Great Moments in Semantics

From the AP:

Rice engaged in a tense exchange with [Senator Chuck] Hagel [R., Neb.], a Vietnam veteran and longtime critic of Bush's Iraq policy, disputing his characterization of Bush's buildup as an "escalation."

"Putting in 22,000 more troops is not an escalation?" Hagel asked.

"I think, senator, escalation is not just a matter of how many numbers you put in."

"Would you call it a decrease?" Hagel asked.

"I would call it, senator, an augmentation that allows the Iraqis to deal with this very serious problem that they have in Baghdad," she said.

Hagel told Rice, "Madame Secretary, Iraqis are killing Iraqis. We are in a civil war. This is sectarian violence out of control."

She disputed that Iraq was in the throes of a civil war.


Al sent along this map and suggested we compare it to 2004 Presidential Election results.


Does Not Play Well With Others

Here are two fantastic sentences written by Dave Itzkoff as they appeared in last Sunday's New York Times Book Review 's review of Michael Crichton's "Next" :

Though the moment may lack the inherent gravitas of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s encounter with Abraham Lincoln, or even Elvis Presley’s private audience with Richard Nixon, surely history should reserve a special place for the day in 2005 when Michael Crichton was invited to the White House to meet with George W. Bush. Imagine: the modern era’s leading purveyor of alarmist fiction, seated side by side with Michael Crichton.

If you look at today's remarks from White House counselor Dan Bartlett you'll hear a foreshadowing of what we'll be hearing from W. tonight and hearing more and more in the next year or so. Bartlett says we've been "handcuffed by political interference by Iraqi leadership" and that "The Iraqis have got to step up." When we ultimately withdraw from Iraq, we'll do so while waving talking points that will condemn Iraq and its people for failing to help us help themselves, for failing to see the grace of democracy, for dragging their feet on freedom. We couldn't help them, we will say, because they wouldn't help themselves. We'll remark upon the thousands of American lives that died trying to make Iraq a better place and ignore the tens or hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who suffered by our helping hands.

Meanwhile, here are some phrases I would be very surprised to hear tonight: "weapons of mass destruction," "Al Qaeda," and "Ossama Bin Laden."