Thursday from the White House President Barack Obama apologized for a counter-terrorism operation against al Qaida, in which American hostage Dr. Warren Weinstein and Italian hostage Giovanni Lo Porto were accidentally killed by an airstrike.
The president said, “Since 9/11 our counter terrorism efforts have prevented terrorist attacks and saved innocent lives both here in America and around the world. That determination to protect innocent life makes the loss of these two men especially painful for all of us. Based on information and intelligence we have obtained we believe that a U.S. counter terrorism operation targeting an al Qaeda compound accidentally killed Warren and Giovanni this past January.”
“As a husband and as a father I cannot begin to imagine the pain and anguish the families are enduring. I realize there are no words that can ever equal their loss and nothing that I can say or do to ease their heart ache. Today I want to say this, as president and as Commander in Chief I take full responsibility for all of our counter terrorism operations including the one that inadvertently took the lives of Warren and Giovanni. On behalf of the United States government I offer our deepest apologies to the families. As soon as we determine the cause of their deaths I directed that the existence of this operation be declassified and disclosed publicly. I did so because the families deserve to know the truth.”
He concluded, “It is a cruel and bitter truth that in the fog of war generally and our fight against terrorists specifically mistakes sometimes deadly mistakes can occur. But one of the things that sets America apart from many other nations, one of the things that makes us exceptional is our willingness to confront our imperfections and learn from our mistakes. Already I directed a full review of what happened. We will identify the lessons that can be learned from this tragedy and any changes that should be made.”
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