Rhetoric

By Laura Miller on September 18, 2003

When Bush at long last went on record saying there was "no evidence that [Saddam] Hussein was involved with the September 11th" attacks, it seemed like a big story.

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By Laura Miller on September 18, 2003

"Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda chief (director of communications, in the current parlance), once said that if you are going to lie, you should tell a big lie," Chicago Sun-Times' Andrew Greeley writes. "That may be good advice, but the question remains: What happens when people begin to doubt the big lie? Herr Goebbels never lived to find out. Some members of the Bush administration may be in the process of discovering that, given time, the big lie turns on itself. ... 'War on terror' is a metaphor. It is not an actual war, like the World War or the Vietnamese or Korean wars.

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By Laura Miller on September 17, 2003

"President Bush said Wednesday that there was no proof tying Saddam Hussein to the Sept. 11 attacks, amid mounting criticism that senior administration officials have helped lead Americans to believe that Iraq was behind the plot," the Los Angeles Times' Greg Miller writes. "Bush's statement was the latest in a flurry of remarks this week by top administration officials after Vice President Dick Cheney resurrected a number of contentious allegations about Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda in an appearance on NBC's 'Meet the Press' on Sunday. ...

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By John Stauber on September 14, 2003

US Secretary of State Colin Powell was a military PR man in Vietnam. One of his assignments was to help manage the image crisis created by the massacre of civilians by US troops at My Lai. Now, as the Bush government increasingly uses Saddam Hussein's brutality as its primary rationalization for the war, Powell is revising and spinning history by traveling to Halabja, the site of Saddam's gassing of Iraqi Kurds. Powell dedicated a memorial and declared that the world should have acted sooner against Saddam after the 1988 massacre.

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By Sheldon Rampton on September 07, 2003

"Every president deceives. But each has his own style of deceit," writes Joshua Micah Marshall. The Bush administration, he says, specializes in "a particular form of deception: The confidently expressed, but currently undisprovable assertion. ... Many of the administration's policy arguments have amounted to predictions - tax cuts will promote job growth, Saddam is close to having nukes, Iraq can be occupied with a minimum of U.S. manpower - that most experts believed to be wrong, but which couldn't be definitely disproven until events played out in the future."

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By Laura Miller on July 12, 2003

"That the Bush administration misled the public is quite clear; what has
been less clear is that it also misled the military," William O'Rourke writes for the Chicago Sun-Times. "If, all along, the
cause and the aims of the war had been stated honestly, the military
would have prepared for the war they found: one where the regime was
toppled quickly and the population did more lasting damage to the
country's institutions and infrastructure than our forces did."

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By Laura Miller on July 01, 2003

"For the first time since the beginning of the war in Iraq, a solid majority of Americans believe the Bush administration either 'stretched the truth' about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction or told outright lies, according to a new opinion survey," Agence France-Presse reports. A University of Maryland poll conducted from June 18 to 25 found that 52 percent of respondents said they believed President George W. Bush and his aides were "stretching the truth, but not making false statements" about Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's chemical, biological and nuclear programs.

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By John Stauber on June 30, 2003

A favorite PR trick of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels is known as the big lie tactic -- repeating a falsehood over and over until most people believe it . Unfortunately, as we relate in our new book Weapons of Mass Deception, lies worked well in selling the war on Iraq.

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By Sheldon Rampton on June 12, 2003

Derrick Z. Jackson examines the "numbing prattle" from US military officials "about the precision of our weaponry, precaution to avoid needless carnage, and promises to investigate possible mistakes." During the war, officials said pledged investigations into civilian casualties, but are now admitting that the "investigations" were never conducted. A recent Associated Press report counted more than 3,000 civilian deaths.

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By Sheldon Rampton on June 11, 2003

"President Bush's recent claim that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq highlights two disturbing trends in rhetoric from the White House," observes Bryan Keefer. The first "is the Bush administration's record of factual misstatements and distortions.

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