methods of disposing an unusable Qur’an and Islamic literature:
(1) Wrapping them in a piece of cloth or something pure and burying them respectfully in a place where people normally do not walk upon.
(2) Fastening the items to something heavy such as a stone and placing it respectfully in flowing river.
If the above-mentioned two methods are not possible to implement, only then will it be permitted to burn the Holy Scriptures and then bury the resulting ash or drop the ash in a flowing river.
Seems to me that you could make a case for what happened to the ashes after they were burned, but clearly burning is not forbidden as a method of disposal if the first two are unavailable. And expecting NATO forces to use any of the first two methods? Ridiculous. A military operation to ‘dispose’ of Korans? Yeah, I’m sure that would have made everyone happy.
Before the President of the United States rushes to issue an apology for something, we should find out what happened first. There were obvious questions to be asked: was it on someone’s orders? Was it an “inadvertent error?” Was it done to prevent communication among prisoners? Was it done to ensure the safety of NATO Troops? None of these questions have been adequately answered, yet we rushed to apologize. We need to find out the exact sequence of events that led up to this before we begin issuing blanket apologies. If it turns out these Korans were being used to facilitate the passing of messages between prisoners, then why is this even a discussion? And why are we apologizing for actions taken to protect our troops?
Lastly, where is the outrage at the response of the Afghans in all this? Why is the story not the murder of two U.S. soldiers and injuries to hundreds of people, all of whom likely had nothing to do with this? And then what does Karzai do?
We discussed the matter of the burning of the Holy Koran. Representing the Afghan nation and their pure sentiments, in fact the Islamic world, once again we call on the US government to bring the perpetrators of the act to justice and put them on trial and punish them.
Umm, what exactly does he think is going to happen here? Is Karzai calling for them to be tried under military rules, the UCMJ? Somehow I don’t think that’s what he wants. The punishment for, as President Obama said, “inadvertently” doing this? Is not going to be very severe. In fact, I don’t even think it rises to the level of any trial under UCMJ, I think non-judicial punishment would used here, especially since the Commander-in-Chief has already stated it was “inadvertent.”
So what does Karzai want? A trial under their laws? In Afghanistan, punishment for this can be death, which is ridiculous. What we have here is a blunder by the Obama administration. They decided to rush to apologize without having all the facts as to what took place. When they did that, Karzai ran with it. He “calls for calm” (read: damning with faint praise) while asking for a trial for those involved. A trial that under the UCMJ will likely never even take place and even if it did, the results will be such that they won’t satisfy him.
The only thing President Obama has succeeded in here is ensuring that whatever punishment those involved may receive will not be good enough for Karzai or the Afghan people. All he has done is guaranteed another wave of similar protests when all this is said and done. That’s something he could have easily avoided by not immediately condemning the actions of these NATO troops.