Monday, August 14, 2006

Abounds in fictions


Other bloggers have also been considering the possible meaning of Bush’s adoption of the vocabulary of fascism and totalitarianism to describe insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Hezbollah. Juan Cole has, and I’ve seen talk on a couple of linguistics sites, and most recently this discussion on Daily Kos. No one, including me, seems very certain, which is no doubt the idea: Bush doesn’t use language to make a subject clearer, now does he? More simplistic, but not better understood. We know from Peter Galbraith’s book that as late as 2002 Bush didn’t know that there were Shiites and Sunnis. The fascist/totalitarian vocabulary lets him forget it all over again, not just so he can conflate Sunni Al Qaida and Shiite Hezbollah, as MarkC suggests at Kos, but so that no one will notice that the Bushies are using exactly the same “fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here / these are the guys responsible for 9/11” rhetoric about Iraq despite the fact that they’re now principally concerned with Shiite militias rather than Sunni “rejectionists.”

A couple of months ago I noted that Bush kept alternating, sometimes in the same week, between saying that the enemy “has a philosophy” and saying they have no philosophy. At least he’s finally made a decision; fascism counts as a political philosophy, doesn’t it?

Al Kamen answers the question how government employees, in this case Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor Karen Czarnecki, can legally appear as a Republican strategist on tv (for pay on PBS, which means the taxpayers are giving her two paychecks), given the Hatch Act: well, she is never identified as a government employee, or as a Republican, only as a “conservative strategist/analyst,” which means that in the case of Czarnecki, Fox and PBS are forced to inaccurately identify one of their talking heads. Also, she takes an official leave of absence – for a few hours. Somehow I don’t think that’s what the law intended.

The White House denies the Seymour Hersh report that the US collaborated with Israel in planning the war on Lebanon. Tony Insert-Snow-Related-Pun-Here scoffed, “The piece abounds in fictions.” Say what you will about Tony Insert-Snow-Related-Pun-Here, but neither Ari nor Scottie would have used the phrase “abounds in fictions.”

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