Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What's Your Definition of 'Is'?

DID ANYONE CATCH President Bush's statement on torture last week? Andrew Sullivan did in his Daily Dish. Bush's statement reminds him of another famous statement by a sitting President. Look at them side by side:

I want to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world: The United States does not torture. It's against our laws, and it's against our values. I have not authorized it - and I will not authorize it. -George Bush, 2006
Now this from 1998:

I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anyone to lie, not a single time, never. These allegations are false and I need to go back to work for the American people." -- Bill Clinton, 1998
Semantic gymnastics, no? Aren't both statements semantic evasions to avoid what is probably a direct lie? It's amazing how similar these two statements are!

Here's Sullivan's take:
Each man is using a private dictionary to redefine a word otherwise clear to any other rational person. But the broader conclusion is obvious: Clinton lied about an extra-marital affair in a civil sexual harassment lawsuit. Bush is lying about one of the core features of a civilized and decent society in the middle of a vital war. The Republicans ridiculed Clinton for his linguistic somersaults - and even impeached him for it. They are mostly silent today. A telling contrast, I'd say.
Is Clinton guilty of having sexual relations with Lewinsky? Is the US guilty of torturing prisoners? Perhaps it depends on what your definition of 'is' is.


At 9/14/2006 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typical liberal slant on things. And perhaps we shouldn't care quite so much about 'lying' when our national security is at stake. Bush has to do whatever necessary to protect this country.

At 9/15/2006 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now there's a good example of superior conservative morality: neither lying nor torturing is wrong if done to protect the country. And so whatever country can torture and lie (or commit any other expedient evil) most effectively will be the most powerful, hence best country in the world. Might = right. It's the morality of street thugs wrapped in the flag.

At 9/23/2006 9:00 PM, Blogger Mboniface said...

It's that vast right wing conspiracy I tell ya... You aren't by any chance working for Nancy Pelosi or John Conyers are you?


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