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Should Bush apologize?

The headline for the CBC Radio News coverage of Bush's speech/press conference last night was President Bush refuses to apologize for 9/11! All that other stuff he said about his commitment to create a free Iraq was barely mentioned.

I watched most of the show last night. At least two reporters brought up the issue of an apology, one who suggested that "some people" find it very arrogant he won't do the head-bowed I'm sorry thing that Richard Clarke did in the 9/11 hearings.

But why should he apologize? Did Roosevelt apologize for Pearl Harbor? Did Clinton apologize for Oklahoma City? Of course not. But in those cases everyone knew who the enemy was and there was no dispute over who the anger should be directed at. But for the sins of radical Islam, there is a large part of the population that is unwilling to put the blame where it belongs.

It's a very maddening thing. Islamic terrorists kill 200 in Madrid and what happens? The fury that should be directed towards the intolerant and repressive ideology that the terrorists were inspired by is instead directed at the US:

"This is all the fault of the United States; they got us into this," said Santiago Ruíz, a 55-year-old electrician who lives in suburban Leganés, a block from where the four suspects killed themselves and a police officer on Saturday. "The way to combat terrorism isn't the way Bush has done. Spain is paying the consequences of its solidarity with the United States."
What a dope. No doubt he has been traumatized by what happened in his country, but he's unable to blame the true culprits. In all of the recent terrorist acts in the past few years there's been a similar tendency by a significant part of the population to attribute the blame to their own culture or government in some way.

This is at the heart of the press's need for an apology from Bush. There is this pervasive idea that the Western world has done something it must apologize for. It is as if the terrorists are wild animals that we have inadvertently provoked in some way. Certainly it's difficult to understand the rationals of people willing to kill themselves in order to murder innocent people, but to deny that they are human is to deny that they are responsible. And they are responsible.


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