Sunday, October 22, 2006

What's wrong with admitting arrogance and stupidity?

Frankly, I'm not quite sure why the U.S. State Department has jumped so quickly to refute Alberto Fernandez's interview with Al-Jazeera in which he apparently says the U.S. has shown a bit of "arrogance" and "stupidity" in some of its dealings with Iraq. (See "Envoy: U.S. Showed 'Stupidity' in Iraq".) In particular, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, from Moscow, apparently has said "the quote as reported is not accurate."

I'm sure Fernandez deviated from the official script; and it's probably true that the translation may have missed some nuances. But, given the current situation in Iraq, there doesn't seem to be any harm in admitting to mistakes, even if you don't honestly believe there have been any. After all, the Iraqis are mad and believe there has been arrogance and stupidity, and U.S. troops on the ground (particularly those reservists and National Guard members held over on extended tours) certainly believe mistakes have been made. Further, Fernandez's comments don't say who was arrogant or stupid. (People can read into that all they want, but all that means is that they already have a firm opinion about who is stupid and arrogant. Renouncing Fernandez's comments is only going to reinforce their views.)

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