Bush and his administration have taken never admitting mistakes - and never apologising for any you're forced to admit - to a high artform. But then they've got Congress to do their apologising for them.
Lawmakers apologized Thursday to a Canadian engineer for his detention by U.S. officials, who took him to Syria where the man says he was tortured and held for nearly a year without charges.I think Rohrabacher is dead wrong on the need for illegal rendition to torture - but at least he has the good grace to apologise when his nation sweeps up an innocent man. I thus respectfully disagree with him on this. For the Bushies, I've nothing but contempt.
Maher Arar, 37, appeared before a joint hearing of House subcommittees by video, because he is still on a U.S. government watch list.
``Let me personally give you what our government has not: an apology,'' said Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., as he opened the hearing. ``Let me apologize to you and the Canadian people for our government's role in a mistake.''
Republican Dana Rohrabacher also apologized, but said he would fight any efforts by Democrats to end the practice of extraordinary rendition, whereby terror suspects are grabbed by government agents and taken to another country where local authorities may torture confessions out of them.
``Yes, we should be ashamed'' of what happened in the case, Rohrabacher said. ``That is no excuse to end a program which has protected the lives of hundreds of thousands if not millions of American lives.''
Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen, was detained by Homeland Security agents on Sept. 26, 2002, as he stopped over in New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport en route home from a vacation. Days later, he was sent by private jet to Syria where, according to Canadian officials, he was tortured.
After nearly a year in a Syrian prison, he was released without charges and returned to Canada.
The Canadian government has apologized to Arar for its role in the case, and agreed to pay him almost $10 million in compensation. The Bush administration has not apologized.