Wednesday, March 16, 2005

ONE OF KEVIN DRUM'S POSTS TODAY is about Douglas Wead's letter of apology in USA Today. Abject apology would be more accurate, as Kevin notes.

...what Wead offered up was nothing less than a full bore brand of forgive-me-for-I-have-sinned style groveling that was almost physically painful to read. And while I was reading it, what I wondered was this: how do they do it? How does the Bush family manage to scare so many people into public retractions of such Stalinesque thoroughness?

Hell, I'm not even sure I want to know the answer. Don Corleone had nothing on these guys, that's for sure.

The Comments section for this post has a lot of responses to the effect that Wead's letter was perfectly fine and appropriate; and did not point to any likelihood that Bush or his associates gave Wead to understand that if he did not issue a public apology, he would regret it. Here is one:

So let's imagine this was done to you? The apology sounds appropriate. And if you have any other examples of Bush-family coercion,please share them with us. Or at least provide the Gulag addresses of the culprits.

I have to disagree. Wead was not simply apologizing for an error in judgment that hurt a friend; he was peeing in his pants; on his knees, begging, please don't harm me or my family. That is not a normal way to try to rectify a mistake, if one is acting out of conscience only, and not out of grave fear of the consequences if one does not apologize.

Let's take a look at exactly what Douglas Wead wrote in his letter to USA Today (or part of it):

I was foolish and wrong to tape-record Mr. Bush without his permission. I was wrong to play any part of the tapes for my publisher, regardless of the circumstances. I was wrong to play any part of them for a journalist. I apologized to the president before the story appeared and again afterward. He has been typically patient, in spite of the personal hurt.

Today, the work of reparation has begun.

•My book promotion has been canceled.

•Future royalties from the book have been assigned to charity.

•The hours of tapes, which prompted offers of millions of dollars, have been turned over to the president.

•The work of rebuilding relationships, with God, the president and friends, has begun.

If I could live my life over again, there are many things I would do differently. I cannot undo the hurt I have caused but I can, with God's help, take the heat I deserve and move on.

Okay, he was foolish and wrong. I can buy that. And I can also buy that he needs to work on rebuilding his relationship with Bush. But with God?

I commented on this on Kevin's site; I am going to say it here, too.

I can agree with the statement [made in another comment]that "What Wead did was scummy." But to characterize Wead's letter as "saying he's sorry" is ludicrous. Kevin was right. Wead groveled to the point where it was painful to read his letter.

I personally object to the idea that Wead needs God's forgiveness for secretly taping conversations with Bush and then giving the tapes to the press. BUSH needs God's forgiveness for starting a war based on lies, forgeries, and disinformation and thus being directly responsible for the deaths of about 1,050 American men and women, the permanent maiming of thousands more, and the killings of literally hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

What Wead did was tacky, and showed poor judgment, if only because he should have known that Bush and his pals would crucify Wead for it.

And they have. I think whatever they threatened Wead with went far beyond telling him his future with the Republican Party was over, or that he would never eat with the power brokers again. I don't think threats of that nature could have produced a letter saturated with the kind of sheer terror that Wead's letter emanated. I think Bush et al. threatened Wead with financial ruin, or arrest on criminal charges (they'd find something), or threatened to harm his family in some way -- and I don't mean necessarily physically.

George W. Bush and his accomplices are the political equivalent of the Gotti crime family.

Vengeful, cruel, and evil might begin to cover it.

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