In a meeting today a colleague who is as liberal and anti-Bush as the day is long, made it crystal clear why the left wants Bush to acknowledge mistakes and why Bush refuses.
The subject of the conversation was a large project that has run over schedule for a variety of reasons. Most of the overruns occurred due to circumstances entirely outside our sphere of control or influence. We gathered to discuss the content of an upcoming meeting where the heads of various internal and external groups would be present. In the course of discussion the idea of starting the meeting by acknowledging our past mistakes and, in effect, taking the sword for the other groups actually responsible for the delays was broached.
My colleague immediately chimed in with, “Bullshit!”
He continued, “there’s no way you can start a meeting by apologizing for your past action. It’s a politically untenable position. You can address the issues, but you do NOT apologize or admit to mistakes. You can never get back the upper hand once you start like that. In effect you are saying ‘here’s all the things we did wrong’ but you should give us another chance.’ Who’s going to buy that? They’ll bury us at that point…”
At which point even he noticed the irony of his position.
All of which helps to explain why both President Bush and Prime Minister Blair have stuck to their guns in defending their choices. To do otherwise is political suicide.