Saturday, February 24 , 2018, 7:52 pm | Fair 54º


Harris Sherline: Obama Assumes Role of Apologist-in-Chief

Saying we're sorry won't change the attitudes of the people who hate America

Who asked President Obama to run around the world apologizing for America and, by implication, all Americans? Certainly not the American people. Nor have we seen any polls or news stories reporting that Americans want Obama to apologize to anyone on their behalf.

Harris Sherline
Harris Sherline

I, for one, am deeply offended by our president using the occasion of his trips outside the United States to apologize for our policies, actions and past transgressions, as he may see them. President Bill Clinton did the same thing on a trip to Africa in1998, when he said, “Going back to the time before we were a nation, European-Americans received the fruits of the slave trade. And we were wrong in that.”

What is it about the mindset of people such as Obama and Clinton that makes them think apologies can change the attitudes of people who hate America and want to destroy us? Do they truly believe this will make them our friends or supporters?

We have bowed and scraped to the heads of Arab states for generations to keep their oil flowing in our direction — and continue to do so. The latest occasion was Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia on his way to Egypt, where he delivered a major speech to the Muslim world.

However, Obama and his State Department agreed to highly restrictive conditions for the reporters who travel with him while in Saudi Arabia: That they all be confined to the hotel where they stayed, that they were not allowed to independently report on Obama’s meetings with the Saudi king, that they would be allowed to use only the official news releases of the Saudi government and, finally, that they not interview any Saudis, under penalty of imprisonment.

We may need their oil, but they are ingrates. We have provided the Saudis with military cover when they were threatened by their own neighbor, Saddam Hussein, who invaded Kuwait, which induced us to initiate the Persian Gulf War to expel Iraqi troops. On his way out of their country, Saddam set the Kuwaiti oil fields ablaze and destroyed as much property as he possibly could, killing and torturing people as his forces were being driven out. So, should we also be apologizing for rescuing Kuwait and restoring their monarchy? Or, should we apologize to the Saudis for sending our military and planes to their country to shield them from a similar fate?

In the June 3 issue of Morning Bell, “President Obama’s Top 10 Apologies,” the Heritage Foundation noted that Obama has apologized for Guantanamo (in France and D.C.), the mistakes of the CIA, America’s policy toward the Americas, for slavery and segregation (before the Turkish Parliament), the war on terrorism (as if we started it), for attempting to dictate the terms of our relationship with other nations (at the Summit of the Americas), to the Muslim world in general, saying, “We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect,” and to France and Europe for the “times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”

However, as he travels around the world apologizing to anyone who will listen, Obama fails to also note that we have saved many of the same people to whom he is apologizing, that they owe the very existence of their nations to the United States. Most of Europe would have been enslaved by Germany or the Soviet Union if it were not for the United States in World War II, South Korea from the North Koreans and the Chinese in the 1950s and some 50 million people from Hussein, al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

The oft-quoted adage, “Be careful what you wish for, you may get it,” applies to America haters everywhere. If they believe we are so terrible, they might think about the kind of world they would be living in if we were no longer available or able to protect or help them in times of need.

Is Obama also prepared to apologize to the American people when his policies prove to be the cause of the financial disaster that is now being widely predicted: a dramatic increase in inflation, along with a significant drop in the value of the dollar and driving up interest rates?

It’s time we stopped apologizing for our way of life, for helping free other people from tyranny, poverty and disease, and for the economic success that has made us the object of envy in most of the world.

The one thing we absolutely do not need is an official apologist-in-chief as our head of state.

— Harris R. Sherline is a retired CPA and former chairman and CEO of Santa Ynez Valley Hospital who has lived in Santa Barbara County for more than 30 years. He stays active writing opinion columns and his blog,

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