Wednesday, July 18, 2007
OK, he stands by the statement and he did not intend any direct comparison by the statement he made. So we probably need to watch this again:
In a written statement released Tuesday afternoon, Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, said his remarks had been misconstrued.
"In response to a question, I stated that the Bush Administration exploited post-9/11 fears to advance a policy agenda that has undermined our civil liberties. I stand by this statement. ...
"I want to be clear that the murderous Nazi regime is historically distinct and the horror of the Holocaust must be acknowledged as a unique event in human history. I did not intend any direct comparison between the totalitarian state of Nazi Germany and the current administration."I have taken consistent and strong stands against Holocaust denial throughout my life in public service," Ellison said. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune, July 17, 10:21pm)
Now you don't get to see the part where he is reported to have said he can't really say that Bush staged the 9-11 debacle because doing that put you in "the nut-ball box." (It's not clear whether Hitler ordered the burning of the Reichstag either, but that's for the historians to debate.)
Now the second report, almost at the same time as this one:
The nation's first Muslim congressman said Tuesday that he erred in comparing the Bush administration's response to Sept. 11 to an event that led to Adolf Hitler's consolidation of power in Nazi Germany.Gary calls this an apology (that doesn't wash with him) but I don't see any regret or remorse expressed towards the person to whom the slur was made -- the president. Indeed, he goes further than the statement quoted by the StarTribune, not only accusing the Bush administration of undermining civil liberties but of starting wars. (Which ones? Does Ellison oppose the Afghan war against the Taliban?) Instead he just admits it was an error.
..."In hindsight, I wouldn't have used that [Reichstag] reference point," Ellison told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday. "It was probably inappropriate to use that example, because it's a unique historical event, without really any clear parallels."
Ellison said he remains harshly critical of the Bush administration.
"I believe that they have exploited the fears that grew from 9/11, in order to pass legislation and even start wars they could have never gotten away with but for that tragedy," he said.
Ellison said he had gotten a call Tuesday afternoon from the Anti-Defamation League, an international group that opposes anti-Semitism, regarding the Hitler comparison.
"They told me they understood the point I was trying to make, but they didn't think it was the right way to use that historical example, because they thought any sort of comparison to the modern world we live in in some way diminishes the horror of the Nazi era," Ellison said. "I told them I feel they're right."
For a man that is supposed to say he's sorry, he doesn't seem to show much contrition.
Michael has been running a series of posts today of reactions to the now-better-publicized remarks.