To the shock of President Hamid Karzai’s aides, Gen. David H. Petraeus suggested Sunday at the presidential palace that Afghans caught up in a coalition attack in northeastern Afghanistan might have burned their own children to exaggerate claims of civilian casualties, according to two participants at the meeting.
Oh well. His spokesman, Rear Admiral Greg Smith, later clarified that what Petraeus really meant to say was that he thought most Afghan parents burn their own children as a means of enforcing discipline.
One of his commenters says this gaffe became a huge deal in the occupied country:
This was actually the most talked about thing amongst Afghans for the past week or so.
When P4 made his comment about Afghan Parents the whole country went into SMS mode and it flew from cousin to cousin, province to province. ISAF may not be aware, but P4 is becoming a bit of a Mubarak/Gaddafi type villain amongst many Afghans. The comment he made struck home very hard and hurt many to the point of sheer anger.
The thing about “saying sorry” is that it only works for a while. P4 lost all credibility again with his attack on Afghans parents. It really was a key moment in this war and a key moment in the myth of Petreaus here in Afghanistan.