Shooting at Canadians in Iraq

The Globe & Mail is reporting that the Pentagon has yet to apologize for a shooting incident on Tuesday in Bagdad involving a car carrying four Canadian diplomats and an un-specified American 'military convoy.' It seems that American and Canadian authorities have differing accounts of how the events unfolded.

"“Our officials are clear that they were operating within the rules,"” prime minister-designate Stephen Harper said in Ottawa. "“Obviously, we'd like to make sure we deal with this and avoid such a situation in the future."

The U.S. Army's position is that the U.S. convoy "felt threatened"” by a potential suicide-bomb attack after the Canadian vehicle came too close and ignored hand and arm signals to stay back.

"They felt they had to use warning shots," said U.S. Lt.-Col. Barry Johnson, spokesman for the multinational force in Baghdad.

The best that Don Rumsfeld could come up with about the incident is that "he didn't know the details of the event."

My point here is not to condemn our soldiers for firing at the Canadians. Obviously, they "felt threatened" in some way. I'm sure that the soldiers involved had no desire to shoot at any innocent civilians.

My point is that in this sort of situation, the first thing you do is apologize. Don Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney should make a public statement about our nation's "apologies for the unfortunate misunderstanding" and that "we are greatful that nobody was injured." Even President Bush could make a private phone call to the new PM, Paul Martin, express his apologies and have the PM pass those apologies to the Canadian people.

The Bush Administration's obsession with avoiding culpability, blame, and being 'wrong' about anything have endangered us as Americans, our standing in the community of nations, and cheapened the political discourse in our country.

If the Republican party is the party of personal responsibility, they certainly do a bad job of living up to their ideals.

Two short diaries today. Call it overload after the run up to the State of the Union in the last few days.

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