05/05/2004: Bush fucks up again....
Juan Cole mentions (as did Al Franken on today's O'Franken Factor) that George W. Bush went on a couple Arab satellite TV networks in order to try to do some damage control in the wake of the Abu Ghuraib prison abuse scandal. Of course, in keeping with everything else Bush has ever done, he had to go screw it up. First, he went on al-Arabibiya and al-Hurra but refused to do an interview with al-Jazeera, thus guaranteeing that he was going to limit the impact and reach of his message, since al-Jazeera is the leading Arab language satellite channel. And then, to add to his incompetence, the characteristic Bush inability to apologize kicked in, and while Bush mouthed platitudes about our sincerity in trying to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq, he refused to apologize on behalf of the United States or take responsibility for the incident. Quoth Professor Cole:
Since Bush did not apologize, did not take responsibility, did not make anyone else take responsibility, and just talked in a vague way about investigations, I doubt his message will resonate. Even pro-American Adnan Pachachi, who tried to put the best face on the matter, said that an apology would have been helpful.Unfortunately, Bush spent his time in the National Guard screwing around drinking, snorting cocaine, chasing women and playing all day pool-volleyball. If he'd bothered to spend any of that time doing military things (like, say, completing Officer Candidate School, where this is one of the first lessons you learn) he'd have learned that when you assume military command (and the President is the commander in chief of the armed services pursuant to the Constitution) you're responsible legally and morally for the actions of the personnel under your command, even in situations where you're factually ignorant of their actions and your are clearly not in a position to intervene to prevent them. Just ask any one of a number of the captains of Navy warships who have been tried by court martial for letting their ships run aground, even though the captain was asleep in his sea cabin while the ship was under the control of the officer of the deck.
"Command" doesn't mean never having to say you're sorry. Command means that sometimes you have to say you're sorry even when civilian standards of conduct wouldn't make you say you're sorry. That's the nature of command.
Len on 05.05.04 @ 12:44 PM CST