Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ron Paul: Republicans are "over-the-top" for bashing Obama’s Quran apology

Editor's Note: This was written on 3/5/2012.

( -- GOP Presidential Candidate Ron Paul told CNN’s State of the Union host Candy Crowley Sunday that Republicans who criticized President Obama for apologizing for February’s Quran burnings by U.S. military troops in Afghanistan are “over-the-top” because George W. Bush in 2008 did the same thing.

“I think the Republicans who are condemning it are a little bit over-the-top, too, because in 08, some of our soldiers in Iraq took the Quran and used it for target practice,” Paul said. “You know, just, just to humiliate the Muslims in that country. Ronald Reagan apologized, and what is so terrible about that, it might calm things down.”

Paul obviously meant George W. Bush, not Ronald Reagan, and was referring to when Bush apologized to the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for an American sniper’s shooting of a Quran in May 2008.

In that 2008 incident, George W. Bush’s apology to al-Maliki was preceded by top U.S. military officials—including Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, the commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, and Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin III, the number two U.S. commander in Iraq at the time—expressing similar acts of regret and apology.

One U.S. officer kissed a copy of the Quran before presenting it to tribal chiefs in Radwaniyah, Baghdad back in 2008.

However, when Paul was asked whether he thought it was wrong for President Obama to apologize for the recent Quran burnings in Afghanistan, Paul said he didn’t think it was wrong but it was “pretty much irrelevant.”

“I’m personally more apologetic for invading countries who never did anything to us and occupying and disrupting and causing thousands of deaths of our own people and causing hundreds of thousands of refugees,” Paul said. “This is the thing that I feel sad about. What about the pictures of torture, weren’t they every bit as bad? I mean, this is what incites the hatred. This is what we have to try to understand.”

Paul recalled the tell-all memoir about the Vietnam War “In Retrospect” written by Robert McNamara, former Secretary of Defense under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and that he pointed to questioning the policy rather than issuing an apology.

“I thought McNamara was rather astute when they asked him after he wrote his memoirs about the mess that he caused in Vietnam because he had all these second thoughts and they said ‘don’t you think you should apologize? Or do you want to apologize you know to the American people and to the world’?

“He said ‘what good’s an apology? If you make mistakes and you see this and it’s stirring up trouble, why don’t we change our policy,’ that’s what he said,” Paul continued.

Paul also told CNN’s State of the Union host Crowley that if he were to sit down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and was forced to give his personal opinion on whether Israel should bomb Iran, he said that it makes no sense to do such a thing right now.

Crowley asked: “If you were the President, and the Prime Minister sat down and said ‘I want you to know that we are prepared to bomb Iran because we want to keep them from developing the aptitude for having nuclear weaponry,’ what would your response be?”

Paul said: “Well first thing, I’d like to stay out of their business. I’d like to let them do whatever they want. I don’t want to interfere with what they need to do for their defense and I don’t want to interfere with Israel when they want to have peace treaties.”

He continued: “But if I were forced to give my personal opinion about it, I’d say it doesn’t make any sense to bomb a country that is no threat to anybody just because they might get a weapon and try to point out that containment worked pretty well with the Soviets and they had 30,000 and they were rather ruthless people.”

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