In case you missed it, it appears that the agreement to draw down US combat troops in Afghanistan (and leave some protection forces and bases behind) hinges on a proposed letter to be signed by the President addressed to the Loya Jirga assembly of Afghan tribal leaders meant as a sort of de facto apology for past sins. Here's an initial report:
According to Reuters, an Afghan spokesman said Tuesday that Obama agreed to write the letter, to be presented with the draft security pact at a meeting of tribal elders later this week.
The New York Times, citing a spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, reported that Secretary of State John Kerry proposed the letter in a conversation with Karzai. Karzai asked that Obama sign it, and Kerry reportedly agreed.
The letter apparently helped them reach a tentative deal authorizing U.S. raids on Afghan homes in certain circumstances, which had been an area of disagreement.Would they? Is even this president capable of such a craven act, apologizing to the country who harbored Mullah Omar and UBL? Well, Susan Rice says no:
"No such letter has been drafted or delivered. There is not a need for the United States to apologize to Afghanistan," National Security Adviser Susan Rice said on CNN's "Situation Room." "Quite the contrary, we have sacrificed and supported them in their democratic progress and in tackling the insurgents and al Qaeda.
So that (letter of apology) is not on the table." Rice said she has seen news reports but has no idea where they are coming from, describing the claims as a "complete misunderstanding of what the situation is."Then again, how can anyone fully believe the messenger of lies about Benghazi? It's likely she was crafting her crafty reply based on the word "apology" and the definition of "letter". Based on the State Department's press briefing today they did not rule out either a letter or apology.
Interestingly, the initial reports were attributed to Kerry but he came out today and said no, no, no, there will be no "apology". But that doesn't mean there won't be a letter with some apology-like wording. All these folks are lawyers.
As to Rice, there are reports of an interesting dynamic between the would-be Secretary of State (if not for those evil Repubs exposing the Benghazi fraud) and the actual Secretary of State:
“John Kerry doesn’t agree with Susan Rice on big portions of our Egypt policy, and he made a deliberate and conscious decision not to mention Morsi in his Cairo meetings,” an administration official told The Daily Beast. “Susan Rice wasn’t happy about it.”So to recap we have Kerry being fingered as the peacenik who suggested Obama bow on paper to the Afghanis, followed by Rice shooting it down in the context of a formal apology, followed by the State Dept refusing to completely rule out anything, after their own leader emphatically denied there would be an apology but didn't really rule out some kind of letter. And for some reason Jay Carney was given the day off from the podium (or they withheld Wednesday's briefing).
In the end, if someone writes a letter to these tribal leaders claiming our troops won't do bad things in the future by using examples of the past, like swooping in during the night terrorizing women and children or air raiding villages and killing civilians as we've heard about during the GWoT at large--and if Obama signs it--then it may not be a formal apology but it would dang sure be a healthy substitute.
Whatever. There are peace treaties to do and wars to end and countless other examples for our children of how the ends justify the means, which appears to be the new Obama Doctrine. We'll see what the Loyal Jirgaists say.
THE LETTER 11/21/13
The published letter from Obama to Karzai was actually pretty good and didn't mention any apologies or get too deep into past 'sins', that is, in the English version. There's a Pashto version included in the official release so we assume there are no major--or even minor--translation differences. Because the media would tell us.
Karzai seems to be trying to hose Obama on his way out. He told the Jirga they should wait until the election in the Spring to sign the agreement. The administration, for some reason, is demanding an agreement before January 1 or they say it might jeopardize keeping residual troops behind (or money). Wonder if Harry Reid has any kind of power he can take away from the Loya Jirga to get them to come into line?