From President Obama’s speech on drones and national security today:
“It is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in all wars. For the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, these deaths will haunt us as long as we live…
Let us remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians, and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes…”
He feels pretty bad about it, but really the terrorists should feel worse.
So, there’s that.
My own sense is that he didn’t actually apologize at all, though he expects people to take what he said as an apology. What he actually said was:
I do not hide behind flowery language I do not pull my punches ah, when I’m passionate about something it comes out on the air, it’s real and it will always be that way …. What I said Friday was an emotional predecessor to a thought which can and will find a more refined expression by me and others in the future, I guarantee you. But this isn’t a newspaper or a magazine and we don’t filter our views or commentary before we say it, it is radio, it’s immediate, it can be emotional both in its immediate expression as well as its response. It’s unrealistic, I think, to expect a compete filter for anybody doing live media …. Um, but there are those who would silence the opposition in their desire to have their way, majority rule not withstanding. We all have the right to express our opinions on any subject.
So, yeah, not an apology.
Instead, he made it seem like critics of his ridiculous and offensive remarks were attempting to stifle his freedom of speech, he promised his listeners that they’d continue to get the unvarnished “truth” from him in the future, and he made clear that he’ll continue to explore the idea that led him to want to tell the Newtown shooting victims and co-victims to “go to hell.”
County Commissioner Jim Gile of Saline County, Kansas, apologizing for using the term “n*gger-rigging.” Gile said he meant “jury-rigged.”
In his apology, “Gile said he also has a close friend whom he regards as a sister who is black,” the Salina Journal reported. “‘I don’t ever do anything bad and don’t know how to do anything bad. People know I am not,’ he said.”
That second part of the quote … well … it pretty much works to negate the first part of the quote.
But most importantly, from the perspective of those who care about terrible apologies, it’s noteworthy that Gile said in his apology that he meant to say “jury-rigged”: “I had it (jury-rigged) on my brain and this came out.” But when he was asked in the moment to repeat what he’d said, his reply was “Afro-Americanized.”
So, yeah, Gile was thinking something racist, then he said something really racist, and then he lied about what he meant to say when he “apologized.”