Gingrich: Obama 'surrendered' with apology to Afghanistan

Newt Gingrich said Thursday that President Obama "surrendered" when he apologized to Afghanistan over the burning of copies of the Quran near an American military base in Kabul.

The incident has resulted in violent protests throughout the country, resulting in multiple deaths — including that of two American soldiers.

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Gingrich said that the incident has been "blown into a huge incident by various fanatics in Afghanistan" and argued the president did not "defend the integrity and the lives of the people who serve under him."

"There seems to be nothing that radical Islamists can do to get Barack ObamaBarack ObamaCannabis conversation urged at North American Leaders Summit Obama: 'There's still work to do' for gay community Our most toxic export: American politick MORE's attention in a negative way, and he is consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology of the president of the United States, period," Gingrich said.

The former Speaker went on to say that Afghan President Hamid Karzai should be apologizing to Obama over the incident, not the other way around.

"If Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, doesn't feel like apologizing, then we should say, 'Goodbye and good luck, we don't need to be here risking our lives and wasting our money on somebody who doesn't care,' " Gingrich said.

Gingrich was campaigning in Spokane, Wash., when he made his remarks.

White House spokesman Jay Carney defended Obama's apology letter during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One on Thursday, arguing doing so was important to calm tensions in Afghanistan.

"It is wholly appropriate given the understandable sensitivities to this issue. His primary concern as commander in chief is the safety of American men and women in Afghanistan, of our military and civilian personnel there. It’s absolutely the right thing to do," Carney said.

Carney went on to point out that President Bush offered a similar apology after an incident in 2008 when a Quran was shot by a U.S. serviceman. 

"I would note that one of my predecessors, Dana Perino, the press secretary for President George W. Bush, following an incident in which American servicemen apparently shot, did damage to a Quran 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," Carney said. 

"One of the reasons that it’s appropriate to express our severe apologies for this incident is the kind of reaction that it could cause that risks putting our men and women in harm's way, in further risk than they already are. So I think that precedent is a useful one to look at.”

According to the military, the Qurans were burned because prisoners had written coded terrorist messages in the pages. 

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