President Obama is right that fact-checkers routinely declare it to be a “myth” that he has apologized for America. The fact-checkers are wrong, however. The variance from reality is so great on this one that you realize how potent is the information bubble in which the president and mainstream media reside. He is out with an new ad today citing a couple of these. Obama was caught flat-footed and didn’t attempt a response.
I am hardly the first to compile lists of apologetic utterances from Obama. These include an apology in front of the Turkish Parliament: “Another issue that confronts all democracies as they move to the future is how we deal with the past. The United States is still working through some of our own darker periods in our history.” And don’t forget the apology to all of Europe, delivered in France:
From the Summit of the Americas he apologized to an entire hemisphere: “While the United States has done much to promote peace and prosperity in the hemisphere, we have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms. … So I’m here to launch a new chapter of engagement that will be sustained throughout my administration. The United States will be willing to acknowledge past errors where those errors have been made.”
I will focus on two major apologies that have been deliberately and forcefully delivered by the president and/or top aides.
The first is our handling of the war on terror. Liberals don’t even see that Obama’s excoriating his predecessor is apologizing for this nation, but of course it is. George W. Bush wasn’t acting as a private citizen, and whatever he actions he took were done in the name of the United States.
So it most certainly was an apology (often repeated) when Obama decried: “Unfortunately, faced with an uncertain threat, our government made a series of hasty decisions. … I also believe that all too often our government made decisions based on fear rather than foresight; that all too often our government trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions. Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, too often we set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford. And during this season of fear, too many of us — Democrats and Republicans, politicians, journalists, and citizens — fell silent. In other words, we went off course.” That version was delivered on national TV, albeit from U.S. soil but it was a confession to be sure.
We can add to that list the apologetic video Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton filmed for Pakistan TV in the wake of the murder of four Americans on Sept. 11.
Obama and his secretary of state also made a written confession of this nation’s past faults to, of all places, the United Nations. As I reported in September 2010:
The administration created a stir in April, when a spokesman for the National Security Council reported on a meeting between Obama and Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev: “Both presidents agreed that you don’t ever reach democracy; you always have to work at it. And in particular, President Obama reminded his Kazakh counterpart that we, too, are working to improve our democracy.” Despite pleas from groups like Human Rights Watch to use the meeting as an opportunity “to raise concern about Kazakhstan’s disappointing human rights record and to press for immediate improvements,” Obama viewed this as simply one more chance to confess America’s sins.
Likewise, the administration last month presented its “Report of the United States of America” to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. This exercise is overseen by the infamous U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), whose main preoccupation is vilifying Israel. The Obama administration confesses to such offenses as the disproportionately higher rates of unemployment in America among minorities.
Let there be no doubt that this was part of an effort to expurgate American guilt for its history of discrimination. The secretary of state (the audience was the “international community”) intoned in Geneva: “I speak about this subject knowing that my own country’s record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect. Until 2003, it was still a crime in parts of our country. Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home.”
You can argue that sometimes a nation should apologize for some past conduct. You can argue that this is appropriate, but not on foreign soil. But to insist that Obama hasn’t apologized repeatedly for the United States both here and abroad is simply wrong. Frankly, he has done more of this self-flagellation in more places than any other president. It is a record that should never be broken.