GOP presidential hopeful and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich expressed pessimism about the U.S. mission in Afghanistan on Sunday, saying the U.S. goals in the region might not be “doable.”
"I reached a conclusion frankly about the entire region that is much more pessimistic than Washington's official position," Gingrich said on Fox News Sunday. "I think it's going to get substantially worse, not better. And I think that we are risking of young men and women in a mission that may frankly not be doable."
Reports said the U.S. soldier left his military base Sunday and opened fire on civilian homes, killing roughly 15 people.
"We clearly have to investigate it," said Gingrich. "We have to indicate clearly and convince the people of Afghanistan that justice will be done and we are not going to tolerate that kind of thing."
"And also there I think it is a grave difficulty in reaching out to those the families, and they should be compensated for the tragic loss. I think when those kinds of things happen, what makes us different from the Taliban or al Qaeda, they target, killing civilians," he added. "We work very hard not to have things like this happen and we have to live up to our standards and our values."
Gingrich also defended his criticism of President Obama for delivering a written apology to Afghan leader Hamid Karzai after the accidental burnings of Qurans at a U.S. airbase triggered protests in the country. Over 30 Afghans and six U.S. service members were killed in the ensuing violence. Two of the U.S. soldiers were shot and killed by an Afghan colleague within the Interior ministry.
In a campaign speech, Gingrich had strong words for the Afghan government and America's mission in the country.
"This is a real problem. And there are some problems what have you to do is say, you know, you're going to have to figure out how to live your own miserable life," he had said.
On Sunday, Gingrich explained those remarks.
"What I've said is very directly related to President Karzai. I think he owes - as much as we at times have to be concerned about our impact on the Afghan people - he owes the American people an apology. Some of those killings were by Afghan soldiers. Now, it's got to be a two-way street," he said.
"And I think that this idea that we have to tolerate and tolerate and tolerate while things are done to us is wrong, I think it sends the wrong signal. And I think we have to reconsider what's going on," said Gingrich.