State of the Union

Eli Stephens elishastephens at
Sat Jul 12 18:13:15 MDT 2003

Looking through the State of the Union address (just casual afternoon
reading), I came across this:

"From intelligence sources we know, for instance, that thousands of Iraqi
security personnel are at work hiding documents and materials from the U.N.
inspectors, sanitizing inspection sites and monitoring the inspectors

As you may remember, I have been loudly repeating the point for months now,
that the absence of PEOPLE, not the absence of finding weapons, was what
proved (or very strongly suggested, in any case) that weapons of mass
destruction would never be found in Iraq, and that no programs to make them
had existed for quite some time. And now here I find that Bush was
inadvertently echoing my very point in his last State of the Union address.
Because he himself claimed that "thousands" of Iraqis were busy hiding the
evidence of WMD (or PMD). And, as I've said before, the fact that NOT ONE of
those people has yet come forward pretty much tells the tale (i.e., that no
such people exist).

Note that if Bush had said "we think" or "we suspect" rather than "we know"
then what he said would have been "technically true," just as if he had said
"The British government 'suspects' that Saddam Hussein recently sought
significant quantities of uranium from Africa" it would likewise have been
technicallly true. But he didn't, he said "The British government has
learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of
uranium from Africa." which is quite different.

Does it matter that Bush said "we know" rather than "we think" or that the
British government "has learned" rather than "suspects"? It definitely does.
Because it was only be presenting the case as a certainty, rather than a
suspicion, that Bush could get Congressional approval, and the approval of
the American people, and a certain (though not a majority) approval on the
UN Security Council, for the war he intended to fight from the start. These
were not accidental or poor choices of language. They were deliberate lies.
Impeachable lies.

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