Via Weasel Zippers, the apology tour continues. In a way, this one makes perfect sense: Once you’ve decided to engage a lunatic diplomatically (and that was Bush’s decision in this case), what choice do you have but to be diplomatic about his lunacy? If pretending that his deranged UN shpiel wasn’t deranged keeps him from building nukes or paying suicide bombers, hey.

The question is, does it?

“I understand that my personal comments were perceived as a personal attack,” Crowley told reporters. “The comments do not reflect U.S. policy and were not intended to offend. I apologize if they were taken that way. I regret that my comments have become an obstacle to further progress in our bilateral relationship.”…

He made the remark in question on Feb. 26 when he was asked what the U.S. thought of Gadhafi’s appeal for “jihad” against Switzerland after the country banned construction of new mosque minarets. Crowley said he was reminded of Gadhafi’s lengthy speech at the United Nations last September in which the Libyan leader ripped pages from the U.N. Charter.

“I saw that report and it just brought me back to a day in September, one of the more memorable sessions of the U.N. General Assembly that I can recall: lots of words and lots of papers flying all over the place, not necessarily a lot of sense,” he said…

Crowley said Tuesday his comments “should have focused solely on our concern about the term ‘jihad,’ which has since been clarified by the Libyan government.”

No, it wasn’t “clarified” by the Libyan government. It was whitewashed once the UN and U.S. raised a stink about it. According to the Libyan ambassador, all Qaddafi meant by “jihad” was economic sanctions. Really? His exact words:

The Libyan leader made his comments while speaking at a meeting in Benghazi to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.

“Let us wage jihad against Switzerland, Zionism and foreign aggression,” he said.

“Any Muslim in any part of the world who works with Switzerland is an apostate, is against Muhammad, God and the Koran.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the punishment for apostasy in Islam, spend a few minutes googling it. Here’s a hint: It involves something slightly more draconian than fines and boycotts.

Crowley and another U.S. diplomat met with Libya’s ambassador privately last week to try to defuse the situation, but no dice. Qaddafi wanted a public apology, so a public apology is what he got. Imagine what his next call for holy war might have been like had his American ally disappointed him. Exit quotation from the Journal: “It’s good to know that if the U.S. abases itself enough, Col. Gadhafi is willing to forgive.”