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In Bush’s Address, It’s All About The Mysterious “They” and “Them”

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All you need to know about President Bush’s address to the nation yesterday is that its goal was to reassure his fellow conservatives that the U.S. will continue to fight “terrorists” — a.k.a. “they” and “them.”

Bush’s speech made one reference to Al Qaeda, and two to Osama Bin Laden. But any Bush supporter listening to the speech would have probably thought that much of the speech was regarding one or the other. To make sure, Bush frequently mixed and matched which terrorists he was talking about, blending them as “they” or “them,” discussing “their objectives,” as if Al Qaeda and the Iraqi insurgency thought as one.

By my count, the president used the mysterious “they” or “them” 39 times to describe the blended “terrorists.” Did he mean Al Qaeda? Did he mean the insurgency? It probably didn’t matter to conservative listeners, to whom this pep rally speech was red meat for continued unequivocal support of the Bush agenda.

The president was long on platitudes, but short on specifics, which is a key to Bushspeak. Details are for wimps, or worse, liberals.

Let’s review:

BUSH: “The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror. The war reached our shores on September the 11th, 2001. The terrorists who attacked us — and the terrorists we face — murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent.”

But wait — those are two groups of terrorists. The terrorists who attacked us are Al Qaeda, predominantly of Saudi descent, possibly financed by Iran and led by a Saudi hiding out in either Afghanistan or Pakistan or possbily Iran — we have a “pretty good idea” of where he is, we’re told.

“The terrorists who we face?” That’s the insurgency. Could that group include Al Qaeda? Yes, although the conservatives have been long on talk and short on evidence in proving that point. Given this administration’s track record, if it could prove the insurgents included Al Qaeda, it would have trumpeted that point again and again. In his speech yesterday, Bush mentions that “we have killed or captured hundreds of foreign fighters in Iraq who have come from Saudi Arabia and Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and others.” I don’t doubt that’s true — but again, if it could be proven that these “foreign fighters” were Al Qaeda, the administration would have trumpeted that upon each killing or capture.

But in Bushspeak, it’s important to mix and match terrorists.

In paragraph four, we are introduced to the mysterious “they.”

BUSH: “To achieve these aims, they have continued to kill — in Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Bali, and elsewhere. The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent, and with a few hard blows they can force us to retreat. They are mistaken. After September the 11th, I made a commitment to the American people: This nation will not wait to be attacked again. We will defend our freedom. We will take the fight to the enemy.”

But who is this mysterious “they”? Why, it’s Al Qaeda, or groups the Bush Administration has suggested have ties to Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda and its allies attacked Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Bali, and elsewhere — including New York and Washington. “They” are Al Qaeda. “They” are not the insurgents.

After introducing us to the mysterious “they,” Bush repeats an argument he’s been making since the insurgency sprang up:

BUSH: “Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war. Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women, and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, in Washington, and Pennsylvania. There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home.”

So, the “they” in Iraq are similar to the “they” that we know as Al Qaeda, in that they are willing to kill Americans. That’s the rationale for the war — or at least it is now. The original rationale was quite different, if you remember. Something about weapons of mass destruction that could be delivered to the U.S. or its allies in 45 minutes. Something about being satisfied with the evidence at hand, lest we wait for “the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

***

Bush made one reference to Al Qaeda and two to its leader, Osama bin Laden.

Of Al Qaeda, he re-affirmed the idea that Al Qaeda was somehow responsible, along with the aforementioned “foreign terrorists,” for the insurgency.

BUSH: “To complete the mission, we will continue to hunt down the terrorists and insurgents. To complete the mission, we will prevent al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban, a safe haven from which they could launch attacks on America and our friends.”

What is Bush’s evidence for this belief? What details can he provide? Let’s look at what Bush says about Osama:

BUSH: “Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: ‘This Third World War is raging’ in Iraq. ‘The whole world is watching this war.’ He says it will end in ‘victory and glory, or misery and humiliation.'”

Two things to note. One is the fact that “in Iraq” is not in quotation marks in the president’s address. Did Osama ever say “This Third World War is raging in Iraq”? Apprarently not. Assuming the president’s speechwriters know basic rules of punctuation, we don’t have a quote from Osama that includes both “This Third World War is raging” and “in Iraq,” or else the speechwriters would have put them together in one quote, using elipsis.

But even beyond that, Osama rooting for the insurgency is not akin to Osama backing the insurgency, financially or by providing manpower.

Bush’s other mention of Osama is pure platitude:

BUSH: “The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September the 11th, if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi, and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like Bin Laden.”

Fighting (and ultimately defeating) the insurgency certainly hurts Osama’s desire for a “Third World War,” but it doesn’t mean Osama can’t strike elsewhere, including the U.S. “They” the insurgents might be stopped, but that has little effect on “they” Al Qaeda.

***

I’ll give credit to Bush for one thing: He didn’t repeat the flawed intelligence that Zarqawi had traveled to Syria to plan bombings in Iraq — intelligence that was used initially to support possible future action against Syria, before it was retracted.

Clearly, that means that Bush’s speech was written in the last month. It would have been hard to tell otherwise — so much of it seemed to repeat things Bush has been trying to convince Americans of since the insurgency began.

***

This article first appeared on Journalists Against Bush’s B.S. (JABBS)

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About David R. Mark

  • wahoo

    Oh what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practise to deceive!

    Yes, indeed!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    So, basically, when Bush tries to be absolutely clear in his statements you take that as some sort of misdirection?

    Maybe you should just actually read the quotes you post from his speech. They make absolute and perfect sense – much more so before you disect them than they do after you try to twist their meanings into self-serving nonsense.

    Dave

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com david r. mark

    I stand by what I say. I didn’t take any Bush comments out of context.

    The problem is, Bush wants the average American to believe that the Iraqi insurgency is somehow tied to the events of 9/11. That’s a misleading and dishonest implication.

  • valery dawe

    C’mon, Dave, Bush and his sycophants thrive on twisted meanings, self-serving nonsense and down and dirty lies. WMD your buttocks!

  • valery dawe

    “Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women, and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of”……innocent men, women and children, when the US invaded Vietnam and went on a killing spree.

  • SFC SKI

    Abu Musab al Zarqawi is an agent odf Al-Qaeda, has stated his affiliation with al Qaeda in press releases, and continues to operate in Iraq. Pretty clear cut.

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    C’mon, Dave. Who are “they?” “They” are aparently the first people to ever commit a terrorist attack on America (not true), “they” are centered in Iraq, the world hotbed of terrorism (which is about as real as Iraq’s WMDs), and “they” are probably going to kill your puppy.

    Until next week, when it’s back to Bin Laden. Fighting in “liberated” Afghanistan is picking back up again, you know.

    Please point out to me the straightforward statements in the speech. Please point out the new information. Please point out what justifies Iraq — REALLY justifies it, not just the reason of the month.

    Because I’d like to feel better about it all, considering my tax dollars are disappearing like crazy and I have family and friends who might get shipped off — something I DO NOT want to see.

  • marc

    Chew on this, not that any of you leftist appeasement monkeys will accept it.

    Ahmed Hikmat Shakir — the Iraqi Intelligence operative who facilitated a 9/11 hijacker into Malaysia and was in attendance at the Kuala Lampur meeting with two of the hijackers, and other conspirators, at what is roundly acknowledged to be the initial 9/11 planning session in January 2000? Who was arrested after the 9/11 attacks in possession of contact information for several known terrorists? Who managed to make his way out of Jordanian custody over our objections after the 9/11 attacks because of special pleading by Saddam’s regime?

    Saddam’s intelligence agency’s efforts to recruit jihadists to bomb Radio Free Europe in Prague in the late 1990’s?

    Mohammed Atta’s unexplained visits to Prague in 2000, and his alleged visit there in April 2001 which — notwithstanding the 9/11 Commission’s dismissal of it (based on interviewing exactly zero relevant witnesses) — the Czechs have not retracted?

    The Clinton Justice Department’s allegation in a 1998 indictment (two months before the embassy bombings) against bin Laden, to wit: In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.

    Seized Iraq Intelligence Service records indicating that Saddam’s henchmen regarded bin Laden as an asset as early as 1992?

    Saddam’s hosting of al Qaeda No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri beginning in the early 1990’s, and reports of a large payment of money to Zawahiri in 1998?

    Saddam’s ten years of harboring of 1993 World Trade Center bomber Abdul Rahman Yasin?

    Iraqi Intelligence Service operatives being dispatched to meet with bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1998 (the year of bin Laden’s fatwa demanding the killing of all Americans, as well as the embassy bombings)?

    Saddam’s official press lionizing bin Laden as “an Arab and Islamic hero” following the 1998 embassy bombing attacks?

    The continued insistence of high-ranking Clinton administration officials to the 9/11 Commission that the 1998 retaliatory strikes (after the embassy bombings) against a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory were justified because the factory was a chemical weapons hub tied to Iraq and bin Laden?

    Top Clinton administration counterterrorism official Richard Clarke’s assertions, based on intelligence reports in 1999, that Saddam had offered bin Laden asylum after the embassy bombings, and Clarke’s memo to then-National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, advising him not to fly U-2 missions against bin Laden in Afghanistan because he might be tipped off by Pakistani Intelligence, and “[a]rmed with that knowledge, old wily Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad”? (See 9/11 Commission Final Report, p. 134 & n.135.)

    Terror master Abu Musab Zarqawi’s choice to boogie to Baghdad of all places when he needed surgery after fighting American forces in Afghanistan in 2001?

    Saddam’s Intelligence Service running a training camp at Salman Pak, were terrorists were instructed in tactics for assassination, kidnapping and hijacking?

    Former CIA Director George Tenet’s October 7, 2002 letter to Congress, which asserted: Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank.

    We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda going back a decade.

    Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression.

    Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad.

    We have credible reporting that Al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs.

    Iraq’s increasing support to extremist Palestinians coupled with growing indications of relationship with Al Qaeda suggest that Baghdad’s links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action.

  • Reader

    They, Them, and who can forget Clinton’s IS speech?

    You liberals have trouble with small words huh?

  • Nancy

    Bush I should’a followed thru, nuked the whole damned region, & turned it into one molten sheet of glass; we wouldn’t have had any of these problems if he hadn’t run a half-assed war to begin with. I did always like that Reagan had no problem w/blasting Gaddafi to kingdom come at a moment’s notice; sure got his attention & sobered him up a bit.

  • valery dawe

    Marc, you’ve been sucking that nasty nigerian yellowcake through an very dangerous aluminum straw again. People die from that crap.

  • Nancy

    Yeah, but it’s awfully tasty w/a little butter & real maple syrup.

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com david r. mark

    According to the 9/11 commission, Mohammed Atta never had the Prague meeting conservatives continue to bandy about.

    But hey, why let little facts get in the way of a good story.

  • http://uncledexterity.blogs.friendster.com/lameass_blog/ Tristan

    Though I hate Bush’s handling of pretty much everything he’s touched, I can’t say that this post holds much merit.

    Basically, your argument comes down to this: Bush used the word they without distinguishing its antecedent. You’re trying to say that he is linking Al Qaeda to the Iraqi insurgency by doing so.

    This is just silly. When he says “they” he does in fact lump them together. However, he’s lumping them together based on their actions, not on their agenda or ties. The insurgency has been attacking civilian structures like shopping malls, barber shops, and mosques in order to create a sense of fear. Thus, they are terrorists. Al Qaeda uses similar methods and I’m sure that nobody will say that they are not terrorists.

    The “they” of which you speak refers to terrorists and as Bush has said, “they” are our enemies. Whether you believe the war in Iraq was justified or not (I don’t) is irrelevant to your argument. You seem to be stretching really far to point the finger at Bush when there are much better things you could criticize. I fail to see how it’s important that he doesn’t specify between Al Qaeda and the insurgency as being different terrorist orginizations. They are still terrorists.

    If you want to say that Bush is falsely linking Al Qaeda to Iraq, you don’t need to rely on the word “they” to do it. He said they were linked in the lead-up to the war. You might make the argument that he is now ignoring those statements by rarely talking about Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda, but you gloss over this point and instead focus on an inane point.

    The main thrust of my reply is that you could do much better in revealing your argument than pointing out his use of the word “they” in describing terrorists. His argument is that “they” are both our enemies and since “they” are both killing U.S. souls, I’d agree with him. You are right that they are different, but “they” are both terrorists and it would be silly (and not to mention boring) to make that distinction every time he talks about one or the other when they are both enemies.

  • http://www.thebmrant.com Matt

    Marc–you’ve got it all figured out—why weren’t you on the 9/11 commission?

  • valery dawe

    Nancy, tell that to the dead and maimed GI’s who went on a wild goose WMD chase. Drop a line to their parents, wives and children while you’re at it.

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com david r. mark

    Let me throw one more thing out: Even if everything you say is true, Marc, then that’s what Bush should be talking about to make his case for our presence in Iraq.

    Regardless of your opinion on the Iraq War, you have to understand that by continuing to make these vague links between the Iraqi insurgency and 9/11, he just weakens the credibility of his argument in the minds of about 50% of the country (maybe more).

    Bush himself in 2002 admitted — while correcting Cheney — that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. The 9/11 Commission has dismissed many of the conservative media’s proposed ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

    Now, the conservatives keep trotting out the information, most notably in a published book, The Connection, by National Review writer Stephen Hayes. But Hayes’ book is primarily based on an early draft of a CIA report that was later discredited as jumping to conclusions that couldn’t be proven. The conservative noise machine keeps trotting out these “facts” to “prove” their case — things like the Prague meeting — even though our own government no longer stands behind the information.

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    I don’t see how this is inane at all. “The terrorists” are actually diverse groups all over the world with few PROVEN links to Al Qaeda. Nowhere in Bush’s speech does he actually prove (or convince, at least me) that the war in Iraq will stop terrorist acts on American soil.

    Brown peoples is bad, yo. Etc.

    What I love MOST is how anyone who disagrees with yon President is automatically some leftist prat, and rather than opening a dialogue, comments and discussion always disentegrates into inflammatory language.

    My beef with Bush’s speech is that it insinuates things that may or may not be true or accurate, changes our reasons for being in Iraq AGAIN, and does not present clear strategy, anything resembling a quantitative benchmark for when we might consider removing our troops, and does not justify the war.

    Instead, it is more of the same empty, insulting rhetoric.

    But I’m an appeasement monkey, so what does my opinion matter?

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    Double post to state my wish that I could be as eloquent as David Mark. But I’m just a rude and silly monkey!

  • http://uncledexterity.blogs.friendster.com/lameass_blog/ Tristan

    I think you missed my point. You were referring to two specific groups of terrorists. The insurgents in Iraq and the members of Al Qaeda. You weren’t talking about the “diverse groups all over the world”. My point is that both of these groups are enemies of the United States and are killing United States soldiers. This is why it is possible to lump them into a “they” category. In a relatively short speech, distinguishing between the two groups is an overall waste of time because he was speaking in regard to our enemies. These days, that includes plenty of people and can be referred to as “they”.

    This is a non-issue. It’s partisan and makes for poor discussion. Why harp on this when there’s so many real issues to harp on? It’s like condemning a serial killer for littering. Unimportant.

  • http://uncledexterity.blogs.friendster.com/lameass_blog/ Tristan

    Well that was dumb… That should read there are so many real issues, not there’s. Ugh. Is it really time for bed already?

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    No, I am agreeing with you in a sense, but I don’t feel that the original post is a waste of time. It’s got a dialogue going, and that’s what it was for, right?

    No, of course Bush’s use of language isn’t the key issue here. It’s certainly not what I focused on in my breakdown of his speech. But I do think it is an interesting PoV (the original post) because it illustrates how Bush focuses on a faceless “evil” rather than actually saying, or doing, anything at all.

  • Nancy

    He isn’t doing nothing; even I’ll give him that. The problem is, he (or more accurately, Rumsfield) doesn’t seem to be doing anything constructive. It looks like we’ve gotten into a rut, we’re pouring money (and more important and worse, lives) down a rathole, and he isn’t leveling with his own people about it. Instead, he & his admin are all singing ‘don’t worry be happy’. Well, it isn’t THEIR kids that are over there, I’ve noticed.

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com david r. mark

    When Bush simplifies things to good vs. evil and us vs. them, he furthers a stereotype that conservatives falsely accuse liberals of making. That stereotype? “Red state Americans” are rubes, unable to handle the complexities of the world like liberals. Bush wanted to give the faithful red meat, and rather than break things down and explain, he treated the faithful like rubes, and made things overly simplistic.

    Put simply, Bush mushes all the bad stuff under one “they” because it makes his case stronger. Even in a “short speech” — and he set the time limit — it weakens his argument to say that Al Qaeda attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001, and now we are trying to contain the Iraqi insurgency, which is trying to kill our soliders and innocent Iraqis, and includes some foreign fighters, some of whom may have ties to Al Qaeda or its affiliates. The proceeding sentence may be accurate, but it doesn’t make for very convincing speechwriting.

    The easier path — the path that Bush took — is to lump everyone togehter, regardless of the accuracy. This is not an accident. It’s easier to sell good vs. evil — with every evil combined into one great evil.

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com david r. mark

    Thanks for the compliment, legendarymonkey!!!

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    It would be so much simpler if all these terrorists wore name-tags describing their affiliations. Then the President could call them out by name.

    Like guerillas, however, these folks hide in the weeds, masquerading as one thing this week and another the next.

    By their actions (fortunately for those of us who don’t have the programme), they do label themselves as terrorists:

    Straps explosives to self and detonates in a crowd of civilians: One of “them.”

    Blows up a truckload of explosives adjacent to a civilian restaurant: One of “them.”

    Kidnaps and decapitates a civilian to make a statement”: One of “them.”

    Flies an airplane loaded with fuel into a building filled with ordinary citizens: One of “them.”

    Trains, funds, supports the above activities, or helps hide those who commit such acts: One of “them.”

    No mystery, David. And if “brown skin” were the only criterium here, LegendaryMonkey, we could have done as Nancy suggests, and simply chosen to “Nuke ’em all, and let God sort ’em out.”

  • http://uncledexterity.blogs.friendster.com/lameass_blog/ Tristan

    I agree that he likes to put forth a view of the world that is very black and white. I’m just saying that there are better examples of this than use of the word “them”. I just don’t think that this is clear-cut evidence in support of that viewpoint. I agree with the conclusions drawn in the post, but not because of the stated argument.

  • Nancy

    Ah…when am I going to learn that tone of voice does NOT carry over. My comment was an attempt to out-neocon neocons; facetious. However, I DO wonder why Bush I left the job half-done? Of course, hindsight is always 20-20.

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com david r. mark

    If Bush were to level with the country, rather than propagandize us with half-truths and over-simplifications, he might have 70-80% support, rather than 40-45%.

    As is, it’s just another example of Bush using 9/11 to try to justify Iraq — even though he has said that Saddam was not behind 9/11, and the 9/11 commission has furthered that by saying that there were no substantive ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

    When Bush’s popularity wanes, and he’s on the defensive, he tries to unfurl the red white and blue, stand next to some troops, and give a very jingoistic speech that has lots of references to 9/11, including misplaced ones. It’s all very political, but it’s not very honest.

    In all honesty, that’s why I’ve moved from someone prepared to vote for McCain in 2000 to someone who finds Bush entirely incredible. It’s not his policies — although I disagree with many of them — it’s his dishonest presentation of the facts and his administration’s ongoing efforts to dupe the American people (or 51% of it) through propaganda and other means.

  • http://www.suddennothing.net LegendaryMonkey

    If Bush were to level with the country, rather than propagandize us with half-truths and over-simplifications, he might have 70-80% support, rather than 40-45%.

    That is PRECISELY what I think. These ARE serious issues. Members of our armed forces are dying, we are stuck in a war that is dogging the country’s coffers and morale, other issues are being ignored, money for the health care of vets is appropriated at the last minute, the deficit is growing again, fighting has increased in “liberated” Afghanistan… and Bush’s flagship speech which was supposed to convince us all that the war is justified was more empty rhetoric.

    There IS no focus on the issues. And that is definitely a problem.

  • BoozeFighter

    Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

    20/20 hindsight

    Monday mornin’ quarterbackin’

    What other terminology can I use?

    Hmmm, Bush didn’t even write the dang speech! He’s got speech writers to do that! Ya’ll puffin your feathers up and actin’ like you know it all… professin’ to be wise….

    Just do what I do, get a big shotgun, some watermellons, empty beer cans and whiskey bottles, steal some stop signs, steal some propane tanks…

    Line it all up and start blastin’

    Takes your mind of of all kinds of Horseshit….

    or put M-80’s into your sling shots and lob them at the dogs nextdoor at oh-dark-thirty when they wake your ass up from a drunken stupor.

    As for the volunteers over in Iraq?

    They got their hands full, and their fulfilling a contract and a pledge/oath the swore/affirmed to uphold.

    Either that, or they just plain like to fight… that proves that evolution has progressed… we still like to fight. Including the Jihad.

    Earning college tuition the hard way I guess…. most of the folks on this here blog probably had their parents pay for their college. Huh?

    How dare I? Been there, done that. Learned big lesson, went back to reservation and suck Uncle Sam’s hind tittie. Safer, sweeter milk.

    Any chicks wanna come visit me, and party down? Yeah… (insert warwhoop here)

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    Um, whatever.

    For the more serious commenters defending Bush, let me give you that analogy.

    You know how local television news will have teasers like: “What you are going to eat for dinner tonight may kill you. Story at 11.”

    Then it turns out the story is about the carcinogen formed by frying potatoes — it can cause cancer if you eat your weight in potato chips (I’m not making that up …)

    For Bush, talking about “terrorism” is like the teaser. it sounds scary, and it can lead a viewer to imagine all sorts of horrible things.

    But unlike the local news, Bush isn’t telling the people that they have to eat their weight in potatoes to be in danger. He just tells us about the danger, and makes sure we’re all real scared.

    Did the Bush administration “fix” the intelligence to agree with the spin point? The reason the DSM story is plausible is because we’ve seen other examples of intelligence being heightened when necessary, or ignored when necessary. Whether it’s “editing” global warming reports or downplaying the Aug. 6 memo, a good chunk of the American people have grown to distrust what Bush says, because it’s assumed it’s spin.

    Even when the facts are known — Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 (as Bush admitted in 2002) — it seems Bush (or his speechwriters) try to come up with a technical way to say something so as to make it legally correct, but obviously misleading to the uninformed. Go listen to Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech and you have little choice but to believe Saddam had something to do with 9/11. But technically, Bush didn’t say that — he talked about 9/11, and then said Saddam had ties to terrorists (which he did — the Palestinian suicide bombers).

    The speech Tuesday suffers from a similar bait-and-switch. As I said before, Bush knows that by spelling things out, his case for going to Iraq and still being there is weakened. So he mushes things together, in an effor to strengthen his presentation.

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    /golfclap

    nicely done David

    *bait and switch*

    indeed

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.psychopundit.com Dave Nalle

    >>I stand by what I say. I didn’t take any Bush comments out of context. <<

    Didn’t say you did, David. What you did is deliberately misunderstand and misrepresent what are basically clear and relatively unambiguous statements. Rather than discussing what he said, you discussed what you read into his statements – which was mostly you and very little Bush.

    Dave

  • http://www.psychopundit.com Dave Nalle

    LegendaryMonkey:

    >>C’mon, Dave. Who are “they?” “They” are aparently the first people to ever commit a terrorist attack on America (not true), “they” are centered in Iraq, the world hotbed of terrorism (which is about as real as Iraq’s WMDs), and “they” are probably going to kill your puppy. < <

    They are the general population of terrorists and those who support terrorism morally and financially. That's pretty cut and dried, and not at all ambiguous. Even if Iraq wasn't the source of the 9/11 attacks, it's chock full of terrorists now, including Al Quaeda, so there's nothing at all inappropriate about including it as part of the objectives of the War on Terror.

    >>Please point out to me the straightforward statements in the speech.< <

    Are you incapable of reading the original post here for yourself? It's all straightforward.

    >> Please point out the new information. < <

    That's just it, there isn't any new information. It's like remedial War on Terror 101 because people like you still just don't get it. Bush has to repeat the same things over and over because so many either are clueless or deliberately choose not to understand.

    >>Please point out what justifies Iraq — REALLY justifies it, not just the reason of the month.<<

    That’s really not what this speech was about. We’re waaaay beyond justification at this point. The reasons are obvious and well established and if you don’t know them by now whose fault is that?

    Dave

    Because I’d like to feel better about it all, considering my tax dollars are disappearing like crazy and I have family and friends who might get shipped off — something I DO NOT want to see.

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    Dave, I presented Bush’s actual comments, then compared them to what we know to be true. Therein lies the tale.

    How does one “deliberately misunderstand” something? That’s an original insult …

    You have every right to disagree, but please don’t patronize me by suggesting Bush’s comments were “unambiguous.” Bush’s comments Tuesday followed a well-worn path for this president — saying something that is technically correct, but designed to mislead.

  • http://www.psychopundit.com Dave Nalle

    Yes, but the things you ‘know to be true’ are matters of opinion in most cases, not fact. And the comments you compare them to are mostly only tangentially related to the ‘facts’ you bring up. Not to mention that you really don’t being up many ‘facts’ at all. You just say Bush is wrong and leave it at that.

    If the statements are designed to mislead I just don’t see it. They make sense as stated without interpretation or inference. How is that misleading. Here’s an example:

    “The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror. The war reached our shores on September the 11th, 2001. The terrorists who attacked us — and the terrorists we face — murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent.”

    Ok, that’s not misleading. We ARE fighting a global war on terror. It’s here in America, it’s in Europe, it’s in Indonesia, it’s in Ukraine, it’s in Iraq, it’s in Afghanistan. Referring to the terrorists who attacked us and who we are fighting in thsi war on terror together is perfectly valid because they are all terrorists – and you can interpret that as one group, two groups or a thousand groups, because it means ALL terrorists are intolerant totalitarians – are you saying that doesn’t describe ALL Islamic extremists? This just isn’t an ambiguous statement in any way.

    Your attempt to differentiate Al Qaeda from other terrorists and fromt he ones in Iraq is completely disingenuous. He’s talking about a War on TERROR, not a war on some group of terrorists, but a war on terrorism in all its forms wherever it is. That’s perfectly obvious, but you deliberately choose to misrepresent and reinterpret the statement to suggest it is unclear when it’s perfectly clear.

    As for your so-called ‘mysterious they’, again you’re being deliberately obtuse. It’s obvious that Bush means all of those who use terror to achieve their objectives. How is that confusing to you. Once again you’re trying to read deception into his statements where it isn’t there and isn’t needed.

    Dave

  • valery dawe

    >He’s talking about a War on TERROR, not a war on some group of terrorists, but a war on terrorism in all its forms wherever it is.<

    If that’s true he’s likely to blow himself up real good.

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    Dave, don’t you see it’s disingenous to talk about things Al Qaeda did and then use that as justification for fighting an Iraqi insurgency that has little or nothing to do with Al Qaeda?

    That’s the argument Bush is making, but by calling them all “terrorists” — a technically accurate but misleading term — he makes his argument stronger. He makes it sound as if they’re all in it together. They’re one big, amorphous evil.

    If Bush had to spell out what Al Qaeda did, vs. what we are fighting now, his argument for the “war on terror” in Iraq would be significantly weaker. It would make for bad television. It wouldn’t rally the faithful.

    It’s a lot like what happened three weeks ago, when Bush was trying to drum up support for renewal of various provisions of the USA Patriot Act.

    He said that there had been 400 arrests of suspected terrorists, and 200 convictions. It sounds good, but as I wrote in an earlier post here and on JABBS, only 39 of the 200 convictions were related to terrorism. And there’s no indication that those 39 convictions could be directly attributed to information received via the Patriot Act.

    But hey, why get bothered by details. Saying 200 of 400 terrorists were convicted makes for better television.

    It’s bait-and-switch.

  • SFC Ski

    Dr. Pat this was LOL material, “It would be so much simpler if all these terrorists wore name-tags describing their affiliations. Then the President could call them out by name.” If they’d annpunce where they are holding the conventions it would be easier, too.

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    I found this bit of fact-checking at juancole.com that I wanted to pass along to Dave and other Bush supporters:

    “The terrorists who attacked us and the terrorists we face murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises all dissent.

    “Terrorists” are not a cohesive ideological category like “Communists” as Bush suggests. Lots of groups use terror as a tactic. The Irgun Zionists in 1946 and 1947 did, as well. Also ETA in Spain, about the terrorist acts of which Americans seldom hear in their newspapers (they are ongoing). The Baath regime in Iraq engaged in so little international terrorism in the late 1990s and early zeroes that it was not even on the US State Department list of sponsors of terrorism. Bush could take the above rationale and use it to invade most countries in the world.

    “To achieve these aims, they have continued to kill: in Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Bali and elsewhere.

    Yes, and these were al-Qaeda operations, and you haven’t caught Bin Laden or al-Zawahiri.

    “The commander in charge of coalition operations in Iraq, who is also senior commander at this base, General John Vines, put it well the other day. He said, We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us.”

    This is monstrous and ridiculous at once. The people in Fallujah and Ramadi were not sitting around plotting terrorism three years ago. They had no plans to hit the United States. Terrorism isn’t a fixed quantity. By unilaterally invading Iraq and then bollixing it up, Bush and Vines have created enormous amounts of terrorism, which they are now having trouble putting back in the bottle.

    “Our military reports that we have killed or captured hundreds of foreign fighters in Iraq who have come from Saudi Arabia and Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and others.”

    Maybe 8 percent of the fighters in Iraq are foreign jihadis. Of the some 25,000 guerrillas, almost all are Iraqi Sunni Arabs who dislike foreign military occupation of their country. You could imagine what people in Alabama or Kentucky would do if foreign troops came in and tried to set up checkpoints in their neighborhoods.

    Moreover, many of those jihadis fighting in Iraq wouldn’t even be jihadis if they weren’t outraged by Bush’s invasion and occupation of a Muslim country.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Ski, “they” could send engraved invitations to their conventions, and the “peace at any price” crowd would still argue that we have no right to go after the terrorists where they are.

    I wish my comment (It would be so much simpler if all these terrorists wore name-tags describing their affiliations. Then the President could call them out by name.) HAD been tongue-in-cheek. Sadly, it’s not, as David’s original post illustrates.

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    To be clear, my original post was not about the worthiness of fighting terrorists — Al Qaeda or otherwise.

    My problem, again, is with the way Bush mushes together information to strengthen his argument. I want my leaders to be honest and frank with the American people, and when they are dishonest and misleading, I expect the American people to hold them accountable.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Dave, don’t you see it’s disingenous to talk about things Al Qaeda did and then use that as justification for fighting an Iraqi insurgency that has little or nothing to do with Al Qaeda? < <

    Again, David. It's a war on _terror_, not just a war on Al Qaeda. We have people working against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups as well, not just in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan, but around the world.

    >>That’s the argument Bush is making, but by calling them all “terrorists” — a technically accurate but misleading term — he makes his argument stronger. He makes it sound as if they’re all in it together. They’re one big, amorphous evil. < <

    In a general sense they are. It's absolutely ridiculous to suggest that calling terrorists terrorists is misleading.

    >>If Bush had to spell out what Al Qaeda did, vs. what we are fighting now, his argument for the “war on terror” in Iraq would be significantly weaker. It would make for bad television. It wouldn’t rally the faithful. < <

    They're still terrorists, and we're fighting them. There's no ambiguity at all, and no weakness either.

    >>He said that there had been 400 arrests of suspected terrorists, and 200 convictions. It sounds good, but as I wrote in an earlier post here and on JABBS, only 39 of the 200 convictions were related to terrorism. And there’s no indication that those 39 convictions could be directly attributed to information received via the Patriot Act. <<

    He did actually say there had been 200 convictions under the act, not that they were convictions of terrorists, but yes, in that case I agree that his wording was subtly deceptive – unlike the examples in this article.

    Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>I found this bit of fact-checking at juancole.com that I wanted to pass along to Dave and other Bush supporters: < <

    I laugh at the idea that you get your facts from Juan Cole. Not exactly an objective source. If that's where you go for 'facts' how can we take your comments seriously?

    >>”Terrorists” are not a cohesive ideological category like “Communists” as Bush suggests. < <

    No, terrorism is a functional definition. If a group uses terror to promote its goals then it is a terrorist organization.

    >>Lots of groups use terror as a tactic. The Irgun Zionists in 1946 and 1947 did, as well.< <

    So did the Sons of Liberty in 1775.

    >> Also ETA in Spain, about the terrorist acts of which Americans seldom hear in their newspapers (they are ongoing). The Baath regime in Iraq engaged in so little international terrorism in the late 1990s and early zeroes that it was not even on the US State Department list of sponsors of terrorism.< <

    They did terrorize their own population and practice genocide and political torture and murder. That makes them a terrorist regime.

    >> Bush could take the above rationale and use it to invade most countries in the world.< <

    You don't invade most countries to deal with terrorists within the country, you help them with resources to deal with their terrorists. You invade countries whose regimes are terroristic.

    >>This is monstrous and ridiculous at once. The people in Fallujah and Ramadi were not sitting around plotting terrorism three years ago.< <

    No, they were dragging women off to rape rooms for Uday Hussein and kidnapping family members to control the actions of the rest of the family.

    >>They had no plans to hit the United States. Terrorism isn’t a fixed quantity. By unilaterally invading Iraq and then bollixing it up, Bush and Vines have created enormous amounts of terrorism, which they are now having trouble putting back in the bottle. < <

    They would argue, with some validity, that our actions in Iraq attracted all sorts of terrorists from elsewhere, thereby reducing the overall activity of terrorists in places other than Iraq.

    >>Maybe 8 percent of the fighters in Iraq are foreign jihadis. Of the some 25,000 guerrillas, almost all are Iraqi Sunni Arabs who dislike foreign military occupation of their country. < <

    AKA Baathists who want to restore an oppressive dictatorship of the minority over the entire country, and of course bring back the rape rooms and torture chambers. Plus their techniques are those of terrorists, not resistence fighters. They target civilian populatins. They are terrorists.

    >>Moreover, many of those jihadis fighting in Iraq wouldn’t even be jihadis if they weren’t outraged by Bush’s invasion and occupation of a Muslim country.<<

    Most of them wouldn’t be Jihadists if Al Qaeda recruiters weren’t promising $10,000 to poor families in Yemen and Sudan if they send one of their kids to strap on a bomb and blow up a cafe in Baghdad.

    Do you not understand that these people are evil and have to be resisted in every way and on every front and with every resource we have?

    Dave

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com david r. mark

    Dave, you can’t seriously be saying that the War in Iraq was designed to end rape rooms and other torture from Saddam and his sons.

    It was about WMD and missiles that could strike us in 45 minutes, remember? It was about the ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

    How soon we forget?

    BTW, my posting info from Juan Cole doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says. I just wanted to offer another view point to the discussion. Sorry if I was “misleading.” LOL

  • SFC Ski

    For what it’s worth, after the speech, the poll numbers changed:
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/content/login.aspx?ci=17131

    If you can remeber back that far, Saddma’s repressive regime was mentioned in the run up to the war, it was the possibility of a sudden WMD strike that made the 14 month “rush” to war so urgent.

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    i saw those poll numbers…what you need to mention to put it in context was that 50% were republicans, 23% dems and 27% independants

    kind of lends a different view to the numbers, eh?

    wait till after this week end…by tuesday we shoudl hav ea much clearer view

    Excelsior!

  • SFC Ski

    All it really means is that polls are only as much of an indicator as you want them to be.

  • http://gonzo-marx.blogspot.com gonzo marx

    i can agree with part of it..

    however…

    with a large enough and properly proportioned statistical grouping, you can gain pretty accurate indications of overall sentiment

    the exact wording of Questions as well as an accurate representation of the overall group involved coupled with a large enough sampling can lead to accepttable indicators

    the “snap poll” you cited was not so…they deliberately choose the groupings they did on the thought that a larger amount of republicans woudl actually watch the speech…when the call backs came afterward, only about half really watched…and that was among the republicans

    so, overall..i do agree…polls shoudl be suspect and examined before being lent any credence

    nuff said?

    Excelsior!

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    That was a problem during the last election. Historically, the breakdown of people identifying themselves as Democrat, Republican and Independent is something like 37-33-30. Some polls used that, but a few polls flipped the Democrats and Republicans surveyed, although there was no historical precedent to suggest such a flip in identification had occurred.

    So you may remember that in a given week, one set of polls would show Bush up by 1 or 2 on Kerry, and then another set of polls would show Bush up by 7 or 10.

    It led to accusations that some poll-taking companies were biased toward Bush, and that some media — such as Fox News and MSNBC — were conveniently highlighting the set of polls showing a substantial Bush lead.

    I wrote about this on my blog, if you go into the archives for last fall.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Dave, you can’t seriously be saying that the War in Iraq was designed to end rape rooms and other torture from Saddam and his sons. < <

    As I recall it was about invading and neutralizing Iraq, which means ending the abuses of the Hussein regime.

    >>It was about WMD and missiles that could strike us in 45 minutes, remember? It was about the ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda.<<

    Those were reasons why Iraq was near the top of the list for being dealt with, sure. But that doesn’t really mean much at this point.

    Dave

  • Shark

    DaveNulle on THE REASON WE INVADED IRAQ: “…it was about invading and neutralizing Iraq…”

    Talk about some major BULLSHIT. Dave, seriously, you ever read the shit you type?

    DaveNulle on the MISSING WMD and the FAKE stories of missiles 45 minutes from launching: “Those were reasons why Iraq was near the top of the list for being dealt with, sure. But that doesn’t really mean much at this point.”

    “That doesn’t matter much at this point.” –???!!!

    translation: “We’re there, liberals, shut up and deal with it.”

    ======

    ALL THIS FROM A GUY WHO EARLIER WROTE: “…when Bush tries to be absolutely clear in his statements you take that as some sort of misdirection?

    Maybe you should just actually read the quotes you post from his speech. They make absolute and perfect sense…”

    Which sorta explains why you can’t parse your own silly jabberwocky — and where you get your sense of verbal CLARITY.

    Bush is the model; now it all makes sense.

    =====

    PS: Dave, two words about the fake build-up to the fake war in Iraq;

    SCOTT

    RITTER.

  • Shark

    BTW: David Mark, thanks for the analysis. It’s a tough job parsing the Bush Administration’s sleight-of-hand language.

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    Thanks, Shark. I can’t say I enjoy doing it, but with this administration, I strongly believe it needs to be done.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Good job, David and Snark. It sure is a tough job giving Bush’s perfectly straightforward statements the appearance of sleight-of-hand. Pity you’re not actually fooling anyone.

    Dave

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    Dave, you hear what you want to hear.