Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented today on the Quran burning in Afghanistan that's caused a week of deadly protests. During a joint statement with the Moroccan Foreign Minister Saad-eddine Othmani during her visit to Morocco, Clinton said:
"And finally on Afghanistan, look Matt, we deeply regret the incident that has led to these protests. We are condemning it in the strongest possible terms. But we also believe the violence must stop and the hard work of trying to build a more peaceful, more prosperous, secure Afghanistan must continue."
Wait a second, wasn't this an accident? According to the top commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan it was:
U.S. Gen. John Allen, the top commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said the books had been mistakenly given to troops to be burned at a garbage pit at Bagram, north of Kabul.
"It was not a decision that was made because they were religious materials," Allen said. "It was not a decision that was made with respect to the faith of Islam. It was a mistake. It was an error. The moment we found out about it, we immediately stopped and we intervened."
The fact that this was an accident has been echoed by the White House. No one has been arrested and no one has been charged with a crime (much to the dismay of Afghan President Hamid Karzai).
Why then is the Secretary of State "condemning it in the strongest possible terms"? Last time I checked you reserve condemnation for purposefully malicious actions, not for legitimate accidents.
Just as a comparison, Clinton's words bear a striking resemblance to those of Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit:
"On behalf of the government and the people of Pakistan, we condemn in strongest possible terms the desecration of Holy Quran" in Afghanistan."
Furthermore, Clinton stops short of condemning the violence that has claimed the lives of multiple American servicemen, suggesting only that it "must stop".
Does the Secretary not understand that her words have consequences?