Election 2012: Where was Santorum when Bush Apologized?

canditateportrait_2DownIn order to gain favor with the Republican base who baselessly think President Barack Obama began his presidency on an ‘apology tour’ around the world, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum slammed the president this weekend for apologizing over U.S. troops burning the Koran in Afghanistan.

“This is unacceptable,” Santorum said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The idea that a mistake was made — clearly a mistake, which we should not have apologized for — it was a mistake. There was nothing deliberate.”

The Koran burning at Bagram Air Base was allegedly inadvertent. Two U.S. soldiers were later killed in response to the burning. Newt Gingrich jumped on, too, suggesting if Afghan President (for life apparently?) Hamid Karzai doesn’t apologize for the killing of U.S. troops, perhaps we should pull out/retreat/become the party of defeat all over again!

Whether or not Afghanis should be as polite about murder as the U.S. is about burning their book is certainly a topic for discussion. But somewhere else. Problem as I see it, neither of the then-nobodies now running for the Republican presidential nomination saw it fit to think of then-President Bush as “unacceptable” when he apologized on numerous occasions for similar problems.

Like in May 2008, when it was reported that U.S. troops in Baghdad were using the Koran for target practice (h/t Wonkette). At that time, not only did Bush apologize via video conference to the Iraqi president, but his spokeswoman Dana Perino adamantly repeated that the president had done so.

“He apologized for that in the sense that he said that we take it very seriously,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said, according to this Huffington Post article from 2008. “We are concerned about the reaction. We wanted them to know that the president knew that this was wrong.” Back then, Iraqi President Al-Maliki publicly stated that Bush had told him the said Koran sniper “would face trial.” This statement was not denied by Bush or Perino.

Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, the commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad also met with Iraqi tribal leaders to apologize while another American officer “kissed a copy of the Koran before presenting it to the chiefs.

Perhaps this was OK because President Bush hadn’t also gone on an apology tour earlier in his presidency? Or is it just cynical partisan hackary? We don’t know.

Either way, civil unrest in the Middle East is in both Santorum’s and Gingrich’s best interests. Gingrich recently called Obama the most dangerous foreign policy president in history. History shows that when things are bad across the world, the people will locally look to another candidate. Assuming neither Gingrich nor Santorum can pull off wins today in the Michigan or Arizona primaries, they’ll need things to get worse overseas.

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