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November 21, 2013

Wow, 2013 Samantha Power Was Just EXCORIATED by 2003 Samantha Power

This is what Samantha Power, now U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said today when asked whether the U.S. owes Afghans any kind of apology:

POWER: We have nothing to apologize for. Our soldiers have sacrificed a great deal.

This is what Power said at her confirmation hearings earlier this year:

POWER: America is the greatest country in the world and we have nothing to apologize for.

This is what Power said in 2003 about the weird, gross refusal of states and the people who serve them to refuse to ever apologize for anything:

POWER: It's the tendency of states, and as you could argue that on some level it is also of individuals, not to look back and not to reckon with what we've done wrong. Often if you look at our country ... we don't, states don't do that generally speaking.

So it's actually more interesting to look at historical precedents where states do. … And what's so amazing, briefly, is how much more it means to the victims, how therapeutic it can be, simply even to say it happened. It's a continuum, right, of reckoning – from "It happened," to "It happened and I was there," to "It happened and I was there and in fact I did it," or we, our predecessors did it, to "We did it and we made a mistake," to "We did it and we're sorry," to "We did it and we're sorry and here's your property back and here's some money." You know what I mean? And to not even start along that road ... but again, I do think we need to look at ourselves...

For more on Power's transition from someone who occasionally was honest about the U.S. government to someone who constantly lies, see here.

Already the Ring tempted her, gnawing at her will and reason. Wild fantasies arose in her mind; and she saw Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age, striding with a flaming sword across the darkened land, and armies flocking to her call...


—Jon Schwarz

Posted at November 21, 2013 12:57 PM

All liberals are like that pre-office holding. It's how democrats can claim to be the lesser evil.

Posted by: Lance Justice at November 21, 2013 05:20 PM

Wonder what Mr Sérgio Vieira de Mello would think of her transfromation if he was still around!!

Posted by: rupa shah at November 21, 2013 09:05 PM

Never bothered to try and look it up, but what's the point of spambots?

On Power, now that she's an apparatchik I wouldn't expect her to be honest. I think she's been carefully selective in her criticism of the US all along, presumably out of some ambition to hold an office where she'd have real power (as she might imagine it) and make a difference. People probably tell themselves that in good faith. Boromir was perfectly sincere (I'm a sucker for LOTR analogies) when he tried to take the Ring. Galadriel had difficulty turning it down when it was offered. Tolkien wasn't writing fantasy on those points.

Off topic, having long been a skeptic of JFK assassination theories (other than the official one), I'm just an agnostic these days. Charles Pierce has a good piece on it. Yes, this is threadjacking, but at the moment one third of the posts above me are by robots. (Unless Jon deletes the robot.)


Posted by: Donald Johnson at November 23, 2013 02:49 PM

Well, damnit, if we give the Afghans an apology, then everybody else will want one. 'Cause just WHOM is it that we haven't screwed over? Its the damn Canadians&Australians that started this by apologizing to their "Aboriginal Populations". Would Nero have apologized??? I think not.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 23, 2013 02:51 PM

Donald Johnson: Billy Sol Estes is the only one I've heard of to admit to having something to do with JFK's death. Other than that, I take comfort in the fact that I'll probably never know the truth of the matter.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 23, 2013 03:07 PM

@Donald Johnson
Thank you for the link....excellent..

@Mike Meyer
From the linked article......

"Bomb Power" was based from its beginnings in the notion that there were things about their government that the American people need not know.....

"like fragile children who must be protected at all costs from what their government found necessary to do on their behalf".....

Now that we do know, what our govt is doing ( which is not supported by the majority ), we are asked not to have a "conscience" i.e. we do not need to apologise..... we have been granted impunity to bring "democracy" and keep it alive and well 'where' and 'how' we see fit!!!

Posted by: rupa shah at November 23, 2013 04:01 PM

Rupa Shah: Teddy Roosevelt once said, "We did it to The Indians and nobody seemed to mind." Should THIS nation EVER develop a conscience, and were I to be asked, I'd advise an apology to The Lacota Souix, Cheyenne, Cherokee, or Arappaho first, as IMHO, we're going to be gunning down Afghans for some time to come.
As Steppenwolf wrote:
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who's the winner
We can't pay the cost
'Cause there's a monster on the loose
Its got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there, watching
America, where are you now?
Don't you care about your sons and daughters?
Don't you know we need you now?
We can't fight alone against the monster

I dare say, (and YOU may quote me)"An American Apology drops off the wing of a drone and takes out the neighborhood."

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 23, 2013 10:44 PM

I like how she predicted her own behavior ten years prior.

Posted by: Benjamin Arthur Schwab at November 24, 2013 09:35 AM

Samantha was a heroine of many young women at university when I went back to school in the 90's. She was on tv a lot about refugees. She was a humane, intelligent young woman. Now? She's apparently on the make and a neoliberal. So, really maybe she wasn't all that humane - she sure changed fast enough.

I myself thought she had a center. Nah!

Posted by: Xanthe at November 24, 2013 03:38 PM

Xanthe: 'Tis the nature of power to corrupt. IMHO makes Ms. Powers very human. U&I may very well act similar once the voltage is applied.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 24, 2013 06:02 PM

Mike Meyer: "We did it to the Indians and nobody seemed to mind." That quote doesn't sound like Teddy Roosevelt. Where did you find it?

Posted by: Rosemary Molloy at November 25, 2013 07:49 AM

We did it to the Indians and nobody seemed to mind

i don't find an attribution of this exact quote to TR, but a discussion of the linkage between euro-american treatment of the aboriginal inhabitants of our own continent and american overseas imperialism can be found at

Walter L. Williams

“United States Indian Policy and the Debate over Philippine Annexation: Implications for the Origins of American Imperialism.The Journal of American History 66(March 1980):810–836.

The author argues against the conventional view that American imperialism began in 1898 (annexation of the Philippines and the Spanish-American war), on the grounds that our policy towards annexing the Philippines was set by our treatment of the American Indians. Imperialists themselves made this argument, and Williams suggests historians would do well to take this view seriously.

ssummary continues at the Online Library of the Liberty Fund

the full text of williams' paper is available online - it cites TR as saying that the north american indians had no rights to the land they lived on because they did not cultivate it (apparently ignoring the fact that some did, in fact, cultivate it)

a footnote - so far as i can tell, the author of this paper is not the Walter Lee Williams who was the 500th person on the FBI's Most Wanted Fugitives list, arrested in Mexico the day after being listed - although both are academics, the disciplines are different

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at November 25, 2013 08:51 AM

Rosemary Molloy / mistah charley, ph.d: I believe the quote to be from a pre-Philippine invasion speech in New York while he was yet a VP. Should I be proved wrong, then PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE feel free to attribute the quote to Mike Meyer, 'cause as of TODAY, that's just how it is.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 25, 2013 04:41 PM

While we're at it---again Steppenwolf-

The cities have turned into jungles
And CORRUPTION is spread on our land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just don't understand
We don't know how to mind our own business
'Cause the whole world's got to be just-like-us

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 25, 2013 04:50 PM

i share Mike Meyer's fondness for the Steppenwolf music he cites

there's a video with 21st century images (the words need no updating):

Steppenwolf MONSTER 2008

in the same vein, here are some remarks i posted here, three and a half years ago -

Through a combination of circumstances (i.e. cable channel-surfing at the right time), recently I found myself watching the opening ceremonies of a NASCAR race near Richmond, VA, not far from where I went to high school. It was a glittering pastiche of religion and patriotism - the Pledge of Allegiance led by a quartet of soldiers (black and white, male and female) from Fort Lee, where my late father Colonel Charley served for several years; the U.S. Marine Band performing the National Anthem; a minister asking God's blessing not only on "the sport we love" but "our soldiers overseas, defending our freedom".

To the audience, it was ritual giving visible and audible form to their Love of Country, God and their fellow Americans. I'm sure they swelled with pride as they pledged loyalty to the Flag, symbol of our forefathers and the sacrifices they made to give us all we have today. Meanwhile, as I watched this spectacle at home, I felt sick at heart as I thought that this handsome facade means, in practice, not just wholesale theft, but mass murder.

What will it take to rip the mask off, to break the trance?

Recently I was reading the Wikipedia entry about Muhammad Asad, born Leopold Weiss – a remarkable story. In looking at the publicity materials for the documentary film about him, A Road to Mecca, I found the following sentence: “I fell in love with Islam,” he said matter-of-factly shortly before his death in 1992, “but I overestimated the Muslims.”

Similarly, I feel like someone who fell in love with the idea of America that I learned as a boy, but has been greatly disappointed by the reality of it, and of us.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at November 26, 2013 09:03 AM

to be clear - the video i cited in my previous post is scott peterson's re-recording of the song, not steppenwolf's - although to my knowledge he did not change any of the lyrics

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at November 26, 2013 09:20 AM

"Now, will THE TIMES be kind enough to get Mr. Twain to explain just what the musket has done to become disgraced and the flag to be polluted, either in the Philippines or anywhere else on this earth where it has been carried? He admits he doesn't know much about finance: it may turn out that he knows still less about the Philippines. Perhaps Mr Twain does not expect the public to take anything he says seriously, except his humor."
-- Letter to the editor NYT, Jan 1901

"Many Americans likened the FIlipino tactics to those 'of the Indian or the guerilla.' For Brig. Gen. Samuel B. M. Young, army policy was too soft; what was required was 'the remedial measures that proved succeessful to the Apaches' Linn, Philippine War, 186-87, 211." (Theodore Roosevelt and World Order by James R. Holmes n78)

Posted by: Lewis at November 26, 2013 05:24 PM

mistah charley, ph.d: Having lived near several Reservations these past 20 years one gets to see THAT truth up close and personal. The poverty is phenominal, the prejudice unrelenting, the suicide rate high, average lifespan short, education almost nonexistent, theft of resources constant&sanctioned, lawful payments denied, funding always cut short for ANY reason, crime by outsiders unchecked with NO recourse to ANY law or hope thereof, in other words, historically typical, just like its ALWAYS been. Were I living THAT life, I'd get drunk too. Makes me wonder just exactly who are "Civilized Christians" and who are "Savages" in this picture.

And so, after reading my little rant, I've come to the conclusion that Ms. Powers, President Obama, et. al., are quite correct about an apology to the Afghans. The Afghans have SEVERAL hundred years of bombing and occupation YET TO GO before they come EVEN CLOSE to deserving ANY sort of an apology from US.

On a personal note- I spent a little time on Fort Lee in the early seventies, as did my younger brother.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at November 26, 2013 06:10 PM