Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Thursday, June 19, 2003  

What to say about the President's "revisionist historians" thing? I guess first, the obvious: by "revisionist historian" he must mean anyone who wasn't hit in the head with a lead pipe recently. For we all stood there and listed, earlier this year, to his argument about WMD. He's not referencing an artifact from the distant reaches of time: he's talking about something he said in March. So it fails on both counts--it's neither revisionism nor history.

But how about this? I don't think the phrase came from Bush--I think it came from Karl Rove. It seems like a calculated phrase (and one that, like "homicide bomber," seems so patently doublespeakish that it's doomed to fail). Listen to the two times Bush used the phrase on Monday, and see how he repeated it almost word for word on Tuesday.

Elizabeth, New Jersey, June 16
This nation acted to a threat from the dictator of Iraq. Now, there are some who would like to rewrite history -- revisionist historians is what I like to call them. Saddam Hussein was a threat to America and the free world in '91, in '98, in 2003. He continually ignored the demands of the free world, so the United States and friends and allies acted. And one thing is for certain and this is for certain: Saddam Hussein is no longer a threat to the United States and our friends and allies.

Annandale, Virginia June 17
And we acted in Iraq, as well. We made it clear to the dictator of Iraq that he must disarm. We asked other nations to join us in seeing to it that he would disarm, and he chose not to do so, so we disarmed him. And I know there's a lot of revisionist history now going on, but one thing is certain. He is no longer a threat to the free world, and the people of Iraq are free.

On the other hand, you could make the argument that the President does believe America is indulging in revisionism. He was being sincere when he talked about "moral clarity" and the need to invade Iraq. And he was never really that concerned about the petty details of justification. He wanted to kick some ass, and that was that. He might feel genuinely aggreived that, having kicked some ass, and subsequently shown that that ass was indeed some nasty, dictatorial ass, this is all just a partisan smear. Not that it matters--as a President, we can hold him to a higher standard than his own delusions.

Bonus Material
Now that he's retiring from the press sectretary biz, Ari might consider a sitcom ("Oh That Ari!" would be a good title). I'll start out with the postmodern stuff, then move into the snappy patter. From Tuesday's press briefing.

MR. FLEISCHER: Yesterday, in the President's remarks, he referred to -- he referred it to revisionist historians who are seeming to make the case that Saddam Hussein likely did not have, or did not have, weapons of mass destruction prior to the war. And the President bases that on some of the statements that he has heard where people are expressing doubt about whether or not the intelligence that was provided to the administration, as well as to Congress for many years was accurate intelligence information.

MR. FLEISCHER: ...How come Saddam Hussein didn't prove to the world that he had destroyed them if, when, indeed, he had them, yet he was not able to show the inspectors who were just in Iraq that he did, indeed, destroy them. That's a fanciful interpretation. That's what the President judges as revisionist.

Q That's not evidence, that's an argument.

I wasn't kidding, I'm really going to miss Ari. (Bush not so much.)

posted by Jeff | 1:40 PM |
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