The meaning of the word "Relationship"
For example: Cheney used the word on March 16, 2003 on Meet the Press regarding Saddam:
"We know he’s out trying once again to produce nuclear weapons and we know that he has a long-standing relationship with various terrorist groups, including the al-Qaeda organization."Bush used it on the aircraft carrier deck:
"The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida is because there was a relationship."
Ah, but what is the NATURE of this relationship?
I like to say, "Sure they have a relationship. Like my relationship with telemarketers or spammers. They call me and want me to buy stuff from them. I say no. Do we have a relationship? Yes. In one sense of the word. Would I feel it deceitful if they listed on their website they had a relationship with me implying that I buy their products? Yes."
In the political world of word parsing and word definitions you could say that Spocko has a relationship with Joe Telemarketer and Sally Spammer. And you wouldn't be lying, given one meaning of the word relationship. You would just be dishonest given the accepted understanding of the word by most people.
I bring this up because of something Holden at First Draft pointed out in this post:
(extra points to Holden for the new word GOPudrama!)
Sometimes in blogging you focus so much attention on the big stories, like ABC's GOPudrama, that the little stories slip by unnoticed.
There's no evidence Saddam Hussein had ties with al-Qaida, according to a Senate report on prewar intelligence that Democrats say undercuts President Bush's justification for invading Iraq.
Bush administration officials have insisted on a link between the Iraqi regime and terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Intelligence agencies, however, concluded there was none.
It discloses for the first time an October 2005 CIA assessment that prior to the war Saddam's government ''did not have a relationship, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates.''
Bush and other administration officials have said that the presence of Zarqawi in Iraq before the war was evidence of a connection between Saddam's government and al-Qaida. Zarqawi was killed by a U.S. airstrike in June this year.
White House press secretary Tony Snow said the report was ''nothing new.''
Then I went and actually READ the report. There are all sorts of ways the word relationship is used. And it even contrasts pre-war intelligence relationships and post-war intelligence relationships. Starting on page 63 up till page 76 they talk about the nature of these "relationships" where meetings were listed. Intelligence gathering is not an exact science and if you really really want to use the word relationship (and all it's connotations) between the two, you can. And to people who want to justify a war costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars, that is enough.
I think it's important to understand how dishonest the use of this word is in the Bush Administration. Because of how they used that word they can pull it out and use it without being called LIARS right to their face. They can say, "Tim, the study shows they have a relationship."
Sure. Technically correct. But what KIND of relationship? Big and bad enough to attack Iraq because of this "relationship"? I would say no.
To not acknowledge the twisted use of this word "Relationship" would be to confuse people from any kind of "moral clarity" they might have regarding who was our enemy at the time of September 11th.
I have to go now. My phone is ringing and I have to disabuse yet another telemarketer of the nature of our "relationship".