On Koran Burning and Leading America: Essay for February 25, 2012

One thousand nine hundred four. That is the number of US servicemen and women who have been killed in Afghanistan since we first went into that wretched country more than 10 years ago. It would have been less were it not for the act of an Afghan soldier who assassinated two Americans this week as protest to the perceived affront to Islam over the burning of religious material that contained a copy of the Koran. This has happened before when the Reverend Terry Jones of Florida burned the Koran. Two other US soldiers died after being shot by an Afghani policeman. We train our so-called allies in Afghanistan to defend their own country against the Neanderthal Taliban. We liberated them from their tyranny only to have them offer this as token of their esteem for our sacrifice.

The Afghanis are rioting outside the Bagram airbase north of Kabul. American and NATO soldiers are on the run from irate crowds. Some elected Afghan officials are calling for jihad against the infidel occupiers. And even President Hamid Karzai is taking a very biased tone, waiting for an investigation that will prosecute the perpetrators “through an open trial.”

Apologies are rampant from the US side as General John R. Allen, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force, issued a statement addressed “To the noble people of Afghanistan.” If you watch the video, General Allen looks as if he is reading the letter under duress. And perhaps he was. Our President, Barack Obama, also issued an apology to Mr. Karzai, saying, in part, “We will take appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.”

Responsible for what action, I ask? It is Mr. Karzai who should be apologizing to the US and NATO for being unable to control his own military and police forces. It is Mr. Obama who should be apologizing to the American people for aiding and abetting an alliance with a corrupt and powerless country that requires constant appeasement so that our service members, the best and brightest of their generation, may fight and die. For what? So that Mr. Karzai and his family can continue to pad their personal bank accounts around the world? So that corrupt officials can continue to skim off the top of American largesse? So the annual cash crop of heroine that our soldiers walk through but cannot destroy can find its way to the shores of the United States to poison our youth and corrupt our society?

WikiLeaks released memos from the current US ambassador, Karl Eikenberry, who described the Afghan President in derogatory tones. Eikenberry believed that Karzai would continue to blame everyone else but himself for the troubles in his country. Said Eikenberry, “Indeed his inability to grasp the most rudimentary principles of state-building and his deep seated insecurity as a leader combine to make any admission of fault unlikely, in turn confounding our best efforts to find in Karzai a responsible partner.”

A recent editorial in the New York Times both condemned US forces for their insensitivity after ten years of war in Afghanistan and urged President Karzai to remind the Afghan people of the extreme sacrifices the NATO forces have made on their behalf to rid them of Taliban repression. The Times is right to admonish Karzai but wrong, dead wrong, on scolding US troops for insensitivity. Even an act of intentionality would not warrant the reaction that is being fomented in Afghanistan.

I do so wish that we had a veteran running for President this November. Or at least someone who understood danger or trauma; who understood what it meant to “have someone’s back” when times were tough and dangerous. That is a quality I expect from my Commander-in-Chief. President Obama should “have our soldiers back” right now. Instead, he is apologizing. He has his commanders in the field apologizing. He is prepared to find a sacrificial lamb to flay on the altar of political correctness. The 1,904 American soldiers, and the 999 NATO troops who have died in a war directed by the American Commander-in-Chief, are owed a debt much greater than is being paid to them now.

I would much prefer that the President of the United States of America show at least as much courage in the face of criticism towards those American troops who bear arms under his direction than the obscene obsequiousness shown to a petty dictator in a far away land.

I am counting the days to November 6. Are you?

Press on.

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