Friday, December 3, 2004

Archive: Test your Bush reading skills

August 3, 2004

Test your reading skills on this quote from yesterday.

George W. Bush, August 2nd 2004: “Let me talk about the intelligence in Iraq. First of all, we all thought we’d find stockpiles of weapons. We may still find weapons. We haven’t found them yet. Every person standing up here would say, 'Gosh, we thought it was going to be different.; As did congress, by the way. Member of both parties. And the United Nations. But what we do know is that Saddam Hussein had the capability of making weapons. And ... umm … but let me just say this to you. Knowing what I know today, we still would have gone on into Iraq. We still would have gone to make our country more secure. He had the capability of making weapons. He had terrorist ties. The decision I made was the right decision. The world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.”

Okay, I've read it all the way through, twice, and as far as I can tell, every single sentence (not counting the first one, which isn't a proposition of fact) is false--either flat-out untrue on its face, like sentences #2 and #3, or evidently worded to imply something that is false (like that sly little "yet" at the end of sentence #4), or phrased to twist or omit crucial details (like sentence #7).

Every sentence--false. And yet I take it as given that Bush will no more be called to public account for this pack of uninterrupted lies than he has been for any others. Astonishing.

At this point, the "respectable" American news media fall into one of two camps:

There are the nakedly partisan fronts like Fox News (and, increasingly, CNN), who will say anything, however preposterous, to support the party line.

Or there are the ones who practice what Pauline Kael called "saphead objectivity," the silly belief that anything presented as having two sides is therefore automatically reliable and fair, while anyone who chooses to call a spade a spade, without feeling the need to give equal time to cranks who insist it's a handsaw, therefore lacks the proper objectivity and critical distance to be taken seriously.

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