Sunday, May 08, 2005

Michael: A Guide to When Bush is Lying, and the central hypocrisy of his Administration

I just read Bush's Riga speech that so angered Russia's Vladamir Putin. I noted two features of the speech I found interesting.

The first is something I've noted before: Bush's absolutely shameless hypocrisy. In the Riga speech, Bush said, "We will not repeat the mistakes of other generations, appeasing or excusing tyranny and sacrificing freedom in the vain pursuit of stability."

Except when we will. Such as in Saudi Arabia, or Pakistan, or Sudan where our national security interests and desire for stability apparently override Bush's passion for freedom and abhorence of tyrants. Or in the Taiwan straight where Bush's passion for freedom led him to deny support for a referendum on a free Taiwan in pursuit of stability with China. Or in the numerous other compromises with tyranny that is part and parcel of leading the world.

America isn't strong enough to take every fight with every petty, and not-so-petty dictator to the mat every time, and at the same time. Bush must know this, yet his high-flown and hypocritical rhetoric doesn't brook any realism, and so paints our potential partners and allies as moral cowards.

Way to go Bush! Alienating the world one speech at a time.

Secondly, I have broken the code for when Bush is lying about things. You needen't know current events, or read dense GAO reports, or have access to classified intelligence estimates to know when Bush lies. All you need is some basic grammar skills.

Read the speech. You will soon note that whenever Bush starts using present participles, and especially in the progressive tense (ironically), he is shamelessly embroidering the truth. He can't seem to help it, his speech suddenly fills with constructions like "is fostering," "is showing," "are seeing," "is making," and the like.

The reason for this verbal tic is simple; if something is happening right now, no one can check the record and prove you untruthful. Better, if what you said doesn't come to pass, i.e. "is stockpiling WMD," or "are developing nuclear weapons", you can always claim to have innocently relied on faulty intelligence, or to have been mislead by what turned out to be a 'historical document with no actionable items', or whatever bullshit you like. Once you start to look for present progressive participles in Bush's speech, you will find them in droves, and gain the ability to gauge at a glance where this Administration feels vulnerable enough to need a little distance from the truth.

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