Benlog

crypto and public policy

I’m Sorry Only If You’re Sorry

Filed under: General August 23, 2004 @ 9:27 pm

When backed into a corner and forced to apologize, a less-than-enthusiastic person will often say something like “I’m Sorry Only If You’re Sorry.” You’ve seen these non-apology apologies before. An 8 year-old might say “well, I’m sorry I hit my baby sister only if she’s sorry for calling me names.”

You’ve also heard it from various actors in the Middle East: after a particularly bloody attack by one side or the other, a politican with the attacking side will say “We deplore all acts of violence against civilians, be they Israeli or Palestinian.” It’s not an actual apology, it’s more like saying “yeah, it was uncool of us, but you got what you deserved.”

Today, George W. Bush did exactly that. Instead of decrying the specific attacks by The Swift Boat Veterans, he called for “an end to all attack ads” and called on John Kerry to do the same. Effectively, “I’m sorry only if you are.” Never mind the fact that it is very well documented (here and here and in official military records) that the Swift Boat Veterans are lying. Never mind that Kerry has specifically and unequivocably denounced the MoveOn ad that attacks Bush for his alleged failure to fulfill his national guard duties.

In my view, a strong individual is one who realizes his mistakes, apologizes for them appropriately, and does his best to ensure he never makes the same mistake again. We’ve known for a while that Bush is unable to admit being wrong (like, say, concerning Iraq’s WMD program). This is just another example of how weak he truly is. Our president behaves like an 8 year-old who knows he’s wrong but can’t apologize.

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