Thursday, July 14, 2005

This is what an apology looks like

Heads up for Dick Durbin, Brian Williams, and Maggie Gyllenhaal: Molly Ivins has a lesson for you. Ms. Ivins made a statement in an articule she wrote on June 28 wherein she asserted that the US-led Coalition in Iraq had now killed more Iraqi civilians than Saddam Hussein did in 24 years. Observe how she handles the situation once she realizes how wrong she is:

::::::::In a column written June 28, I asserted that more Iraqis (civilians) had now been killed in this war than had been killed by Saddam Hussein over his 24-year rule. WRONG. Really, really wrong.

The only problem is figuring out by how large a factor I was wrong.

...

There have been estimates as high as 1 million civilians killed by Saddam, though most agree on the 300,000 to 400,000 range, making my comparison to 20,000 civilian dead in this war pathetically wrong.

I was certainly under no illusions regarding Saddam Hussein, whom I have opposed through human rights work for decades. My sincere apologies. It is unforgivable of me not have checked. I am so sorry.
::::::::

I recommend strongly that you read the whole thing. (Scroll down once you get there, it's at the bottom of the column.) Note what's missing. It's called "qualification." There's no "if" in there. There's no "Well, yes, but..." in there. She asserted something. She was wrong. She showed she understand she's wrong. She recognizes what she should have done to avoid the problem.

Most importantly, she apologies for making the error. Blunt, succinct, to the point, nothing but net. Just an apology. This is how someone apologizes when they're really sorry. Ms. Ivins's original comment was incorrect, yes. But she owned up to it and demonstrated that she knows the right answer now. That is all anyone has been asking for with regard to comments like these. Molly Ivins can still think the invasion is a mistake. That's OK. She has the honor to admit when she's wrong and the grace to do so without slinging anything at anyone nearby. I applaud, Ms. Ivins. You've shown everyone how it's done.