the Word Game
By Sheila Samples
If it's true that words come back to haunt you, it must also
be true -- like the late, great "Comical Ari" Fleischer once
warned -- folks need to "watch what they say..."
The entire political apparatus is jones'n out on Bush's January
2003 State of the Union speech, or at least the 16 words where
he said, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein
recently sought significant qualities of uranium from Africa."
They're shocked -- shocked -- to discover that here,
six months, 251 dead American soldiers and counting, and over
6,000 dead Iraqi civilians later, their president may
have -- just may have -- unintentionally created this
chaos by telling a...well, he may have embossed the tru...or
maybe he just mis-spoke because he was misled...yeah, that's
it -- Bush mis-spoke -- and besides, even if it was, well
you know, that other thing -- it was only a tiny white one...
Lie. The word is Lie. And, considering the devastation loosed
upon the world by a litany of even more irresponsible, unsubstantiated
lies over the past two years, it's a bit late for those who
have known the truth all along to feign outrage, don't you
think? The 296 Congressmen and 77 Senators who -- out of fear
of political blowback -- voted to make assassination and mass
murder the foreign policy of this great nation -- are liars.
Every last one of them. It's called aiding and abetting with
malice and forethought. And no amount of crawdadding and gandy-dancing
in the policital arena as we head into Campaign 2004 is going
to change that fact.
Because they lied. They lied in spite of being unable to
look the American people in the eye -- in spite of the millions
and millions of individuals walking shoulder-to-shoulder across
the international landscape crying out to them for truth,
restraint and sanity -- in spite of knowing beforehand that
Iraq and Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with either 9-11or
Bush's war on terror. Spiteful lies, far easier for them to
tell because neither their blood nor that of their sons and
daughters would stain the desert sand.
So, if the American people have been paying attention, these
distinguished members of Congress can forget political blowback
-- they should cringe and quiver with fear of political blowOUT,
because at last count there are at least 6,087 reasons why
they should not be re-elected.
The 16 words that appear to be haunting the administration
are mostly irrelevant, and far less damaging than the incendiary
rhetoric that ultimately double-timed us into war. Everybody
within the US/British intelligence community seems to have
known that the Niger uranium charge was baseless, and many
said so at the time. Now, it seems that everybody but the
janitor at the White House has elbowed his or her way to the
front of the pack to "take full responsibility" for inserting
them into the state of the union speech in a transparent effort
to close Nigergate. Padlock it. Throw the key away.
Somebody's lying. And when the lemming media start pawing
feverishly around on the corner at the end of the block because
the light there is better, it's a signal for those of us who
can still think to grab a flashlight and check out the ominous
snarls and moans coming from the secret, undisclosed darkness
of the alley.
Within hours of the attack on 9-11, and with their eyes on
the prize, members of the Bush administration, led by Vice
President Dick Cheney and the guys in the hood over at the
Project for the New American Century (PNAC) fanned out to
unchallenged positions in bully pulpits of the complicit US
corporate media. Their relentless gabbling mantra never deviated
-- Saddam Hussein was a cold-blooded killer, responsible for
9-11...he was coming after us with deadly weapons of mass
destruction...he will inflict catastrophic harm on American
soil with his nuclear weapons...we will be struck with massive
and sudden chemical and biological horror...
By September 2002, the White House issued a global message
(still available here)
which announced these dire warnings:
The danger is grave and growing. The Iraqi regime possesses
biological and chemical weapons and is rebuilding facilities
to make more. It could launch a biological or chemical attack
45 minutes after the order is given. The regime is seeking
a nuclear bomb -- and, with fissile material, could build
one within a year.
Iraq's regime has longstanding and continuing ties to
terrorist groups -- there are al-Qaida terrorists inside Iraq.
The regime also practices the rape of women and the torture
of dissenters and their children as methods of intimidation.
Never mind that little, if any, of this was true. Never mind
that, as recently as two weeks ago, Cheney was still out on
the hustings, telling
the American Enterprise Institute that we ain't seen nothing
yet. Cheney is surrounded by enemies who all want to kill
him with the most destructive weapons they can obtain. "This
enemy holds no territory, defends no population, is unconstrained
by rules of warfare, and respects no law of morality," he
said. "Such an enemy cannot be deterred, contained, appeased,
or negotiated with. It can only be destroyed, and --" he said
darkly, "that's the business at hand..."
So, forget those 16 words, or at least put them into perspective.
It's all a matter of rhetoric anyway. As George Orwell said
when describing 1984's Newspeak, "...what was required,
above all for political purposes, was short, clipped words
of unmistakable meaning which could be uttered rapidly and
which roused the minimum of echoes in the speaker's mind."
The intent of such rhetoric, Orwell said, was to make speech
on any subject that was not ideologically neutral as nearly
as possible independent of consciousness...
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice won the duckspeak
prize which, according to Orwell was speech that -- although
articulate -- issued from the larynx without involving the
higher brain centers at all. There was no mistaking the short-clipped
meaning of Rice's "smoking gun/mushroom cloud" rhetoric. The
world trembled, remained silent as their freedoms were curtailed
"for security reasons," and anxiously watched the skies...
By the time President Bush, the resident doubleplusfeelgood
duckspeaker, took center stage for his memorable State
of the Union speech, the prole "target" had been softened.
Who remembered that Iraq had not killed a single American
in 12 years? Who even knew that the US had never stopped bombing
the no-fly zones, had crippled the Iraqi infrastructure, or
that according to UN studies, more than a million Iraqi citizens
had been killed by devastating US-led sanctions? Who cared?
As Bush promised to create chaos throughout the region, kill
many more thousands of innocents, create masses of refugees
and send our own troops into a blazing, shooting-gallery inferno
with no exit strategy, his dire warnings of horror were interrupted
only by cheers, applause and standing ovations. Is it any
wonder that 16 little Yellowcake words slipped by us?
Consider these 41 words, "Imagine those 19 hijackers with
other weapons and other plans, this time armed by Saddam Hussein.
It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into
this coutry to bring a day of horror like none we have ever
Or these 21 words -- "The United Nations concluded in 1999
that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons materials sufficient
to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax."
How about these 24 words -- "Our intelligence officials estimate
that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as
500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent."
This is Bush doing what he does best. Telling a lie -- such
as linking Hussein to both 9-11 and al-Qaeda and stirring
the mix with stacks and piles and tons of deadly weapons of
mass destruction -- and wrapping the whole thing in wild speculation
specifically designed to stimulate fear and generate rabid
support for a war already decided upon. Orwell calls this
prolefeed, which is spurious news fed to the masses
to create a desired bellyfeel, or blind, enthusiastic
And it worked. Talk about gassing your own people until their
minds shrivel up in fear or keel over in exhaustion! Never
in the history of this country has such a deliberate and elaborate
campaign of deceit and betrayal been waged against its Congress
and its citizens. I believe -- I have to believe -- that more
Americans each day are coming to the painful conclusion that,
if his lips are moving, their president is lying. I have to
believe that most Americans are watching what George Bush
is saying, and are weary of his words coming back to haunt
Because, how long can the national psyche remain under the
wild influences of George Bush's fantastic messianic delusions
and not come apart at the seams? Enough is enough. No more
lies. No more intrusions on our freedoms -- our privacy. No
more Orwellian Newspeak.
Like Johnny Dangerously's Roman Moronie once said,
"You lousy cork-suckers. You have violated my fargin' rights.
This suminonbatching country was founded so that the liberties
of common patriotic citizens, like me, could not be taken
away by a bunch of fargin' iceholes, like yourselves..."
That's 37 words of Oldspeak, if we're still playing the word-count
game. And every fargin' word is true.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer, a former US
Army Public Information Officer and contributing editor of