Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

Archive for May 3rd, 2007

Pots, kettles, and the war spending bill

Posted by metaphorical on 3 May 2007

“Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure, and that would be irresponsible,” Mr. Bush said. He said the measure would “impose impossible conditions on our commanders in combat” by forcing them to “take fighting directions from politicians 6,000 miles away in Washington, D.C.”

Hello? Mr President, haven’t you noticed that for four years now, our armed forces have been taking their fighting directions from politicians 6,000 miles away in Washington, D.C.? That’s how wars are run. The problem is, the politicians in question have no idea how to run a war. Remember Don Rumsfeld?

I don’t know about anyone else but I’m still blown away by the Republican rhetoric surrounding Tuesday’s presidential veto of the war spending bill. Leaving the politics of it all largely aside, what’s impressive is the way Bush and his minions manage to say exactly the things their critics say, thereby attempting to nullify, or at least counterbalance, them.

The Democrats are at trying, nowadays, to use some of the same symbolism and message-making than the Republicans have perfected over the past six years. Thus, as the NY Times reported yesterday,

Mr. Bush issued the veto from the Oval Office at about 5:30 p.m., using a pen given to him by the father of a fallen marine. It came just hours after Democrats had themselves staged an unusual signing ceremony in the Capitol, timed to coincide with the four-year anniversary of the so-called Mission Accomplished speech, when Mr. Bush stood on an aircraft carrier and declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.

Throughout the day, Democrats lined up to deliver floor speeches observing the fourth anniversary of the president’s speech on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. At the front of the House chamber, Democrats positioned a blown-up photograph of Mr. Bush standing on the carrier deck on May 1, 2003.

Aides to the president were openly angry about the reminders, and the Democrats’ unusual legislative signing ceremony.

“It’s a trumped-up political stunt,” Dana Perino, the deputy White House press secretary, told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One.

You have to hand it to Dana. She has the impossible task of looking at the Democrats as they mock a trumped-up political stunt and call the kettle black. She wasn’t alone.

“We’ve got the lights, we’ve got the characters, we’ve got the action for some fine political theater in the House of Representatives today,” said Representative Lynn A. Westmoreland, Republican of Georgia. “It’s time for the majority to take off their costumes and exit stage left. We owe it to our nation and our troops to see the ending of this story.”

More unintended Republican irony? After all, what Bush didn’t like about the war spending bill was that it tried to give our troops an ending of this story.

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