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Sometimes Sorry Just Isn't Enough

Via the Associated Press:

A senior U.S. diplomat apologized Sunday night for saying U.S. policy in Iraq displayed "arrogance" and "stupidity."

A day after his remarks in an interview were broadcast by the pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera, Alberto Fernandez issued a written apology through the State Department press office.

"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," said Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in State's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

"This represents neither my views nor those of the State Department," Fernandez added. "I apologize."

U.S. officials had sought to play down Fernandez' assessment of the security situation in Iraq.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters Saturday that Fernandez said after the broadcast he didn't think reports of his comments were an "accurate reflection of what he said." Asked whether the Bush administration believed that history will show a record of arrogance or stupidity in Iraq, McCormack replied, "No."

Fernandez spoke in fluent Arabic in the interview, which Al-Jazeera said was taped in Washington on Friday. His remarks were translated into English by The Associated Press.

I agree with Michelle Malkin that "it was where and how he chose to criticize Iraq policy--in Arabic on the terrorist propaganda network, al Jazeera, right after a terrorist spokesman called on jihadis to bring America to its knees" that makes "sorry" insufficient.

Saying "sorry" just doesn't cut it. We don't need "diplomacy" like this in the State Department. I can't help but wonder if Mr. Fernandez thought no one back home would find out about his comments since he made them in Arabic.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Sometimes Sorry Just Isn't Enough:

» Mark's Views, Perhaps linked with Not Just Any Tap

» Gulf Coast Pundit linked with Too Little Too Late

Comments (42)

Every time I turn around I ... (Below threshold)

Every time I turn around I stumble across someone like this bozo in the State Department. Where do we get them? I'm now starting to understand why Stalin had his "purges". It does cleanse the bureaucracy.

This guy should be fired at... (Below threshold)

This guy should be fired at once, and the US should pick through everything that this person has done with an eye towward presecuting him.

And if the GOP and President had had any guts, they would have "reorganized" the State Department by legislative mandate, setting aside the usual protections on federal jobs and allowing the White House a one-time review of the top 1000 jobs at the State Department with the goal of sacking 90% of them. In the last several years we've seen a bunch of unelected twits in the State Department try to run foreign policy instead of the President. When they can't get their way they actively undermine US policy, and seniority protects their jobs no matter what. Firing these people should have been done years ago. And those they leaked information should be prosecuted. It is a just punishment, a warning to others, and essential for an elected official to make policy.

President Lincoln once said his horse caught his own hind hoof in the stirrup. He said, "If you're getting on then I'm getting off." US foreign policy can't be run by committee, particularly by a committee of people who aren't accountable for their actions.

Purge? Nah, if he's fluent... (Below threshold)

Purge? Nah, if he's fluent in Arabic send him over to NSA to do translations. 'From each according to his ability...' Clearly State Dept. diplomacy isn't his bailiwick and we need more translators...

Whaddya expct from a Klinto... (Below threshold)

Whaddya expct from a Klinton appointee?

Ever notice every time a lib gets caught screwing up,(i.e. Uncle Harry) they think an ooops, Im sory is sufficient?

ALL measures should be taken to fire this guy, and terminate all benefits if possible.

Hopefully Fernandez is prot... (Below threshold)

Hopefully Fernandez is protected by the federal whistleblower statutes.

After all, all he did was tell the truth.

I almost want the Democrats... (Below threshold)

I almost want the Democrats to have office just to see people like Lee do 180's on mid-level bureaucrat leakers.

Actually, the truth has not... (Below threshold)

Actually, the truth has nothing to do with it. What he said is an opinion. Is the left at that point now that they are not able to tell the difference? Agreeing with an opinion does not change it from opinion to fact.

Baggi,The left has... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:


The left has ALWAYS confused opinion with fact.

Leelee is just a good example.

Lorie , How come when its t... (Below threshold)
Mark Blahut:

Lorie , How come when its the truth , you seem to be upset . What was said is TRUE . You are a very odd girl . You believe the bullshit and not the truth .
This is why you will loose the house and senate.

jpm100,The problem... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:


The problem with that is that the same mid-level bureaucrats who are doing the leaking now are loyal to the leftists and would never leak against them no matter how bad they are [email protected]#%ing up.

Now that we know that the P... (Below threshold)

Now that we know that the President was only kidding when the stated administration's policy was "stay the course", you can't blame an administration's spokesmen for tell the truth.

Gee Barney, He is not a spo... (Below threshold)

Gee Barney, He is not a spokesman for the administration, As it turns out Hes a spokesman for Al Jazeera and knows not the truth.

If he is a man he will resi... (Below threshold)

If he is a man he will resign today. If he is a left wing democ'rat he'll keep making weasel excuses for his failure. We'll know what he is by midnight.

In the words of t... (Below threshold)
Black Elk:

In the words of the Donald"Your Fired"!!!

this was not an accident. ... (Below threshold)

this was not an accident. it was merely another in the endless series of attempts by democrat partisans within the administration to influence the 2006 mid-terms. once again it comes at the cost of american safety and security. it's treason and he should be treated as a traitor. i believe the term is unlawful enemy combatant.

With "diplomats" like this ... (Below threshold)

With "diplomats" like this sorry dude, we don't need foreign enemies - the worst of them are home grown!

What kind of brainless twit would think that giving an interview to Al Jazeera would somehow be a good thing?

Time for this idiot to take a nice lonnnnnnnnnng vacation - as in permanently!

To old "pucker puss" (lee l... (Below threshold)

To old "pucker puss" (lee lee): you just showed your true colors--a lowlife frigging America hating brainless traitor. (stick that up your ass-the one under your nose)

Lee ... (Below threshold)

Lee "Hopefully fernandez is protected by the federal whistleblower statutes.

After all, all He did was tell the truth."

Hopefully You will stop posting on this blog.

After all, all You do is lie.

According to Tony Snow, at ... (Below threshold)

According to Tony Snow, at today's press briefing, "Stay the Course", left the wrong impression. So for the last 3 ½ years the President was just flat out wrong!

How do you righties feel no... (Below threshold)

How do you righties feel now that the President has admitted that "Stay the Course" was the wrong policy in Iraq?

Cut and Run can't be far behind.

You can't trust these "cut ... (Below threshold)

You can't trust these "cut and run" Republicans....

"Cut and run cant be far... (Below threshold)

"Cut and run cant be far behind?"

Your right, If the dems win next month it will be cut and run.

Actually,... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Actually, I agree, although few can argue that the Iraq situation is partly the result of "stupid" mistakes and let's face it "arrogance" a true diplomat should never say that out of context..especially to an organazation that tranmits all over the world.

He should simply be fired. Why has not he been fired?

Why fire Fernandez? Is he ... (Below threshold)

Why fire Fernandez? Is he saying anything that just about everyone at the State Department doesn't really believe? Why shitcan him and keep the rest of those loathsome clowns in business?



He appoligised becuase Toe ... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

He appoligised becuase Toe Jam and Crow dont taste all that great

Fernandez, Resign now! The ... (Below threshold)

Fernandez, Resign now! The U.N. has a job for You.

This is exactly the ... (Below threshold)

This is exactly the kind of criticism that is needed, in Arabic, coming from a State Dept. official.

Does anyone here actually believe that the USG hasn't fucked up in Iraq? You don't have to agree that it's totally fucked, but it's pure delusion to think that everything is hunkey dorey. Firing the entire Iraqi Army? Good move! Total de-Baathification? Good move!

Rumsfeld isn't arrogant? That'll be news to the hundreds who work with him directly in the Pentagon--or is that dozens?

To pretend, in public, that everything is copacetic in Iraq is to mark one as either deluded or a liar. Fernandez--with whom I've worked--is neither deluded nor a liar. Nor is he unpatriotic. Further, he clearly understands how to talk credibly with Arab media. Did anyone bother to see what else he had to say in the interview?

Knee-jerk reaction, waving the bloody shirt doesn't win the war of ideas. I'm really sorry that Wizbang has slipped into the side of unconscious flag waving. It used to be real.

People make a big deal abou... (Below threshold)

People make a big deal about W's 40 percent approval ratings, but of the 60 percent that disapproves, I would estimate that less than half is Democrats and liberals who generally would say Bush has gone too far. The other half of the disapproving population are conservatives who think he hasn't gone FAR ENOUGH. I DO hope those people are smart enough to go to the polls, hold their noses, and vote Republican anyway, as I'm going to do, but it's stories like this that depress turnout.

When Condi first arrived at State, I had high hopes of her cleaning house: Removing, or at least bringing to heel, the faction at Foggy Bottom and Langley, determined to thwart White House policy at every turn. This guy knew what he was saying, and, worse, he seems genuinely surprised that anybody at State would call him on it. This doesn't strike me as evidence that Condi runs a tight ship.

The thing that our usual tr... (Below threshold)

The thing that our usual troll-squad doesn't want to acknowledge is that the DoS is a part of the executive branch of government, charged with carrying out the President's foreign policy. Like it or not, that's their primary mission. Straying from or undermining the foreign policy articulated by the elected President (yes, I know, Bush stole the office, blah, blah) is an inherently dangerous situation, for obvious reasons. If you can't see the danger in that, then I pity you as I would the village idiot.

Sorry, couldn't resist the Kubrick quote...

The critics of Fernandez ar... (Below threshold)
Ken Hoop:

The critics of Fernandez are mostly irrelevant except for what they reveal about Bush/neocon true believers and their capacity to continue turning the world against us. Every poll taken
of Iraq citizens find the overwhelming majority
agree with the diplomat's admissions and in fact consider them understated.

Scrap..I never said Parents... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Scrap..I never said Parents had to read Piaget..just teachers...I know i don't have to explain what cognitive development is...

As for speaker...I am not convinced of the predicted Dem landslide..it is all about GOTV..however,; the only sure thing is it won't be Tom Delay..

I have respect for Condi..but Rummy and Cheney run the show as Powell found out...
What has screwed us is the State Dept. which is geared for diplomacy has been shunted under. To me, this has been Bush's greatest failure. He has allowed Cheney to be the man...

Straying from or undermi... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Straying from or undermining the foreign policy as articulated by the elected President .. is a dangerous situation, for obvious reasons... Yes indeed, I pity any official try to understand what our strategy or policy as articulated by Bush is in Iraq, or has been? let alone try to carry it out....By the way, why is Bush turning once again to reliable James Baker for cover?..Wasn't he a former Secretary of State?

You can't trus... (Below threshold)
You can't trust these "cut and run" Republicans....

Posted by: Lee at October 23, 2006 01:34 PM

Do you just make this crap up as you go or do you literally pull out of your ass?

If November was such a sure thing for you lefty trolls, there wouldn't be any need for you to keep spamming places like this with your zombie-like talking points or "wishful" thinking.

I know you're scared. You have the MSM behind you, trying to do whatever it takes to bring Bush and the GOP down, and yet there's a HUGE chance you won't even pick up more than a few seats here and there.

Steve, you're missing the p... (Below threshold)

Steve, you're missing the point. The question of whether the present Iraq policy is prudent or is clearly stated, or consistent is irrelevant to DoS's obligation to carry out that policy.

As to the Baker thing, so what? Presidents can call on pretty much anyone they want to provide advice. A change in foreign policy direction is still a Presidential decision, whether it's following a former SecState's recommendations, the latest poll numbers or their astrologer's tea leaf readings. It doesn't change DoS's obligation to follow the President's lead.

Uhhh not you, Steve of Norw... (Below threshold)

Uhhh not you, Steve of Norway. Just wanted to make that clear...

Why hasn't he been fired?</... (Below threshold)

Why hasn't he been fired?

Perhpas he hasn't been fire... (Below threshold)

Perhpas he hasn't been fired as he'll be offered up in an exchange, for say, hostages held by an islamic militant faction in Syria or Gaza or who knows where...

the bozo should be fired...... (Below threshold)

the bozo should be fired.... immediately. ....and then hung for treason.

You guys are so far behind ... (Below threshold)

You guys are so far behind your party's new talking points I'm surprised you haven't had your wingnut licenses revoked. Face it folks, Iraq is a mess!

In recent days:

- Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said she would not have supported the invasion had she known there were no weapons of mass destruction, and she has proposed splitting Iraq into three parts.

- Virginia Republican Sen. George Allen, in a difficult re-election battle with Democratic challenger James Webb, dropped his stay-the-course mantra to assert, ``We cannot continue doing the same things and expect different results. We have to adapt our operations, adapt our tactics.''

- Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., said in a debate last week with Democratic challenger Jon Tester that he agreed with Warner's call for a change in strategy - and believed Bush already had a plan to win the war but for now was keeping it quiet. That remark drew ridicule from Democrats who likened it to Richard Nixon's ``secret plan'' to end the war in Vietnam.

Also challenging Bush's Iraq policy have been former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Republican Sens. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, and several House Republicans.

I think we all need to take... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I think we all need to take a step back for a moment...What Fernandez said before his retraction, wasn't much different in tone , only a little more eloquently put, than what Tony Blair and George Bush admitted in their joint Wahington press conference in May, 26, 2006 - mistakes, serious ones have been made, Abu Ghraib etc..( implicitly because of stupidity and arrogance).

Oh hell "stevie" lets all g... (Below threshold)

Oh hell "stevie" lets all go commit hari karie because someone got "panties" put over their head (wringing hands). You people are dumb as dirt.

My opinions are not terribl... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

My opinions are not terribly important about Abu Ghraib...but this man's presumably is "We've been paying for that for a long period of time.": George W. Bush
citing the effects of the Abu Ghraib scandal as one of the mistakes they have made in Iraq at a joint press conference with Tony Blair May 25, 2006.







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