Here’s some Presidential spin from www.whitehouse.gov (9/15/01):
Q: Mr. President, do you have a message for the Reservists that you called up yesterday? Can you tell us whether you think more may have to be called up?
The President: The message is for everybody who wears the uniform: get ready. The United States will do what it takes to win this war. And I ask patience of the American people. There is no question in my mind we’ll have the resolve — I witnessed it yesterday on the construction site. Behind the sadness and the exhaustion, there is a desire by the American people to not seek only revenge, but to win a war against barbaric behavior, people that hate freedom and hate what we stand for. And this is an administration that is going to dedicate ourselves to winning that war.
Um… Exactly what “construction site” is he talking about? Oh, you mean that 20-story-high pile of debris in lower Manhattan? I thought that was a destruction site.
Bush’s every word is aimed at bending our collective minds towards believing that “we, the good and just Americans, having just been the victims of a cowardly attack by some crazy Arabs, have a moral imperative to go and blast Afghanistan to bits. Oh, and by the way, we’ve already recovered from the attack, as you can plainly see by this ‘construction site’ over here.”
He even asks for us to be patient, as if we’re all just chompin’ at the bit, to go in to Afghanistan and kill a bunch of innocent people. Without a doubt, some of us are, but many of us are longing for a cool-headed approach to dealing with this situation.
Read between the lines; try to see the motivations behind the words. We must understand that every single word of George Bush’s that appears in print, on the Web, or on television, has been poured over by a crack-team of spin-masters, most of whom probably have many more years of experience at manipulating public opinion, than Bush does. And this doesn’t just apply to the words you see at whitehouse.gov.
This sentence is particularly telling: “…there is a desire by the American people to not seek only revenge, but to win a war against barbaric behavior, people that hate freedom and hate what we stand for.”
Here’s my reading of the spin: “Amreica, I know you want revenge, and by God, I’m going to give it to you. Brace yourself for a lot of destruction, but understand that we’re only killing a lot of freedom-hating barbarians who hate you anyway, so don’t feel too guilty about it.”
It’s a play on our emotions. If you don’t see that, please look again.
James Traub: “In the news conferences he gave that afternoon, the mayor spoke of his own escape from death and of the many friends who had died. There was a delicacy in his manner, an anxious concern for the sufferings of others that few had ever associated with him. Giuliani’s stoicism in the past had seemed to come of unfeeling; this was the stoicism of deep feeling held rigorously in check.”
Jeff Cheney: “The bugs in our airline security were pretty obvious. What other bugs exist in our systems? Who is protecting our water supplies? Who is protecting our communications systems? Where are we vulnerable? How can we protect ourselves?”
Dave started a directory of local news sources on war in Central Asia.
Chip Pearson: “Before you think that the religious extremism that lead to the WTC tragedy is limited to the third world, spend some time in Kansas.”
Reuters: Taliban Officials Fleeing Afghan Capital. “Taliban officials and their families were seen heading out of the city for the countryside, but it was not clear if this was under instruction from their spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar… Witnesses said hundreds of ordinary residents of the capital were also packing up to leave.”