Saturday, September 01, 2007

Bush Apologizes

Well, there isn't enough time in the world for him to give all the apologies he owes, but he may have gotten backed into a corner on this one.

Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart of Fernley, Nevada, was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005 when his helicopter was shot down, and was buried in Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Sgt. Stewart was a Wiccan, and it was his wish to have a pentacle (improperly called, more accurately a pentagram) engraved on his tombstone. He was surrounded by Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other Americans whose religious symbols were displayed, yet the Department of Veterans Affairs and its National Cemetery Administration argued that Wicca was not really a relgion, and would not allow the symbol.

You probably weren't following this story: I was. It was just one little battle in the struggle against Christian theocracy, but an important one. I won't go into it, you can Google the guy's name, but in the end, his wife won after a tough fight, and there is today a five-pointed star on his tombstone.

Last week, President Bush met with Nevada families of soldiers killed in combat, and, oddly, Mrs. Stewart was not invited.

There was some outrage on the Internet, but the story didn't carry much weight in the corporate media -- if only there had been a missing blonde. Still, a lot of people noticed this insult, which seemed to people like me to be unnecessarily petty. I mean, really petty. Let's not forget, this was a man who gave his life serving his country.

The Post:
President Bush has apologized to the widow of a Wiccan soldier after she was excluded from a Nevada meeting this week that the president held with the families of soldiers killed in combat.

Roberta Stewart, whose husband, Sgt. Patrick Stewart, was killed in Afghanistan in 2005, was left off the invitation list for the private meeting Tuesday even though other members of her husband's family were invited.

When she heard about the exclusion from her mother-in-law, Stewart said, she concluded that it was done because of her public fight to force the federal government to engrave the symbol for the Wiccan faith on her husband's marker on a memorial.

"I was devastated," Stewart said. "I was crying and upset. I couldn't believe that my country would continue this discrimination."

On Thursday, after publicity about the omission, the White House and the military scrambled to put things right. Stewart said she received phone calls from Department of Defense officials, who told her that her name was inadvertently left off a list of guests they forwarded to the White House.

Bush, who had been in Nevada for a speech to the American Legion's national convention, also called Stewart and, in a conversation that she said lasted about five minutes, expressed regret over her exclusion. She said she told the president about the Wiccan faith.

" 'I don't know whether you believe me or not, but I hope you know that this president would not dishonor a soldier,' " she said Bush told her. Bush Apologizes to Wiccan Soldier's Widow for Meeting Slip-Up

The Washington Post calls it a "slip-up," right in the headline, which is what I would call a "cover-up" by the media. Nobody in their right mind thinks this was a "slip-up," unless you mean by "slip-up" that he didn't anticipate that anybody would notice. This was the common case of our nation's leader discriminating on the basis of religion. If he had invited this widow to the meeting, there would have been no negative publicity, no newspaper would have said, "President Endorses Witchcraft In Meeting With Families." Instead, he chose -- didn't "slip up," chose -- to make the point that only some of those who sacrifice their lives for their country deserve recognition.

It was a bizarre thing for him to do, and it backfired on him. Can you recall any other time, ever, in his presidency that he has apologized for anything? Anything at all?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing at all.

September 01, 2007 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Bush has apologized 6 times so far.

2001 - February
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. President George W. Bush apologized personally Tuesday for the accidental sinking by a U.S. nuclear submarine of a Japanese fishing ship carrying high school students, the White House said.

2004 - May
WASHINGTON (FoxNews) — President Bush on Thursday apologized for the "humiliation" some Iraqi prisoners suffered at the hands of U.S. troops [at Abu Ghraib] as he said that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is safe in his job.,2933,119156,00.html

2006 - June
WASHINGTON (ABC News) The president was in a jovial mood during his Rose Garden press conference Wednesday, joshing with reporters, excited to aggressively defend the Iraq war in the midterm elections, optimistic about his recent trip to Baghdad.

Then he was told a reporter he playfully teased about wearing sunglasses during the press conference has a serious vision problem and is legally blind.

By the end of the day, the exchange had merited a presidential apology.

2006 July
(BBC) US President George Bush has apologised to Tony Blair over the use of Prestwick Airport to refuel planes carrying bombs to Israel, Mr Blair's spokesman says.

March 2007
WASHINGTON [AP] - President Bush apologized Friday for the shoddy conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and promised during a visit to the facility for war veterans that "we're going to fix the problem."

Critics questioned the timing of Bush's visit six weeks after poor conditions and neglect of veterans were exposed there.

August 2007
(Washington Post) President Bush has apologized to the widow of a Wiccan soldier after she was excluded from a Nevada meeting this week that the president held with the families of soldiers killed in combat.

It's interesting to note how the frequency of his apologies has increased as his poll number have plummeted. But Bush owes a lot more apologies than those. Here's a partial list of the things Bush is responsible for that he has not yet apologized for:

- lying in the lead up the the Iraq invasion

- declassifying secret documents in an effort to undermine Ambassador Joseph Wilson and allowing the cover of his undercover CIA wife, Valerie Plame, to be blown

- forcing the Surgeon General to insert political PR into scientific reports three times on each page

- having his politcal hacks alter scientific reports to downplay incovenient truths

- playing air guitar at a GOP fundraiser in San Diego while 1500 gulf coast residents died or waited to be rescued from their rooftops after Hurricane Katrina struck

- the obscene profits of US oil companies while the price of gasoline has risen from $1.50 in January 2001 to $2.92 in August 2007

- reneging on his campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide emissions

- stifling Americans' freedom of assembly, speech, and expression by barring protestors from public events

- politicizing federal agencies that are supposed to remain non-partisan

September 02, 2007 9:11 AM  

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