My Apologies

Apparently, I missed the memo that everyone is supposed to apologize for semi-random events for which they have no control. My bad.

Apparently, I missed the memo that everyone is supposed to apologize for semi-random events for which they have no control. My bad.

I, too, apologize for the Reserve MPs who were mean to prisoners in Iraq. Sure, I’ve been out of the Army for twelve years now, but I once wore the same uniform as those guys and was also in Iraq for several months. I also drove past several Iraqi prisoners on more than one occasion without stopping to share my MREs with them (I’d have gladly donated my oatmeal cookie bar). Perhaps if I’d set a better example then, BG Karpinski would have been a better commander and I’d have conveyed to future generations of soldiers that we should be nice to Iraqi prisoners rather than making fun of their wee-wees and otherwise abusing them.

I’m very sorry that I didn’t see the 9/11 attacks coming and did nothing to prevent them. To the families who lost people that day, I failed you. Had I only been endowed with omniscence and omnipotence, rest assured that I’d have stopped the attacks rather than teaching at a mediocre college in South Alabama that day.

Also, while these events were before my time, I feel really bad about the My Lai massacre, Jim Crow laws, the Holocaust, slavery, killing all those Indians and stealing their land, and the Spanish Inquisition. If there’s anything else you’re feeling bad about, I apologize for that, too. And if this apology offended you in any way, you have my apologies.

FILED UNDER: Best of OTB, Humor, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. delta dave says:

    Yeah, and let me add my apologies also. I apologize for the snake’s action in the Garden of Eden and for Eve’s falling for the snake’s line.

    All the rest, as they say, is history.

  2. Moe Lane says:

    The way you assumed that we would be automatically offended by reading this post was out of line. I demand an apology for having to be subjected to your preemptive apology…


    Err. Umm. YEAH!


  3. barry maradona says:

    the real terrorists are the americans…the war on terror is with them..9/11 as sickening as it may seem is a direct case of american foreign policy siding with an extremist and oppressive israeli state amongst many other things plus the bombing by the USA and british in iraq have killed, murdered and maimed 10 times more 1000s of lives that were taken on sept 11th..doesnt make sept 11th right but it shows that one shouldnt beleive all the western propaganda and nonsense that comes over onto ur tv screen or radio…esp with such useless and lying politicans we see with bush and rumsfeld,rice,powell…only a country like the usa can they be re-voted in..only in america ..

  4. Jem says:

    Hmmm…looks like Shrek 2 is opening a little earlier than scheduled…

  5. Dadgummit, James–why didn’t you tell everyone that you had hired someone to teach a class on tinfoil hat folding!

    I demand an apology.

  6. Eddie Thomas says:

    Apology accepted.

  7. A totally inadequate apology. About what I would have expected from a wingnut.

  8. I hate to take this all too seriously, but I have to request — no, demand — that you update this post and apologize for the Irish potato famine. Until you do I shall not drink another pint. So please hurry …

  9. fersboo says:

    “without stopping to share my MREs with them (I’d have gladly donated my oatmeal cookie bar).”

    The oatmeal cookie was my favorite dessert. Much better than the ‘fudge’ brownie or whatever it was.

    I demand an apology for denigrating my MRE dessert of choice.

  10. M. Murcek says:

    I’m sorry, Dimitri. You’re sorry too? Of course you’re sorry, Dimitri. Your’re sorrier than me? Look, Dimitri, we’re both sorry…

  11. pennywit says:

    In all seriousness, if I thought that an apology from our leaders would smooth things over, I’d be all for it. What I really want to see is for the Bush administration to take a long, hard look at its policy regarding POWs, “unlawful combatants,” and such.


  12. McGehee says:

    I don’t believe I owe anyone any apologies.

    And for that I apologize.

  13. Steven says:

    I didn’t expect you to apologize for the Spanish Inquisition!

  14. Zygote says:

    I’m sorry that it took me this long to say I’m sorry for not saying I was sorry about being sorry about not saying I’m sorry…

    Or something.

  15. Sorry – can’t be bothered to comment.

  16. Dave Schuler says:

    I didn’t expect you to apologize for the Spanish Inquisition!

    No one expects you to apologize for the Spanish Inquisition.

  17. Rand says:

    What a bunch of unspeakably childish morons all of you are.
    Sorry for being so blunt.

  18. Jay Solo says:

    Best. Post. Ever.

  19. Salamantis says:

    What; no apology for the Crusades???

  20. I find the failure to apologize for the “pork patty” entree unforgivable. Yes, the military discontinued it. But that meal will haunt me always.

  21. Hmmm.

    I think that whole “teaching at a mediocre college in South Alabama” thing requires pennance.

  22. Tony P says:

    WE apologize for 9/11. Yes, we lost a lot of innocent lives on September 11th, but it was their fault for participating in an evil capitalist system. We also apologize for all of the dead Iraqis. This is entirely our fault. It is not fair for your death toll to exceed ours. We had no idea these bullets were real and the bombs were armed. We were just trying to shoo you away with the loud noises. We are sorry about taking pictures of your naked terrorist friends. We were in the process of putting together a new Abercrombie & Fitch catalog and were just bouncing around some new ideas.

  23. mark says:


    I went to a (not so mediocre) college in South Alabama. I find your tone rather harsh. And for that I demand an apology.

  24. Hal says:

    Knew it was just a matter of time before this line of “attack” become mainlined.

    Glad to see you’re on the leading edge, James.

  25. Sean says:

    WTF James? the rat bar was great! it was the bean component that was aweful.

  26. Eph says:

    I’m sorry that we live in a country that has killed some 43,000,000 unborn children in the last 30 years.

    How’s that Cybill??? Whoopi??? Barbara???

  27. JW says:


    Thank you for encapsulating all the frustration people feel in America growing up in a culture that allows people to utter these sentences back-to=back –“No one is responsible for their actions” and “It’s all YOUR fault, SUCKER!” Thank you for reminding us that the SOLDIERS who COMMITTED ATROCITIES–not Rumsfeld or Bush–are RESPONSIBLE for THEIR ACTIONS.

    (And on a side note that most liberals fail to discern, American soliders should not be held responsible for any actions Rumsfield or Bush might take, either.)

  28. Joe Schmoe says:

    I’m not interested in your apology. I want a resignation!

  29. grantman says:

    I’m sorry I found this blog and had so much fun with it. I’m sorry I’m going to have to pass the URL along to my friends. I’m sorry that I’m not witty enough to keep up with the rest of you. I’m sorry that John Kerry, if he would ever read this, wouldn’t laugh, but would apologize for reading it.

    I know there’s something else I should be sorry for, but I just can’t think of it. Sorry

  30. James, I’m not messing around anymore — hurry up and apologize for the famine so I can be vindicated and get back to drinking Guinness.

  31. Anonymous says:

    “I’m not interested in your apology. I want a resignation!”

    I’m resigned to the inevitability of such demands.

  32. David Blue says:

    Oops. That previous post was by me. I messed it up. The “name” field was right there, in plain sight. I have no excuse. I’m so dreadfully sorry.

  33. Wonderduck says:

    As a Mallard-American, I demand an apology for “Duck Season.”

    On the other hand, I apologize for Donald Duck not wearing pants.

    Oh, and Mud Blood & Beer? I apologize for James not apologizing to you. Consider it an apology in absentia. Drink up.

    And for those people who got all serious in this thread, I extend a middle feather vertically in your general direction.

  34. Eric says:

    “Apparently, I missed the memo that everyone is supposed to apologize for semi-random events for which they have no control.”

    What, exactly, does the president have control over?

    I’m supposed to believe neither he nor his cabinet could have driven the efforts of the US intelligence gathering services before 9/11.

    I’m suppsoed to believe neither he nor his cabinet could even be expected to leave in place the modest work of the prior administration.

    I’m suppsoed to believe neither he nor his cabinet should have been expected to ask questions about the WMD intelligence that lead us to war.

    I’m suppsoed to believe neither he nor his cabinent had any power over the CIA. If the CIA says the intelligence is a “slam dunk” I’m suppsoed to believe neither he nor his cabinet could differ with that opinion.

    I’m suppsoed to believe neither he nor his cabinet could have seen to the training of the reservest at the prison.

    I’m suppsoed to believe neither he nor his cabinent could have been expected to think anything other than “The Iraqi’s will greet us as Liberators.”

    I’m suppsoed to believe neither he nor his cabinet could have done anything other than toss the Geneva Convention out the window at abso-fucking-lutely no gain to ourselves.

    I’m suppsoed to believe neither he nor his cabinent could have seen to body armor, jeep armor, more men, more security, or more planning in Iraq.

    Man, you guys really have a low opinion of what the office of the president can get done. You guys don’t seem to think he’s responsible for ANYHTING. Everything that happens you happily consider “his people” failing him. You’re like enabling idiot stock holders who let CEOs drive once successful companies head first into the pavement because you’re wooed by his words and not his deeds.

    It’s a very very poor CEO who blames his underlings as the CEO-in-Chief does. Somethings HAVE to be his fault. He’s the most powerful man on earth for crying out loud. Start giving the office of the president some credit. The holder of that office is responsible for quite a lot.

  35. Robert says:

    I’m sorry, Dimitri. You’re sorry too? Of course you’re sorry, Dimitri. Your’re sorrier than me? Look, Dimitri, we’re both sorry…

    I’m sorry that I love that movie so much.

  36. William says:

    I came
    I saw
    I apologised
    …or something like that
    I’m sorry

  37. Rodney Dill says:

    Must be time for:

    The Carnival of Apologies

  38. Wonderduck says:

    As a Mallard-American who’s real name is Eric, I’d like to apologize in the name of all people named Eric for Eric’s rant up there. It was long-winded, poorly written, ill-researched, factually vacant, and insufferably smug. We are now a little bit stupider for having read it, and I apologize to everybody for even sharing the same name with the author.

    Furthermore, I’d like to apologize for apologizing before. I shouldn’t have done it. I’m sorry.

  39. Mark says:

    Eric needs to apologize for his spelling.
    And I apologize for being so persnickety.

  40. trey says:

    Eric, (not wonderduck)

    I’m so sorry you were dropped on your head as a child.


  41. Reinko Venema says:

    My fellow democrats from the other side of the ocean.

    Let me greet you, my name is Reinko Venema and I live in a nice and democratic country called Holland. In the above article I do observe someone who is making apoligize after apoligize for stuff he or she cannot be responsible for.

    So let me give you an evil dual use of that kind of funny behavior, here we go:

    From Saturday 17 September 2003 until 29 April 2004 I, Reinko Venema, did declare seven times on a row some dates as being a so called Military Bloody Day or a MBD.

    It was nice to observe that seven times on a row the Iraqi resistance did scale up at the best they could. Want to know the other MBDs beside 17 Sept and 29 April? Let me give you the next advice:

    Go to the washintongpost dot com and look for the file called ‘faces of the fallen’. There you see a lot of small pics with indeed the faces of the fallen. When in one strike or one attack more than one soldier died there is a red line under the small pics.

    Look for the long red lines in the file called ‘the faces of the fallen’ and know at what dates I declared on the forehand it would be a Military Bloody Day.

    That’s it and these are just a few of my works, it is strange to observe you keep on bombing justice into Muslim stuff but we all know your US army is an army of cowards.

    Or is it realy just the power and the glory driven by the need to do only heroic acts?
    Because isn’t it a fact of life that all that JDAM and other ‘precision’ munition if fired from a large large distance by heroes. While all roadside bombs in Iraq are only done by cowards avoiding the read fight.

    Come on, we all know your army is just a bunch of cowards that cannot perform without air power (or Abrams tanks and stuff like that).

    Please folks from the other side of the ocean, reform your army reform your democracy or otherwise you will face the fundamental consequences of you dinosaur behavior (read nuke stuff or worse).

    Greetings and good luck with the Mark 77 fire bomb that is not particular in line with the UN vision upon this. Burn it please!


  42. Liberal Loonie Leftist says:

    I apologize for sapping American’s morale during Vietnam’s war. I apologize for helping the NVA war criminals, forhelping them into forcing the Vietnamese to live under Ho Chi Minh’s tiranny. I apologize for helping the Khmer Rouge into killing millions of people. I apologize Balcks for shaking hands with Senator Trent Lott (D-KKK). I apologize for looking the other side when Soviet Union stole humaniatarian aid
    from starving Ethiopia. I apologize for not caring about Afghans when they were being martyred by the Soviets or butchered by the Talibans but instead to have tried with all my strengths to prolongate their agony and to have acted as if they only amttered when their deaths (far fewer in number) could be put at the feet of the US. I apologize to the Iraqui people for having tried to help Saddam to stay in power so he could torture, rape and gas them. I spologize for my anti-semitism and my racism who make me scream like a banshee for every Palestinian dead while remaining indifferent to the (500 times more numerous) victims of Arab fascism in Sudan. I apologize for remaining indiffernet to Sudan’s restoring slavery, to China’s occupation of Tibet and to the forced labor in its factories. I apologize for marching hand in hand with the French despite the blood in their hands from Rwanda. I apologize for the propganda I made for Castro and for wearing the T-shirt with the image of his main toturer: Che Guevara.

    I apologize and out of shame I will perform hara-kiri but not until November: I want to do decent thing in my life and vote for President Bush.

  43. Eric says:

    it is true…I am a horrible spellar.

    And I have recently been dropped on my head and I now see what you all are saying! The president is helpless. We can’t expect him to change anything! He’s like the hero of a greek play being controlled by ruthless fate!

    It’s all so clear now. How noble he is…how brave.

  44. JFM says:

    Nitpicking about LLL’s typos will not wash the blood you have on your hands from helping Saddam, the Khmer Rouge or the genocidical South-Sudanese regime.

    Go perform hara-kiri. While we are at it, don’t hesitate to contact me in case you need help for your funeral poem or advice about a good brand of sake. Hara-kiri must be performed in style.

  45. bill says:

    Eric – there are no heroes in Greek plays. Sorry about that…

  46. Greyhawk says:

    I’m sorry I skipped reading all the lengthy comments from folks who just don’t get it.

    No I’m not.

  47. Dutch Uncle says:


    I bought your knives. You know, the ones that slice through license plates without dulling. Yes, those. I used them on a kitten.


    You must apologize for selling them.

    And the Pocket Fisherman. Wait. That was Popeil. Never mind.

  48. Mike says:

    *Reads Reinko’s Post..Realizes whats to be sorry about*

    I’m sorry our greatest generation gave up so many lives to liberate Europe. But then who could have known that 60 years on. The Euros would have so much in common with the political personality of the power we saved them from.

    I’m also sorry that a lot of the greatest generations children turned out so useless.

  49. JackAssFestival says:

    I apologize for not turning Abu Grahib prison into a WalMart much sooner.

    Its all my fault. So Sorry.

  50. Hillary Clinton says:

    I apologize for being a bitch.

    Just Kidding. Im proud of my Bitch-ness.

  51. Nancy Pelosi says:

    I apologize for wearing soo much makeup.

  52. As a black woman who found independence of thought and escape from the liberal plantation and socialist worldview, I apologize. I think my escape got the others in trouble.

  53. I apologize for leaving a post in English, which is the same language used by Hitler’s interpreters AND many US Presidents (current and former).

    I apologize for pronouns, as well as the semicolon. I apologize that the semicolon may feel itself to be less of a colon than its counterpart – the colon.

    I apologize for “em” dashes and “en” dashes.

    I apologize for the fact that English borrows (or that the partiarchial white society of English speakers steals) from mnay other lingusitic traditions and is therefore difficult to spell.

    I apologize for the existence of carbon, and carbon-based life-forms. Without carbon-based life-forms we would have no vicious imperial oppression of, well, other carbon-based life-forms.

    I apologize for the existence of numbers. Without numbers the ideal utopian future of Marxism would have never been exposed as a fraud.

    And most of all, I apologize for the fact that those 5 sh!theels in the Berg video were ever born.