Thursday, January 13, 2005

‘Something to Talk About’

Perhaps you remember the language. I’ll be darned if I can find anyone supporting the Iraq War who remembers it. But, then, maybe they don’t want to remember it.

The language went like this: “Weapons of mass destruction,” “vital national security interests,” “gathering threat.”

In heavy rotation, especially, was the phrase “weapons of mass destruction.”

I mean… it wasn’t like we heard this for a couple of months until we got sick of it.


We heard this crappola for well over a year until we heard it in our sleep and every time we turned on the news channel or when we tried to watch local newscasts for the weather report.

“Slight chance of snow showers over the weekend with an increasing chance of WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.”

On and on it went, day after day, week after week, month after month, from one administration official to the other, from one news show and from one pundit to the next, through public debate, through the House of Representatives, to the Senate, then through the UN.

Leading the way in this “Mass Destruction of the English Language” was the “president of mass destruction”… George W. Bush. He said “weapons of mass destruction” so much it almost detracted from his other favorite utterance, “Iraq.”

But then Dubya did something brilliant… he put “weapons of mass destruction” and “Iraq” together. He started doing this with such regularity that, at times, it seemed more like a contest…

“Gee, how many times can I say each of these in every speech I make?”

After a few months of repeatedly hearing the phrase “weapons of mass destruction” everywhere I turned I mentioned to my wife that no matter how he played at posturing — or even whether any of his demands would be met or not — it seemed to me that Bush had made his mind up to invade Iraq. What I saw him doing then was attempting to persuade the rest of us (or lull us to sleep).

“weaponsofmassdestruction weaponsofmassdestruction weaponsofmassdestruction weaponsofmassdestruction weaponsofmassdestruction weaponsofmassdestruction weaponsofmassdestruction weaponsofmassdestruction”

Bush kept at it. On and on he went with “weapons of mass destruction” day after endless day until, ultimately, Congress, the pundits and a majority of those polled in the United States said, “Okay, okay, Dubya… you win! Invade the sucker!”

So… he did.

After the looting… um, er… “liberation” of Baghdad, mysteriously, we started to hear less about “weapons of mass destruction.” Everyone was so tired of hearing it being said (and thoroughly convinced Saddam was the one who attacked us on 911) nobody really noticed the gradual retirement of the phrase.

For the most part the public was already convinced (i.e. “brainwashed”) that the weapons were there. Even upon our troops’ approach to Baghdad Dick Cheney had said, “It’s only a matter of time. We know where they are.”

But the big moment never came. We started to hear a new phrase from the administration, “freedom for the Iraqi people.” Only that phrase didn’t really catch on with the same effect as “weapons of mass destruction.” It didn't even catch on with the Iraqi people themselves.

As the months passed and we began losing troops every day — and as the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons went undiscovered — it was almost like the administration had run out of steam in its rhetoric. They needed something fresh. Since no such weapons were being found they then needed people to forget about “weapons of mass destruction.”


Some genius in the administration (possibly Bush himself) came up with, “democracy in Iraq.”

That did the trick!

So, as the months have passed and two years have turned, while the daily death toll has mounted, with triple the number in injuries, the administration has been saying this new phrase over and over and… over again.

The new phrase and focus has worked so effectively that hardly anyone noticed when the administration officially concluded (unsuccessfully) its search for “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq.

My theory is that — even though it was Bush’s reason for invading Iraq — people don’t care because they are simply sick of the phrase “weapons of mass destruction.” Either that or Bush said the phrase so many times together with the word “Iraq” that they are now synonymous in the public’s mind and, therefore, it is conclusive.

The Bush team has been using the newer phrase “democracy in Iraq” for about a year now. We’ve lost many troops in the interim. An “insurgency” has grown. Both the installed Prime Minister and President of Iraq have expressed fears and doubts publicly about the upcoming elections. Bush himself has declared that “14 out of 18 provinces are safe” (Weeeee!)

My guess is that if things continue to go badly in Iraq the Bush Administration might need a new phrase soon.

I wonder what the life of a high-profile political phrase really is… one, maybe two years? Maybe it depends on how well the action the phrase is associated with is going.

“Paging the president’s catch-phrase meister!”


At 10:18 AM, Blogger I Am The Walrus said...

Fearmongering equals warmongering...and he's the master.

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



At 1:36 PM, Blogger Mac said...

I'm betting the new phrase will have something to do with his crazy religious leanings. Maybe it will be something about the converting the heathens or something catchy like that. *grin*

At 1:42 PM, Blogger SheaNC said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger SheaNC said...

[did a little rephrasing to clarify my point]

Wouldn't it be nice if the mainstream press would launch a real investigation into the REAL reasons Bush/Cheney started this war? Sure, lots of data is available from other sources, but a nod from the "legitimate" press would certainly be appreciated, as well as rescure their tarnished reputation as little more than whorish shills.

Some may find it amusing that Bush/Cheney have had to admit it's reasons for going to war are false. But here is what the Bush administration's lies have really wrought:

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Kerry R. Fox said...

"Wouldn't it be nice if the mainstream press would launch a real investigation into the REAL reasons Bush/Cheney started this war?"

That's been driving me crazy the whole way because nothing has made any sense. Lately I've applied the other motives, for everything else (corporations), to this ongoing and deteriorating situation.

I've come to the conclusion that it may all be simply so Halliburton could get government-subsidized contracts from the American taxpayers.

Whatever the motive(s) rest assured that it has to do with money.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger SheaNC said...

Kerry, I agree it's about money, but I think also it's about power and control of the all-important petroleum resources. This morning I was musing over the notion that, if plastic is a petroleum product, then it is used in almost EVERYTHING we use-buy-etc., in all aspects of our lives. It really echoes far beyond simply gassin' up the ol' station wagon, ya know?

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Dr. Forbush said...

Kerry, ShaeNC:

I am guessing that the Bush motivation for war in Iraq comes down to a more emotional reason. Bush's father didn't finish the job in W's mind. Saddam basically claimed victory to his people, so W wanted vengance or satisfaction or something. So, any excuse that would allow him to achieve this would work.

Of course, he also had the PENAC (sp?) guys wispering in his ear and when you hear reasons for doing something that you want to do on an emotional level, it is hard to refuse.

Of course this makes sense, but the President or the Republicans would never admit to it. It shows weakness, and the Republicans are the party of power and discipline...

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Kerry R. Fox said...

Dr. Forbush,

I could agree with that, except this administration does absolutely nothing unless it benefits corporations to the detriment of the American people.



At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first Gulf War never ended, it was a cease fire. So for the past decade we put up with weak ass democrats like Clinton who downsized our military and sanctioned Iraq every time they invaded the no-fly zone which was a breach of the cease fire agreement. If Bush had just come out and said, games back on because Saddam is an idiot and started hostile acts again, you cry babies wouldn't have anything to cry about now would you. So you should take the weapons of mass destruction phrase and be glad you have something to talk about other than blow jobs in the white house.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Kerry R. Fox said...

"So you should take the weapons of mass destruction phrase and be glad you have something to talk about other than blow jobs in the white house."

LOL. Who was it that incessantly talked about blow jobs in the White House?

At 5:55 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Geez guys... The real reason to go to war in Iraq.

We needed a closer refueling place so we can attack Iran from all sides. After all, don't they have nukes?

You tree hugging libs are too funny!

At 6:15 PM, Blogger Kerry R. Fox said...

"We needed a closer refueling place so we can attack Iran from all sides. After all, don't they have nukes?"

If you think George W. Bush is going to do anything at all about Iran you belong in the same group who believe that he was only waiting on a 2nd term in order to be more "conservative."

You young, no-nothing "conservatives" are the ones who are "too funny."

At 6:25 PM, Blogger mulligan said...

Actually, the new phrase is "The crises in Social Security." Iraq is so last term.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Pure genius. You said what I've been saying for a while and put it down here.

If only you could email this to the right-wing radio (err, sorry, I mean AM Radio) and I bet they would call it a piece of terrorism sent from the "Liberals".

They absolutely annoy me I get more discouraged at this country the more I hear them.

You are absolutely right!

At 6:41 PM, Blogger Kerry R. Fox said...

"I bet they would call it a piece of terrorism sent from the 'Liberals'."

The dumber among them call anything that is common sense, democrat, libertarian, patriotic, constitutionalist... or anyone who is diametrically opposed to a Bush policy… "liberal."

It's an asinine attitude.

Also... I leave it to you and others to email anything I write to anyone else. I'm not against self-promotion, but there are limits on self-aggrandizement...:-)

At any rate… you are certainly not alone in your thoughts and I thank you for your kind comments.

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Kerry R. Fox said...

"Actually, the new phrase is 'The crises in Social Security.'"

Yeah. The administration sure has lots of catch-phrases. You have to hand it to them for that.

At 7:15 PM, Blogger The aggressive progressive said...

Can you say lying war criminal?

Good, I knew that you could.

At 8:36 PM, Blogger SheaNC said...


I'll keep on saying it, too!

At 11:42 AM, Blogger PrincessEvilina said...

Marvelous post. If you realise it, and those of us who visit your Blog realise it, then WTF is the the problem with so many other people? The mantle of ignorance dosn't appear to be shrinking even a little bit.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger windspike said...

Two words - Karl Rove! The catch phrase master. Deserved of the same indictments as our commander-in-theif

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