Sam Novack's Tuesday column on the burning of Qurans in Afghanistan (Feb. 28, "Apology unaccepted") highlights the problem with how so many of us view the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
Sure, you can make an argument about how the United States should not apologize to anyone for our offenses against "our enemies," but that is an argument drenched in a naive and moralistic self-righteousness about our perceived mission in Afghanistan - good vs. evil, democracy vs. extremism, tolerance vs. intolerance. The United States has a military objective in Afghanistan to combat the Taliban so that a U.S. political objective can be achieved - namely, the legitimization of a stable, democratic, pro-American government. A positive relationship with the U.S. and positive perception of the U.S. cannot be achieved by insulting local culture and values, even if it was "inadvertent." So, unfortunately for Novack and his cowboy sensibilities, our political objectives do require our "bending over backwards to avoid offending anyone," especially if it is the people with whom we are trying to build a future.
Kelsey Goodman\nCLAS IV