May 07, 2009
Obama's Apology To Leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan
Barack Obama, meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Wednesday, May 6, 2009, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington
Obama expresses regret for Afghan civilian deaths
Flanked by the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, President Barack Obama expressed deep U.S. regret Wednesday for civilian casualties in a deadly incident this week in western Afghanistan, promising "every effort" to avoid recurrences in the war against a rising Taliban insurgency.
Obama had a more upbeat and determined tone as he lauded "unprecedented cooperation" between the two neighbors in fighting Taliban and other extremist threats. But he cautioned that success will not come quickly.
"Along the border, where insurgents often move freely, we must work together with a renewed sense of partnership to share intelligence and to coordinate our efforts to isolate, target, and take out our common enemy," Obama said after a day of meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
Obama met separately with Karzai and Zardari, followed by a three-way session that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton portrayed as an embodiment of a central tenet of the administration's new Afghan war strategy - that Pakistan and Afghanistan are linked problems.
The latest report of Afghan civilian casualties came at an especially awkward time for the administration, which is stepping up its military campaign inside Afghanistan while also seeking to emphasize the importance of nonmilitary efforts to stabilize the country. The U.S. has pledged, for example, a major increase in civilian expertise in farming and other specialties, along with an increase of 21,000 U.S. troops.
Gen. Jim Jones, Obama's national security adviser, told reporters that the president began his meeting with Karzai by addressing reports that dozens of civilians had been killed by American bombs on Sunday.
Jones said Obama commented "with great sympathy" and expressed regret for the loss of innocent life. Earlier, before her meetings with Karzai and Zardari at the State Department, Clinton said the U.S. "deeply, deeply" regrets the losses.
Both Obama and Clinton stopped short of accepting U.S. blame for the deaths.
Obama told Karzai that investigations "will be pursued aggressively with full intent to discover what in fact did happen, how it happened and how we can make sure that things like that do not happen again.
And it was clear that President Karzai was moved by that ... and he thanked the president for starting off the meeting with that expression of condolence."
Karzai did not ask that U.S. airstrikes be suspended or reduced in intensity pending the outcome of the investigation, Jones said.
Nor did Zardari raise an equally sensitive topic on his side of the border - the use of U.S. Predator aircraft to attack extremist targets, Jones said. Pakistanis have strongly protested those attacks, saying they have killed innocent civilians.
In Afghanistan, the U.S. forces commander said it wasn't a certainty that Sunday's deaths were a result of U.S. military action. Gen. David McKiernan said American forces came to the aid of Afghans who may have been ambushed by the Taliban. He said the Taliban beheaded three civilians, perhaps to lure police.
"We have some other information that leads us to distinctly different conclusions about the cause of the civilian casualties," McKiernan said. He would not elaborate.
Karzai, whose public criticism of U.S. airstrikes has grown increasingly indignant, thanked Clinton politely for her concern.
"We appreciate that," Karzai said. "And we hope we can work together toward reducing and eventually completely removing the possibilities of civilian casualties."
The United States has estimated that 80 percent or more or civilian deaths are caused by militants, not U.S. or allied forces, but Obama and his advisers say they know the corrosive effect the airstrikes have on civilian support for the military mission.
In his remarks at the White House, Obama emphasized the progress he said was achieved in the Washington meetings.
"We have advanced unprecedented cooperation," Obama declared. "We will work for the day when our nations are linked not by a common enemy but by a shared peace and prosperity."
Veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke, the administration's point man for Afghanistan and Pakistan and a participant in the meetings, was upbeat in brief remarks after Obama summarized the day's talks. "It was a day that exceeded our expectations," Holbrooke said. "We turned a corner" in improving coordination.
Gathering the three leaders together at one table, along with lower-level officials from the three countries, "reflects the kind of concrete cooperation and detail that is going to ultimately make a difference in improving opportunity and democracy and stability in Pakistan and in Afghanistan," Obama said.
The stakes couldn't be higher, he said.
"We have learned time and again that our security is shared," the president said. "It is a lesson that we learned most painfully on 9/11, and it is a lesson that we will not forget."
The president said all three governments must cooperate in fighting insurgents who control parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan and must "deny them the space" to threaten local residents - or Americans.
Earlier in the day, Clinton told reporters that Karzai and Zardari made specific commitments of how they would increase the fight against militants. She wouldn't name their promises yet, but said the talks were "producing some very promising early signs" of greater cooperation.
"I am very optimistic that this process is making a difference," she said in remarks in the White House briefing room.
Wild Thing's comment...........
Their leadership shouldn’t be mingling with civilians, if they do the deaths are their responsibility.
"Obama told Karzai that investigations "will be pursued aggressively with full intent to discover what in fact did happen, how it happened and how we can make sure that things like that do not happen again."
OMG if this doesn't come close to a JOHN MURTHA statement I don't know what does.
This POS Obama needs to learn he is the CIC and we are at WAR and he is pretending to be an American and he better freaking start to act like one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If this was during D-Day, Obama would have focused on civilian deaths rather than how the Allies were liberating France.
....Thank you Jack for sending this to me.
Army Combat Engineers
Quang Tri & Chu Lai '68 -'69
United States Army
Jack's blog is Conservative Insurgent
Posted by Wild Thing at May 7, 2009 06:50 AM
What is he apologizing for again? I know-he's trying to set himself up as "DICTATOR OF THE WORLD" for life. He doesn't just want America--he wants the world. Doesn't this just remind of Pinky and the Brain (with the exception, Obamanation isn't that smart)? What do you want to do tonight, Brain? Same thing we do every night, Pinky-try to take over the world.
Back to Hell with you, you souless bastard!
Posted by: Lynn at May 7, 2009 08:15 AM
Obama just loves talking about responsibility and blaming either the Military or the Republicans but most of all Blame Bush. He loves passing the blame onto others and avoid taking responsibility himself. It's his watch if anyone is to blame it is he.
He said he wants to fight the war in Afghanistan but limits the scope of the Military by restrictive ROE's, make sure there are no civilian near your target. Good will ambassodors again.
Posted by: Mark at May 7, 2009 09:03 AM
It just makes me sick to watch this creep. Many thanks to all you morons who voted this POS into office.
Posted by: PeteSuj at May 7, 2009 09:35 AM
I've two grandsons old enough to serve, I'll support their decision to serve to the hilt but I will not encourage them to serve under a CIC and a Congress that does not support them and searches for reasons to persecute and prosecute them for doing the dirty work that these elitist bastards won't do. All our military deserve better than this POS masquerading as a citizen and president. Faulty ROE's got many of my era's brethren killed and maimed, we are fighting 'civilians' for chrissakes, no different that the Viet Minh, the Viet Cong or those wonderful Somali butchers in Mogadishu or the Somali pirates that are hijacking our world commerce, if it looks like, behaves like and hides amongst, they are our enemy combatant's period. The real enemy resides in DC.
Thank you Chrissie.
Posted by: Jack at May 7, 2009 10:29 AM
"Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.
Still want to quit?"
I don't know who wrote that but our Drill Sergeants put it on a sign that hung in our squad bay.
Posted by: JohnE PFC U.S. Army at May 7, 2009 05:15 PM
F--- Obama and Clinton. I don't know what else to say.
Posted by: TomR at May 7, 2009 06:38 PM
Hey Wild Thing. check this out:
Posted by: Eddy Burke at May 7, 2009 09:06 PM
Lynn, good one. Your so right, he really
would love to rule the world.
Posted by: Wild Thing at May 7, 2009 11:23 PM
Mark, exactly, he talks responsibility and
then turns around and blames others.
Posted by: Wild Thing at May 7, 2009 11:25 PM
PeteSuj, morons is right, brainless to
the max those that voted for him.
Posted by: Wild Thing at May 7, 2009 11:26 PM
Jack, all you said DITTO.
Posted by: Wild Thing at May 7, 2009 11:29 PM
JohnE PFC U.S. Army, WOW that is awesome,
what your Drill Sergeants put up. Thank
you JohnE for shairng that and also for
Posted by: Wild Thing at May 7, 2009 11:35 PM
Tom, I will add a HUGE DITTO to that!!
Posted by: Wild Thing at May 7, 2009 11:37 PM
Eddy, oh my gosh, what a mess we are in
and all of this is because of Obama.
Thank you so much Eddy for the link and
the information. I really appreicate it.
Posted by: Wild Thing at May 7, 2009 11:39 PM