A recent speech by Democratic Senator John Kerry has erupted into a firestorm. Senator Kerry describes the comment as a “botched joke” that was actually aimed at President Bush. President Bush has called for an apology to what he considered an insult to the troops serving in Iraq. Radio and television talk show hosts, newspapers, and the Internet are all abuzz with this story.
President Bush’s political operatives are attempting to create a giant controversy over this remark in the hopes of gaining political traction. But stepping back from the story it’s clearly nothing more than a tempest in a teapot. This single sentence from a single speech didn’t kill anyone, it didn’t cost anyone money, and it really didn’t effect anyone’s life in any amount. But this controversy did make me think of all the horrifying tragedies that deserve an apology.
I want an apology for the more than 2,800 Americans soldiers that have died in less than four years in the Iraq War. – Associated Press, November 2, 2006
I want an apology for the 655,000 Iraqis that have died as a result of the invasion of Iraq. – The Lancet, October
I want an apology for the Iraq war which has now cost nearly $380 billion dollars. – Associated Press, November 2, 2006
I want an apology for the inefficiencies and bad management that lost nearly $9 billion dollars that was supposed to be spent on Iraqi reconstruction. – CNN, January 31, 2005
I want an apology from Donald Rumsfeld because when he was asked how long the Iraq war would take he said, “It could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.” – United States Department of Defense News Transcript, February 7, 2003
I want an apology for a government that has left the United States with a national debt of over $8.5 trillion dollars. – www.federalbudget.com
I want an apology for the government that does nothing about the 21 children that die in the world each and every second of each and every day from lack of clean water, good food, and proper sanitation. – The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2005
I want an apology for the hundreds of tons of depleted uranium that has been used in weapons in Iraq that is linked to severe illnesses, missing eyes, blood infections, respiratory problems and fused fingers in children as well as increased risk of cancer. – Sunday Herald, March 30, 2003; BBC, November 1, 2006
I want an apology from a government that allowed over half a million children to die from Iraqi sanctions. And specifically I want an apology from Madeline Albright when she was asked if the deaths of half a million children was “worth it” she replied “It’s a hard choice, but I think, we, think, it’s worth it.” – 60 Minutes, May 11, 1996
I want an apology from a government that has let more than one fifth of the Amazon Rainforest to be destroyed – Wikipedia
I want an apology for over 250,000 potentially preventable deaths due to patient safety incidence that occurred under Medicare from 2002 to 2005. – HealthGrades Third Annual Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study, April 2006
I want an apology from a government that ignores the 40% to 60% of hospitalized older adults that are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition; the 40% to 85% of nursing home residents that suffer from malnutrition and the 20% to 60% of home care patients that are also so afflicted. – American Journal of Nursing, March 2005
I want an apology from a government that ignores the direct medical costs associated with Adverse Drug Events have been estimated to be in the range of $US30 billion to $US130 billion annually in the US alone and where drug-related mortality has been estimated to claim 218,000 lives annually. – Drug Safety, September 1, 2004
I want an apology because each year, approximately 2 million patients in the United States acquire infections while hospitalized for other conditions. These infections account for 88,000 deaths and cost approximately $4.6 billion. Similar infections occur in nursing homes, outpatient clinics, dialysis centers, and other sites of healthcare delivery. – MMWR, February 25, 2000
I want an apology for the approximately 107,000 patients that are hospitalized annually for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-related gastrointestinal (GI) complications and at least 16,500 NSAID-related deaths occur each year among arthritis patients alone. – The American Journal of Medicine, July 27, 1998
These are only a few things that we should all get an apology for – an apology won’t bring back the lives lost, refund all the money wasted, or repair all the damage done – but at least it’s a start.