Thousands of Afghan turned violent, some even killing American officers, despite the Obama apology for the 'inadvertent' Quran burning. Forgiveness doesn't come easily if an apology isn't seen as sincere.
Spc. Kristina Truluck/Joint Combat Camera Afghanistan/DOD
An apology, as a parent might tell a child, isn’t very sincere if it is meant only to gain forgiveness. Saying “I’m sorry” must be heartfelt, not mere words to avoid consequences.
Mr. Obama formally apologized as commander in chief for a few American soldiers who had burned copies of the Quran at Bagram Airfield on Feb. 20. The holy books had “extremist” language written inside them, perhaps by Afghan prisoners suspected of terrorism.
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Given how sacred any copy of the Quran is to a Muslim, the insensitivity of the soldiers was remarkable. And their actions violated military policy. Most of all, the Pentagon had inadequately trained the soldiers to respect this Muslim sensibility.
Obama’s apology came swiftly, perhaps in hopes that it would be accepted as sincere enough to merit forgiveness. Instead, thousands of Afghans rioted for five days, leaving dozens killed. A grenade injured six US soldiers. And two American officers who had been working in the Afghan Interior Ministry were shot, execution style.