May 07, 2004


The NYTís Tom Friedman urges George W. Bush to make the worldís most humiliating apology:

Mr. Bush needs to invite to Camp David the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the heads of both NATO and the U.N., and the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria. There, he needs to eat crow, apologize for his mistakes and make clear that he is turning a new page.

Sure thing, Friedman. I bet the Presidentís speechwriters are working on a draft right now:

ĒTo the planetís assembled corrupt nations and institutions, what else can I say but this: I am sorry. I am sorry, Syria, for distracting you from your wonderful torturing and killing and obliteration of elemental freedoms. Egypt -- my heart aches for the concerns you must have had for the prisoners in Abu Ghraib, cruelly denied the electric shocks you routinely administer in your own country. The traditions of liberty in Jordan are likewise affronted by our inexcusable behaviour. Who knows how many schoolgirls have escaped burning buildings in Saudi Arabia while that beautiful nation has wrung its hands over Americaís evil? And to the United Nations, bravely shaping a wealthy future for many previously impoverished UN officials, I also say: I am sorry.Ē

Itís not going to happen. Bush has more important people to speak to.

(Via reader Joel G.)

UPDATE. Jeff Jarvis has little time for Friedmanís idea.

UPDATE II. Hey, letís get Bush to apologise to Sudan as well. I donít know what for, but Friedman will think of something.

UPDATE III. George W. Bush's prisoner apology has won global applause, as Iowahawk reports:

The apology also prompted an outbreak of gratitude in the Arab street, as hundreds of thousands of Muslims took to the streets Friday in an impromptu demonstration of thanks. In Gaza, a cheering crowd estimated at 30,000 waved American flags and banners reading "No Prablem Bosh" [sic], while in Damascus throngs gathered in the Square of the Martyrs chanting "U-S-A, U-S-A".

Also from Iowahawk: the controversial film that Disney refuses to distribute. (Scroll down a couple of posts.)

UPDATE IV. Senator Joe Biden wants some top-level resignations over the Abu Ghraib prison debacle:

Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., a key Democratic supporter of President Bush's decision to wage war onIraq, said the president must demonstrate that he understands the "nature of the damage" caused by the abuse incident by "determining who is responsible, no matter how far up the chain of command this goes."

Once those people are identified, Biden said, Bush must "demand the resignations for whoever is involved in this policy, and that includes Lord God Almighty himself. It includes anybody involved."

Contributor J.F. Beck writes: ďAn omniscient God would have known about the abuses and surely must resign. But, an omnipotent God canít resign because he all powerful. Maybe God should smite Biden and be done with it.Ē

Posted by Tim Blair at May 7, 2004 03:18 PM

Powerful contrast Tim.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 7, 2004 at 03:23 PM

Not good enough. Seppuku is required.

Posted by: gnotalex at May 7, 2004 at 03:24 PM

Not good enough. Seppuku is required.

I agree. But how are we going to get Friedman to do it?

(Thank you, I'll be here all week.)

Posted by: Angie Schultz at May 7, 2004 at 03:28 PM

Text of Bush's speech follows:


Anybody got anything new on Brandon Mayfield, the convert to Islam lawyer from Oregon, implicated in Madrid bombings?

Posted by: Timothy Lang at May 7, 2004 at 03:53 PM

Let us not overlook apologizing to the Security Council, with two permanent members, Russia and China, that are between them responsible for the deliberate murder of almost a hundred million of their own citizens over the past century. And some delightful prisons, to boot.

Posted by: tbrosz at May 7, 2004 at 04:03 PM

That photo's just won Bush two more states.

Posted by: slatts at May 7, 2004 at 04:09 PM

Tim, you left out the part where Bush is supposed to acknowledge that "we're losing" in Iraq. This will come as a surprise to people in Iraq, not least the still-living yet cowering members of the Mahdi Army, and whatever doomed surrounded losers sweat out their final weeks in a corner of Fallujah.

His drivel is a striking reminder of how vapid, clueless, and uninformed the "elite" opposition has become.

Posted by: IceCold at May 7, 2004 at 04:29 PM

Dubya's best response: same as before -- "Wanted, dead or alive." Do not allow some simpering hair band from NJ to insinuate itself in your head at this point. Just the Boss' famous words... "Dead or alive."

Posted by: geezer at May 7, 2004 at 04:34 PM

That photo's just won Bush two more states.

Slatts, I think its pretty safe to say that the photo-story you mentioned will not get a run on either the BBC or the ABC

Posted by: nic at May 7, 2004 at 04:58 PM

That this "journalist" is demanding that Bush grovel at the feet of slimeball Arab dictators should come as no surprise; Friedman is a shill for the House of Saud, bought and paid for.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at May 7, 2004 at 05:10 PM

Bush won Iraq's vote.

My favorite -"Who reads the reactions of Iraqis will see how surprised they're by the way the Americans can prove that years of Saddam's rule and of his anti-American propaganda can be washed out by time; here we have the president of the greatest nation on earth apologizes for what a small group of pervert soldiers did. And here, the American press proves that it's free to show the truth. We lived with similar pictures for years until they became the basics of every prison's daily life and we never heard an Arabic paper point them out. These are lessons from the western culture entering the hearts of Arabs, whether the Arab leaders liked or not".
Sa'eed - Diwaniyah/Iraq.

Posted by: Papertiger at May 7, 2004 at 05:22 PM

Can I post yet?

Posted by: Quentin George at May 7, 2004 at 05:51 PM

Woohoo! For those who don't know, I was accidently banned by Andrea during the Peter Singer-bestiality discussion. I didn't really say anything, I expect I was banned with some of the tools in that discussion thread because I share an IP.

Don't worry Andrea, I forgive you...


Posted by: Quentin George at May 7, 2004 at 05:52 PM

The grounds for an "apology" of this sort from Bush are even flimsier for the grounds for an apology from John Howard for nineteenth century British policy.

That said, I'm impressed Bush took the step to appear on Arab Tv to speak directly to the people of Iraq.

That shows a far better moral compass than the likes of many of his critics...

Posted by: Quentin George at May 7, 2004 at 05:54 PM


Gotta disagree with you. I am absolutely opposed to any current political leader in Australia apologising for things done in relation to the colonisation of Australia and dragging a stoneage society into modern society.

George Bush, however is the head honcho of the military in the US, and in the military responsibility and loyalty both run up and down the chain of command. So, in this instance of the mistreatment of prisoners, it is correct for the POTUS to say "sorry, it was wrong, we will fix it and justice will be done" is the right thing to do.

I think that what he has done now is enough. This Friedman guy is a dickhead and needs to get a grip.

Hopefully, something good will come of this in that the Iraqi people and the Arab world in general will see that while democracy isn't perfect, the checks and balances make it a shit load better than being held hostage by moustache loving fruitcakes.

Posted by: Razor at May 7, 2004 at 06:11 PM

nic: no chance of the story on ABC. None.

Quentin, Razor: I agree about Bush appearing on Arabic TV. That was a class act. The vast majority of people who saw him will know full well that what happened was no reflection of actual policy but just the excessive, moronic behaviour of tossers. Watch, though, as the media continue to speak of the 'continuing controversy', 'continuing crisis' (apologies, Tim), 'growing calls for...' etc, etc.

I watched Bush after 9/11. From the speech he gave at the first memorial service in Washington, to his demeanor amongst workmen at Ground Zero, to the first post 9/11 address to Congress, not to mention his sincerity in numerous other forums, I could see that he has what it takes.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 7, 2004 at 06:15 PM

Fair enough, Razor. I see your point.

Posted by: Quentin George at May 7, 2004 at 06:15 PM

"This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9-11."
Bush stopped and turned back.

"He changed from being the leader of the free world to being a father, a husband and a man," Faulkner said. "He looked right at her and said, 'How are you doing?' He reached out with his hand and pulled her into his chest."

I hope every paper/media outlet in the western world runs this article

And the blog comments at iraqthemodel are heartning to, good to see the US still commands substantial support in Iraq.

Again, i wish the western media would let people know about this, but then that would hurt their heroe's the Democrats/ALP chances of ever getting elected again wouldn't it?

Posted by: RhikoR at May 7, 2004 at 06:21 PM

Consider this: Friedman is the third most sensible member of the NYT's op-ed panel, after Brook and Safire. He can be quite sound, but every now and again he books a flight to Cloud Cuckoo Land and phones in a stinker like this one. But all the rest of them are consistently worse. Yeesh.

Posted by: David Gillies at May 7, 2004 at 06:23 PM

Timothy Land,

About the terror suspect arrested in the US:

KVAL 13 News Portland, Oregon: FBI agents arrested a Portland lawyer Thursday as part of the investigation into the deadly train bombings in Spain, federal officials said.

Brandon Mayfield, a U.S. citizen, was taken into custody on a material witness warrant, said a senior law enforcement official in Washington D.C., speaking on condition of anonymity. The arrest is the first known in the United States with connections to the March 11 bombings in Madrid.

The FBI also searched Mayfield's home...

...Mayfield's fingerprints were found on materials related to the Madrid bombings...

There you go Timothy.

Peace and Freedom for an Independent Iraq!

Posted by: Zayphar at May 7, 2004 at 06:39 PM

Bush to the UN and associated Arab states:

"go fuck yourselves"

Posted by: steve at May 7, 2004 at 07:00 PM

Between Ashley Faulkner and Jessica Lynch's family, who says President Bush isn't concerned about the inhabitants of Lebanon and Palestine?

Posted by: Uncle Milk at May 7, 2004 at 07:30 PM

The mindblowing hypocrisy of the reporting of the abuse highlights the sickness that not only engulfs the arab world but the western press too.
Arafat refused to whisper any regret for this..

No this is not even worthy of an extended news item from the ABC or SBS.
SHAME ON YOU for your lack of humanity adn concentrating only on Bush Blair and howard bashing.

Posted by: DAVO at May 7, 2004 at 08:00 PM

The people on this blog aren't coming to terms with the fact that something quite hideous has emerged in the last week.
We(western civilization)have been betrayed by a handful of morons who were left in a position of trust by their lax superiors. George Bush, to his undying credit, has acknowledged this, but I'm sensing a state of denial on this site.
What do we do do now? Start another thread about cars, when we can all stand around the water-cooler trying to out-macho each other?

Posted by: david at May 7, 2004 at 08:13 PM

Quentin, I already told you that I didn't "accidentally" ban you -- you were banned because one of your IP addresses was the same as the troll who called himself "fatfingers," and I asked for an explanation before releasing that particular IP address. I told you once in the comments to the same post on my blog where you first asked me the question (even though my email address is displayed prominently on my website) and then I sent an email to your email address -- which I see you aren't using in these comments here.

Now I was sure there was a simple explanation, something having to do with using the computer from a public place or some such. I gave you the benefit of the doubt. But you never replied to me. I began to have other suspicions -- I think you can guess what they are. Now kindly reply to me, either here or at, as I originally asked you to, or I will this time deliberately ban your IP.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 7, 2004 at 08:23 PM

As for you, david -- shut up. Or better yet -- get your own blog and whinge there.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 7, 2004 at 08:24 PM

I can see the stories now - Bush hugs inflatable teen? Come on now, the collective turkey journalists will be falling all over themselves to try to claim this as a set-up.

The real question is how will Kerry respond. My bet is that he will find a Vietnamese girl to hug and pin one of his ribbons, er medals, er some other guy's medals on her.

As for thomas Friedman, he must be the Jekyll and Hyde of foreign policy opinion - I've never seen such crap in so few sentences, since the last Kingston or Dowd column that is.

Posted by: Adam Indikt at May 7, 2004 at 08:54 PM

Bush should invite them to Camp David. And then tell them they are next. I'm sorry, but how many of those prisoners are former Baathists, rapists, secret police or other forms of Sadaam scum? Part of me is disgusted by what I see in those photographs, but there's another part. A part that puts a small glint in my eye to see these "prisoners,"who are most likely war criminals, getting forced to look like a pack of idiots in front of a camera. Payback, and poetic justice, comes in the strangest of ways at times.

Posted by: JohnFNWayne at May 7, 2004 at 09:38 PM

Daniel Henninger in today's WSJ ('America's Missing Voice', 7 May) provides some context for the 'atrocity' of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib:

"The news out of Turkey last week was of an Islamic father who ritually strangled his daughter with wire because kidnappers had raped her. And most Arabs under 30 recall that in the early 1980s Syria's Hafez al-Assad, after an assassination attempt, murdered 1,000 Islamic inmates at Tadmur Military Prison. The vagaries of life with dictatorships in Iraq, Iran, Syria, et al., may have left the average Muslim with a better understanding of 'atrocity' than the Appalled Pundits Society in America."

Now there's talk of impeaching Donald Rumsfeld. You know the drill: 'what did he know and when did he know it...' This by the people who loved rapist and serial sexual harrassment law-breaker Clinton.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 7, 2004 at 09:56 PM

The last remaining reason given to the world for invading (after WMD's, Al Queida, 9/11, etcetera were seen to be false)was that the Iraqi people have been mistreated by their rulers. The US and it's allies were to liberate them, give them freedom, justice and liberty. ie we care so much that we're going to spend Jillions and sacrifice our own people for, you - because it's morally the right thing to do. All bunkum of course. However, this "smoking gun" of abuse while trivial has questioned the moral high horse George rode in on.

Posted by: carlos at May 7, 2004 at 10:02 PM

G'day carlos,

Some Americans committed a series of crimes that were already being investigated before the press hysteria. Your analysis is faulty, your ideas banal and your time (and ours) wasted.

Posted by: Russell at May 7, 2004 at 10:08 PM

carlos seems to think that W was in there with the prisoners, egging the guards on.

If anything, this whole episode should point out that even though we're doing our best, we're only human -- we make mistakes. Saddam's men, on the other hand, prided themselves on these kinds of actions.

Posted by: the real david at May 7, 2004 at 10:42 PM

Face it guys - the US occupation in Iraq has been damaged bigtime. POTUS HAS apologised already to the King of Jordan. He said so himself on Thursday.

Answer that you idiots.

Posted by: rhactive at May 7, 2004 at 11:53 PM

Thanks for the hat tip Tim. Friedman has gone off the deep end lately. Maybe he has been spending too much time with Maureen Dowd.

Posted by: Joel at May 8, 2004 at 12:19 AM


You fucking moron. Friedman is demanding a different sort of apology completely.

Maybe if you actually read some of the things that are posted here...

Posted by: the real david at May 8, 2004 at 12:32 AM

Those pictures weren't so bad.

What's with the Muslim "deep shame" about being nekkid in front of another Muslim anyway?

Is it the same reason adolescent boys don't want to take showers in Gym class?

You know it's the littlest one in the room.

no sympathy from the good doctor.

Posted by: Doc at May 8, 2004 at 12:33 AM

rhactive, the US took damage, ain't no one arguing that point. But it's not "bigtime", except in the eyes of those that want failure in Iraq. Those people have small minds as well. Yes, I do mean you.

Doc: You are babbling. Those photos were degrading and humilating to anyone. What those soldiers did was wrong, period.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 8, 2004 at 12:51 AM

Slightly OT, from the link provided by Zayphar, at the bottom of the article:

"Mayfield had attempted to have Battle's son, who went by the Muslim name Esau in Portland, placed in the custody of an uncle who had also converted to Islam, rather than with his mother and Battle's former wife, Angela Rowden of Houston. Rowden was awarded custody of the boy, who now goes by the name Geoffrey"

Small victories, my friends. The chance of young Geoffrey growing up to become a mass murderer just shrank a lot.

Posted by: Carl in N.H. at May 8, 2004 at 03:05 AM

Why is it carlos and rhactive crow so much over each and every instance of a human fault showing up in any of the Western forces? Are they not Western in origin themselves? Or are they Nietzche's (sp--I cannot be bothered to google for the spelling) Supermen, untrammeled by common humanity's faults and virtues?

Posted by: ushie at May 8, 2004 at 03:49 AM

Naw, ushie, they're not supermen, by any definition! It's just that carlos and rhactive hate themselves, and are stupid enough to take that self-hate out on the very civilization that lets them dance naked in front of the world.

There's a certain irony with this situation.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 8, 2004 at 04:19 AM

At least they are good at something!

Posted by: JEM at May 8, 2004 at 04:27 AM

POTUS G. W. should apologize for ending the practice of chattel slavery in the U.S.A. one hundred and thirty-nine years ago and therefore impoverishing the Muslim world by destroying the market for Islams chief export, African (sub-saharan) slaves.

Posted by: Tom at May 8, 2004 at 07:21 AM

I think what most everyone is forgetting (especially trolls) is that these guys they were picking on were fedayeen and republican guard. These weren't innocent Iraqi's off the street. This was the enemy, and a pretty brutal one at that. I'm not saying I condone such foolish behaviour, but don't make martyr's out of some pretty unsavory company. Also, when you take 150,000 20 something's, send them to the other side of the world with guns, a few "stupid" things are bound to happen. It was bad that it happened, but it was also inevitable. Bush apologized, the moron's will be punished, life goes on...for smart people. The other's gnash teeth and howl at the moon.

Posted by: Nick at May 8, 2004 at 08:26 AM

Ooops sorry Andrea,I thought my post didn't work at your blog, so I just waited.

And I'm having real trouble with my email.


Posted by: Quentin George at May 8, 2004 at 09:20 AM

I could be on the same ISP as fatfingers. Trust me, there is no way me and he are the same. You can't imitate that sort of stupidity.

Posted by: Quentin George at May 8, 2004 at 09:22 AM

From the latest Opinion Journal:

"The House of Reps passed a nonbinding resolution yesterday "deploring the abuse of persons in United States custody in Iraq." The vote in favor was only 365-50. Of the 50 'no' votes, one came from Rep. Ron Paul, an eccentric libertarian Republican from Texas
"The other 49 were all from Democrats [emphasis added], and by our quick scan almost all of them come from the left-wing fringe of the party, such as John Conyers, Barney Frank, Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, Nancy Pelosi, Charles Rangel, Pete Stark, Maxine Waters. Are these folks in favor of abusing Iraqi prisoners?"

No. What they objected to was the resolution's expression of "deep appreciation of the Nation to the courageous and honorable members of the Armed Forces who have selflessly served, or are currently serving, in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and for other purposes." They also wanted the resolution to outline a plan for a congressional investigation. Gee, I wonder why in an election year.

After playing commission-hearing politics with the tragedy of 9/11, they now want to do the same with something so grave and serious as 'torture.'

Two words: Crocodile Tears. Strike that: Bull. Shit.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 8, 2004 at 12:25 PM

CurrencyLad, two more words: "Useful Idiots"

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 8, 2004 at 12:41 PM

The Real JeffS: Roger that.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 8, 2004 at 01:03 PM

Quentin: got the email. Go ahead and post.

Real JeffS: "It's just that carlos and rhactive hate themselves" --oh, I don't know; I think carlos and rhetard think very well of themselves. It's their fellow Western-European-descended beings that they despise.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 8, 2004 at 01:26 PM

Hmmmmmm.......good point, Andrea! But you have to wonder, if they hate their Western-European-descended beings so much, what do they think when they look in the mirror?

Cancel that question -- they can't see themselves in the mirror.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 8, 2004 at 01:42 PM

Further to those 49 rebel Democrats who voted against that resolution "deploring the abuse of persons in United States custody in Iraq."

From my local rag, this quote from John Kerry speaking in Colton, California:

"When I was in the Navy..." [who knew? etc]..."the captain of the boat was in charge and the captain always took responsibility.
"Today I have a message for the men and women of our armed forces...I will take responsibility for the bad as well as the good."

Looks like Captain Kerry's got a mutiny on his hands already. What authority!

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 8, 2004 at 03:36 PM

Andrea/Jeff: From the general theme of carlos' posts, the thing that he really seems to hate is Israel.

Posted by: Sortelli at May 8, 2004 at 05:47 PM

I expect that carlos has a special place in his black, flabby heart for Isreal. But he hates western civilization as well. He has to, or he wouldn't be posting those stupid comments.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at May 9, 2004 at 01:23 AM

Funny thing about Western civ--without it, we wouldn't have thought what had happened in that prison was abuse.

Posted by: ushie at May 9, 2004 at 03:47 AM