Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Senator Apologizes For What He Might Have Done

'Cuz, Like, He's Really Not Sure

Durbin finally says he's sorry

By James G. Lakelyand Stephen Dinan

Sen. Richard J. Durbin yesterday said he was "sorry" after parsing words for a week about his remarks comparing U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay to those of Nazi and Soviet regimes. He apologized on the Senate floor.

"I'm sorry if anything that I said caused any offense or pain to those who have such bitter memories of the Holocaust, the greatest moral tragedy of our time," said Mr. Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate.

"I'm also sorry if anything I said in any way cast a negative light on our fine men and women in the military. I went to Iraq just a few months ago," he said, pausing and appearing to tear up at one point during the five-minute speech. "When you look at the eyes of the soldiers you see your son and daughter. They are the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them. Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line. To them, I extend my heartfelt apologies."

"I'm sorry if ..." ? What the hell does that mean? If your teenager came home drunk and threw up on the living room rug, would "I'm sorry if you thought I was drunk" really do the trick?

No, because he was drunk, and he did throw up on the rug. "If" has no place in the discussion.

Sorry, not buying any of this act.

Apologies aren't conditional. They aren't offered to you only "if" you, as the listener, had some set of emotions and feelings wash over you.

The problem here is that this is not about how he makes us "feel"; it's about what he himself said, because of what he believes. Or does he actually want to claim now that he said all that even though he didn't believe it, just to score political points? Which is it? With inflammatory rhetoric like that, either you believe what you say to your core, or you don't.

So if he still holds such beliefs, is any of this really all better now? And if he doesn't hold such beliefs, where is the apology for cynically playing us for fools?

Our focus on "feelings" in today's world just drives me nuts. "Feelings" can vary from one person to another. They are too subjective. They must be purged from the national dialogue.

Apologies are about contrition and forgiveness. "If" won't cut it.

Our entire system of government is based on liberty. That's why the Pilgrims came over on the Mayflower, remember? Durbin slandered all of that, including our Constitution, by comparing our conduct at Guantanamo with the worst regimes to ever inhabit the planet. He provided the enemy with propaganda during wartime. And he did it for political gain.

Those things are bad enough. But worst of all, he said it on the floor of the United States Senate because he actually believes it. He, along with many other prominent Democrats in Congress, actually believes that turning up the A/C and letting prisoners soil themselves equates us with Joseph Stalin. That is an insult of immeasurable proportions, and it is patently ridiculous, and anybody who has ever spent an hour reading any type of history about Stalin knows it.

That is what he needs to apologize for. And you don't need the word "if", or "feelings", to express that.