I recently wrote about my puzzlement at what those attending the "Restoring Honor" rally thought had dishonored America. In response, "Whit" cited President Obama's "apology tour." The so-called apology tour is a good example of my puzzlement about what it is that Glenn Beck and followers are afraid of.
Human Events magazine, no friend of President Obama's, listed what they thought were the top ten "apologies" made by the president. The president said that the United States has, at times, acted unilaterally and arrogantly in relation to Europe and Latin America. This seems to me obviously true. This does not constitute apologizing to thugs, as Whit contended. Likewise, his offer to "communicate with the Muslim world" is a good thing, and allowing that we have not been perfect is also obviously true.
All of the apologies listed by Human Events sound to me true and helpful in establishing just and sensible relations with the rest of the world.
What I do think hurt America's honor were torture, imprisonment without charge or counsel, and unilateral force without even attempting to work with our allies. The Bush administration took the huge good will that the United States had around the world after 9/11, and turned it into shame by these practices.
And then, incomprehensibly, President Bush could not think of a single mistake his administration had made.
Every person and every government makes mistakes. Acting arrogantly destroys just relations with others, even our allies. Trying to talk to opponents is a necessary foundation for reducing conflict and for any chance of helping them improve. Admitting your mistakes, even admitting that you are capable of mistakes, is moral, true, and just common sense.