The AP's Ron Fournier has got another news analysis piece up (Newsview: Rhetoric Not Matching Reality) that is filled with negative spin on President Bush. But he's gone a little bit further this time, as he's using several "facts" that are not, in fact, facts.
- "On Iraq alone, the rhetoric has repeatedly fallen far short of reality. Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. " While it is certainly true that we never found the stockpiles that we - and everyone else - expected to be there, the WMD argument for going into Iraq was by no means invalidated. The final report of the Iraq Survey Group concluded that "Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability...after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized...Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability...but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities."
- "The mission wasn't accomplished in May 2003." The President didn't say that it was. That banner was the work of the crew of the USS Abraham Lincoln, whose mission was over as they were headed home. The President said that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended," which was true as there was no army left to fight against. The fact that there's been a terrorist campaign inside the country since then doesn't make the statement false.
- "Most allies avoided the hard work of his 'coalition of the willing.'" The fact that France and Germany and Russia didn't help doesn't mean that there wasn't a coalition, or that they weren't willing. Ron Fournier may not approve of the coalition, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't there.
- "Bush's spokesman said anybody involved in leaking the identity of a CIA agent would be fired, but no action has been taken against officials accused of doing so." Where to start on this one? OK, in the first place, Bush said that anyone found to have "violated law" in releasing the name would be "taken care of." Secondly, no one in the administration has yet been found to have "leaked" the name anyway.
He threw these things out as examples of the "shady art" of "spin" that "the Bush White House has perfected." The context was the President's comments on the Hurricane.
This is what the president had to say about the relief effort earlier in the week: _"There's a lot of food on its way, a lot of water on the way, and there's a lot of boats and choppers headed that way." _"Thousands have been rescued. There's thousands more to be rescued. And there's a lot of people focusing their efforts on that." _"As we speak, people are moving into New Orleans area to maintain law and order."
Nothing is soon enough for the people suffering, but does anyone think that there's anything false, in any way, about any one of those comments? Of course not. The first few days for a catastrophe like just happened are inevitably going to have people that don't get as much help as they need as soon as they need it. It takes time to mass force in the right place, to open roads that are blocked, to route around flooded areas. I don't know that the third statement was strictly true, because I'm not sure when he said it or what was happening at the time, but the first two are indisputable. They aren't "spin," they're facts. Which Fournier seems to have some trouble recognizing...
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