Carol Platt Liebau

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Professor Keith Burgess-Jackson comments on the whole "Bush won't apologize" meme on his blog AnalPhilospher.blogspot.com.

Professor Burgess Jackson opines that "until you persuade President Bush that he made a mistake, he has nothing to apologize for," and I tend to agree.

It's hard to believe the whole left-liberal insistence that women, in particular, are offended by the President's refusal to apologize. The myth being propagated is that the President is reminding women of a trait they dislike in their own husbands. But if -- as we were told -- women were charmed throughout the '90's by a skirt-chasing, promise-breaking, smooth-talking southern President who left a string of maligned or abandoned women in his wake, it's hard to believe that they are holding their Presidents to the same standards to which they hold their husbands.

There is one other way to think about this entire matter. There are apologies, and there are expressions of empathy. The former ("I'm sorry I lost my temper") is an admission of fault and an implicit request for forgiveness. The latter ("I'm sorry you have a headache") is not an admission of fault -- rather, it's a recognition of another person's feelings.

By separating the two functions of "I'm sorry," the President might be able to lay this whole situation to rest as follows:

"I'm not sorry that I made the decision to invade Iraq -- I believed then and I believe now that it was vital to help keep American families safe. But am I sorry that people have died? Of course; one of the most difficult things any President does is to send our nation's finest young people into combat -- and then try to comfort their families if they are called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. Am I sorry that our intelligence -- the same intelligence as my predecessor and my opponent relied on -- was flawed? It goes without saying, and we are going to get that fixed. Am I sorry that -- as in every previous military engagement America has undertaken -- things haven't always gone perfectly? No question. I regret all of those things, and I take responsibility for everything that takes place on my watch.

But I will never apologize for pushing for every single measure that, in my judgment, will help prevent another attack against innocent civilians in our homeland."

1 Comments:

Blogger _Jon said...

I wrote my take on this on my bLog, which I'll re-post here.

So what you really want to know is if I have stopped beating my wife?

Tactically, this type of question stems from a desire for an opponent to admit a wrongdoing - any wrongdoing - so that it can become the point of an offensive. The process of the offensive usually contains the repeating of this phrase; "Well, if you were wong on that issue, couldn't you be wrong on this one too?

A great example of how bad that tactic is would be the Mike Tyson rape case. His defense team argues that "Mike is a bad man, but he is not so bad as to rape this woman." We all know how well that worked.

10:49 AM  

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