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Revisionist History
June 17, 2003 12:01 AM   Subscribe

Bush Blasts 'Revisionist Historians' on Iraq
President Bush countered those questioning his justification for the invasion of Iraq on Monday, dismissing "revisionist historians" and saying Washington acted to counter an imminent a persistent threat. "Now there are some who would like to rewrite history; revisionist historians is what I like to call them," Bush said in a speech to New Jersey business leaders.
posted by onegoodmove (94 comments total)

 
Oh, great. On top of everything else, he's demonstrably ahistorical.

Come on, November 2004. (And, hell, I'm mostly conservative.)
posted by alumshubby at 12:04 AM on June 17, 2003


very creepy.
posted by kv at 12:05 AM on June 17, 2003


What's he talking about? We are at war with Oceania. We've always been at war with Oceania. Eastasia have always been our allies. Doesn't he read the paper?
posted by fatbobsmith at 12:15 AM on June 17, 2003


My guess is that he's trying out the "huge whopper" defence. That is, tell a lie so big that nobody can believe that it's actually a lie. There is only one small flaw in the huge whopper strategy. It's bollocks.
posted by salmacis at 1:17 AM on June 17, 2003


You mean Hitler's "Big Lie" strategy?

(sorry, but . . . a tad obvious . . .)
posted by Ryvar at 1:36 AM on June 17, 2003


Debating George Bush and his rabit supporters is like trying to beat a chimpanzee at chess. You make a move, confident you can take your opponent's piece, and the chimp promptly stabs you in the eye with his queen. In short, they aren't playing by the rules of language or truth or decorum.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:45 AM on June 17, 2003


(and of course I'd have to put a damn typo right before my oh-so-clever analogy. Bah)
posted by Space Coyote at 1:46 AM on June 17, 2003


What Bush and his, uh, rabbit supporters need to remember is this: if we can learn only one lesson from history, it is - don't piss off revisionist historians...
posted by klaatu at 1:51 AM on June 17, 2003


Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.
posted by ElvisJesus at 3:54 AM on June 17, 2003


Nevermind the past! Iran has WMD's! They're harboring terrorists! They set us up the bomb! Get 'em, fellas!
posted by phylum sinter at 4:10 AM on June 17, 2003


This FPP is brilliant. The strike through is rhetorical genius. I'm completely taken by the economy of the thing. Hats off to onegoodmove.
posted by putzface_dickman at 4:23 AM on June 17, 2003


Maybe, uh, rabid supporters?
posted by acrobat at 4:46 AM on June 17, 2003


It's somewhat difficult to believe that "revisionist historians" is the first word that comes to George's mind when he thinks of his doubters. I could suggest a few alternatives, but mummy brought me up to be polite.

Nah, rabbit is better acrobat.
posted by squealy at 4:52 AM on June 17, 2003


And, anyway, these "revisionist historians" will soon be asking an awful lot more questions (like 'how come this guy got the government?', 'what strange alchemy turned the laugh of the country into the biggest scare in the world?', 'wasn't he the guy who chickened out of most of his military obligations?', and many, many more).
posted by acrobat at 5:00 AM on June 17, 2003


Perhaps they are nucular rabits
posted by ElvisJesus at 5:03 AM on June 17, 2003


I said it once and I'll say it again, if you think these people are being too outrageous for their own well being, think again:

A third of the American public believes U.S. forces have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, according to a recent poll. *Twenty-two percent said Iraq actually used chemical or biological weapons.*
posted by magullo at 5:17 AM on June 17, 2003


Who writes for this guy anyway? All of his key phrases are stolen, and when you examine their original context to his usage, they at base, tasteless jokes, and I'm sure his writers know it.
I'm upset by his appropriation of the term "Revisionist historian", a term that largely means an author who denies that the Holocaust occurred.
I was fairly unnerved by "Axis of Evil" since the original Axis powers did some majorly evil things, and while Iraq and North Korea were trying hard I doubt they rank in the top 10 evil regimes of the century.
Then their was his use of the phrase "Let's Roll" not once, but twice in major speeches. Bad taste.
Add the timing and location of the upcoming Republican convention and I don't know whether to cry, vomit, or scream.
posted by putzface_dickman at 5:19 AM on June 17, 2003


Somehow I lost a few words in that second sentence. Here it is again, for clarity:
All of his key phrases are stolen, and when you compare their original context to his usage, they are, at base, tasteless jokes. And I'm sure his writers know it.
posted by putzface_dickman at 5:22 AM on June 17, 2003


vomit.
posted by Outlawyr at 5:23 AM on June 17, 2003


I was hoping hoping hoping this was going to be an onion article.
posted by mcsweetie at 5:35 AM on June 17, 2003


magullo- this via Tom Tomorrow's site:
Of American adults, at least 18 years of age...

65% couldn't describe the basic facts about Watergate
56% think in war, the media should support the government over questioning it
48% say the news media acted responsibly during the Clinton Wars
45% characterized Watergate was "just politics"
43% attended religious services in the previous 7 days
40% believe the media was biased in favor of Bill Clinton
35% say the government should not fund stem cell research
34% think Rock and Roll has had an overall negative impact on America
33% believe a wife should "submit herself graciously" to a husband
30% say the Bible is the "actual word of God" to be taken literally
29% think people will be "more likely" to afford college for their kids in 2020
28% disapprove of labor unions on principle
28% say the government should have the right to control news reports
27% believe divorce is "morally wrong"
26% thought various disasters in 1999 might "foreshadow the wrath of God"
26% think grade-school teachers should be allowed to spank their kids
24% describe themselves as interested in what celebrities think
21% told a pollster they'd never met that they had cheated in a relationship
21% say justice was served in the O.J. Simpson case
20% approve of the how the Catholic Church handles pedophilia
20% believe that the killing of civilians in Vietnam was "relatively rare"
15% were upset at Diana Spencer's death like "someone you knew"
12% think the United States should have a British-style royal family
11% stockpiled food and water in advance of Y2K
11% think "Titanic" was the best American movie of the 20th century
11% would like "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" as their personal physician
10% would eat a rat or an insect on a "reality" TV show
10% think it?s advantageous to be a woman in American society
10% believe Oswald acted alone
10% say they are "very likely" to become rich someday
8% could not name a single TV network
8% fear they are "very likely" to be shot or badly hurt by a stranger
7% think Elvis is possibly still alive
6% say Garth Brooks is the best male singer of the 20th century
5% are ?very afraid? of thunder and lightning
5% would be "more likely" to buy food labeled as genetically modified
3% wanted to see the questions on "Millionaire" become less difficult
You know, I used to believe that all the dating/reality shows on the major networks like Joe Millionaire and Meet my Folks are completely staged simply because the country had to have run out of idiots by now.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:54 AM on June 17, 2003


Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
posted by the fire you left me at 6:17 AM on June 17, 2003


What's wrong with wanting genetically modified food?

I mean, if it's genetically modified to resist disease and insects it doesn't need to be sprayed with chemicals as much, and if it's modified to last longer in the fridge that directly financially benefits me at little extra cost.

Now if it's modified to grow drugs, yeah, I totally see the problem - but that's not at all what the list is implying.

Also, while neither I nor anybody I knew stockpiled food/water for Y2K, I can understand people doing so on a small scale. It never hurts to have extra water and a firearm of some kind lying around if there's even a slight possibility of something civilization-destroying happening in the immediate future.

The rest of that was really just kinda sad.
posted by Ryvar at 6:25 AM on June 17, 2003


If this wasn't the leader of the most powerful nation on the earth, this would be hilarious. It reminds me of the outrageous, bald-faced lies of an African dictator.
posted by moonbiter at 6:40 AM on June 17, 2003


U.S. News And World Report did a survey in 1997, asking Who Is Going To Heaven?

May I have the envelope, please?

OJ Simpson: 19%
Dennis Rodman: 28%
Bill Clinton: 52%
Princess Diana: 60% (5 months before her death)
Oprah Winfrey: 66%
Mother Teresa: 79%
ME (him/herself): >87%


See you in Hell!
posted by y2karl at 6:42 AM on June 17, 2003


11% would like "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" as their personal physician

100% of whom need Dr. Kevorkian as same.
posted by y2karl at 6:44 AM on June 17, 2003


(off topic)

What's wrong with wanting genetically modified food?

Among several other reasons, I would quote unknown long term effects, given the fact that GM techniques have just turned 20 years old.

(/off topic)
posted by magullo at 6:45 AM on June 17, 2003


It never hurts to have extra water and a firearm of some kind lying around if there's even a slight possibility of something civilization-destroying happening in the immediate future.

"Forgive us, Mr. Heston! My fellow zombies and I had no idea you posesses superior firepower!" :)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:53 AM on June 17, 2003


A third of the American public believes U.S. forces have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, according to a recent poll. *Twenty-two percent said Iraq actually used chemical or biological weapons.*

Here's what I don't get. How on earth do people arrive at these beliefs?

During the build up to the Iraq invasion, I heard frequently that 1 in 3 Americans thought that Iraq was in some way responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Now, as far as I can recall, nowhere in the President's, Veep's or SecD's speeches or Powell's testimony to the UN, was this link established or even alluded to. Mostly, it was refuted.

So, where are people making these leaps? Do they just assume it? Does talk radio plant these seeds? Do they have information that I don't have? Anyone got an answer?
posted by psmealey at 6:57 AM on June 17, 2003


Meanwhile in an archaic monarchy far, far away, history is being made rewritten...
posted by i_cola at 7:17 AM on June 17, 2003


And, anyway, these "revisionist historians" will soon be asking an awful lot more questions (like 'how come this guy got the government?'...

Er, because enouch people didn't think he was the second coming of Hitler that he won a majority of electoral college votes?

'what strange alchemy turned the laugh of the country into the biggest scare in the world?'...

I'm wondering what strange alchemy I can use to parse some meaning out of that babble.

'wasn't he the guy who chickened out of most of his military obligations?'

No, he wasn't.
posted by jammer at 7:27 AM on June 17, 2003


(off topic)
So was this Teleprompter-reading President, Words-fed-to-earpiece President, or Good Ole Boy President? Should heve never watched Wag The Dog...
posted by sharksandwich at 7:43 AM on June 17, 2003


Bush was a history major.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:49 AM on June 17, 2003


The president did not mention Iraqi unconventional weapons in his remarks, although accusations Iraq had chemical and biological weapons were central to his prewar campaign to build support for an attack. No such weapons have yet been found.

This says it all for me. Impeach already, and try for high treason.
posted by holycola at 7:59 AM on June 17, 2003


holycola: Testify brother!
posted by i_cola at 8:09 AM on June 17, 2003


putzface: Revisionist Historian = Holocaust denier? I hadn't come across that myself, any references?

I don't want to derail this into Holocaust Denial discussion, just that from my History undergrad days we used the term much more broadly (or precisely maybe ie. Orthodox Historian is revised by Revisionist Historian who is revised by Post-Revisionist Historian, who may/may not become the new Orthodox Historian is revised by... and so on).
posted by klaatu at 8:09 AM on June 17, 2003


Er, because enouch people didn't think he was the second coming of Hitler that he won a majority of electoral college votes?

Dude, all I have to say about this is: you're a Revisionist Historian
posted by magullo at 8:14 AM on June 17, 2003


No, he wasn't. Er, uh...

During his fifth year as a guardsman, Bush's records show no sign he appeared for duty.
May 24, 1972: Bush, who has moved to Alabama to work on a US Senate race, gets permission to serve with a reserve unit in Alabama. But headquarters decided Bush must serve with a more active unit.
Sept. 5, 1972: Bush is granted permission to do his Guard duty at the 187th Tactical Recon Group in Montgomery. But Bush's record shows no evidence he did the duty, and the unit commander says he never showed up.
November 1972 to April 30, 1973: Bush returns to Houston, but apparently not to his Air Force unit.
May 2, 1973: The two lieutenant colonels in charge of Bush's unit in Houston cannot rate him for the prior 12 months, saying he has not been at the unit in that period.
May to July 1973
: Bush, after special orders are issued for him to report for duty, logs 36 days of duty.
July 30, 1973: His last day in uniform, according to his records.
Oct. 1, 1973: A month after Bush starts at Harvard Business School, he is formally discharged from the Texas Air National Guard -- eight months before his six-year term expires.

posted by y2karl at 8:16 AM on June 17, 2003


well done, jammer. 1) Florida vote scheme? 2) Ever heard the term "bushism"? 3) Dear God! (great link, but to what?)
posted by acrobat at 8:18 AM on June 17, 2003


Well thanks, XQUZYPHYR, that list just scared the shit outta me. I know, I know: one can never underestimate the stupidity of the public. But, geez, I had entertained the thought that there must be some sort of lower limit.

Apparently about a third of the population is doggedly determined to prove there can be no lower limit.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:25 AM on June 17, 2003


Er, uh: The Sequel

Five months after the Globe first reported those discrepancies, Bush's biography on his presidential campaign Web site remains unchanged, stating that he served as a pilot in the Texas Guard from 1968 to 1973.

In fact, Bush only flew with the 111th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Ellington Field in Houston from June 1970 until April 1972. That month he ceased flying altogether, two years before his military commitment ended, an unusual step that has left some veteran fighter pilots puzzled.

In Alabama, a group of Vietnam veterans recently offered a $1,000 reward for anyone who can verify Bush's claim that he performed service at a Montgomery air guard unit in 1972, when Bush was temporarily in Alabama working on a political campaign.

So far, no one has come forward. The reward is now $3,500.

What's more, a Bush campaign spokesman acknowledged last week that he knows of no witnesses who can attest to Bush's attendance at drills after he returned to Houston in late 1972 and before his early release from the Guard in September 1973.

There is strong evidence that Bush performed no military service, as was required, when he moved from Houston to Alabama to work on a US Senate campaign from May to November 1972. There are no records of any service and the commanding officer of the unit Bush was assigned to said he never saw him.

During Bush's Alabama sojourn, he was suspended from flight duty for not taking his annual flight physical. The Bush campaign's initial explanation for the lapse, it now admits, was wrong.

Dan Bartlett, a Bush campaign spokesman, pointed to incomplete records - one a torn page without Bush's name or any discernible dates - as evidence that he did enough drills in Houston in the closing months of his service to satisfy military obligations...

posted by y2karl at 8:27 AM on June 17, 2003


from my History undergrad days we used the term much more broadly

klaatu, for whatever it's worth, when I - not a history major - read that quote in the Reuters article, "Holocaust Denier" was indeed the first thing that popped into my head. Bush's boys are masters at using words and phrases not for their actual meanings but for their popular connotations and (subliminal) associations. They make the Clintonsomethings look like amateurs.
posted by soyjoy at 8:34 AM on June 17, 2003


From the "no he wasn't" link:

Documents reviewed by The Times showed that Mr. Bush served in at least 9 of the 17 months in question

Whew! That sure settled that point!
posted by norm at 8:36 AM on June 17, 2003


y2karl: Bill Hobbs next post on the topic addresses that gap you mention. Is it conclusive proof that he was on station during that time? No, but neither do you have conclusive proof that he wasn't -- and the argument for "the paperwork got lost and a CO doesn't remember the young son of an obscure out-of-state politician more than three decades later" is alot more plausable than "he was AWOL and pulled strings through his well-connected [which he wasn't at that time] father to still get an honorable release".

[Besides, isn't it you Bush-bashers who were so fond of ridiculing the "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" argument? Isn't that the same one you're making now, re: Bush's service?]

acrobat: 1) Florida vote sceme?

Are you guys really still bitter about that? You know, it may surprise you, but back in 2000 I was just like you -- the bile that rose from deep within me over the Florida debacle was almost overwhelming.

[In fact, here's a rather embarassing news group post I made at the time which looks painfully childish now.]

But once the raw emotion subsided, and I looked at the issue logically, it was obviously still a fucked up situation, but all the "Hail to the Theif" rhetoric was gone. And, after 9-11, I'm actually glad Bush came out on top -- not that I expect you to agree with me on that. However, after it's been fairly conclusively shown that by any fair recount procedure Bush still would have taken the Florida vote, I really think the "He stole the election" canard is due for extinction. Continued harping on it merely discredits other, more serious issues of the left.

2) Ever heard the term "bushism"?

Ever heard the term ad hominem?

3) Dear God! (great link, but to what?)

Does that mean that you have no response to the argument presented there, but do not wish to admit that you were wrong about the service record? Or is it just snark aimed at avoiding the question?


posted by jammer at 8:41 AM on June 17, 2003


"Documents reviewed by The Times showed that Mr. Bush served in at least 9 of the 17 months in question..."

You know.... I've been in my current job since November. That's eight months. If I hadn't shown up for four of those eight months, I would've been fired.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:47 AM on June 17, 2003


You know.... I've been in my current job since November. That's eight months. If I hadn't shown up for four of those eight months, I would've been fired.

False analogy. You're not in the National Guard, which is strictly not full-time service.
posted by jammer at 8:49 AM on June 17, 2003


the argument for "the paperwork got lost and a CO doesn't remember the young son of an obscure out-of-state politician more than three decades later" is alot more plausable than "he was AWOL and pulled strings through his well-connected [which he wasn't at that time] father to still get an honorable release".

Wait, you meant to say that those are two different arguments?
posted by magullo at 8:56 AM on June 17, 2003


Bush is a corrupt Hitleresque paint-snuffer with rocks for brains!

*bares ass for patting*
posted by UncleFes at 8:57 AM on June 17, 2003


Okayyyyyyy... back to the topic at hand, Revisionist History and Bush's participation in same.

I'm wondering, was it an out-and-out LIE when Bush declared the war in Iraq over? "Mission Accomplished?" How come we're on a new mission, then, with plenty more active combat, with plenty more dying? What was the criteria for the war being "over?" It's not as if we found Saddam, or even, apparently, disabled his ability to fight back. Did we all, even us skeptics, just swallow another one of the Bush team's "if I say so, it's true" gambits?
posted by soyjoy at 8:59 AM on June 17, 2003


and a CO doesn't remember the young son of an obscure out-of-state politician more than three decades later" is alot more plausible than "he was AWOL and pulled strings through his well-connected [which he wasn't at that time] father to still get an honorable release".

I'm sure the son of a famous and respected senator, who went to Phillips Andover, to Yale, who fought in World War II, and was the ambassador to the United Nations in the early 70's had absolutly no pull within the government.

Don't be so naive.
posted by SweetJesus at 9:04 AM on June 17, 2003


Quite simply, Soyjoy, the period of wide-spread centralized opposition was over. I don't think Bush ever said there wouldn't be further combat and loss of life -- simply that the Iraqi government had been destroyed and that, barring pockets of isolated resistance which still had to be cleaned up, we were in control of most of the nation.
posted by jammer at 9:06 AM on June 17, 2003


From blogger Burka on June 10, 2003, this mordant faux news article:

Revisionist Historians Angry At Rice; Vow To Omit Her From Future

"Revisionist historians, angry at Condoleezza Rice for casting revisionism in a negative light, threatened to remove her from future history books if she did not retract the reference.

This past Sunday, Rice called accusations against the White House's manipulation of intelligence data "revisionist history," and derided those who were "rewriting history to suggest that the White House went to war because of Hussein's WMD."

Professor Demetri Gazpacho, the President of the Revisionist History Association of America (RHAA), pointed out, "Revisionists have simply revised views of history which misrepresent what actually occurred. We recently corrected, for example, an American History textbook which devoted a chapter to the U.S. victory in Vietnam." Ironically, that textbook was in use at one of Rice's old universities, the University of Notre Dame.

"By associating the word "revisionism" with falsehood, Rice is essentially recasting the meaning of revisionism," Gazpacho said.

Gazpacho and his associates were considering how best to deal with Rice's offensive statements. Gazpacho said that the association was debating rewriting Rice out of future history books or perhaps just saying she was part of the Clinton administration. Other options included depicting Rice as an FBI agent at Ruby Ridge or as an American working with the Taliban."

Historical note: Condi & Colin (Premier Fun Couple Diplomatique) first trotted out the "revisionist historian" meme on the June 8, 2003, Sunday TV punditfests. Apparently, after this test marketing was approved by Karl "Eminence Grease" Rove, it was cleared for use by the Dear Leader yesterday.

Who said there was no place for irony in politics?
posted by rdone at 9:10 AM on June 17, 2003


I'm sure the son of a famous and respected senator, who went to Phillips Andover, to Yale, who fought in World War II, and was the ambassador to the United Nations in the early 70's had absolutly no pull within the government.

1) At the time Bush joined the guard, GHWB was arguably neither famous nor respected. Hell, he even lost a Texas senate race in 1970. There's a famous, respected politician for you.

2) Oh dear me. A Guardsman in the 70s whose father fought in WW2. That certainly made him unique and memorable. Yes, indeedy.

3) Quick, without looking, do you know who the current UN ambassador to the UN is? If so, you're probably more versed in politics than your average officer in the Guard. Do you think you'll still remember who he is in three decades? Somehow I doubt it.

Don't be so gullible.
posted by jammer at 9:13 AM on June 17, 2003


jammer, i don't give a flying fuck if GWB served with perfect attendance while doing continuous loop rolls at 1000 feet for 6 years straight. the man is an ignorant, lying fascist son of a CIA byatch. someone in another thread posted a comprehensive list of his WMD statements going back over year. i'd like to see that presented to the weasel and have him explain each and every statement, point for point, live, on national television, sans teleprompter, earpiece and preparation. preferably with a gun to his temple and a guillotine blade suspended above his addled head.
posted by quonsar at 9:13 AM on June 17, 2003


I'd also like to submit the crushing of the Taliban and subsequent nation-building for review.

simply that the Iraqi government had been destroyed and that, barring pockets of isolated resistance which still had to be cleaned up, we were in control of most of the nation

Pleeease - "isolated resistance" is so last month! These days they are called "Saddam loyalists" cough still no word on WMD cough
posted by magullo at 9:24 AM on June 17, 2003


i don't give a flying fuck if GWB served with perfect attendance while doing continuous loop rolls at 1000 feet for 6 years straight. the man is an ignorant, lying fascist son of a CIA byatch. someone in another thread posted a comprehensive list of his WMD statements going back over year. i'd like to see that presented to the weasel and have him explain each and every statement, point for point, live, on national television, sans teleprompter, earpiece and preparation. preferably with a gun to his temple and a guillotine blade suspended above his addled head.


And there, friends, we have Metafilter in a nutshell. Silly me for thinking I should actually break my policy of not engaging in political discussions here.

Fuck it. I've got more important things to do with my time this morning. Enjoy your echo-chamber.

Over and out.
posted by jammer at 9:32 AM on June 17, 2003


Empires have been traditionally ruled by powerful monarchies under the leadership of a hereditary (or in some cases, self-appointed) emperor.
posted by larry_darrell at 9:32 AM on June 17, 2003


someone in another thread posted a comprehensive list of his WMD statements going back over year.

The list.
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:40 AM on June 17, 2003


At the time Bush joined the guard, GHWB was arguably neither famous nor respected.

George H. W. Bush, U.S. Representative from Texas 7th District, 1967-71--there's a poor position from which to have strings pulled for your kid.
posted by y2karl at 9:50 AM on June 17, 2003


jammer in a nutshell

jammer: "look at this turd. it doesn't stink as bad as we thought. it may not actually be a turd at all"

observer on shore: "jammer, you are floating in an entire river of shit!"

jammer: "Fuck it. I've got more important things to do with my time this morning. Over and out."
posted by quonsar at 9:52 AM on June 17, 2003


At the time Bush joined the guard, GHWB was arguably neither famous nor respected.

Arguably, yeah, but neither of those were in question - it was whether the Bush family was "well-connected." Jammer, if you're still around, I hope you didn't overlook the (oh-so-relevant-to-this-thread) far-reaching connections of Prescott Bush. I'd say this is someone who knew how to make a few back-room deals, no?
posted by soyjoy at 9:59 AM on June 17, 2003


Oswald acted alone.
posted by argybarg at 10:19 AM on June 17, 2003


Jammer - re: "Ever heard the word Ad-hominem?" - You certainly have! My asshole is fine, thank you. How's yours?

Regardless, the oil is still running out, and so I can't view civilian Humvee drivers as anything else but ridiculous and obnoxiously selfish.

( /Back to your regularly scheduled "Bush Ad-hominem attacks on critics, calls them "revisionist..." channel )
posted by troutfishing at 10:22 AM on June 17, 2003


klaatu: I think this is the kind of thing putzface was referring to. I'm with you on the wider definition of revisionist historian though.
posted by squealy at 10:26 AM on June 17, 2003


This thread could have gone a lotta ways.

It coulda sparked a discussion about the use and misuse of intelligence information.

Someone coulda mentioned the previous president who's accused of doing exactly what Bush is accused of doing, as in "On Aug. 20 [1998], when the United States destroyed a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan with cruise missiles, President Clinton's most senior national security aides said it was a secret chemical weapons factory financed by bin Laden. Those same officials later conceded that they had no definitive evidence of that."

Someone coulda talked about Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers, and so forth. A bigger war and much bigger lies.

Someone coulda cited Will Saletan's piece on how difficult is to analyze intelligence data with his description of the Tamil Tiger terrorist attack that wasn't in "Bum Rap", which you should read if only for the fact that he kills Paul Wolfowitz!

None of these are offered to get Bush off the hook for WMD claims, but would be a addition to a thread actually about the FPP.

But nope, its all Bush hate all the time. Once again, posters here bemoan the lack of popularity of their views among the 'stupid' general public, but never offer a positive alternative or a logically consistent worldview, other than all Bush-hate all the time.

If you really want to get rid of the guy you've got to stop the circle jerk and be for something positive. Otherwise you'll still be posting the same bile in 2005, 2006, 2007 ...
posted by Jos Bleau at 10:27 AM on June 17, 2003


Okay, Jammer. Let's check you're denial of my simple analogy. When I said that I would be fired if I didn't show up at work for half the time that I was required to be here, you said:

False analogy. You're not in the National Guard, which is strictly not full-time service.

That's true. I am not in the National Guard. However, let's look at the service obligation for serving in the Texas Nat'l Guard, eh?

"Upon appointment medical professionals incur an eight year military service obligation in which they will attend drill one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. The eight year service obligation can be served in active reserve status (1 weekend a month), or inactive status where you do not drill, get paid, or receive retirement points."

One weekend a month. Not here and there and just whenever you can fit it into your busy schedule of Foghat concerts.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:27 AM on June 17, 2003


1) At the time Bush joined the guard, GHWB was arguably neither famous nor respected. Hell, he even lost a Texas senate race in 1970. There's a famous, respected politician for you.

Well, that's arguable, but your logic quite isn't there. Bush was a very successful investment banker before he turned to politics. He was also a member of the Skull and Bones society at Yale, and while it's more of a social club than a world-running cabal, there are some unbelievably rich and powerful people who are members. He can be respected and well known to those in government and business, and still be unknown to the general population and lose an election. Lots of very rich, and very powerful people lose elections (Ross Perot, just to name one).

2) Oh dear me. A Guardsman in the 70s whose father fought in WW2. That certainly made him unique and memorable. Yes, indeedy.

No, but he would have been uniquely remembered for his amazing ability to get into the National Guard 8 months after they stopped accepting new recruits, and everyone else had to go to Vietnam, jail, or Canada.

3) Quick, without looking, do you know who the current UN ambassador to the UN is? If so, you're probably more versed in politics than your average officer in the Guard. Do you think you'll still remember who he is in three decades? Somehow I doubt it.

That's specious reasoning. It doesn't matter if I know who the ambassador to the UN is. The fact remains that Bush would come into contact with people who are pretty high up in the government. Not to mention his father's long running family connections.

In my opinion, there was nothing wrong with dodging the draft. If I had been drafted back then, I would have gone to Canada. But what pisses me off about Bush, is that not only with he not admit it, he claims he doesn't remember anything about the time he was in the national guard.

I mean, what the fuck? The Vietnam war, and the subsequent draft, was arguably the defining moment for an entire generation, and he can't remember anything about it? He's a liar, and I have no respect for a liar.

You should stop digging yourself into a hole.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:52 AM on June 17, 2003


Jos Bleau - I agree. [ "Someone coulda mentioned the previous president who's accused of doing exactly what Bush is accused of doing.....Someone coulda talked about Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers, and so forth. A bigger war and much bigger lies." ]

And, yes, I think it's silly and counterproductive to heap scorn on Americans as a whole based on such random statistics, many of which are simply about religious and moral convictions or issues of preference rather than about a lack of factual knowledge about the world.

I could compile a mirror version of this "appalling statistics" list for the US far right, and it would go like this: "9% of Americans described themselves as Buddhists, Pagans, or worhippers of "Earth Based Religions, or even as Satanists" ( oh my ). "57% Of Americans thought Bill Clinton was a good president, despite the sex scandal" ( delusional, of course ). And so on. But what this prove or accomplish?

Meanwhile ( back to the original "appalling stats" list ) although......"20% believe that the killing of civilians in Vietnam was "relatively rare" - ? : Doesn't this mean that 80% thought such killings common? And so the other opinions of the other 20% are supposed to disturb me? No, I 'm pleased that the other 80% showed such awareness of history.
posted by troutfishing at 11:01 AM on June 17, 2003


Excellent link, squealy--and on topic, too. It shows how Mr. irving evolved from "revisionist" into "crackpot."

The term "revisionist historian" seems to have devolved from its original denotation of any historian who offers a reinterpretation of historical data, frequently of a controversial nature. I first heard of its use in connection with the critics of the Frederick Jackson Turner thesis of the American frontier: revisionists pointed out the somewhat inconvenient fact that the frontier was not exactly empty when transgressed by the pioneering Anglo-Saxons.

Today, however, the term is generally used as a euphemistic code word for Holocaust deniers, with a distinct negative connotation of selective and misleading interpretation of the evidence as to the historically inarguable Final Solution of the Hitlerites. The justly castigated David irving is the poster boy for this application of the term.

It is clear that the use of the "revisionist" appellation by "Team B" is intended merely to invoke this "neo-revisionist" negative connotation--in essence, calling critics pro-Saddam and/or anti-Semite via subtext--as part of the now well-documented Republican strategy of villifying critics rather than responding to their arguments. This is why I discern the Sauronic intelligence of Karl Rove behind its present utilization in an a context so inappropriate as to be laughable. It is a free-floating rhetorical denigration of Bush's critics rather than an accurate description of academics intentionally misinterpreting evidence merely a few months old.

George Wallace used to attack "pointy-headed intellectuals who cain't park a bicycle straight." (I heard him say this at a rally in Jacksonville, Fla.) Attacking "revisionist historians" is but one more manifestation of the apparently foolproof political tactic of playing to modern America's ineradicable anti-intellectualism.
posted by rdone at 11:28 AM on June 17, 2003


rdone, that's pretty much what i was thinking. although "holocaust revisionists" has always meant "people who say the holocaust didn't happen," "revisionist historians" are people who approach traditions in historiography from a new, or revised, angle. i've never heard the phrase used to refer to holocaust deniers, and i have a feeling that this whole thing is a classic bushism- it seems to me that GWB is just plain using the wrong phrase.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:49 AM on June 17, 2003


I'm wondering, was it an out-and-out LIE when Bush declared the war in Iraq over? "Mission Accomplished?"

Actually, Bush's Democratic challenger could have a field day with this if the descending-into-guerrilla-warfare situation in Iraq continues into the election cycle. Superimpose a few "More servicemen killed in Iraq" headlines over the "Mission Accomplished" photo op, and people just might start asking if, indeed, the mission has been accomplished - and if their answer is "no," wondering why in the hell not.
posted by kgasmart at 12:01 PM on June 17, 2003


Karl Rove Playbook, Chapter 4:

Issue: Distracting the people's attention from the policies of class warfare.

Solution: Accuse the other side of engaging in class warfare.


Issue: Distracting the people's attention from relevant issues by revising history.

Solution: Accuse the other side of revising history.
posted by mathis23 at 12:11 PM on June 17, 2003


Jos Bleau- many times I've seen people "respond" to Bush's actions with a mention of Clinton's aspirin-factory bombing. How does that alter the terrible implication of Bush's actions?

Even though you said, "None of these are offered to get Bush off the hook for WMD claims" I sorta also noticed how you offered nothing to actually do that either.

So yes, Clinton, as I have acknowledged many previous times, comitted an unforgivable act of misleading evidence as an excuse to bomb something. So your response to the accusation of Bush doing the same (and arguably to an exponentially higher level) is "oh look, it's an anti-Bush circle jerk?"

I've noticed how you can say Clinton did this and it's so horrible while failing to even admit that Bush did too. Instead you're avoiding acknowledgement of Bush's misdeeds by complaining about how this thread is (gasp!) about Bush. Since you're anxious to note how the events of Vietnam and the Clinton administration were terrible, will you repond to Bush's actions instead of just complain about everyone else questioning them?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:33 PM on June 17, 2003


I commented via email earlier, but it looks like more peole took note than I thought.

This link shows the phrases come together often
There were some court cases in the United States in the mid1980s where Holocaust Deniers tried to get a judge to say that there was inadequate evidence of the holocaust, I forget to what end. The largely self published authors who contested the extent, or existence of the Holocaust came to be called Revisionist historians by the press, for all I know they may have chosen the name themselves over "Holocaust Deniers".

As far as I'm aware the Orthodox / Revisionist monikers aren't used to name the sides in a historical & social science debate in the U.S., where I hail from. In fact, I was just reading about that kind of divide between anthropologist discussing the state of the Americas prior to 1492. The article did talk an orthodox view, but contrasted it with a new, or emerging, or controversial view. They didn't use revisionist
posted by putzface_dickman at 12:41 PM on June 17, 2003


Here's what I don't get. How on earth do people arrive at these beliefs?

Personally, I blame that damned liberal media! :-)

Who's with me?

Or maybe it's Jayson Blair's fault?
posted by nofundy at 12:42 PM on June 17, 2003


However, after it's been fairly conclusively shown that by any fair recount procedure Bush still would have taken the Florida vote, I really think the "He stole the election" canard is due for extinction.

Why has this assertion not been challenged yet?

Oh, right -- any fair recount procedure, as defined by jammer. The statewide recount that the state supreme court ordered would have given it to Gore, but I don't suppose that counts.
posted by Epenthesis at 1:00 PM on June 17, 2003


Quick, without looking, do you know who the current UN ambassador to the UN is?

The UN sends an ambassador to itself?
posted by NortonDC at 1:08 PM on June 17, 2003


XQUZYPHYR, read the opening of my post. Bush ain't the first president accused of misusing war-related intelligence for political ends. A lot of folks used to complain that FDR knew about Pearl Harbor in advance, but did nothing so that the US could be drawn into the war.

There are many historical precidents we could explore that might shed light on the current question.

But you seem to have misread my post as well as forgetting the first part. contrary to your assertion, I didn't try to justify Iraq based on anything that Clinton did, or vilify Clinton for Sudan, I merely brought it up as a recent similar case. I don't know the real truth of who knew what when on that one.

Given how little we actually know, what can actually be discussed rationally? Well, you could talk about similar examples from Vietnam to the present, what the various presidents said at the time and what was later proved to be true.

Going back to Clinton, his situation is illustrative because so many political players are the same then as now, unlike in, say, the Nixon era, who's political players are mostly gone. Are the people who attacked Clinton for Sudan now attacking Bush for Iraq? Or are they supporting one but not the other president? And if so, why? What, if anything does that tell us about what people are saying now about lies about WMD?

Likewise, intelligence estimates are famously murky and obtuse. What are the standard that recent presidents have used to determine 'probably cause' for military action? Was Reagan's rationale for invading Grenada better or worse than Bush in Iraq?

These are the types of questions we could profitably discuss. I think Bush willcome off looking quite bad in such a discussion, but I'm sorry if that don't shout out the quantity of Bush hate that you are looking for, XQUZYPHYR.
posted by Jos Bleau at 1:34 PM on June 17, 2003


I would postulate that it is one thing to bomb a suspected chemical weapons factory and be wrong than it is to invade an entire country on incorrect intelligence.

I am still failing to understand the current Bush's real agenda. On the one hand he wants to jump start the economy and create jobs. Then on the other he cuts taxes AND increases spending. Following this he then gets 77 Billion more in spending for this war that he has yet to either fully justify or fulfill any of his promises (peace, freedom, democracy et al) for.

I really don't understand how a conservative republican can be responsible for created the largest federal government we've ever seen, racking up a huge federal deficit and starting wars based on shoddy evidence or at the very least for the stated purpose of "Nation Building". I dunno about you but this really seems like a hell frozen over scenario to me...
posted by aaronscool at 1:57 PM on June 17, 2003


aaronscool:
My only guess for how Buch manages to appeal to conservatives is that compassionate=stupid.

"Well, he ain't really a conservative, he's a stupid conservative, and that's good enough forme."
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:05 PM on June 17, 2003


so many political players are the same then as now, unlike in, say, the Nixon era, who's political players are mostly gone

Well, uh... there may be one or two of 'em still around...
posted by soyjoy at 2:13 PM on June 17, 2003


the argument for "the paperwork got lost and a CO doesn't remember the young son of an obscure out-of-state politician more than three decades later" is alot more plausable than "he was AWOL and pulled strings through his well-connected [which he wasn't at that time] father to still get an honorable release".

Dude, head of the CIA is hardly obscure...I'm just saying...
posted by dejah420 at 2:26 PM on June 17, 2003


putzface_dickman: Yeah, one gets the impression that 'revisionist historian' isn't a term much used anymore in conventional academic discourse. It was used, however, in the '70s to refer to the quasi-Structuralist historians associated with Cambridge University (J.G.A. Pocock; Quentin Skinner; John Dunn; Jim Tully; Keith Tribe, etc.) who attacked what they saw as a prevailing Whig-Marxist orthodoxy in British history. They were referred to as the 'Cambridge revisionists'. Interestingly (and, I guess, predictably), the 'anti-Whig' history they advocated ended up becoming actively 'Tory' in the hands of '80s Thatcherite historians like J.C.D. Clark and, particularly, John Redwood.

As for 'revisionist historian' being the chosen monicker for Holocaust deniers, I guess it is, if the 'Journal for Historical Review' is anything to go by. (It's online, but I really don't want to link to it.)

If anyone's interested, there are a couple of really good review essays in History and Theory (41 no. 2 (2002)) that discuss holocaust denial, and whether it was in any way 'enabled' by postmodernism and the kind of 'linguistic turn' revisionism I mentioned above.
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:30 PM on June 17, 2003


FDR knew about Pearl Harbor in advance, but did nothing so that the US could be drawn into the war.

Interesting side note; he hired his opposition to be secretary of defense after becoming President knowing the Navy would be beefed up, yet took a lot of flack from his supporters.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:33 PM on June 17, 2003


Here's what I don't get. How on earth do people arrive at these beliefs? .....

"Recency Effect" The tendency to remember the last bit of information due to the shorter time available for forgetting.

So, if you get the 'President' banging on about i) WMD ii) Iraq iii) Al Queada/9-11 in the same frame, day after day, they become easily recalled AND associated.

They're using advanced, mass psychlogy on us.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:41 PM on June 17, 2003


Americans are the "forrest gump" of the world, stupid is as stupid does.
posted by joemeek at 4:20 PM on June 17, 2003


Forrest Gump was a horrible movie, all the more so because so many people thought that depicting success through stupidity was a good thing.

In my more cynical moments, I figure it was perfectly indicative of the state of the intelligence of the public.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:08 PM on June 17, 2003


Wow this is an ugly thread. Maybe this could be turned into a good thing by becoming something like that metafiler thread that never dies ( 1442? 1429?... I couldn't find it ). Anybody needing to expel some bile on the US/Bush/Conservatives/etc could post there and not dirty our pleasant conversations.

Sheesh, I'm gonna vote against Bush in '04 like I did in '00, but Christ, when I hear 'revisionist historians' I think of Holocaust deniers, but I also think of a type of historian who revises history to suit their point. Maybe it's just the term has changed since I took history, but shit, is this productive?

Is there an negative point about Bush/America that wasn't made in this thread?
posted by superchris at 7:38 PM on June 17, 2003


But nope, its all Bush hate all the time. Once again, posters here bemoan the lack of popularity of their views among the 'stupid' general public, but never offer a positive alternative or a logically consistent worldview, other than all Bush-hate all the time.

If you really want to get rid of the guy you've got to stop the circle jerk and be for something positive. Otherwise you'll still be posting the same bile in 2005, 2006, 2007 ...


Right on Jos!

But at the same time, man, I wish jammer didn't leave this thread... The complaining about Bush does get very tiresome, even though I agree with it - but I've also gotten to a point where I love to see the various ways people defend Bush here. It's become quite entertaining somehow.
n
posted by Slimemonster at 9:03 PM on June 17, 2003


Speaking of revisionist history, if Bush was one of the better pilots in the 111th despite being a weekend-warrior pilot, I wonder why he didn't stick with the duty? Was he going to get downchecked and grounded on that next flight physical, so he'd be an Air Guard officer who couldn't fly any more? Was he an anomaly, a young hotdog pilot who found driving a hot jet ultimately too boring?
posted by alumshubby at 9:50 PM on June 17, 2003


Dude, head of the CIA is hardly obscure...I'm just saying...

Dudette, but that wasn't until after GW finished his military, such as it was, service. His dad was the Congressman in Texas's 7th district, as I noted here. Google before making such an assertion, hmm? I did. Now go wipe that egg off your face.
posted by y2karl at 11:08 PM on June 17, 2003


Dudette, but that wasn't until after GW finished his military, such as it was, service. His dad was the Congressman in Texas's 7th district..

Not to defend the mistake, but in order to go from Congressman to CIA Director might imply that you have the ear of someone important.
posted by drezdn at 11:25 PM on June 17, 2003


Well, there is Prescott Bush. They were big enough and rich enough to have strings pulled--we can all agree on that.
posted by y2karl at 12:42 AM on June 18, 2003


It's not just Prescott, of course. I don't wanna drag the whole JFK can of worms into this, but based on what seem to be legit unclassified CIA documents, George HW Bush was, shall we say, fairly well known around that organization a full decade before George W was doing his fly-by-night routine.
posted by soyjoy at 8:46 AM on June 18, 2003


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