NEW YORK — In a statement to the United Nations Security Council on Monday, President Barack Obama gave a heartfelt apology for what he called the "tragic and brutal" actions which will be taken by American troops in the wars of the future.
"These as-yet unrealized conflicts risk further damaging America's credibility and reputation throughout the world," said Obama. "It is with deep regret, yet firm hope in the promise of the slightly-more-distant future, that I extend the sincere apologies of the United States."
While President Obama has shown little hesitance to apologize for the actions and policies of his predecessors, the unprecedented step of apologizing for those of his successors has rankled lawmakers and pundits in both political parties.
"The President is assuming the very worst in America," said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). "It's bad enough when he runs around the world apologizing for America's past, but to see the president bowing and scraping before the U.N., apologizing for America's future? That's beyond appalling."
Many of Obama's supporters counter that by taking such a proactive stance, Obama is seeking to bolster America's image among potential future allies in Libya and Iran.
"By openly admitting to the world that the future wars waged by his successors will be unjust, unconstitutional, immoral, imperialistic and all about oil, the president is getting ahead of the issue," explained Anna Galland, executive director of the influential think-tank MoveOn.org. "He's demonstrating to the world that the America of the future will be about the rule of law, not some rogue cowboy state which wades into the world willy-nilly, branding entire nations as terrorist regimes and entire religions as terrorist cults. It's a refreshing break from the war-mongering jingoism of the past and present."
In apologizing for the wars of America's future, the president has set his sights on what he called "those few bad apples" within the military. "These individuals will have disgraced their uniform, and as the commander-in-chief, I pledge to show no tolerance for such behavior," he said.
The White House has directed the Joint Chiefs of Staff to aggressively prosecute future UCMJ and law-of-war violations across the services. Several service members are already facing charges.
Six Marines are currently being held in confinement at Camp Pendleton, California and their commanding officers preemptively relieved and charged with dereliction of duty, for allegedly defacing the bodies of enemy fighters in August of 2017 during Operation Preserve Liberty in Syria.
Freshman cadet Curtis Powell has been expelled from the U.S. Military Academy and now faces charges for actions he will have taken as a first lieutenant in the spring of 2019, when he will have allegedly assaulted and raped three teenage girls during a combat patrol near Chongpyong, North Korea.
Five civilian males, whose names have not been released because they are still minors, have been charged as accomplices and are awaiting trial by general court-martial.