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Obama Hits the Right Note on the Afghan Killings

by Keith Koffler on March 11, 2012, 2:50 pm

Updated 4:52 pm ET

President Obama this afternoon issued a statement of condolence on the apparent killing of Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier. Have a look.

I am deeply saddened by the reported killing and wounding of Afghan civilians. I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives, and to the people of Afghanistan, who have endured too much violence and suffering. This incident is tragic and shocking, and does not represent the exceptional character of our military and the respect that the United States has for the people of Afghanistan. I fully support Secretary Panetta’s and General Allen’s commitment to get the facts as quickly as possible and to hold accountable anyone responsible.

Notice what this very deliberately is not: an apology. It’s an offer of condolence. The president has moved swiftly to respond with a statement that expresses profound dismay without sounding weak, as he did when he apologized for last month’s burning of the Korans.

What’s more, he noted the inconsistency of this action with “the exceptional character” of our armed forces, making it clear that there is nothing about our military that could have led to such a tragedy. It was important to remind our service members that we know this is not them and that we support them, and to let the Afghans and the world know that we stand proud even as we share the Afghans’s shock and grief.

I think at this stage, with information still being assembled about the events, Obama’s statement is just about right.

UPDATE: Obama also called Karzai today to express condolences and met with national security advisers for a briefing on what happened.

Leave a Comment

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Star March 11, 2012 at 3:17 pm

to hold accountable anyone responsible.

EVERYONE responsible…and hold accountable is so weasly and DC. Otherwise…

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Sailingbum March 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Couldn’t have said it better Star!!

The underlying assumption is that “someone” is responsible and needs to be held “accountable” and that it was not purely an accident..

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Star March 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Held accountable–substitute PUNISH.

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Star March 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm

If you are going to say something say it, in other words. This bureaucratic pabulum has to go. These statements always seem to be on a string–ooo, someone didn’t like it–zip, yank it back.

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Susan March 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm

He’s an asshole. He didn’t say a word of sympathy to the families of the American soldiers who were murdered by Islamic terrorists over the burning some Korans that they had already desecrated. Get our troops the hell out of there now. The guy was probably pushed over the edge mentally. My husband saw men go mad in Vietnam while Kissinger was negotiating with the same people who were trying to kill them. Our troops have been demoralized by his appeasement of these heathens. The next president better step up to the plate and stop this madness, because this fraud and failure doesn’t have the moral integrity to be our military members commander in chief.

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Jack March 11, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Amen to that!

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fedupwithfeds2 March 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Tell it like it is, Susan!! He’s running for re-election and HAS to appear patriotic, even though he refuses to salute Old Glory or wear a lapel pin, or attend veteran’s events, or build up our military (literally and figurarively). He’s a liar and everyone on the planet knows it. It’s all hot air & I’m sure Karzai knows it. Our military deserves so much better.

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srdem65 March 11, 2012 at 4:21 pm

“Workplace violence”. The same as the crazed Muslim shooting our own in Texas.

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Star March 11, 2012 at 4:41 pm

I am for leaving now. As you guys know, I always have been. I don’t know what the excuse du jour is–no haven for AQ, whatever–this is not worth more hell. Some of these young soldiers and Marines have gone over 6-7 times! I lived 10 yrs with a sort of “changed” vet of Vietnam–this stuff doesn’t “fix.” Yes, the president should issue a statement or call this or that person–but that is not the point–end the idiocy! The people who valiantly died did so following the patriotic dictates of their country and are much to be praised and admired–but not followed into death by more young people.

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Susan March 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Ft. Hood, TX, November 5, 2009, Major Nidal Hasan killed 12 fellow soldiers and civilian workers. He’s still cooling his heels in a Texas county jail, still drawing his military paycheck, while he keeps getting postponement after postponement of his trial.

I vividly recall what this jerk said when he spoke to us about the horrific terrorist attack that had just happened on American soil. He gave a shout out to some Indian chief in the audience before he said one word about our loss. Then all he could say is don’t jump to conclusions. Sorry for being so negative, but this guy makes me want to vomit.

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Star March 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I agree (I know that’s a shocker)–is that killer shrink the guy who was supposed to counsel the crazy shooter to prevent such things or maybe the guy who talked to the MANY suicidal young fighters? Someone needs to call time on this whole mess–and that someone is the presidient. Let the Afghans fight each other during their “fighting season,” since they love to fight so much. Let them try to pry other Taliban prisoners out of jail in exchange for MAYBE talking to us about how much money and whatever they can get from us. Let the leaders get a damn paper route to fund their Swiss Accts. Afghanistan will look the same in 100 yrs as it did 100 yrs ago! Mountains, rocks, huts, fighters, dust, oppressed women, opium.

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Susan March 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Finally something we can agree on Star. That is other than kicking this guy out of office in November.

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Star March 11, 2012 at 5:20 pm

That’s two–for sure.

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srdem65 March 11, 2012 at 6:15 pm

The bowing and scraping to our enemies has gone on for too long and the apologies for what happens during wartime is wrong. We don’t owe the Afganis anything, they owe us.
They owe us heartfelt apologies for misusing our treasure and the deaths and mutilations of our soldiers.

We will never win anything or change the atmosphere of barbaric behaviour of the Muslim community. They behave in a manner long abandoned by modern societies and in direct opposition to any peaceful society. Islam is a community of millions who use murder and torture to force their people to conform and are no better than the Axis monsters who terrorized their own people before and during WWII.

This President wants us to be ashamed of who we are and what we have done throughout the world in a fruitless quest for peace. We are not ashamed or apologetic.

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Stephen C. March 11, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Our soldiers in the region are most likely confused as to what their mission is or will be. Under the kind of stress our men and women are subjected to in that situation could I believe lead to a soldier becoming mentally exhausted and no longer functional in the extreme conditions. SNAP It’s 1, 2, 3 what are we fighting for?

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Star March 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm

No matter how bad the other side is, our commands need to maintain control and accept responsibility. If this was a one-person My Lai, then it has to be acknowledged–but this whole thing, subjecting these young people to this for basically an uknown or unknowable reasn, has to be changed.

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Girly1 March 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Even a broken clock is right twice a day! I echo every single word Susan wrote re Obama and the Ft. Hood Muslim terrorist! I watched in horror as this SOB joked around with a bunch of Indians for nearly two minutes before addressing this terrible massacre with a few carefuly guarded words. ”Radical Islamic terrorist’ is not part of his limited vocabulary!

The only reason the Ft. Hood killer is still receiving kid glove treatment in a county jail is Obama’s re-election! It’s all political! He should have been court martialed, tried, and sentenced to death 2 years ago! Instead, he is receiving millions of taxpayer $$$ in medical treatment and a paycheck! It’s great to be a Muslim terrorist in America with the first Muslim-lover faux President at the helm! And not a peep out of the complicit media! I wonder if he still has voting rights!

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Jack March 11, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Your right, under this guy terrorists may even have a soccer field for laughing out loud.

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Jeff March 11, 2012 at 6:44 pm

While I appreciate him not groveling again, he STILL has never brought up the tornado damage yet, and has failed to condemn the Palestinians for the 150+ rockets fired at Israel this weekend..So, he doesn’t get a pass from me.They wouldn’t be going crazy without the 5-6 tours and engagement policies.. Sad part is to get it all really under control over there we need to destroy the armies of all the Arab countries, they dont deserve anything but sticks and stones..

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Lizzy March 12, 2012 at 7:14 am

That you he thinks most of us are disposable unless we represent a
voting block. He doesn’t care.

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Barry March 11, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Susan, you should run for office! Awesome!

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Karol March 11, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Just bring our boys home. PLEASE!

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Janna March 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Start with my son in law please.

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Robin H March 12, 2012 at 7:44 am

Um, are we sure that someone didn’t burn the poor boy’s bible? Seems like that’s a valid excuse for violence, at least if it’s a Koran. When will they hold their citizens accountable?

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Shofar March 12, 2012 at 8:12 am

Obama is an academic. He lived the majority of his life in the cloistered world of hallowed halls, either as a student or as a faculty member. When he did venture forth into the world it was a world that was of community organizing and educating the masses into his particular belief paradigm.

As an academician he has no the understanding of real world, real time decisions. His world, prior to and even after entering politics in Illinois, was one based on syllabi and thoughtful discussion and debate. His orientation towards decision making is one that is based on a “learning curve” where he has time to adjust to the environment that he is in. Just as the student seeking a degree in mathematics cannot master advanced trigonometry without having mastered algebra, Obama is still in the “learning curve” portion of his presidency.

This was all too apparent during the Gate-Crowley affair in July of ’09. Obama said, without a full understanding of all that occurred, that the police acted “stupidly” with regard to the arrest of Obama’s former teacher and mentor. Of course his off the cuff remark led to the now (in)famous “beer summit” and a “teachable moment.” For Obama, everything seems to be a “teachable moment.”

Whoever sits behind the Resolute Desk needs to be ready to lead on January 20th. There is no learning curve time in the White House. The man or woman sworn in to the office of POTUS has to have an understanding of the real world and the ramifications of their words. There are times when a president must parse their words, and time when they must speak loudly and boldly. Obama, until this point, has not seemed to have grasped this concept.

I have friends from college that went from high school to undergrad to masters to PhD to teaching in the rarefied air of academia, and never set foot into the real world. Now they are teaching the mush for brains coming into college, and giving these young people the knowledge of their experience. That is Obama. He has never had to truly do anything in the real world and is still learning the job of POTUS.

Perhaps his slogan for 2012 should be, “Re-elect me, I’m starting to understand the job!” I have long thought that there should be a Constitutional ban on anyone who has been a lawyer from running for any political office; I’m now thinking that ban should be expanded to anyone who comes from academia. Lawyers are unable to think like the common man; academicians are unable to think with real world, real time understanding. In Obama we have both.

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veritaseequitas March 12, 2012 at 8:49 am

Notice – no apology, no rioting. I guess Michelle and Val the Terrible loaned Obama his balls back for this one.

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creeper March 12, 2012 at 9:52 am

He’ll apologize. The story is young.

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ImNoDhimmi March 12, 2012 at 12:52 pm

If the soldier who murdered civilians did have some kind of breakdown, who could blame him?

What must it be like, being stuck in a hellhole like Afghanistan, seeing atrocities committed against women and children every day, observing unthinkable brutality, regularly witnessing horrific injuries and death?

How dreadful to be trying to help those who hate you, to try to assist those who would stab you in the back or blow your brains out if given half a chance. Then to top it all off, to know that your Commandeer in Chief is nothing more than an enemy sympathizer who does not support, or even acknowledge, the brave men and women serving under his command.

No wonder the poor soldier went berserk.

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