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Iraq War Watch: United States State Department’s Fernandez Apologizes for Remarks on Al-Jazeera

Alberto Fernandez

Washington Post: Fernandez Apologizes for Al-Jazeera Remarks

The State Department official in charge of public diplomacy for the Middle East apologized Sunday for telling the Arabic language Al-Jazeera television station that the U.S. had displayed “arrogance and stupidity” in Iraq.

Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department, made the remarks in an interview that aired Saturday on the Qatar-based channel, which is carried by satellite and is closely watched in the Arab world.

The QUOTE:

“We tried to do our best,” he said during the interview, which aired late Saturday. “But I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq.”

Now, Fernandez has apologized. A HIT AND RUN attack?

The State Department should review this character’s work and determine if he is best serving the United States. IF Mr. Fernandez has policy differences with the United States State Department under President Bush then he should resign his position.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice needs to bring Fernandez in for a WOODSHED TALK.

Flap continues to await a return call to interview Mr. Fernandez.

Blogosphere:

MM: State Department weasel apologizes

MM: State Department stupidity

NRO: American “Stupidity” and “Arrogance” in Iraq

Wizbang:Sometimes Sorry Just Isn’t Enough

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3 thoughts on “Iraq War Watch: United States State Department’s Fernandez Apologizes for Remarks on Al-Jazeera

  1. Based on interviews with sources that range from more than a half dozen former First Kuwaiti employees to numerous competing contractors, this latest CorpWatch investigation reveals complaints about the deceptive trafficking operation and the horrid working conditions faced by the people on-the-ground in Iraq.

    “The possibility that a company under a US State Department contract is trafficking and smuggling workers into a war zone is an insult the values that most Americans support and die for. The fact that the accused contractor, First Kuwaiti Trading and Contracting, is building the $592-million US embassy – perhaps the most high-profile symbol of US presence in Iraq – is doubly astounding” says journalist David Phinney.

    http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14173

    ALLEGATIONS:

    * Witnesses say First Kuwaiti has smuggled low-paid Asian workers on planes toBaghdad after taking away their passports and issuing airplane boarding passes for Dubai. Taking passports is a violation of US trafficking laws and contracting.

    * First Kuwaiti has coerced low-paid workers to take jobs in Iraq against their wishes after recruiters lured them to Kuwait for different jobs. (Interviews with Filipino workers who escaped Iraq available.)

    * Although no journalist is allowed on embassy site, prostitutes are smuggled in by First Kuwaiti managers, according to former employees. Prostitutes are a “breach of security,” says one former manager for the company.

    * An American medic recommended that health clinics serving thousands of embassy construction workers be shut down for unsanitary conditions and then was fired. He also requested the investigation of two workers who may have died from mistreatment. Prescription pain killers were handed out like “candy” and workers were sent back to work on project, he says.

    * There have been numerous beatings of workers by First Kuwaiti managers and labor strikes, say former employees. This reflects complaints of others who witnessed mistreatment on other projects.

  2. Well, it’s hard to argue that there weren’t any stupid moves in US policy in Iraq. Disbanding army and police might qualify. Going in without a plan to pacify the country after defeating the Iraqi army might do too. US leaders in Iraq, both military and political have owned up to making mistakes. And most mistakes weren’t smart.

    It’s also hard to argue that a lot of the stupid moves weren’t bred in arrogance either, especially in the pre-war planning. Go ahead, reread some of the stuff Cheney and Rumsfeld said in 2002 and 2003.

    So, what’s the big fuzz? Is it forbidden to speak the truth? Must all US government employees now look like they agree with the President? Do we really want to insist that they all look like they don’t read the newspapers, or have a memory?

    It’s possible for Bush and the other top administration people to stop anyone from questioning their assertions, but for front-line guys like Fernandez, it’s not an option. Eventually they need to give at least the impression that they are aware of reality.

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