By Chris Carter
An Afghan government website has reported that NATO officials have promised to bring the American soldiers responsible for burning the Koran to justice in an open trial.
The website of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Government Media and Information Center (an official government site) states: "NATO officials promised to meet Afghan nation’s [sic] demand of bringing to justice, through an open trial, those responsible for the incident and it was agreed that the perpetrators of the crime be brought to justice as soon as possible."
If this is true, and we do not know yet if it is, handing over US service members to a sharia court in Afghanistan could be one of the most unconscionable acts ever conducted by our government.
Obama reportedly sent a three-page letter to Afghan president Hamid Karzai, but the White House won't fully disclose the letter. A small portion of Obama's letter - suspiciously (and perhaps deliberately) ambiguous - is floating around stating "We will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible."
What does the president mean, holding the soldiers accountable to military law? They didn't do anything wrong. If they did, show us what code they violated. Or does he mean sharia law? Desecrating the Koran, especially by non-Muslims could result in the death penalty. But American soldiers are held only to US law, not Islamic law. Besides, depending on what jurist you talk to, burning of Korans is entirely permissible if the books are damaged - which the Korans in question were, at the hands of Muslims.
Of course, the White House and Pentagon are not answering questions. But this is nothing new for the president who proclaims his administration as the "most open and transparent in history."
That letter belongs to the American people. What legitimate reason does the president have to keep it from us?
Instead of fanning the flames of discontent in our own country, our president must announce what the heck is going on with these soldiers. It would be easy, but Obama apparently prefers to keep Americans angry and in the dark over the lives of those he has sent into combat potentially hanging in the balance.
This president has, on multiple occasions, utilized similar tactics to smoke out his opponents, allowing the reaction to reach fever pitch before setting the record straight - in this case, releasing what could turn out to be a harmless letter. And what could possibly whip the people into a frenzy more than using American soldiers as bait?
This could be an information operation or it could simply be a misunderstanding. The only people who know aren't talking.
Related at The US Report: Koran burning apologies are ineffective, counterproductive
This article has been updated as TUSR associate editor Chris Carter follows developments in the Koran burning saga.