Satire is dead part 2: Lies, damned lies, and Bush/Blair press statements

LouPaulsen LouPaulsen at
Thu Jan 9 23:58:02 MST 2003

I swear to God, I don't know whether I'm reading Yahoo News or
or a Dave Barry column these days.  The "Spirit of Strom Thurmond" surely
has a "this can't really be happening, can it?" feel to it.  And then we
have the following report from the Associated Press, which could be
cut-and-pasted into The Onion without changing hardly a word.  This is from
a story entitled "Blair Tries to Cool Iraq War Speculation":

- - - - - - - - -

"The problem people have with the not that, for example, they
oppose them on weapons of mass destruction or international terrorism," he
said. "People listen to the U.S. on these issues and may well agree with
them. But they want the U.S. to listen back."

The address was as critical of America as Blair has ever been. It came as
his government announced the activation of 1,500 military reservists and the
dispatch of an amphibious task force for potential duty against Iraq.

Rosemary Hollis, head of the Middle East program at the Royal Institute of
International Affairs in London, said the contradictions between Blair's
words and actions could be intentional.

"There have to be different messages for different audiences, and they have
to be sent simultaneously," she said.

The buildup of forces was likely aimed at rattling Saddam, while the cool
talk could be meant to reassure the British public and dissenters within the
Labor Party, Hollis said.

[end excerpt]

- - - - -

Am I the only one who thinks that the line between government policy and
Pythonesque satire has disappeared entirely?  Can't you imagine John Cleese
delivering these lines?

Meanwhile Bush issued a statement of his own, not to be outdone, which was
interpreted several different ways.  Note the interesting logical variations
on the theme from the Yahoo Full Coverage page:

-  U.S.: Iraq has failed to prove it has destroyed weapons  -  Associated
Press  (Jan 9, 2003)
-  U.S. Says Knows 'For a Fact' Iraq Has Weapons  -  Reuters  (Jan 9, 2003)
-  U.S.: Iraq Fails to Show Lack of Weapons  -  Associated Press  (Jan 9,

"The problem with guns that are hidden is you can't see their smoke," said
Ari Fleischer (news - web sites), press secretary to President Bush.  "A gun
also could be made of glass and hidden in a goldfish bowl full of water, or
rendered invisible by a Romulan cloaking device."

Lou Paulsen

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