Who’s Sorry Now?

Which wrongs warrant government apologies?

In Friday’s hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Donald Rumsfeld apologized for the mistreatment of Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib, stating, “These events occurred on my watch. As secretary of defense, I am accountable for them and I take full responsibility.” In a July 1997 “Gist,” Seth Stevenson explained why governments apologize and why they don’t.