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day permlink Wednesday, 2 July 2003

permlink political language

Language notes: Calling someone 'objectively pro-Saddam' because they disagree with the unprecedented way this war was begun (pre-emptively, not in retaliation to a direct attack, without any international consensus, and with vague alarms and hand-waving about connections to al Qaeda that have yet to be proven) is a cute, emotionally loaded smear, but it's nothing more than that.

Paraphrasing Einstein, one should make things as simple as possible but no simpler. This attack phrase oversimplifies badly, and people like Instapundit (a law professor) should know better. That he and his sycophants continue to use it speaks very poorly of them.

Hey Instaman, you're against pre-emptively confiscating all guns from citizens, right? Then shall I say you are 'objectively pro-gun-murder'?

Or maybe we all shouldn't be quite that damn simplistic.

On a related topic, the Republicans are getting a lot of mileage out of spinning away the 'Bush lied' meme as mere liberal hysteria, largely because people don't like to hear the word 'lie' and assume it's merely a partisan attack without any facts behind it. Heck, on a gut level I don't like it.

So I propose an alternate angle. If it was good enough to use on Al Gore's comparatively trivial misrepresentations, it's good for the gander too:

Bush, Cheney, and company, I dub thee serial exaggerators. Dodge that.

For actual reporting which backs this up, I recommend The New Republic's detailed and measured exploration, The First Casualty: The Selling of the Iraq War.

Even some conservative columnists have actually started to question Mr. Honor and Dignity (while duly skirting the 'L' word). William F. Buckley: "We do need to have a much better explanation than any we have had... who screwed up? Who deceived, or was carried away? And what vaccines have our leaders taken to guard against other deceptions of like character?" and George Will: "...feeling good about the consequences of an action does not obviate the need to assess the original rationale for the action. Until WMD are found, or their absence accounted for, there is urgent explaining to be done.". They're not explaining yet. permlink  

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