Have you noticed anything strange recently in the 24-hour news cycle? Like maybe the fact that the US has actually apologized for one of its many "mistakes"?
The mistake? The accidental killing of two aid workers, an American and an Italian, during a drone strike on an al-Qaeda compound in Pakistan.
The apology is notable for a few reasons.
First, the United States usually doesn’t really ‘do’ apologies. It’s normally ‘deep regret’ or 'sincere condolences’ or another formation of words meant to make up for the fact that they’ve just done something horrific without sacrificing their exceptionalism for a real apology.
As soon as I got over the bafflement at reading the phrase ‘Obama apologizes’ in a headline, I trundled through the rest of the article until I came to this.
These words actually came out of the American president’s mouth:
“One of the things that sets Americans apart from many other nations, one of the things that makes us exceptional is our willing to confront squarely our imperfections and to learn from our mistakes.”
Barack Obama thinks what makes America exceptional is its willingness to confront its imperfections and learn from its mistakes. Just take a moment and let that sink in.
Okay, are you still there?
I think it’s pretty clear that what, if anything, makes America ‘exceptional’ is exactly the opposite: a complete inability to see its own imperfections and absolutely no capacity whatsoever to learn from its mistakes.
Then I had an idea. I typed ‘Obama apologize’ into Twitter and lo and behold, there they were.
Cue a bunch of people moaning about how Obama should never ‘apologize for America’ and ‘terrorists are worse’ and ‘it’s a war, shit happens’ etc. etc.
— Mass- (@massimomessina1)23 апреля 2015
@AlanColmes Obama looks for any reason to apologize for the actions of our country.— Anthony Stefanic (@arstefanic)23 апреля 2015
Yes, apologizing too much is why Obama is a failure. Okay then.
Right there is why Obama is a failure. You don't apologize just because something bad happened. The War on Terror is risky. @BretBaier— FREE AMIRCat (@meowmeowtcot)23 апреля 2015
And my personal favorite. He shouldn’t have apologized, because it serves to “weaken America’s moral position”. Nothing else does, just apologizing.
— Druid Con (@Druid_Con)23 апреля 2015
The most outrageous part of this whole charade, though, was not the unexpected apology or the predictable reaction. It was the sheer lunacy of calling a press conference to apologize for killing two Western people with a drone, when the same drones wipe out hundreds of people every year and no one seems to notice.
As the Guardian reported last year, American drone strikes are sold to the public as precise procedures, yet these ‘precise’ attempts to kill a few men have instead killed hundreds of innocent children and regularly wiping out entire families.
If the drone operation Obama has apologized for never killed those two hostages but instead killed maybe a couple of families nearby, there would be no press conference.
That would just be collateral damage.