Apologies Are Sometimes Hurtful
President Obama has apologized to Afghanistan because copies of the Koran were destroyed by US military personnel. In Western culture, an apology may mean something (Edit: It always means something: the point I was trying to make was that apologies are part of the give and take of Western culture where we all know we fail from time to time.) In Eastern culture (of which Afghanistan is part) an apology is usually regarded as a sign of weakness. And, in this case, I agree with the local culture–this apology was most assuredly a sign of weakness.
The White House Dossier has put together a top 10 list of things which the President could have done instead of apologizing (and which would have done just as much good). I repeat them here:
1. Dedicate a round of golf to the people of Afghanistan.
2. Send Michelle for a symbolic vacation to Jalalabad.
3. Ask the Afghans if they’d like the Russians back instead.
4. Head to a local Afghan restaurant and bow to the wait staff.
5. Offer to make Afghanistan’s heroin “The Official Heroin of the United States.”
6. Give Afghan children a permanent exemption from Michelle’s “Let’s Move” school lunch offerings.
7. Provide unlimited, free doses of Prozac to the entire adult population of Afghanistan.
8. Change the lyrics of O Tannenbaum to O Taliban.
9. Set up a program to provide virgins to Afghan men who refuse to commit suicide bombings.
10. Demand an apology from Afghanistan for the more than 1,800 U.S. forces killed since the start of the war.
Actually, I think a few of these would have done far more good.