Saturday, June 18, 2005

When Is an Apology Not an Apology?

It seems like the answer to this question is: When it's an apology by a politician. I'm going to talk about two lefties here, but before you write comments about the fact that BOTH sides do this, let me just say "I agree". These two just happen to be the two most obvious and egregious examples lately of politicians who refuse to really apologize even when they've made an intemperate or even stupid remark.

I keep listening to Howard Dean, and he obviously has no intention of ever saying, "Wow, saying that most Republicans never made an honest living in their lives was certainly not true, and insulting to many hard-working Americans...I'm sorry I said that." Instead, Howard says that the listener misunderstood him--he meant that Republican policies have declared war on hardworking Americans. So it's the policies that are at fault, not hard-working Republicans.

Well, two points about that--First, there are no nebulous Republican policies just floating around in the ether that have declared war and are running around attacking people willy-nilly. There are Republicans who hold certain beliefs and put them into practice...So when Howard blames Republican policies for declaring war on hard-working Americans, he is still saying Republicans have done so.

Second, since he is saying Republicans have declared war on hard-working Americans, the only message I wind up with is the one he started with--Republicans are bums who don't work and prey on the poor hard-working Democrats. Nice apology, HD.

Now we have tricky Dick Durbin trying to backpedal from his comparison of American interrogators at Gitmo with Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or "some mad regime" such as Pol Pot's. Durbin, when initially called on to apologize, defended his remarks, saying:

"This administration should apologize to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions and authorizing torture techniques that put our troops at risk and make Americans less secure,"
Joe Shoemaker, a Durbin spokesman, said Durbin's comments were meant to compare torture at Guantanamo Bay to torture during the Nazi regime, not equate Americans at the base to Nazis and similar groups. Does this remind you of Republican policies declaring war, but not Republicans? The "torture" is "nazi-like" but not the "torturers"?

Dick apparently figured out by Friday that this wasn't going to fly, so he decided to fall back on a phony apology:

"I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood. I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: Our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support."

This smarmy, slippery, smelly piece of offal refuses to recant the statement itself, he's just sorry if you feel bad about what he said...not for one moment does he say he was wrong in what he said; nor does he say he's sorry for saying that American servicemen are comparable to Pol Pot's army of murderers or Hitler's goose-stepping stormtroopers. He just says his use of a historical parallel was "misunderstood." we misunderstood you, Dick? Then just tell us what you meant! You can't possibly mean that, when you said that what was being done at Gitmo was being done by people "that had no concern for human beings," we were supposed to understand that you have nothing but "respect, admiration and total support" for those people?

This is absurd. We know what you meant, man enough to stand by your words, and then resign.

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