Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Promise Kept?

Most politicians lie, while trying to sound like they are not lying. That includes Obama, of course, although he’s not really as bad as some that I have experienced, but in this announcement of the total withdrawal of troops from Iraq he went out of his way to sound like he was lying without actually doing so. He really wanted to say, “I pulled all of the troops out of Iraq,” but he knew that he just could not get away with it.

First of all, if he said that, Republicans would attack him for leaving America weakened and Iraq wide open to being reconquered by al Queda. That really should not have been a concern, because Republicans were going to do that regardless of how he phrased it and, sure enough, they were making precisely those charges within hours, if not minutes, of his announcement. Big surprise there.

There are also far too many people who know that the 2011 timetable was set by George W. Bush in 2008 before leaving office, and that making direct claims for the withdrawal date might be a little too obvious. Not only that, but too many people knew that he has been negotiating feverishly with Maliki to extend that date. So a direct “Look at the wonderful decision I have come to” statement would not fly, and he knew it.

So he starts his speech with, “As a candidate for President I pledged to end the war in Iraq responsibly,” and follows that up with, “Today, I can report that as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year.”

Each statement is true, because in the second one he doesn’t say whose promise he’s talking about, but together they sound like a lie without actually, technically, being one. Taken together they sound like he is saying that he is keeping the promise he made as a candidate. Pretty clever, actually, to so specifically imply that without actually saying it.

In actuality, of course, he's just giving up his efforts to break that promise.

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