Jul-Aug '03 [Home]
6 Words for 16: Thou Shalt Not Bear False WitnessThe British government has learned
that Saddam Hussein recently sought
significant quantities of uranium
—George W. Bush Speech-Writing Committee
State of the Union Address, January 28, 2003
Untrue. Known to be untrue when uttered. Lying. This would-be leader is a misleader. Buy the button.
The CIA took the hit in July during the White House's damage control. Director George Tenet responded with a prescribed apology, then added 900 of his own words, which London's Guardian parsed (7/16):
The subtext message to [newspaper] editors is: "Why don't you go after the people who made our lives hell for a year, trying to squeeze intelligence they liked—the damning, 'actionable' sort—out of us?"
The paper reports that the chief squeezers were Newt Gingrich and Richard Cheney. Tenet's 'biggest crime' (in White House eyes), it says, was "not in failing to stop all the phoney Iraq intelligence, but allowing his people to point out how bogus it really was." Colin Powell reportedly did so in 3: "This is bullshit! [I'm not reading this (vide: to the U.N. Security Council).]" He had enough, anyway.
Thousands of words were uttered and print-formatted defending or attacking the 16. Why the word count?* The point wasn't scansion, it was press conference whining: "Hey, it was just 16 little words in a really long speech." Every word of which was cleared before the speech-maker was programmed with gestures, wound up, and sent out to perform them. It wasn't the medium; it was the 3-word message: "Saddam's got nukes."
Hell, make that:
SADDAM'S GOT NUKES HE'S GOT NUKES, BUDDY, AND HE'S POINTIN' 'EM AT THAT'S RIGHT HE'S GONNA GET [YER NAME HERE] OHMYGOD OHMYGOD
Also no ad lib, then, was this: "Let me put it to you this way " followed by the unmistakable admission that this Administration is ordering summary executions of uncharged, untried, foreign bad guys. [see Feb '03] Instruction: Deliver with a swagger.
I solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.
Those 16 words are dictated by Article II, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution. Bible and wife props are not specified, but effective, even for the worst actors.
When governments overreach and are called on it, their servants are made to pay. For Dr. David Kelly, 59, an expert on Iraqi weapons for the British Ministry of Defense who has been missing since the allegation that he was the source of this intelligence, the price may have been criminal.
The Eighth Commandment is still in one or the other White House ("Missed you at Bible study this morning") King James—if it hasn't been redacted or, more likely, thumped out.
[*] Other references: NY Times