The President Takes Responsibility – Or Not

A lot of people thought invading Iraq was a bad idea.  A lot of people thought the invasion and occupation plans were unrealistic and wrong-headed.  With the results of the war so far, you might think those people were right. When President Bush addressed the nation this evening, no one thought he would outright admit to the gigantic series of mistakes this war has been.  No one who has watched this administration seriously expects the President to take responsibility for a problem, take the blame, or apologize. But he did!  At least, according to some news reports.  Bush Takes Blame in Iraq, Adds Troops, says the San Francisco Chronicle.  Bush's new strategy includes rare public contrition, says the Seattle Times. Quite frankly, I did see the speech so when I saw the headlines, I was shocked.  I had to check the transcripts to be sure.  In his address to the nation, the President said:
The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people -- and it is unacceptable to me. Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.
Since when does "where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me" count as taking the blame or public contrition?  It doesn't pass the mom test - if you broke a neighbor's window, and your mom found out and marched you over to their doorstep to apologize, do you think you could get away with "where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me?" To be fair, it is nice to see Bush talking about some specific problems with the occupation and moves to address them.  This is a far cry from the "Mission Accomplished," "turning a corner," "greet us as liberators" style that has been pursued so far. There was one more part of the speech I had to mention:
Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship.
Oh really? Mission Accomplished

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