President Obama’s apology for the desecration of Qurans in Afghanistan has become a political football for Republicans, despite the fact that former President George W. Bush also apologized for a similar mistreatment of the Muslim holy book in 2008.
Rick Santorum said “it shows weakness,” and Mitt Romney said it’s “very difficult for the American people to countenance.” On CNN this morning, Newt Gingrich dodged a question about whether he would issue an apology if he thought it would save American lives. “I don’t believe the President saved lives,” Gingrich responded.
After Gingrich’s appearance, GOP candidate Ron Paul was asked about his views on Obama’s apology. Paul attacked his fellow candidates for going “over the top”:
PAUL: I think the Republicans who are condemning it are a little bit over the top, too, because you know, in ’08, some of our soldiers in Iraq took the Quran and used it for target practice. You know, just to humiliate the Muslims in that country. Ronald Reagan [sic. Actually, George Bush] apologized. And what is so terrible about that if it might calm things down.
Paul advocated for changing our policy in Afghanistan. “If we have a policy going on in the Middle East that is begging that we apologize now and then, and others condemning it because they don’t think we should apologize, I think we should reassess our foreign policy,” Paul said. “And that is what I think we are not doing.”