The "S" word

By Geraldine Sealey

Published May 6, 2004 7:07PM (EDT)

Now, was that so hard? President Bush took a big step: He used the "s" word today. He actually said he was sorry for the humiliation, abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of U.S. troops who were supposed to be "liberators."

Saying sorry isn't something that comes easy for the president, who has had more trouble getting the word out of his mouth than The Fonz did trying to admit he was wrong. "Sorry" is something the 9/11 families have been waiting to hear from the president -- or Condoleezza Rice, or anyone from this administration -- and they're still waiting. But White House officials have laughed at the idea of apologizing, telling the New York Times that saying sorry is something Democrats do.

The administration must have calculated that this time, breaking their own rule was more politically advantageous than continuing to duck calls for something close to an apology -- at least on this one issue. It's a shame they didn't arrive at that conclusion a day earlier, when Bush was on Arab television stations with maybe a shred of a chance to salvage our shattered reputation with millions and millions of hearts and minds that surely are already lost.

Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at

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