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6/23/2004

CSM has an article that closely parallels Kevin Drum's post on Political Animal.
Compare Dante Chinni's piece:

There are numerous examples, but one of the best is Cheney's comment on "Meet the Press" last September. "If we're successful in Iraq," he said, "we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11."

Parse that carefully and you'll see he is 100 percent correct. If the US brings a stable democracy to Iraq, it will strike a blow at "the heart" of "the geographic base" of Islamic terrorism: the Middle East. But the wording, if you will, leads the reader or listener to more dramatic conclusions, particularly when the "9/11" is added in there. They are led toward the idea that Iraq and Al Qaeda are working together.
Now Drum:
If we're successful in Iraq...we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.

To see how this is technically defensible, let's break it down:
  • Who attacked us on 9/11? Al-Qaeda.
  • Where do they operate from? Various places in the Middle East and Central Asia.
  • What's the geographic base of that region? Arguably, Iraq is dead center.
Each phrase, then, is technically accurate. Taken as a whole, though, it's obvious that his intent was to imply that Iraq was a primary base for al-Qaeda's activities, which is clearly untrue.
I appreciate that repetition is necessary to get the message across, but maybe we should diversify our examples.

 

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