PRESS GAGGLE BY
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY
EN ROUTE MIAMI, FLORIDA
Aboard Air Force One
Q What’s the precedent for apologizing when the military has already apologized?
MR. CARNEY: Well, in this case, again, the President was — had been — had a conversation with President Karzai the day before he was — in a follow-up to that conversation, wrote an extensive letter on a number of topics, including the Afghan-led reconciliation process and our bilateral relationship with Afghanistan, in which he included an expression of his regret and apologies for the inappropriate and inadvertent mishandling of religious materials.
I would note that one of my predecessors, Dana Perino, the Press Secretary for President George W. Bush, following an incident in which an American serviceman apparently shot or did damage to a Koran in 2008, she expressed apologies on behalf of the President. And that’s appropriate for the same reason, because our concern — this President’s concern, as was surely the case with President Bush, is the safety and security of our men and women in uniform, as well as our civilians in Afghanistan.
And one of the reasons that it’s appropriate to express our sincere apologies for this incident is that the kind of reaction that it can cause risks putting our men and women in harm’s way, or in further risk than they already are. So I think that precedent is a useful one to look at.