EDITORIAL: When regret isn’t regret

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Now that the flight crew of the U.S. spy plane is home from temporary detainment China, the rhetoric of the Bush administration has taken on an interesting new tone. Words carefully chosen days earlier to express regret, but not apology, and sadness, but not contrition, over the death of the Chinese pilot now are mostly history. Instead, the latest rhetoric from Washington has taken on an accusatory and even militant tone.


It seems we had our political fingers crossed when we offered the necessary face-saving language to save our crew. Now that they’re home, we’d rather make sure the world know we “won” this battle of diplomacy and that we are righteously angry at the Chinese leadership.


Maybe the ends justified the means, and it seems likely that the Chinese pilot was at fault after all. But the latest flow of hard-line talk is little more than “facing saving,” American style. Just as Chinese leaders needed the right words to preserve honor among their people, so our leaders now apparently need the right words to preserve honor of a certain sort among people here.


Are we the only ones who enjoyed the temporary civility between ideological foes?

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