THE BLOG
10/23/2007 05:37 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rhetorical Point Men

The president's weekly radio address this week had to do with phishing---no, not the kind that results in a lot of spam in your mailbox, but the kind that got major Internet Service Providers and telecommunication companies to redact their own policy; the kind that got Congress to approve the legislation, last year, that grants the executive branch, and any other players, immunity from prosecution under the War Crimes Act of 1994. Yes, and the kind of phishing, too, that preoccupied his second in command, Mr. Cheney, which propelled him to assert that the world "cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its grandest ambitions." (AP) And, pray tell, which "terror-supporting state" is the vice president referencing? The one in Tehran, or the one that has supported Musharraf in Pakistan for the past decade?

Josef Stalin would be proud of George W. Bush, albeit a bit saddened that he will no longer be remembered as the only Great Purger. Bush and Co. have done with language what Stalin did to his dissidents, no, not only torture, downright mutilation. One has only to witness phrases like "axis of evil," "enhanced alternative interrogation techniques," "unlawful enemy combatants," and "war on terror" to know that this is one administration not seeking to protect the right to life of the English language. Moreover, the Senate, last month, has opened the door to war with Iran by approving a resolution to label Iran's Islamic Iranian Revolutionary Guard a "terrorist organization." How convenient to use words like "knowledge," "terror," and "evil" as a means to abort information and justice.

But, it gets even better. At his news conference last week, the president nearly waxed poetic when he said "I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them (Iran) from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon." Now then, don't you especially like the ubiquitous "them," the one size fits all variety which can just as easily accommodate Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Al Qaeda, Pakistan, China, and Russia? Don't you just love this concept of foreign policy in syndication; it's like watching re-runs of re-runs of re-runs with that sinking been there, done that, weak in the knee feeling you get when you know something's happening, but you don't know what it is, like the song goes.

Dame Dana Perino, White House spokesperson, who is almost as adept at damage control as her boss is at damage, was quick to point out that 43 isn't making "war plans," after all, but just a "rhetorical point." Yes, and one that has cost us the lives of more than 3,800 service members, as well as the lives of countless more Iraqis, "collateral damage," than anyone is ready, or willing, to admit.