Editor and Publisher looks at a machine translation of a transcript of a conversation and jumps to conclusions.
The transcript was published by El Pais this week.
The conversation took place on February 22, 2003, at President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. President Bush, Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar, and Condoleezza Rice were discussing Saddam Hussein.
Let me point out that from the looks of it, the transcript, then, is a transcript of a conversation that took place in English. I realize that President Bush speaks Spanish, but the transcript has him speaking with the vosotros form (Quizá os sirva.), which is used in Spain. While Pres. Bush is fluent in Spanish, I have never heard him use the vosotros form in his speech. I expect that the conversation took place with Bush & Rice speaking in English, Aznar in Spanish.
On top of that, Editor and Publisher used an atrocious machine translation to write their article. Think Progress and others have picked up the story based on E&P’s article.
Barcepundit, who is fully bilingual (and I can attest to that, because I talk to him daily), has read the transcript and reached different conclusions from E&P’s:
If anything, the transcript proves precisely the opposing point that critics want to make. The conversation shows both Bush and Aznar trying to avoid war; that they were concerned of its human toll, and that Saddam wanted to flee with money… and WMD information. I guess all the people who are trumpeting this will stop sying now that Bush lied and mislead us on the WMD issue. Won’t hold my breath, though.
Barcepundit is working on a full translation but for the time being, read his post.
What the leaked memo doesn’t do is indicate bloodthirsty lust for war at all costs. What it does do is underscore that Bush believed, quite correctly, that Saddam posed a threat to the world. That Bush believed, naively, as it turned out, that Iraq was ready to embrace democracy. That Bush preferred to see Saddam go quietly, but understood that there was no chance he would go, or set aside his ambitions, in the absence of a credible and imminent threat of force. It also indicates that Bush, then a year and a half into war, did not relish having to inform mothers and fathers of the deaths of their sons and daughters in battle, or the strain on the American exchequer that war would create. But he did not want to go down in history as someone who flinched, avoided his responsibilities and allowed a murderous dictator to pursue his dreams of domination of the world’s primary oil reserves.
This begs the question: why would Saddam attach so much importance to information on Iraq’s WMD program? The mainstream media, the Democratic party, and many others have accepted that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction, and that there is no reason to think that Iraq’s program posed a threat to anyone at the time of the US invasion. Small caches of WMD and evidence that Saddam intended to reconstitute the program at some point in the future have been downplayed in light of the failure to find the stockpiles of weapons that most intelligence agencies believed to exist.
Yet if the dominant narrative is correct–that Iraq posed no WMD threat–then why did Saddam stake his life on concealing information about the program? After all, he had to think that if he did not leave Iraq, there was every chance that he would be killed during or after the invasion. Why would it have been so important to hide evidence that merely confirmed the lack of any threat?
The only logical reason for making this a condition of his agreement to exile was that he believed the program was more advanced than it really was, or that he intended to augment it. In either case, it further bolsters the case that Saddam remained a threat to the region (at least), and that it was wise to depose him.
Yesterday I was in downtown Princeton walking down Witherspoon Street when I saw something in the window of a local shop that caught my attention: George W. Bush dog biscuits. (I hasten to clarify that I didn’t see them at this shop which is not on Witherspoon; their dog biscuits are different).
The store is not a political artifacts store, it’s a hippie shop: It specializes in “hippie clothes” – i.e., t-shirts and tops in prints and batik, made in exotic (and low-wage labor) locales abroad from hemp, cotton and rough-spun linen – plus it carries stained glass, inexpensive jewelry, and pottery.
As I said, a hippie shop. I bought a sterling silver ring there a few years ago.
The biscuits were displayed in a cardboard box that said something to the effect of, “…crunch, crunch…he’s gone!”.
The biscuits were displayed on a shelf with other goods that carried the logo
I had no idea what 01.20.09 stood for until I read on the mugs “Bush’s Last Day”, which was explanation enough (click on photo to enlarge):
I stared at the goods in bewilderment and admiration.
I was bewildered (yes, I bewilder easily) that anyone would spend their hard-earned after-tax money on this kind of stuff. As you all know by now, I’d rather spend my hard-earned after-tax money on books and shoes, and I don’t wear clothes with writing on them (except for the logo of this company, since I own their stock).
Bewildered, also, that one would hate our President so much that they’d buy a mug and start their morning focusing on his last day in office.
And then I admired how free we are to produce, market, wear and talk about merchandise like this.
I looked at the date and appreciated greatly how our Constitution provides for presidential term limits. It’s a wonderful country where you can tell with certainty the date in the future when one ruler leaves. Britain, France, and many other democracies don’t provide for that. Putin has no sense of humor so I don’t expect any Russian stores will be carrying any such merchandise. Chavez is pushing to end term limits in Venezuela. Castro, Assad, Kim, and other revel in their never-ending tyranny; the very notion of term limits in their societies would mean a death sentence.
I looked at the merchandise and was pleased to see how we have the technology and the means of producing the items, transporting them to the stores and keeping track of the inventory so the stores can reorder.
And I looked in wonderment at the dog buiscuits – the Iranian mullahs consider owning a dog “moral depravity”. How amazing that some people can feed their dogs the effigy of the President, who they despise for confronting the Iran-sponsored terrorism in Iraq, while being blind to the fact that the nuclearly-armed Iranian theocrats would not even allow them to have a dog.
Not only that: people from much poorer countries arrive at our country and can’t believe that we have whole stores and aisles at the supermarkets dedicated to dog food.
We live in a land of abundance, prosperity and opportunity indeed.
Of course, I fully expect that the irony-poor Left will get together for coffee, sipping from their 01.20.09 black mug, proudly wearing the (symbollic, of course) pink 01.20.09 t-shirt and the 01.20.09 black baseball cap and feed the dog GWB biskits (what’s with the spelling? Can’t they spell, or is there a copyright on the word biscuit?), all the while bemoaning how our President’s turning the country into a dictatorship, where we’re all being repressed while the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy oppresses the heck out of our lives.
The disconnection between the fact that they can wear the stuff while making such arguments makes my head swim (* see footnote).
the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency — nay — the very existence of George W. Bush.
Drink deeply from your BDS mug, and praise the freedom to do so, folks.
* Footnote: I was talking to a friend yesterday who told me that “makes my head swim” doesn’t mean the same as “makes my head spin”, which I have been using interchangeably. She says that “makes my head swim” implies delight, and “makes my head spin” implies confusion. Any clarification on this matter will be greatly welcome. UpdateBeth emails,
my head swims means that you are dizzy or lose your balance. So, that seems to me it would be the same as my head spins.
Today President Bush delivers the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT. I took part in a bloggers’s conference call with the White House this morning regarding the points Pres. Bush made during his speech, as follows,
Osama bin Laden sent Iraqi-born terrorist Abd Al-Hadi Al-Iraqi to Iraq: – According to our intelligence community, Abd al-Hadi had been a senior advisor to bin Laden and served as his top commander in Afghanistan. Abd Al-Hadi never made it to Iraq. He was captured late last year, and he was recently transferred to the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay.
In January 2005, Osama Bin Laden tasked terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi with forming a cell to conduct terrorist attacks outside Iraq: – Bin Laden emphasized that America should be Zarqawi’s number one priority in terms of foreign attacks, and Zarqawi welcomed this direction and claimed that he had already come up with some good proposals.
– Bin Laden then tasked one of his top terrorist operatives, Hamza Rabia to send Zarqawi a briefing on al Qaeda’s external operations, including information about operations against the American homeland.
– Our intelligence community reports that a senior al Qaeda leader, Abu Faraj al-Libi went further and suggested that bin Laden actually send Rabia to Iraq to help plan external operations. Abu Faraj later speculated that if this effort proved successful, al Qaeda might one day prepare the majority of its external operations from Iraq.
– In May 2005, Abu Faraj was captured and taken into CIA custody. Several months later, in December 2005, Rabia was killed in Pakistan. And several months after that, in June of 2006, the terrorist Zarqawi was killed by American forces in Iraq. Successes like these are blows to al Qaeda and a testament to steps we have taken to strengthen our intelligence, work closely with partners overseas, and keep the pressure on the enemy by staying on the offense.
As Lawrence Wright said, al-Qaeda’s happy if the US stays in Iraq because the civil war’s serves their purposes; al-Qaeda’s happy if the US withdraws and leaves a likely genocide, spreading to other countries.
Death is what al-Qaeda is selling; and defeat them we must.
The speech is being broadcast live right now on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.
Before I start on today’s items, I’d like my visitors to know that I’m not in the area affected by the brush fires. My thanks to the friends who asked, who actually learned about the fire before I did.
Not to worry. So another lunatic left-wing therapist has decided that you’re looney tunes, and of course Newsweek swallows this malarkey and spits back out at us, but what does that prove beyond another manifestation of BDS?