Article and Staudenmaier
- Hi Friends,
This article below reminds me of how Mr. Staudenmaier works on Dr.
Steiners biography. I have been watching over at the critics and I
have to say the gentleman who had a run in with list groundrules is
really calling Peter on his game. I believe his name is Abd, could
have the spelling wrong, but either way he is holding his own with a
master wordslinger. I don't agree with all of Abds remarks but one
can see he at least is clearly thinking through and past the twisted
writings of Mr. Staudenmeir.
SAN ANTONIO--In the fall of 2002, fewer than a third of Americans
believed that Iraq (news - web sites) posed a threat to the United
States. So George W. Bush developed a strategy for selling a war to a
recalcitrant public. In statement after statement, Administration
officials created the impression that Saddam Hussein (news - web
sites) was responsible for the September 11 attacks. Their plan
worked. By the time American tanks rumbled across the Kuwaiti-Iraqi
border, 70 percent of Americans thought we were avenging 9/11.
A year later, the 9/11 Commission has concluded there is "no credible
evidence" of a Saddam-Al Qaeda link. Accused of lying about an Iraqi
role in 9/11 as well as WMDs, Republicans are making a startlingly
Orwellian defense: Bush & Co., they say, never said what we all heard
"The press wants to run out and say there's a fundamental split here
now between what the president said and what the [9/11] commission
said," complains Dick Cheney (news - web sites). "And there's no
conflict. What they were addressing was whether or not [the Iraqis]
were involved in 9/11. And there they found no evidence to support
that proposition. I've watched a lot of the coverage on it and the
fact of the matter is [the press] don't make a distinction. They fuzz
Someone's been fuzzing like a madman, but the media has merely been
taking dictation. In a weasely it-depends-on-the-meaning-of-is way,
the Bushies are absolutely right. They never said that Saddam was
behind 9/11. Not exactly.
On March 21, 2003, days before the start of war, Bush sent a letter
to Congress justifying the imminent invasion: "I have also determined
that the use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the
United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary
actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations,
including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned,
authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred
on September 11, 2001."
But on June 16, 2004, Bush said: "This administration never said that
the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and Al Qaeda." Sam
Boone-Lutz wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times
pointing to these two statements. "Explain to me," he asks, "how [the
June 16, 2004] statement isn't a lie."
This is your lucky day, Sam.
Parsing statements from the current White House is impossible without
a strong background in sentence diagramming. (A shout-out here to Mr.
Bradfield, my old-school seventh-grade English teacher.) The key word
in Bush's March 21, 2003 justification to Congress is including. He
asserts that armed force is justified "against international
terrorists and terrorist organizations." Everything after "including"
is optional, i.e., non-conditional. Broken down to its essentials,
Bush said: "I can go after terrorists, including those responsible
for 9/11, but I can also go after terrorists who were not responsible
for 9/11." Given the context--a notice to Congress that he is about
to attack Iraq--he intended us to draw the inference that Iraq played
a role in 9/11. But, strictly speaking, he doesn't say that Iraq is
included among those who carried out 9/11. His statement has been
carefully lawyered to create "plausible deniability" if and when, as
has happened, such an assertion is belied by the facts.
Bush does clearly assert, however, that Iraq is tied
to "international terrorists and terrorist organizations." This
section relates to payments Saddam made to survivors of Palestinian
suicide bombers who died in attacks in Israel--not the United States.
If the average American knew in March 2003 that Iraq had only been
involved in terrorism against Israel, but never against the United
States or any other country, he wouldn't have viewed Saddam as a
threat. Bush "fuzzed up" the differences between referring specific
terrorism against Israel and terrorism in general, hoping that no one
would notice the difference.
No one did.
White House lawyers applied similar legalese to every official pre-
war statement so that, when the truth eventually came out, Bush & Co.
could deny having tied Saddam to 9/11. Ordinary citizens, who quickly
scan the headlines and get their news from TV, would draw the desired-
-incorrect--conclusion. Yet "plausible deniability" was in place as a
Any news junkie with some experience reading legal documents can
extract the elusive truth from a Bush quote. On June 17, for example,
Bush said that Saddam had "provided safe haven for a terrorist like
[Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab] Zarqawi, who is still killing innocents
inside of Iraq." Actually, Zarqawi never lived in Saddam's Iraq; he
arrived after the U.S. invasion. But a guy Bush says is like Zarqawi,
Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal, did live in Baghdad under Saddam. To
the extent that any Abu is like another, Zarqawi is like Nidal. (In
this phrasing, "like" typically means "for example." In order to
obfuscate, however, Bush will claim to have meant "similar to.") Yes,
Nidal's Fatah (news - web sites) organization was only a threat to
Israel, never the United States. And Zarqawi's Islamist Al Qaeda
never cooperated with Yassir Arafat's Fatah.
This statement elevates the craft of creating intentionally confusing
syntax to dazzlingly cynical new heights. Polls confirm that such
convoluted verbiage has convinced a plurality of Americans, 49 to 36
percent, that "clear evidence that Iraq was supporting Al Qaeda has
It's all so beautifully postmodern: all of the Bushies' lies are
Ted Rall is the author of "Wake Up, You're Liberal!: How We Can Take
America Back From the Right." Ordering information is available at