The Clinton years gave us the non-denial denial: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."
Now the Bush-43 years have given us the non-apology apology: both Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and President Bush used the phrase "mistakes were made," referring to political firings of US Justice Dept. prosecutors and the well-documented disaster called the Iraq War.
"Mistakes were made" so perfectly sums up the arrogant attitude of our whole current Executive Branch. The passive voice denies that the speaker made, or has anything to do with, the stated "mistakes." The phrase depersonalizes decisionmaking itself -- perhaps a more modern form of the belief in Divine Providence.
The tone of the phrase seems to move responsibility down, as if it wasn't the "take off the gloves" policy Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld created for Abu Ghraib that created American Torture; it was merely the movement of the wings of a Chinese butterfly that created the hurricane -- can't really blame anybody, you know, for those "mistakes."
What is this world coming to, anyway? We lost the Iraq War. Invading Afghanistan and Iraq strengthened militant jihadists' methods and resolve, and merely moved their training bases to Anbar Province and Waziristan, in remoted mountains instead of countryside.
We've already lost Iraq. Afghanistan is next: the USSR fought for ten years to make that country kneel to the will of a Superpower -- and failed. And their government didn't even have to respond to the will of their people. In terms of the will of the people, the US has already lost both wars.
And why not? Our country will still be the most powerful in the world even if we lose a couple (or even them all) oil fields in the Middle East, and our gas costs $4 a gallon instead of $2.80. We all know somebody who knows somebody that got blown up in Iraq. This endless war with endless treasure wasted and lives destroyed. I'm tired of the war.
Leonard Cohen, "Joan of Arc":
She said, "I'm tired of the war,
I want the kind of work I had before,
a wedding dress or something white
to wear upon my swollen appetite."