TROY, Mich. -- Republican president candidate Rick Santorum accused President Obama of "showing weakness" in responding to the killings of U.S. servicemen by their Afghan military allies.
After two U.S. soldiers were killed by a man in an Afghan army uniform earlier this week, Obama apologized for the U.S. role in a Koran-burning incident that set off violence and protests in Afghanistan. Now, two more American officers have been killed in an attack inside the Afghan interior ministry.
"It's showing weakness, and when you show weakness, these things happen," Santorum said after a campaign appearance here in Michigan. "So this is the president, showing a side of himself that people in that region of the world perceive -- rightly -- as a person who can be manipulated and moved to make concessions. The president needs to be strong and defend his people, none of whom were doing the wrong thing."
Judging by campaign appearances here in Michigan, the Afghan killings have not yet taken hold as an issue in the GOP presidential race. Santorum's statement is his first on the matter, while rival Mitt Romney has not yet publicly addressed the issue. A few days ago, Newt Gingrich called Obama's apology an "outrage" and said the U.S. should leave Afghanistan unless the Afghans apologize for the killings of American servicemen.
"The president should not apologize for something that was a mistake," Santorum said. "We should say that the idea of Afghanistan attacking U.S. soldiers is unacceptable, and the people in authority have to be held to account for the behavior of the people under their command."