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Mission Accomplished: 4 Years of GOP Iraq Talking Points

April 29, 2007

On Tuesday May 1st, the United States will mark the fourth anniversary of President Bush's declaration of "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. But as the carnage continues and the war funding debate rages, President Bush and allies in the conservative amen corners can only offer the American people new and recycled talking points to sell his catastrophically ill-conceived war without end.
Here, then, is a look back at four years of wartime marketing gone bad. What follows below is by no mean an exhaustive list of the talking points, sound bites, slogans and rallying cries the President and the Republicans used to justify their war, demonize Saddam Hussein and tar the Democratic Party.
Perhaps most disturbing among this catalog of deceit is the Republicans' continued reliance on claims long since proven untrue. This Sunday, for example, Secretary of State Condi Rice tried to parry the George Tenet book by clinging to the "imminent threat" canard, three years after the Iraq Survey Group concluded Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. Just two weeks ago, Vice President Cheney reiterated the demonstrably false claim "Saddam harbored Al Qaeda," based on the pre-war presence of Zarqawi in Kurdish-held areas beyond Baghdad's control. And President Bush continues to warn that the Iraqi insurgents will "follow us home," despite the total rejection of that premise by U.S. intelligence analysts and former counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke.
The following GOP Iraq talking points appear to still be in use:

Many other Iraq sound bites of yore, however, have mercifully ended up on the dustbin of history.

For a look back at the changing Top 10 GOP sound bites over time, visit the archives here. And to access a repository of all the key Iraq war intelligence documents, commission reports, key memos, essential analyses and other required reading, visit the Perrspectives Iraq WMD and Intelligence Resource Center.

5 comments on “Mission Accomplished: 4 Years of GOP Iraq Talking Points”

  1. Always my personal favorite--validating with "Clinton said it too" baloney. They however always omit the dates or timeframe of any references made by President Clinton about the lethality and abundance of Saddam's arsenals of what turned out to be mass, self destructable bio-weapons. But "even Clinton said it"!

  2. Always my personal favorite--validating with "Clinton said it too" baloney.
    You are absolutely right. You'll notice every time something goes wrong, every time there is debate in this country about whether or not what we're doing in Iraq is the right thing, the neocons invoke Clinton. They love to say Clinton did not do enough concerning Iraq- but they do not mention the fact that intelligence at the time did not realistically allow for it.
    If there is a question about why 9/11 happened despite intelligence saying the threat was imminent, the neocons invoke Clinton. George Tenet himself said the other night that he couldn't get authorization from Clinton to go after Osama bin Laden without saying that the intelligence available at the time did not give enough solid evidence to do so.
    It's ridiculous, the parsing and choosing what to say and what not to say. It's the reason we are where we are now in Iraq.

  3. "Talking points in use", that's so true. That's how they do:memorized sound bites, by behaviorism,association,controlling attention, and reaction. Critiquing the substance and validity of their statements would seem to miss the point, because their emphasis is on the "appropriate" and "correct" reaction, on the respectable, manicured visual exterior,and often used to cover up lack of substance or irrational/venal motives (these are after all those who don't need facts or analysis, but who "make it true" with their actions/reactions). How else would the medicated Mrs. Bush, one characterized recently by one who has known her for a long time as "sometimes nice, but a person with (present tense)lots of problems" and "the go-to girl for drugs in college" (not that I have a problem with drugs per se, but it belies the front and the righteousness),get by? Occasionally though, the canned responses fail to apply and the manicured behavior cracks to reveal a little of what lies under.Not that one can rely on the mainstream media to mention those frequent instances though!


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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