Friday, October 08, 2004

CERTAIN BUT WRONG Eric Alterman continues the discussion of the Bush administration's tendency to draw sweeping conclusions from uncertain evidence:
The point...is not that Bush and company believed one thing to be true and discovered it wasn't. Rather, it is the fact that they believed something to be true so strongly that they left no room for honest disagreement.

Clearly the evidence was confusing. Clearly it was easy enough for even experts in the field to misread in either direction. But because these Bush ideologues wanted an invasion they read it only one way and worked overtime to de-legitimize anyone who sought to question them.

That is the point of phrases like: "no doubt...There isn't any debate about it...[It is] beyond anyone's imagination...know for a fact...sure he does...leaves no doubt...No question...No doubt...Absolutely sure."
Here are some of the quotes to which Alterman refers:
"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."
-Dick Cheney Speech to VFW National Convention, Aug. 26, 2002.

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."
-George W. Bush Speech to U.N. General Assembly, Sept. 12, 2002.

"We know they have weapons of mass destruction...There isn't any debate about it."
-Donald Rumsfeld, September 2002.

"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
-George W. Bush Address to the Nation, March 17, 2003.

"There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. And... as this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them."
-Gen. Tommy Franks Press Conference, March 22, 2003.

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."
-Donald Rumsfeld ABC Interview, March 30, 2003.

"I'm absolutely sure that there are weapons of mass destruction there and the evidence will be forthcoming. We're just getting it just now."
-Colin Powell Remarks to Reporters, May 4, 2003.
(Italics added.)

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.