Columnist Gary Younge is spot on when he states that apologizing for America’s mistakes is not un-American. In fact, recognizing and working to rectify America’s shortcomings is precisely the patriotic thing to do. So when President Obama offers apologies to Afghanistan when we burn Korans, or when a U.S. soldier goes on a shooting rampage killing 16 Afghans, in an attempt to defuse escalating violence abroad I say kudos. Why do I say that? Because even though I consider Obama possibly the worst president in American history I’m not a bigot and, therefore, don’t decry the positive actions of my opponents in the name of misplaced tribal loyalties. Unfortunately, those on the right seem more interested in engaging in polarizing rhetoric than in giving credit where credit is due. In Romney’s words:
“Never before in American history has its president gone before so many foreign audiences to apologize for so many American misdeeds, both real and imagined. It is his way of signalling to foreign countries and foreign leaders that their dislike for America is something he understands and that is, at least in part, understandable. There are anti-American fires burning all across the globe; President Obama’s words are like kindling to them.”
Strange words. Am I to believe that it was Obama’s formal apology for the American military’s Koran burning that lead to the subsequent riots and violence and not, perhaps, the Koran burnings themselves? To say nothing of the remarks made by Gingrich and others like him demanding that Afghanistan should be the ones apologizing to us. Remember that, should our military ever accidentally burn a pile of Bibles like they “accidently” burned Korans then its the Christians who owe our government an apology. Ridiculous.
On the same issue of Koran burning Rick Santorum recently argued that Obama’s apology over the US military burning Korans in Afghanistan, showed weakness:
“It suggests that there is somehow blame, this is somehow that we did something wrong in the sense of doing a deliberate act wrong. I think it shows that we are – that I think it shows weakness.”
Even if our military’s Koran burning really was accidental blame still exists. The Koran is sacred to the 1.7 billion Muslims of the world just as the Bible is sacred to Christians and apologizing for their destruction shows integrity not weakness. Some things are more important than cowardly attempts at saving face.