the gospel of rick

Rick Santorum’s Rules for Apologizing

Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, speaks to supporters at Harvest Graphics
Rarely sorry. Photo: Julie Denesha/Getty Images

For probably the first time ever, a Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, is insisting that America, gasp, apologize for something — specifically, the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians over the weekend by a U.S. soldier:


We have to determine what’s happened. Obviously this is a horrible situation where if it turns out to be the case that this person did a horrible wrong and it was a deliberate act, a deliberate act by an American soldier, and that is something we should clearly say was something that we should apologize for, that it’s not a mistake, it wasn’t something that was inadvertent,” he said. “This was something that was deliberately done by an American soldier to innocent civilians. It’s something that the proper authorities should apologize for, for not doing their job in making sure that something like this wouldn’t happen. Something like this should not happen in our military, period.

You may notice that Santorum stressed the “deliberate” and not “inadvertent” act of the mass-killing five different times. That’s Santorum’s way of distinguishing this apology-deserving Horrible Thing We’ve Done in Afghanistan from a different Horrible Thing We’ve Done in Afghanistan that didn’t, in Santorum’s opinion, merit an apology:

President Obama should not have apologized for what U.S. officials say was the inadvertent burning of a pile of Korans at Bagram air base in Afghanistan, former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) said Sunday.

This is unacceptable,” Santorum said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The idea that a mistake was made — clearly a mistake, which we should not have apologized for — it was a mistake. There was nothing deliberate.”