The attorneys representing those plaintiffs have drafted a response that I think is elegant in its muted outrage. You can find it here.
To quote a small but important fragment of the letter:
"Our clients are not 'terrorists,' but ordinary people who were raped, tortured, and wounded; who were forced to witness -- and relive everyday since -- the slaughter of their children, parents, husbands and wives."
This is why language is so important. This is why we must remember that irony is not dead. This is why I am obsessed with what people say in service of their needs.
We are tooling ourselves for a war of aggression which we justify by forging non-existent links to 'terrorists', and by claiming that Saddam Hussein, if left unchecked, would attack Israel, the 'sole democracy in the Middle East'. At the same time, victims of a bloody massacre orchestrated by the military of that democracy uses the word 'terrorists' to describe the families of those victims.
An apology seems hardly sufficient.