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Arthur Louis

Arthur Louis
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I was a writer and editor for more than forty years with four newspaper and magazine publishers. I am the author of two non-fiction books: "The Tycoons" and "Journalism and Other Atrocities," and one novel, "The Little Champ," all available on Amazon.com

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Salon.com
FEBRUARY 24, 2012 2:05AM

More Apologies from Mr. Obama

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President Obama, who previously distinguished himself as the first President to apologize to other nations for the behavior of the United States, came out with a  new set of apologies today. Obama promised that he eventually intends to apologize to all 195 or so nations in the world, but that there has been a hitch in his plans. It seems that White House staffers assigned to gather information to substantiate Mr. Obama’s apologies have not yet been able to find any reasons to apologize to Andorra, Barbados, Kiribati, Monaco and Saint Lucia.

He added, however, that it is “only a matter of time” until the researchers detect “some form of colonial abuse” formerly imposed upon these nations by the United States.

Today, Mr. Obama apologized to several of the leading nations of the world: France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

“We apologize to France for meddling in their foreign affairs during the period from 1941 to 1945,” he said. “Starting in 1940, France was living peacefully under the leadership of the Vichy government, in partnership with France’s traditional ally, Germany. This governmental structure had almost universal support among the French  people. The American government refused to leave well enough alone, and after a long period of bellicose preparation it invaded the southern shores of France on June 6, 1944. I cannot fathom the motive for this violation of a great nation’s sovereignty. Perhaps it was done to bolster the  international tourism industry, which had been suffering from something of a slump during that period. As was often the case, our government placed the welfare of business interests ahead of the rights of a free people.”

Mr. Obama also offered what he described as a “joint apology” to Germany, Italy and Japan. All these apologies were based on the “rogue behavior” of the United States during roughly the same period that the nation was interfering with the sovereignty of France.

“Germany suffered considerable vandalism from members of the U.S. Armed Services during the 1940s,” Mr. Obama recalled. "Many important buildings within the German borders were destroyed, and although I was not born until long after that time, I have been given to understand that some American military personnel actually killed some members of the German military. This would seem to be an inexcusable offense against a sovereign nation on its own soil.”  Mr. Obama said that some of his advisers informed him that Russia should be held to account for much the same trangressions, but he said he did not care to raise this issue, because he wants to preserve America’s excellent relationship with the Putin government.

Mr. Obama’s apology to Italy followed along much the same lines as his apology to Germany.

As for Japan, Mr. Obama acknowledged that that country must bear part of the blame for the hostilities of the forties, because it conducted “a misguided training exercise” over the Island of Oahu that was “misrepresented, and used as a pretext for retaliation” by American war mongers. “We probably deserved to have thousands of servicemen blown to smithereens by Japanese forces in a single day,” Obama said.  “We are still working to uncover why it is that we deserved that.”

Mr. Obama drew parallels between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. Both were “inevitable” attacks by people who seemed to have legitimate gripes against America, he observed.

“In both cases, our impulsive leaders retaliated against people who held the moral high ground,” he said. There was nothing that he could do, except apologize, in the case of Japan, he pointed out. But from his position of power today he can “rectify our injustices to Afghanistan,” by reaching out to the Taliban, “who bore the brunt of America’s vengeful actions,” even though they “were loved by the Afghan people quite as much as the French people loved Vichy.”

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What a wonderful post! It proves that hyperbole is a powerful literary device to make important points.
Thanks, Gordon. I enjoyed writing it.
I wish that Bush and his crew would learn from the much better president and man and issue a raft of apologies to us, to the nations he offended, and to the families of the hundreds of thousands of people who are dead because of his failures as a man and as a president.
zumalicious, I dont think any world leader other than Obama apologizes for anything, and he usually apologizes for what other people did before him. I don't recall any apologies from Stalin or Hitler, or the modern Russian leaders, or the Chinese, or anyone... I am still waiting for an apology from al Qaeda.
Funny (or maybe not so funny) that when I input the sentence you quote: “Germany suffered considerable vandalism from members of the U.S. Armed Services during the 1940s,” into Google, I get only one hit, yours.

Did you learn that trick in journalism school or through your "illustrious" career in said profession?
mark, I suspect that you have failed to grasp that this is satire.
Sorry, I sure have.



I knew the first three paragraphs were, but when you started with quotations, I no longer was sure.
I think we DO owe an apology to Monaco for, admittedly without malice aforethought, foisting upon them the sweet and very pretty, but perhaps a bit dim, Grace Kelly who, delivered unto them the distinctly odd Caroline, Albert, and, strangest of all, Stephanie.

But then again, it did put the place back on the map.
B.,
Grace slipped away during the Eisenhower administration. I don't think JFK would have let her go; at least not right away.
Art, you are probably right. JFK would have held on to her. (Although JBK might have slipped her something in her drink.)

Ike, one hears, preferred women who drove better. (Ouch!)
When I worked in Philadelphia, Grace's brother, a onetime Olympic champion, used to patronize a restaurant where I took my dinner breaks. The women customers seemed to appreciate this.

I seem to recall that the esteemed Princess Caroline was the driver when Grace was killed.
Given that two more allied forces have been gunned down post-apology, I think it's fair to say that Obama has once again charmed the birds right back into the trees.
Gordon,
Secretary Panetta says that murders of our people are "unacceptable," almost as bad as burning the Koran, so that ought to put an end to it.
Art, it was Stephanie in the car, but, so it is said, Grace driving. She was rather infamous for her bad driving - at least so I've read, but did have a stroke which led to the accident.

I know I'm right about Stephanie being the "esteemed" "princess" in the car. And I'm ashamed that I actually know this BS.

My joke about Ike was in reference to his "alleged" affair with his British driver, a former model, during his WWII England days.
Yes, there is an anecdote about how the other Army wives pointedly shunned the British driver, but Mamie Eisenhower told them to accept her because what was good for Ike was good for the war effort.
But, apparently Mamie's "openness" didn't last past the war.
I guess the fact that you had to invent apologies says something about the reality here. The reality is that the idea that Obama apologizes for America is a myth that conservatives like to tell themselves so they have one more imaginary reason to nurture their irrational hatred of our excellent and admirable President. Four more years of Obama! Isn't it great having an intelligent, thoughtful, articulate, calm, deliberative, pragmatic, insightful leader in the White House? The Obama Presidency has been the blessed healing for the miserable shameful pain of Bush.
Jeff,
Bush is not on the ticket this year, nor was he last time. What we will have on the ticket is the real Barack Obama, not the phony who represented himself in '08 as a healer and conciliator. He now stands revealed as a demagogue, a class divider and, especially in fiscal matters, a failure. He has been worse than Bush could ever dream of being. I am hoping that enough people who voted for him have come to realize that they were duped. I was one of them.
"He now stands revealed as a demagogue, a class divider and, especially in fiscal matters, a failure."

Arthur, I can't think of one thing Obama has done or said that could justify any one of these claims. I suspect you may have been duped by the anti-Obama propaganda of the right-wing.
Jeff,
I don't need any propaganda to draw my conclusions. I do it on my own. How do you reach yours?
Arthur,

Should President Obama congratulate Staff Sgt. Robert Bales?
Kanuk,
No, but I can picture him apologizing to all those treacherous Afghan military who have been assassinating our servicemen. "Gentlemen, we are deeply sorry that our military personnel have been rude enough to get in the way when you were innocently attempting to take target practice."
"Gentlemen, we are deeply sorry that our military personnel have been rude enough to get in the way when you were innocently attempting to take target practice."

Everyone knows, except you it seems, this won’t happen.

Getting back to the actual event: since Robert Bales should not be congratulated for his actions, what should Obama (or any senior US official) do instead? Remain silent?
Kanuk, What Bales evidently did is too horrible to brush off with an apology. An apology from Bales wouldn't mean much to the families of the victims, and an apology from Obama won't satisfy them either. Furthermore, an apology from Obama (already given) would seem almost perfunctory, because he didn't order any such military conduct, and because the vast majority of the U.S. military would never do such a thing. Apologies in this case are beside the point. There is no redressing such wrongs.
The bottom line is that, although it won’t do much for the victims’ family in this case, sometimes it is the right thing to do and there is nothing wrong to apologize for yours or someone else fault or failing (even when the other party is not returning the favor in similar circumstances).

Apology: a verbal or written expression of regret or contrition for a fault or failing. I emphasize the word “failing” for the case above.