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SORRY, BUSH BACKERS: 16 WORDS STILL MATTER

by Rational Normal Person Sunday, Jul. 20, 2003 at 9:03 PM

But those words helped launch a thousand ships and a few hundred thousand U.S. men and women to Iraq, some to their deaths. Now, it's clear not only that the information was incorrect but that people at several levels of the administration knew it to be incorrect before the 16 words were uttered.

Posted on Wed, Jul. 16, 2003



SORRY, BUSH BACKERS: 16 WORDS STILL MATTER

BY DAVIS MERRITT

In its efforts to free itself from the painful horns of the African uranium dilemma, the White House has dusted off one old saying and is in the process of creating a new one.

Needing somebody to fall on his sword, the administration revived that old saw "Let George do it." That would be George Tenet, the CIA chief who also happens to be a rare holdover from the previous Democratic administration and therefore expendable.

The president's talk-show minions faced a tough task over the weekend: How to minimize the heat flow from an unfortunate and untrue sentence in his State of the Union address --"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" -- without actually admitting that the president, under the kindest possible interpretation, didn't know what he was talking about.

The two-pronged strategy: Hoist up Ol' George Tenet to twist in the wind and keep referring to the offending sentence as "those 16 words," as if they were obviously unimportant among all the thousands of other actually important and honest words.

In a three-minute segment of one Sunday show, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice used the phrase six times, always accompanying it with an undertone of polite ridicule, implying, "How on Earth could anyone attach any real importance to only 16 words?"

But those words helped launch a thousand ships and a few hundred thousand U.S. men and women to Iraq, some to their deaths. Now, it's clear not only that the information was incorrect but that people at several levels of the administration knew it to be incorrect before the 16 words were uttered.

Most good people in the public-relations business learned a long time ago that when you're caught dead to rights, admit it, fix it, and move on. But that's not the page the president's people are reading in the political manual. They're still on the page about re-election at all costs.

So we're subtly told not to worry about 16 little ol' words. Forget it, we're told. How can so few words be really important?

Let's see:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." (13 words)

"That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain." (14)

"That these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states." (15)

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal... of landing a man on the moon." (19)

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union...." (15)

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth...." (16)

Ah, and here's an apt one:

"Who ever knew truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?" (14)

Oh, and....

"I... do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the president of the United States...." (18)



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Davis Merritt is a former editor of The Eagle. Reach him at bmerritt@southwind.net.

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 9 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Now let us comment on that... Rational Normal Person Sunday, Jul. 20, 2003 at 9:14 PM
BA's Logic Diogenes Monday, Jul. 21, 2003 at 5:51 AM
Two choices Logician Monday, Jul. 21, 2003 at 5:58 AM
logic spaz Monday, Jul. 21, 2003 at 6:06 AM
Thank you Logician Bush Admirer Monday, Jul. 21, 2003 at 6:48 AM
Bush supporting vs. Saddam hating.. Jen Monday, Jul. 21, 2003 at 9:42 AM
Bush Admirer , I see you still cannot read Rational Normal Person Monday, Jul. 21, 2003 at 8:30 PM
However Scarecrow Tuesday, Jul. 22, 2003 at 7:30 PM

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