week was the week of apologies. Since the pictures were first
aired showing abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in
Iraq, Arab nations have been expressing outrage, and those in
the media have been clamoring for anyone in the Bush administration
to wear sack cloth and beg forgiveness. Despite the fact that
Middle East experts, time and time again, have gone on radio
and television programs and explained that citizens of the Arab
states, and especially individuals of radical, Islamic terrorist
groups, see these apologies as signs of weakness, the media
elite continue to demand apologies whenever situations go awry.
These apologies do little to ease feelings in the Middle East
and lead to anger back home, especially when the words "I'm
sorry" seem drawn out by a forced hand.
the May 5 press briefing at the White House, reporters hammered
press secretary Scott McClellan about the prisoner abuse story.
One reporter even asked how President Bush felt about having
to make the "moral distinction" between the United
States and Saddam Hussein. That's right -- according to some
on the left, apparently abuse of some of the prisoners at a
prison in Iraq is the equivalent of decades of abuse, torture,
rape, mutilation, and murder that Iraqis endured under the sadistic
regime of Saddam Hussein. Because of the "similarities"
between these offenses, American leaders must now beg forgiveness
from the Arab world so that our "image" may be restored.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's testimony before the
Senate Armed Services Committee last week, Democratic Sen. Jack
Reed said that the image of America in the Arab world will be
one of an American dragging an Iraqi prisoner by a leash. "This
is a disaster," Reed said.
to Sen. Reed is this: What do you think the image of
America in the Arab world was before this? Uncle Sam eating
apple pie? The fact of that matter is that to a large extent,
America is hated in the Arab world. For a large part, this is
due to our support of Israel. In addition, among the radical
Islamic factions, the very way of life of America leads to hatred
and resentment. We could have given every Iraqi prisoner a gold-plated
cell, and we'd still be hated.
of the matter is that war is hell, and in that hell, mistakes
will be made. Yes, there will likely be mistakes made for which
America is sorry, and if apologies are given, they should be
given freely by those in leadership as the hearts of those individuals
are guided to do so or not.
week, I received countless e-mails from readers expressing outrage,
dismay, and disappointment at the apologies issued by Sec. Rumsfeld
and President Bush about the abuse of prisoners in Iraq. Why
the sense of anger? Are these people simply cold-hearted conservatives?
Quite the contrary. In fact, from reading the daily feedback,
it is obvious to see that these people care deeply about America
and are passionate about defending America in the war on terror.
In actuality, their disappointment is two-fold. In one sense,
they are enraged that liberals and media elite are clamoring
for an apology from President Bush when no one has apologized
for the killing of 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001. When
the Middle East expresses "shock" at the treatment
of prisoners, their complaints ring hollow when compared to
the silence coming from the region following the attacks on
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
the apologies conveyed by Bush and Rumsfeld anger those on the
right because they feel the apologies were forced -- that the
left "made them do it." They do not feel that Bush
or Rumsfeld should have apologized. To a certain extent, the
conservative community is right. By reacting to pressure, the
apologies came across as politically motivated. Worse, by first
making public statements, and then issuing apologies later,
undue emphasis is placed upon the apologies, and they take on
the weight of being apologies for America rather than heartfelt,
slightly with the feedback I've been receiving, had I been
president of the United States, I too would have apologized.
difference is that my apology would have come during my first
public statements about the incident. Prisoners were abused
in Iraq. Does that reflect American values? Of course it doesn't.
Am I sorry that it occurred? Of course I am. And that's what
I would have said.
pictures of abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison
are abhorrent and do not reflect the traditions of America's
men and women in uniform, and most certainly do not reflect
the values and ideals that all Americans hold dear. I personally
am truly sorry these abuses occurred, and the American people
can take as fact that I will do everything in my power to see
that justice is done."
would not stop there, because to do that leaves a wound exposed
for enemies to exploit. "Americans are not perfect. Yet,
each day men and women of this great country strive for something
better -- something better in themselves, and something better
out of others. The American spirit prods us to be the best we
can be. Sometimes we fall short, but let the world know that
even during times of tribulation, American democracy allows
us to solve our problems by respecting individual rights and
giving everyone their day in court."
the world also know that we are at war. The hatred in the hearts
of terrorists will not subside regardless of what we say. From
the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, to the embassy
bombing in 1998, to the attack on the U.S.S Cole in 2000, to
the horrors of September 11, these terrorists have shown that
they do not respect the spoken word but only the drawn sword.
They will continue their acts until freedom-loving countries
either relent or join together for the sake of future generations.
America will never relent. America will fight, and America will
win the war on terror."
that America is blessed by God for greatness in society. If
America owes anyone an apology, it is to Him for falling short
of what we can do. To those still clamoring for more apologies,
I'll send mine when bin Laden sends his.
Eberle is President and CEO of GOPUSA.com.
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