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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

BS Patrol

From the Washington Post:
The State Department official in charge of public diplomacy for the Middle East apologized Sunday for telling the Arabic language Al-Jazeera television station that the U.S. had displayed "arrogance and stupidity" in Iraq.

Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department, made the remarks in an interview that aired Saturday on the Qatar-based channel, which is carried by satellite and is closely watched in the Arab world.

...As wire service accounts of his remarks began to appear, the state department initially said that Fernandez had been misquoted.

On Sunday, the agency posted a comment from Fernandez on its Web site apologizing for the remarks. "Upon reading the transcript of my appearance on Al-Jazeera, I realized that I seriously misspoke by using the phrase 'there has been arrogance and stupidity' by the U.S. in Iraq," Fernandez said in the statement. "This represents neither my views nor those of the State Department. I apologize."

He misspoke? And his words don't represent his views?

I'm gonna try that one.

From now on, my official "state" policy is that I don't say anything wrong. I misspeak. Think about it. We can all be absolved of every stupid thing that comes out of our mouths or from the tips of our pens.

Sure, I spelled your name wrong, but it wasn't an error. I mis-wrote.

I know I called you Sally, and your name is actually Suzy. I didn't get it wrong though. I misspoke.

The funny thing is I'd have 20X more respect for this guy if he'd just admit that he spoke his mind and that he was apologizing because his comments were contrary to his employer's position on war policy.


  • I hate the term "misspoke." It's like spinelessly applying a verbal eraser. If you say it, own it. Take responsibility for it.

    By Blogger QofD, at 12:21 PM  

  • Finally! I can get out of trouble for calling out my wife's sister's name in my sleep instead of her own.

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 5:10 PM  

  • James,

    We'll give you a day or so to retract this post.

    By Blogger Matt, at 6:08 PM  

  • Huh? Why do I have to retract?

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 7:01 PM  

  • Oh, wait. I get it, I think. Sorry, I'm a little slow this afternoon (and lately). The whole thing's a "misspeak (joke)" so I'll have to take it back.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 7:05 PM  

  • I learned the lesson at the end of a belt: Better to "Man Up" and admit your mistakes than try to cover them up. You may get in trouble, but you keep your self respect (and you usually get in a little trouble now, as opposed to a whole lot of trouble later).

    By Anonymous og, at 12:03 PM  

  • JB, this is America, my friend. Wake up! Freedom means never having to say you're sorry. For those of us humans who have a God complex (thank you Umar Bin-Hassan), the very notion of an apology or acknowledgment of wrongdoing on our part would contradict our personal philosophy that we are God and therefore can do no wrong. For if God apologized, then he wouldn't be great and all powerful--he would be weak. Not the type of being who should control the universe.

    It is this spirit that the Bush Republicans and their ilk channel when making their remorse and atonement free non-apologies of "I misspoke" or "this new position is simply a refinement of my earlier views". The "media" let Charlie Crist get away with a complete flip-flop on restoration of civil rights to convicted felons without challenge (JB, you journalists have an obligation to the rest of us to risk wearing out your welcome by insisting on a straight answer to every question before letting a matter pass as resolved). Inconstancy is the hobgoblin of little minds and little arrogant minds can't conceive a world where they need to be sorry for anything. The soon-to-be ubiquitous Mark Foley/Mel Gibson/Ralph Arza line of "I was drunk at the time" when I offended you with my racist talk or made an inappropriate and very real play for your teenage son should be considered as affective as a simple apology to a mother of a child killed by a drunk driver is--NOT AT ALL. It sure would be nice to avoid criminal charges and jail for vehicular manslaughter with "I'm sorry I killed your daughter with my car. I don't know what I was doing. I must have been drunk at the time."

    If that excuse doesn't work for drunk drivers, we shouldn't let it work for disgraced public figures. Their drinking finally let the rest of us find out who they really are and what they really think--liquor does bring out the real you and anyone who says different is completely stupid.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 3:00 PM  

  • You know, James, for a while there I thought I'd found a truthful American politician! Hah!

    Besides - why just in Iraq?

    *takes off 'utterly tactless' boots & runs away!*

    By Anonymous bronchitikat, at 5:50 AM  

  • You know, Og, it's a pity more people didn't learn that lesson.

    I tried to teach our two, though without the belt.

    By Anonymous bronchitikat, at 5:52 AM  

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