Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended the Obama apology to leaders in the Arab world as Republican presidential candidates criticized President Barack Obama. A deadly car bombing at the NATO air base in Jalalabad killed nine people today, the sixth day of violent protests over the accidental burning of some Korans by U.S. troops at a prison facility at Bagram Air Field outside Kabul. Yesterday, seven U.S. soldiers were injured during a grenade attack in Kunduz province. The Pentagon today released the names of the two American officers who were murdered while inside the Afghan Interior Ministry. NATO commander, U.S. Air Force General John Allen, has since banned all NATO officers from any duty posts at an Afghan government ministries. Despite Hamid Karzai appealing for calm, some 40 people have been killed and many more wounded since the latest outbreak of violence began.


Secretary Clinton is in Rabat, Morocco, attending the opening of a new U.S. embassy there. She told reporters ″the violence must stop.″ But will it? The whole affair began when several copies of the Koran were accidentally burned after being confiscated by U.S. troops from Taliban and insurgent prisoners being held at Bargam Air Field. These specific copies of the Koran had been written upon by the prisoners as a means of exchanging messages secretly. Under Islamic law, for a Muslim to write or deface a Koran is a crime punishable by being beheaded. Gen. Allen has ordered a full investigation into the circumstances behind the burning of the Korans.

This is not the first time that Afghans have held riots in the streets for days on end over the issue of Americans burning Korans. You may recall the unrest and violence which resulted last year when a Florida preacher planned to hold a Koran burning event. So it was not unexpected that this would happen again, even if, as in this case, the action may have been necessary.

Clearly, we need to rethink our strategy in Afghanistan. Just for starters, any future destruction of any reading material from prisoners should be done out of country, preferably at sea. We have to stop being so public in dealing with these matters. Just wrap them up in a nice sack, weighted with some ballast, and deep-six it into the Indian Ocean.

The bottom line is that we′ve been in Afghanistan for over ten years now with no real sign of any progress. The Taliban appear poised to just wait us out. The Karzai administration is as corrupt as a $3 bill and is not popular. One can argue that we should have just pulled out back in 2001 right after toppling the Taliban regime and chasing Al Qaeda into Pakistan. That letting the local tribal leaders work out their own solution, with just the occasional bombing mission or missile strike by us when we had good intelligence on a Taliban or Al Qaeda target, might have been the better strategy.