Expectations for our current president have always been low. He received an inordinate amount of credit after 9/11 simply for making his way through a passable speech without bungling any key passages. So I admit that when I read that Bush had actually apologized for something, I was impressed. After all, this is the man who a few weeks ago, when asked at a press conference whether he’d made any mistakes while president, couldn’t think of any.
The trouble is, Bush apologized to the wrong person.
Mysteriously, President Bush did not actually apologize in public to the Iraqi people, the U.S. military, or the American people. Instead, he apologized to King Abdullah II of Jordan, then came outside and described the apology.
This is just weird. I mean, let’s put this in everyday terms. Imagine that the local police wrongfully kick in your door and throw you to the ground and smash your furniture. There was a mixup with the address, and you were unfairly harmed. The police chief decides to do the right thing and apologize, but instead of phoning you up or inviting you to his office, he phones up the police chief of the neighboring town and apologizes to him, then publicly describes that apology without ever addressing you directly. No compensation is offered for your broken door or your humiliation, either. But the police chief has apologized ? to someone, anyway ? and that should be enough.
That a misdirected apology is so clearly a step in the right direction just shows how far this president has taken us in the wrong direction.