Iraqi Officials Offer Excuses, not Apologies

Enumerating the mistakes committed would be a never-ending task, yet we never hear the state truly apologize to its people for the daily infractions to the covenant that exists between them.

A prominent politician, who requested anonymity, told Al-Monitor: “The people do not understand the concept of apology, and do not endorse the culture of apologizing. They view apologies as a sign of weakness that destroys the future of any politician.”

The same politician described the current state of affairs in Iraq as “a tacit understanding between rulers and ruled to quietly keep the ball rolling, and endure any missteps or repercussions.”

This is a very harsh characterization, a description that best falls in line with dictatorial thought. Saddam Hussein never apologized, his supporters and members of his regime never apologized, even when some of them were being marched to the hangman’s noose.

The prevalent construct in Iraqi political circles is, “The Iraqi people quickly forget, and are a good-natured people who also quickly forgive!” Truth is that there aren’t any good or bad peoples, for peoples are an amalgam of experiences and laws.

On this basis, Iraqi political elites who say the Iraqi people refuse to forgive past mistakes do not need to talk about forgiving present mistakes.

No one ever apologized for the catastrophes that the Iraqi people have, and still are enduring. For every former or current official possesses a long list of excuses and justifications. Some of the latter go back to Saddam Hussein’s regime, while others necessarily revolve on terrorism, international conspiracies, and internal conflicts. Transgressions are blamed on minions, advisers, and low-ranking — as opposed to senior — employees.

It is a vicious cycle that must be broken. Those who resist taking responsibility must understand that mistakes carry consequences. They must realize that leading a country is predicated upon the possession of the highest levels of awareness, as well as moral and legal responsibility. They must be ready to admit to their wrong and apologize for it, when an apology is all that is required.

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