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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2007-07-19 16:05
Subject: [politics] Making the Big Lie look small
Security: Public
Tags:iraq, politics
"We never argued that [Hussein] played a role 9/11; political opponents manufactured the claim to question the president's integrity."

White House press secretary and former FOX News anchor Tony Snow in USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20070719/oppose19.art.htm
Post A Comment | 21 Comments | | Flag | Link






Chris McKitterick: Bush - Mission Accomplished
User: mckitterick
Date: 2007-07-19 23:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Bush - Mission Accomplished
Wow.

See, just by stating it, it's true.

Also, war is peace.
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España Sheriff: colbertgunmouth
User: cmdrsuzdal
Date: 2007-07-19 23:28 (UTC)
Subject: Lather, rinse, repeat.
Keyword:colbertgunmouth
Technically true for various definitions of the words "we" "never" "argued" "played" and "role" and for that matter the numbers 9 and 11.

This came up a while back, too;

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3119676.stm
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Sally Cinnamon: bucky writes
User: elizawrites
Date: 2007-07-19 23:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:bucky writes
Seriously, this administration has collective balls so big they can be seen from space.
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Mister Eclectic
User: howeird
Date: 2007-07-20 00:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Snowed again.
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S-47/19-J
User: shsilver
Date: 2007-07-20 02:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
To be "fair and balanced," those claims were made before Tony the Liar was in his current position.
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ericjamesstone
User: ericjamesstone
Date: 2007-07-20 02:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
OK, just to be clear, some of you are claiming that the Bush administration lied when they said Hussein played a role in 9/11?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-07-20 02:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Actually, we're pointing Tony Snow lied when he said the Bush administration never said Hussein played a role in 9/11. The White House can't have it both ways -- repeatedly link Hussein and 9/11, then claim they never said such a thing.

In general, the claim that Hussein had a role in 9/11 doesn't hold up to observers outside dedicated conservative circles -- it rests largely on Atta's alleged Prague meeting with Iraqi intelligence, which has been disproven. Besides which al-Qaeda never had a demonstrable alignment with Iraq prior to invasion, whereas (for example) the links to Afghanistan, Pakistan and especially Saudi Arabia are quite clear.

A pre-war Iraq-al Qaeda would never have been likely for sectarian reasons, for that matter, another thing conservative thought about 9/11 has either ignored or been ignorant of.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-07-20 02:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
To be specific in answering your question, what us moonbats find frustrating in this case isn't that the administration lied (or didn't) about 9/11, it's that they're now lying about their prior statements on the matter. In other words, they're lying about lying.

It makes my head hurt.
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ericjamesstone
User: ericjamesstone
Date: 2007-07-20 03:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
> Tony Snow lied when he said the Bush administration never said Hussein
> played a role in 9/11.

Therefore, it is your claim that the Bush administration said Hussein played a role in 9/11.

Tony Snow's statement is that the administration said no such thing, and that claims to the contrary were manufactured by people who wanted to question the President's integrity.

Well, this should be a simple matter to settle. Merely produce an actual quote in which the Bush administration said Hussein played a role in 9/11.

If you can do so, then I'll agree that Tony Snow is lying--or at best, badly mistaken about the facts.

If not, then you prove him correct.

If you look at what was actually said, Al Gore never claimed to have invented the Internet. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop Republicans and conservatives from claiming he said that, because they've heard it so often from people on their side that they're convinced it must be true, and because it fits with their notion of Gore as a serial exaggerater.

I think the same kind of dynamic is at work on the left side of the political spectrum when it comes to the claim that the Bush administration said Hussein played a role in 9/11.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-07-20 04:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're splitting hairs, my friend, and you're more than smart enough to know that. See this BBC report:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3119676.stm

for specifics.

Note thatBush never said in so many words:"Hussein was responsible for 9/11." (I believe Cheney has, which certainly represents a White House statement with the clearly implied endorsement of the president.) He has repeatedly linked Iraq and 9/11 in speeches and public statements, some of which are outlined in the BBC reference above. This White House worked very hard to create a clear link between Hussein and 9/11 in the run up to the war, and very much succeeded as evidenced by polling data, especially among self-identified conservatives. Or do you think that the GOP base was badly misled by something the president never intended to communicate?

The Al Gore example is trivial and not parallel -- it was a misrepresentation of a fairly simple statement about sponsoring of research funding. Bush and the Hussein 9/11 link is a matter of years of very deliberate rhetorical behavior. That there is plausible deniability built into the lack of a specific quote is quite probably deliberate as well, but do you seriously claim this White House never promoted the idea of this link?

Snow's statement is on a par with Clinton's "that depends on what the definition of is is" -- a much better comparison of narrow denials of broad behavior, if you will. Conservatives were very much against the splitting of rhetorical hairs in those days. Claiming now that Bush never made that link is precisely the same hair splitting.
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theresamather
User: theresamather
Date: 2007-07-20 13:10 (UTC)
Subject: The view from red state central
Here in red state country (southern Utah), most of the folks *absolutely* believe that Saddam and 9-11 are connected. Their primary source of news is Fox, supplemented by Rush and Hannity on the radio. I would say 80-90% of the people in this region are of this opinion. Now...it may be true that that the White House never said that and it may not be, but the end result is that the people here completely and utterly believe that Saddam played a role in 9-11. In the editorial section of the local paper, and in the letters, you risk being called a traitor or a coward if you say otherwise. So here at least, at this point, it does not matter if the White House ever said it or not. These people believe it to be true and believe that the "liberals" are physically endangering them by refusing to understand the simple black and white situation. Until recently my local paper carried demands for genocide in the letters section on a regular basis, calling for the extermination of all Muslims. Civilized talk in an urban environment is one thing, but what the "salt of the earth" folks are getting out of the rhetoric is pretty clear to my eyes, and no liberal source of any kind was a contributing factor.
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ericjamesstone
User: ericjamesstone
Date: 2007-07-20 11:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I had already read that article when a prior commenter linked to it.

If, as you believe, Cheney had explicitly stated that Hussein was behind 9/11, don't you think that quote would have been in the article?

Yes, Bush has linked the issue of the 9/11 attack and Iraq, but not in the way you claim.

9/11 was a wakeup call to the fact that terrorism could cause significant damage to our country. Iraq sponsored terrorism, had used chemical weapons in the past, and according to at least some intelligence information, was potentially a supplier of WMD to terrorist groups in the future. (Spare me the Bush-lied-about-WMD meme, please, as it is not relevant to the current issue of whether Bush lied about Hussein playing a role in the 9/11 attacks.)

Let's take another example: Hurricane Katrina.

It cannot be proved that Katrina was caused by global warming. (That's a bit of an understatement, considering the hurricane record of the following year.) It would therefore be innacurate at best to flatly say, "Global warming caused Katrina." However, it would be fine to say, "Katrina reminded us how much damage the weather can cause. The effects of global warming could be far worse, so we must act now to counter that threat." Does that "link" the issue of Katrina with global warming? Yes. Is it a causal link? No.

The Bush administration's linking of 9/11 and Iraq is of exactly the same nature as the Katrina example. Shall I expect your imminent condemnation of Al Gore for linking Katrina and global warming?
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Jay Lake: politics-report
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-07-20 12:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:politics-report
Now you're just being snarky. There's two basic problems with your line of reasoning, from my respective, and it's not that I think you're wrong on the facts. I don't.

First, certainly Iraq was a problem from an WMD perspective. However, the issues around Iraq pertain(ed) just as strongly to a dozen other countries from North Korea to Sudan to Saudi Arabia. The UN inspections regime didn't fail, the WMDs simply weren't there. The disarmament procedures following the First Gulf War were successful. My personal opinion is that the administration did believe the WMDs were there, just well hidden, and knowingly distorted the pre-war information in the political equivalent of kiting a check. Had American forces found WMDs in Iraq, no one would ever have questioned the nitty gritty details of the pre-war statements, and they would have been vindicated.

1a, as for Iraq from a terrorism perspective, Saudi Arabia was and is far more of a clear and present danger to the United States than Iraq ever was. Virtually all of the pre-war logic about invading Iraq applied far more strongly to the Saudis.

1b, in this same vein, one piece of conservative political logic which baffles me to no end is this assumption that opposition to the war in iraq somehow equates to ignorance of terrorism, or even support of it. What is it about secular Western liberals like me that could possibly lead anyone to think that we long for the imposition of Shariate Law in this country? I don't even like having having Southern Baptists on school boards. I was paying attention on 9/11, and I don't think anyone in this country, of any political persuasion, has ever wanted to turn away from that act or its consequences. Disagreement about process isn't disagreement about fundamental goals, but "you're soft in/ignoring terrorism" has been a stick with which conservatives have been beating liberals ever since that day. Spare me that, please, and grant me the courtesy of assuming I am an intelligent observer and a committed American citizen.

Second,as for Al Gore and Katrina, you're missing a very big point. It's like the comparison someone made in my comments section the other day between the yahoos on Daily Kos and the neocon wing nuts interviewed in that article about the cruise. Al Gore isn't running anything. Bush is in charge. His actions, for good or ill, carry a weight exponentially greater than those of a private citizen, even a politically influential one like Al Gore. It's a false comparison.

Your standard of accountability can't reasonably be private citizen Al Gore, any more than it could be you or I as private citizens, but it most certainly can be then-President Bill Clinton. When he was in charge he had the same weight of responsibility Bush does now (except without the horrendously expensive war and all the lives lost). What was Clinton's accountability for deliberately misleading but narrowly true statements? How does that compare to Bush's?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-07-20 12:55 (UTC)
Subject: Cheney, Hussein and 9/11
If, as you believe, Cheney had explicitly stated that Hussein was behind 9/11, don't you think that quote would have been in the article?

Two of the first three hits on Google using the search "cheney hussein 9/11"

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2003/09/16/cheney_link_of_iraq_911_challenged/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A47812-2004Jun16.html

I believe it, so do the Boston Globe and the Washington Post among others. I didn't bother to link it in my previous comment because it was so obvious. (And note the dates on those articles, this has been going on for years.)
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ericjamesstone
User: ericjamesstone
Date: 2007-07-20 18:57 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Cheney, Hussein and 9/11
Jay,

I don't mean to question your commitment to our country, nor imply that you are ignorant of the problem of terrorism.

What I'm trying to show (with my Katrina example, etc.) is that linking two things in the course of persuading the public is not necessarily an assertion of a causal connection.

If you want to claim that speaking about Hussein and 9/11 in close proximity might mislead members of the public into believing that there was a causal connection, such a claim would certainly be supportable by the evidence. (Whether such a result was the intended result or merely a side effect of a legitimate public relations strategy could still be debated.)

But that is different from claiming that the Bush administration actually said there was a causal connection, and is now lying by denying they ever said that.

Similarly, in the Cheney articles you linked to, the closest Cheney comes to stating that Hussein played a role in the 9/11 attacks is what the Boston Globe characterized as a refusal to rule it out.

A refusal to rule something out is a far cry from making a claim. For example, if I refuse to rule out the possibility that I will win a Hugo award, it does not mean I am making the claim that I will win a Hugo award.

Similarly, saying that Iraq and al-Queda had ties before 9/11 is not the same as claiming Iraq played a role in the 9/11 attacks. In fact, Bush made that very clear in the Washington Post article:

> "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the
> September 11th." But Bush added: "There's no question that Saddam
> Hussein had al Qaeda ties."

My point about Al Gore was not that he was wrong to speak link the issues of Katrina and global warming (as long as he didn't assert a causal connection). I was trying to show that it can make rhetorical sense to link issues that have similarities, even when there is no causal connection. By presenting an example using a cause I thought you might agree with, I hoped to illustrate that the technique is not a bad one.
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steve_buchheit
User: steve_buchheit
Date: 2007-07-20 12:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"Spare me the Bush-lied-about-WMD meme, please, as it is not relevant to the current issue of whether Bush lied about Hussein playing a role in the 9/11 attacks."

Sorry, the issue is the lies of this administration and therefore their lying about WMD is specifically applicable to the discussion.

"Iraq sponsored terrorism"

With rhetoric and "widow payments." Iraq didn't have the economy to truly sponsor terrorism in the way you expect (and the administration expects) people would receive that statement.

"had used chemical weapons in the past"

Before Gulf I from weapons supplied with the full consent of former Republican Presidents.

"was potentially a supplier of WMD to terrorist groups in the future"

Only under a 1% Doctrinal view.

And since Al Gore isn't president, nor is he directing the economy or sending our troops into harm's way, no critique of his stance is needed or necessary. However, you're using it to throw sand in the eyes of your rhetorical opponent, which is not only bad sportsmanship, but demonstrates how weak you feel your own arguments are that you need a distraction.
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ericjamesstone
User: ericjamesstone
Date: 2007-07-20 19:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
> Sorry, the issue is the lies of this administration and therefore their lying
> about WMD is specifically applicable to the discussion.

The truth or falsity of the assertion that Bush claimed Hussein played a role in 9/11 is not dependent in the least on whether there were WMD in Iraq.

As for what I was doing with the Al Gore example, see my response to Jay above. I was trying to illustrate the valid use of a rhetorical technique, which I believe to be valid in both Al Gore's and George W. Bush's case.
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steve_buchheit
User: steve_buchheit
Date: 2007-07-20 23:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You don't believe that demonstrating a pattern of lying and deception is relevant to a discussion of further lying and deception?

To me it is a description of MO that is very relevant to the current issues at hand. Especially when the same issues (casus belli) are being discussed.

Or, in other words, if they were willing to lie and deceive about one point in their reasons for war, why is it difficult to believe they would do the same about another point in their reasons for war?
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ericjamesstone
User: ericjamesstone
Date: 2007-07-21 02:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
> Or, in other words, if they were willing to lie and deceive about one
> point in their reasons for war, why is it difficult to believe they
> would do the same about another point in their reasons for war?

It proves too much. If they did lie and deceive about WMD (a point which I am not conceding except for the sake of argument) then that is equally strong evidence for each of the following assertions:

1. Bush claimed Saddam Hussein played a role in 9/11.
2. Bush claimed Saddam Hussein was Satan incarnate.
3. Bush claimed Saddam Hussein ate babies alive.
4. Bush claimed Saddam Hussein was cloned in a lab in the Soviet Union using cells taken from Stalin.
5. Bush claimed Saddam Hussein blackmailed George Lucas into making bad Star Wars prequels.

That is why the issue of Bush lying about WMD is irrelevant to the question of whether Bush made a particular claim about Saddam Hussein. Such a question can only be settled by evidence regarding statements about that particular claim.
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steve_buchheit
User: steve_buchheit
Date: 2007-07-21 23:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Either you're being snarkey or silly.

"that is equally strong evidence for each of the following assertions"

If we discussed the Bush Administration making statements 2-5, yes it would be. And while they may have made those statements during their road-show tours, I don't know (as attendance required the signing of a statement that was close to swearing fealty, something that I would never consent to and the reporting of the events was mostly local and star-crossed). Since the claim is that the president did make statement 1 (or implied heavily with a knowing wink), it still is relevant. And isn't that what we are discussing here?

As a writer, I'm sure you're aware of the power of word associations, how words within a paragraph can create a meta meaning to what is being revealed in that paragraph. Well, I'm sure Karl Rove and the president's speech writers are also very aware of word association. The numerous instances of "9-11" and "Saddam" in the same verbal sentences were intended to create that connection in the listeners' minds. It was very effective. To this day many people hold the belief that Saddam ordered or paid for 9-11, including many in the military. Is this a form of mass delusion or and intentional correlation on the part of the president's office? Occam's razor points to the later (single source versus a thousand sources producing the same perception).

"That is why the issue of Bush lying about WMD is irrelevant to the question "

Point not made. Because celestial physics may lead to a planet like Earth or like Saturn does not disprove that physics or that a planet like Earth or like Saturn could exist.
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ericjamesstone
User: ericjamesstone
Date: 2007-07-24 14:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As I said in a reply to Jay above:

> If you want to claim that speaking about Hussein and 9/11 in close proximity
> might mislead members of the public into believing that there was a causal
> connection, such a claim would certainly be supportable by the evidence. ...
> But that is different from claiming that the Bush administration actually
> said there was a causal connection, and is now lying by denying they ever
> said that.

As for your example:

> Because celestial physics may lead to a planet like Earth or like Saturn
> does not disprove that physics or that a planet like Earth or like Saturn
> could exist.

This example is not a good parallel to the point being discussed.

Here's what would be a parallel:

Person A makes the claim that Planet X is a gas giant planet. Person B denies that claim, claiming the evidence shows that while Planet X is covered with a thick layer of clouds, it is a small rocky planet. Person C points out that Saturn is a gas giant, which proves that celestial physics allows gas giants to exist. Person B says that Saturn's status as a gas giant is irrelevant to determining whether Planet X is, in fact, a gas giant or a small rocky planet.

Now, Saturn's status would be relevant to the discussion if Person B were making the claim that Planet X cannot be a gas giant because gas giants don't exist. But Person B is not making such a claim. Person B is focused on the limited question of whether the available evidence shows Planet X to be a gas giant or a small rocky planet. And Saturn's status as a gas giant does no more evidence that Planet X is a gas giant than Earth's status as a small rocky planet is evidence that Planet X is a small rocky planet.
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