Skip to main content

Originally published at Fair and Unbalanced

Being self reflective, expressing remorse, apologizing for causing harm.  These are characteristics of an evolved, mature person.  Right?  We certainly would want our political leaders to have the strength and confidence to be able to admit their own and the nation's mistakes, shoulder blame when warranted, and change course when necessary.  Wouldn't we?  Unfortunately, these qualities are not a part of the Republican DNA.  For them they are signs of weakness, hewing too close to what Jeanne Kirkpatrick criticized as the unforgivable sin of "blaming America first."

The last Republican Administration lied and manipulated us into a war based on grounds that proved illusory, approved torture and other human rights abuses, unnecessarily cost our country billions of dollars, caused untold numbers of casualties, and undermined their own avowed goal of thwarting the terrorist group responsible for the 9/11 attacks.  Did they ever admit their mistakes much less apologize for their monumentally destructive conduct?

On the contrary, since leaving office Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice have bragged and boasted about their policies, and have tried to take credit for whatever success President Obama has had.  And when they were still in power we were treated to this, um, awkward moment:

It doesn't get any better with the current crop of Republican leaders.  Mitt Romney's book is actually called "No Apology," in which he falsely accuses President Obama of going around the world apologizing for America, a dubious claim he repeats often on the campaign trail.  ("Never before in American history has its president gone before so many foreign audiences to apologize for so many American misdeeds, both real and imagined.")

President Obama did apologize for the burning of copies of the Koran by American personnel at a NATO military base in Afghanistan.  In the wake of increasing violence over the incident, Obama  expressed "deep regret," extended his "sincere apologies" to Hamid Karzai and the Afghan people, and promised "to take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible."

This was too much for the GOP.

Newt Gingrich is not one to apologize for anything.  (Recall his rationalization for an extra-marital affair -- that it was due to his excessive patriotism.)  He said Obama's apology was an “outrage,” and later gave this advice to the Afghans, “You know, you’re going to have to figure out how to live your own miserable life… Because you clearly don’t want to learn from me how to be unmiserable."

Mitt Romney was also troubled, saying that for many people the apology "sticks in their throat."  According to Romney, since we have done so much for the Afghan people in helping them "achieve freedom," to "apologize at a time like this is something which is very difficult for the American people to countenance."

And then there was Rick Santorum, spewing his typically illogical and sanctimonious claptrap

I don’t think the president should apologize for something that was clearly inadvertent. What you should lay out is the president saying this was inadvertent. This was a mistake and there was no deliberate act, there was no meant to disrespect. This was something that, that occurred that, that should not have occurred, but it was an accident and leave it at that. I think you highlight it when you, when you apologize for it. You, you make it sound like it was something that you should apologize for. And there is not—there was no act that needed an apology. It was an inadvertent act and it should be left at that and I think the response has—needs to be apologized for by, by Karzai and the Afghan people of, of attacking and killing our men and women in uniform and, and overreacting to this, to this inadvertent mistake. That, that is, that is the real crime here, not what our soldiers did.
I'll leave it to Amy Davidson to expound:
Maybe Santorum and his fellow-candidates have been trapped in the kindergarten-delinquent classroom of the Republican primaries for so long that they think the same rules, and illogic, that help decide who the not-Romney of the week is apply everywhere. But Afghanistan is a real and dangerous place; more than two dozen people have died in the violence, including two Americans, who were assassinated in the Interior Ministry. (The Afghan government reportedly did apologize for that.) The senselessness of the response does not take away from the necessity of an apology, or from its grace.
U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, stated what should be obvious:  "We admit our mistake, we ask for forgiveness, we seek to move on."  And, as Amy Davidson concludes:  
In apologizing, we remind ourselves who we are. We also learn more about where we are, who we are talking to, and our circumstances. Having done so—done the right thing—we may reasonably conclude that we can make our apologies, and leave.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site