Some members of the Bush administration have taken a cue from a classic John Wayne
Western and are advising their boss to take the film's advice – "Never
apologize" – when dealing with Muslims, reports geopolitical analysts
In a column on his intelligence website, To the Point, Wheeler explains Wayne's
"She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," made in 1948, though lesser known than
many of the star's films, includes what's been called one of the top 100 movie
quotes of all time.
Wayne's character, Capt. Nathan Brittles, who is facing an Indian attack, advises
a junior officer: "Never apologize, son. It's a sign of weakness."
It's that attitude that some employees of the Pentagon, State Department and
White House are urging President Bush to take when dealing with charges of Quran
desecration and other allegations from radical Muslims. They've even sent a
DVD copy of the film to the commander in chief.
"Their numbers are small," explains Wheeler, "but they are seriously
sick and tired of squishing-out to the hadjis (the nickname our soldiers give
the Muslim terrorists in Iraq and their sympathizers – pronounced 'hah-geez,'
referring to the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca called the hadj). These sympathizers
now include not just rioters on Pakistani streets but Newsweek magazine and
"'The more we kiss the hadjis' tushes, the more they denounce us and the
less they respect us,' one of them told me. 'Just take a look at the DOD's procedures
for the handling and inspecting of detainee Korans . You won't believe how impossibly
respectful and careful they are. What good does this do us? All we get is lies,
lawsuits and riots in return.'"
Wheeler says the goal of the John Wayne aficionados is to eliminate any "We're
sorry" message in State Department cables and communiqués, National
Security Council analyses, and Pentagon press briefings – "and inserting
in their place, however subtly worded in diplo-speak, the message: 'If you don't
like it, stuff it.'"
In his column, Wheeler quotes from a message the anti-apology staffers would
like to see in a future Bush speech:
I want to make it very clear that neither this administration nor the American
military nor the American people owe an apology whatsoever to the religion of
Islam and its believers. The American people have every right to take enormous
pride in the respect which our military treats believers in Islam, and in the
fact that the American military is not just the most powerful but the most humanitarian
fighting force in the history of humankind. It is the Islamic terrorists and
their followers who owe us an apology for making war on us, and owe an apology
to their fellow believers in Islam for making war on them.
Writes Wheeler: "So cross your fingers he takes the movie and the message
to heart. The day the president of the United States announces that Muslims
owe an apology to us and not the other way around will be the day we truly begin
to win this war."