You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.


US apologies sound empty

‘I EXTEND to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies.’’ President Obama sent this message to Afghan President Hamid Karzai last week, in the thick of mass protests after US personnel burned copies of the Koran. NATO commander General John R. Allen had earlier offered “sincere apologies . . . to the noble people of Afghanistan,’’ but the demonstrations raged on. Members of Afghanistan’s parliament called for jihad against Western forces, at least two coalition soldiers were shot dead, and multiple civilians were killed in the violence that accompanied the protests.

Book burning can universally spark visceral reactions, especially when holy texts are denigrated, but the reactions of Afghan mobs across the country can strike Westerner observers as over the top, especially when the disrespect shown the Koran in this case seems to have been, as President Obama said, “inadvertent.’’ But in a way, that makes the insult worse. Muslims in Afghanistan can ask: After a decade in our midst, do you really understand so little?

Your comment is subject to the rules of our Posting Policy

This comment may appear on your public profile. Public Profile FAQ

Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of