Evolution may favor religious diversity, but the tail does not wag the fish.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

When in doubt, give a speech

Thursday's Election Won't Stop Violence in Iraq, Bush Says
[New York Times]:

Mr. Bush, who does not often take questions after his prepared speeches, was asked by one member of the audience why he invoked the attacks of Sept. 11 as a justification for the invasion of Iraq when "no respected journalist or other Middle Eastern experts confirm that such a link existed."
The president responded that "there was a serious international effort to say to Saddam Hussein, 'You're a threat,' and the Sept. 11 attacks extenuated that threat." Mr. Bush added that "knowing what I know today, I'd make the decision again."

This is Mr. Bush's third speech to rally flagging support for the war in Iraq by being more forthcoming about the the situation on the ground and realistic about the sacrifice and cost. The first two speeches were criticized as bulletpoints masquerading as strategy and a coherent plan. Mr. Bush followed his prepared remarks with a rare Q & A session in which he answered a direct question about the number of Iraqi civilian and military casualties. He estimated them credibly at approximately 30,000.

But the question and response quoted above has me stymied.

I heard an NPR report recently that the most common word looked up on the internet for the past year was the word "integrity". (You can draw your own anecdotal conclusions about American culture from that). But if you look up the word "extenuate", does that render Mr. Bush's response any better? Or would the next word that comes to mind be "obfuscate"?


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