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We were invited.
May 27, 2005 10:12 PM   Subscribe

We were invited, we didn't invade. Recent white house daily press release where Scott McClellan avoids answering direct questions. Is this history re-written before our eyes?
posted by Balisong (72 comments total)

 
it was a press gaggle... not a press release.
posted by pruner at 10:24 PM on May 27, 2005


Go Helen!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:33 PM on May 27, 2005


"it was a press gaggle... not a press release."
What is a "gaggle" and how does it matter?
posted by arse_hat at 10:33 PM on May 27, 2005


Of course they are rewriting history. And of course a good number of people are going to believe them, too.

It's just to easy for the administration to get away with this sort of thing when the American people are so goddamn ignorant.

Okay. I'm done ranting for the day now.
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:36 PM on May 27, 2005


MR. McCLELLAN: There are two democratically-elected governments now in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are there at their invitation. They are sovereign governments, and we are there today --

Awesome. Simply awesome. The Soviets said almost verbatim the same thing about their involvement in Afghanistan in 1979. Man, I'm "only" 38, but already I have seen history turned on its ear. God help us all.
posted by psmealey at 10:36 PM on May 27, 2005


Didn't that other superpower do this in Afghanistan too - invade, install puppet regime, then accept invitation from puppet regime?

On preview, psmealey beat me.
posted by spazzm at 10:39 PM on May 27, 2005


gaggle means a group of people, in this case, press.

white house press gaggles contain admin talking points, followed by Q&A.

white house press releases just have the talking points.

it makes no difference with regard to the substance of this FPP... I was just sayin. :)
posted by pruner at 10:43 PM on May 27, 2005


pruner, I'm from Canada eh? So I'm a bit slow. So, gaggle = scrum.
posted by arse_hat at 10:46 PM on May 27, 2005


I'm sure there are plenty of Americans that don't know what a scrum is... or a gaggle.
posted by pruner at 10:49 PM on May 27, 2005


Still, Scott is the official voice of administration policy and talking points.

If he was trying to avoid the question, he sure did a poor job of it. I bet here has been meetings on how to cover this angle further.

I guess we'll see how things develop. If more in the administration start toting this line, should I become concerned?
posted by Balisong at 10:50 PM on May 27, 2005


Ari Fleischer was a scumbag liar, but at least he was, um, well, he tried to have a point? I dunno. The only thing consistent about McLellan is that he's consistently unbelievable. Fleischer, at least, had the common decency to tell me that I just got fucked in the ass when I know that I did, but it was for my own good... somehow. McLellan just tells me I didn't get fucked in the ass at all, and uh, next question?
posted by psmealey at 11:04 PM on May 27, 2005


That's what you get for "inviting" him. ;)
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:08 PM on May 27, 2005


It should come as no surprise that we are reworking the basic play by play of empire. Seriously, this doesn't surprise you does it?
posted by filchyboy at 11:12 PM on May 27, 2005


Maybe that's what is really itching my craw.

This adminstration has never wasted any time working through the complexities of converting a democratic republic into an empire.

Theyve just assumed that if they act that way, every one will follow. They're doing a great job of it. Maybe I'm just pissed that they never announced it, like on those civil defence tornado warning loudspeakers.
posted by Balisong at 11:18 PM on May 27, 2005


(I've got some medicated cream for the itch..)
posted by Balisong at 11:19 PM on May 27, 2005


psmealy, there was an aspirational quality to Ari's lying. I know I wish I could pull off the level of cognitive sleight-of-hand that he could. With McLellan it's more just him flipping you the verbal bird.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:27 PM on May 27, 2005


/\ _ // *.. * > --- <
posted by y2karl at 11:37 PM on May 27, 2005


OK, Yeah, sorry Y2karl...
You've been the beacon of truth for quite a while, but..

you never got control of the civil defence tornado loudspeakers!
posted by Balisong at 11:47 PM on May 27, 2005


wow ... i am amazed at the brazenness of this ... not to mention the pointlessness of the lie ... so what was shock and awe? ... just a form of rsvp?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:51 PM on May 27, 2005


This adminstration has never wasted any time working through the complexities of converting a democratic republic into an empire.

Oh god, could you just be a little more dramatic? Can you write such drivel without laughing?
posted by justgary at 11:54 PM on May 27, 2005


No, I laugh, too.
posted by Balisong at 11:57 PM on May 27, 2005


It's one of those crazy manical laughs like when you discover the earth is going to be destroyed my a giant asteroid, but can do nothing to stop it.

(Life on earth will probably exist after Bush's term, >50% probability)
posted by Balisong at 12:14 AM on May 28, 2005


Gee, Scott Mclellan avoiding questions? Stop the presses!

Alright, really, I hate what the administration is doing, but blaming the official spokesperson for weaseling away from questions that could reflect bad on his bosses.. That's his job. He's supposed to answer questions and make Bush look good. He knows he's not as talented as his predecessor, so he avoids the stuff that's gonna blow up in his face.

We can't afford empire. The bills are rolling in slowly, and support for the war is low already. Selling another war is going to take more than the specter of possible missiles. The next three years are going to be a test of how well the Bush administration can play diplomacy with Kim and Iran. Then we're likely to go Dem for 8-12 years, tone down the military usage once again, rebalance the budget, and leave a nice tempting war chest for the next armchair general, whatever party he may be.
posted by Saydur at 12:33 AM on May 28, 2005


Dems as sober bean counters, pugs as wild-eyed dreamers. Yes, history has been turned on its ear.
posted by telstar at 12:59 AM on May 28, 2005


hey, justgary:

did you wanna respond to the content of this post or are you too busy suckling on W's proverbial nut sack to respond in any capacity beyond that pathetic non sequitur?

'cause, you know, i was just curious.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:20 AM on May 28, 2005


Nice post, Balisong. Holy cow.
posted by loquacious at 1:30 AM on May 28, 2005


(then again, if it helps your cognitive dissonance to ignore the meat and jump right to a comment about a comment, then by all means, ostrich-away, my man.)
posted by joe lisboa at 1:30 AM on May 28, 2005


"Alright, really, I hate what the administration is doing, but blaming the official spokesperson for weaseling away from questions that could reflect bad on his bosses.. That's his job. He's supposed to answer questions and make Bush look good."

if this is what we are supposed to expect, why have a press at all? seriously. why bother?
posted by muppetboy at 1:57 AM on May 28, 2005


Great post, Balisong (although a little depressing, I have to work on substituting anger for depression.)
posted by joedharma at 2:01 AM on May 28, 2005


Didn't that other superpower do this in Afghanistan too - invade, install puppet regime, then accept invitation from puppet regime?

Don't ask me why, but I just got an image of Fat Tony standing in front of the Quickie Mart saying "It is my distinct pleasure to accept the invitation from Apu to provide, er, protective services to this establishment."
posted by LondonYank at 2:02 AM on May 28, 2005


"Oh god, could you just be a little more dramatic? Can you write such drivel without laughing?"

Really. Funny to you? Two wars? How many trillions given to the war makers? No one held to account for the torture, the deaths, the lies.

Nothing dramatic about that?

How many lives were ruined in Iraq today?

How many kilos of opium were flown out of Afghanistan in U.S. transport planes?

Don't ask, don't tell.
posted by rougy at 2:08 AM on May 28, 2005


/terminology nitpick

"it was a press gaggle... not a press release."
What is a "gaggle" and how does it matter?


The morning off-camera White House reporters' chat with the mouthpiece is "the Gaggle." The afternoon on-camera reporters' chat with the mouthpiece is the "Press Briefing." A "press release" is usually something that looks like a news story, but can include anything - transcript of briefing included - that the WH gives out to the press.

/terminology nitpick
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:14 AM on May 28, 2005


The best part:
THOMAS: Did we invade those countries?

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Steve.
Notice how the EASIEST question becomes the hardest to answer when you're 'creating your own reality'?
posted by vhsiv at 2:15 AM on May 28, 2005


id call him a pussy but gannon sez cock is a more accurate term
posted by tsarfan at 2:32 AM on May 28, 2005


Arse-hat, a scrum is when, say, the Prime Minister walks out of the House of Commons and is immediately surrounded by journalists and associated camera and sound technicians - much more raw than a staid press briefing. I think the latter phrase goes back to the game of rugby.

I do like the idea of a gaggle, though: like a scrum, only with harmless geese instead of 100 kg/220 lb rugby players...
posted by senor biggles at 2:41 AM on May 28, 2005


Balisong, are you saying that in this briefing McClellan is claiming that Iraq invited the US military to invade Iraq?

I think a more accurate interpretation is that he's saying the current governments of Iraq and Afghanistan (legitimate and independent or not) do not want the US to exit at this point.

Although your world is falling down around you, at least you got in a neener-neener.
posted by shoos at 3:02 AM on May 28, 2005


Balisong, could you please calculate our chances of survival? 32.33 percent... repeating? I see.
posted by mek at 3:41 AM on May 28, 2005


I always have a fascination with press secretaries, those official mouthpieces and spinmeisters of the guvmint. My great-grandfather was Herbert Hoover's press secretary (actually, only the second press sec'y appointed) and I grew up surrounded by the memorabilia of one of the most chaotic presidencies ever. He apparently was thrilled when Hoover lost, as he was under immense pressure to keep the president looking good as the world crumbled around him. He and Hoover were very friendly with each other, though, and he later went on to write a book about the Hoover presidency, a great deal of it as off the record conversations with Herbert. I wish I knew more about him, but he apparently did quite well in trying to help resurrect public opinion of Hoover.
'K, sorry for the derail.
posted by moonbird at 5:10 AM on May 28, 2005


Jebus.
posted by grouse at 5:21 AM on May 28, 2005


Next week, W shows up in a diaper and a Napoleon hat and nobody notices.

Gosh, that Scotty sure has a purdy mouth.
posted by warbaby at 6:25 AM on May 28, 2005


OK, Yeah, sorry Y2karl...
You've been the beacon of truth for quite a while, but...


it was a cute kitty on preview!
posted by y2karl at 6:31 AM on May 28, 2005


I think a more accurate interpretation is that he's saying the current governments of Iraq and Afghanistan (legitimate and independent or not) do not want the US to exit at this point.

shoos, I think we all get that. But given that Karzai has to negotiate with the US for control of his own country, it's not without reason to question whether we'd leave either of these countries if asked.
posted by VulcanMike at 6:38 AM on May 28, 2005


Every time Scott McClellan lies, god kills an ASCII kitty.
posted by ook at 7:11 AM on May 28, 2005


This is what really gets me: The 'Reality Based Community' argument. *What The Hell*? If someone is deriding someone else for having a firm grip on reality, it seems logical the person *not* in the 'reality based community is the one who should be wearing the strait jacket.

In an interview with a senior advisor to Bush:"

The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'
posted by mk1gti at 7:50 AM on May 28, 2005


Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alis . . .
posted by mk1gti at 7:51 AM on May 28, 2005


VulcanMike, tell that to the person who did the fpp.
posted by shoos at 7:51 AM on May 28, 2005


Parts of this transcript read like a bad SNL skit.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:08 AM on May 28, 2005


President Abbas was elected as part of the democratic wave that is sweeping the Middle East.

"Democratic wave"?
posted by alumshubby at 8:10 AM on May 28, 2005


shoos: I think Balisong gets that too, actaully. Occupation is the next step after invasion, so really they're one and the same in this context. We weren't invited into either country in the first place, and it's hardly worth discussing invitations to a party you're already attending.
posted by VulcanMike at 8:36 AM on May 28, 2005


We are there at their invitation.
Yeah... but we are totally asking for it
posted by Tlahtolli at 8:38 AM on May 28, 2005


This is a total non issue. Scott's obviously saying that the Iraqi and Afghani goverments want the US to stay (and help clean up the mess, obviously) and Helen's fishing for a story that would read "Administration claims they were Invited into Iraq!".


posted by jikel_morten at 8:49 AM on May 28, 2005


"Democratic wave"
I just had an image of the entire Mideast doing the wave.

Q We're we invited into Iraq?
An official document from the White House with a fourth grade grammatical error. Lovely. [/editor]

btw There's further "amusement" (of the sort that involves balisong's crazy, maniacal laughing) re: other topics, later in the briefing:

Q the United States lags well behind other countries in this field of research. And I'm just wondering if this President, who keeps on talking about science and technology, is concerned at all about that.

MR. McCLELLAN: John, ...stem cell research is in its very early stages.

Q Right, as it gets further and further out, we're falling
further and further behind.


Go John, whoever you are.

the goodwill visit of the First Lady. It looked like from the visit that she's representing well the United States and the President. She's very charming and friendly and outgoing. ... there's an old saying there's always a great woman behind a successful man. How the President take this?

So the White House *has* replaced Gannon?
posted by NorthernLite at 8:58 AM on May 28, 2005


I liked the bit about Amnesty International accusing America of being the worst offender of human rights in the world, and that Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan were just "isolated incidents" that don't count. I got a good laugh out of that.

"We are a society based on laws and values -- it's not just laws, but also values that we hold dearly."

M'kay..? These 'values' place us above the law? Is that it? Oh. When we break laws it doesn't count, right? Who's the umpire here? Tim Tschida?
posted by ZachsMind at 9:12 AM on May 28, 2005


What disturbs me is that McClellan still has a job.

After so long, one can only conclude that he is doing EXACTLY what his masters want him to do.

Just remember, a few days ago, he denied that the administration ever blamed Newsweek for the deaths in Afghanistan, when just a WEEK earlier, that exact insinuation came out of his mouth. He might not have said the words "It's Newsweek's fault" but when you first talk about people dying, and then say a group must do something to make up for it, you're pretty much establishing the link.

One WEEK later he changes his story. And all people can do is gape and stare and boggle at the brazenness.

Same thing whenever he stands up. He dodges questions, he never gives straight answers, and he just sticks to whatever version of the truth the Administration wants people to hear right at the moment. Now he's post-facto claiming we were invited into Iraq - as though our installed government wouldn't "invite" us to be there.

Russia pulled the exact same crap during the Soviet days when they were annexing the -stans around them. And the scary thing is that if you pick a lie, and then STICK TO IT in the face of all opposition, you can very often win. (look at how the world has nearly forgotten the Armenian genocide from the early 20th century, simply because Turkey has never once admitted it happened)

Every administration lies, but the Orwellian nature of this one keeps scaring me.
posted by InnocentBystander at 9:13 AM on May 28, 2005


"Yeah, she struggled a bit and I had to cut her. But then she invited me in."
posted by SPrintF at 9:35 AM on May 28, 2005


Well InnocentBystander, when one is faced with a reactionary administration that doesn't preserve and protect the values it pretends to uphold, this is all par for the course. Kinda makes me long for the days of Nixon, or at the very least a press with the balls to stand up to someone like Nixon.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:43 AM on May 28, 2005


VulcanMike, both sides are really playing with words. But McClellan et al are far far more effective at what they do than the whiners here.
posted by shoos at 9:52 AM on May 28, 2005


Phhht!
*spit takes vegetable soup*
Whaaa?

Took the words out of my mouth SPrintF

So...we invade, destroy the existing government, then set up a government - which then invites us to be there? By implication this would retroactively justify the invasion.
Oh, but that's not what McClellan means *wink* she's taking it out of context. I hate it when language professionals misunderstand the language. It's so easy to take things out of context - see he said they're there now at the government's invitation, which is exactly what he means. How can he help it if someone down the road misinterprets it as an argument to support the basis for the war or even to support continuing the occupation? It's not what he said is it? Her taking it out of context in such a way that recognizes these factors is completely unfair.
*wink*
I just happened to wink there. It is a movement of an eyelid an nothing more. Purely a physical response to microscopic debris on the surface of my eye. In much the same way I could refer to those who adhere to this type of rhetoric as types of confectionery consisting mainly of hardened, flavoured sugar mounted on a stick.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:18 PM on May 28, 2005


Metafilter: medicated cream for the itch.
posted by dreamsign at 12:25 PM on May 28, 2005


Damn, SPrintF.
posted by grouse at 1:33 PM on May 28, 2005


Oceanic society rests ultimately on the belief that Big Brother is omnipotent and that the Party is infallible. But since in reality Big Brother is not omnipotent and the party is not infallible, there is need for an unwearying, moment-to-moment flexibility in the treatment of facts(...) This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink.

The alteration of the past is necessary for two reasons(...) [B]y far the more important reason for the readjustment of the past is the need to safeguard the infallibility of the Party. It is not merely that speeches, statistics, and records of every kind must be constantly brought up to date in order to show that the predictions of the Party were in all cases right. It is also that no change in doctrine or in political alignment can ever be admitted. For to change one's mind, or even one's policy, is a confession of weakness. If, for example, Eurasia or Eastasia (whichever it may be) is the enemy today, then that country must always have been the enemy. And if the facts say otherwise then the facts must be altered. Thus history is continuously rewritten. This day-to-day falsification of the past, carried out by the Ministry of Truth, is as necessary to the stability of the regime as the work of repression and espionage carried out by the Ministry of Love.

The mutability of the past is the central tenet of Ingsoc. Past events, it is argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written records and in human memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon. And since the Party is in full control of all records and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the Party chooses to make it. It also follows that though the past is alterable, it never has been altered in any specific instance. For when it has been recreated in whatever shape is needed at the moment, then this new version is the past, and no different past can ever have existed.


How long until Orwell is banned, I wonder?
posted by poweredbybeard at 2:06 PM on May 28, 2005


VulcanMike, both sides are not really playing with the truth. But McClellan et al are far far more effective at outrageous lying than the whiners at little green snotballs could ever dream of.
posted by shoos at 12:52 PM EST


There. That looks much better.
posted by nofundy at 2:53 PM on May 28, 2005


I ordered my Smartland passport today.
posted by fungible at 6:47 PM on May 28, 2005


Democratic Wave

Funny how people look like they're doing the wave when you point a gun at them.
posted by Jon-o at 7:34 PM on May 28, 2005


So where's the history rewriting here?
posted by shoos at 10:54 PM on May 28, 2005


If I could rewrite MetaFilter history, I think I wouldn't have bothered responding.
posted by VulcanMike at 7:26 AM on May 29, 2005


SPrintF, what a horribly apt analogy.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:19 AM on May 29, 2005


Because you don't have an answer?
posted by shoos at 9:38 AM on May 29, 2005


Ah! I see your point. That is quite a wicked practice, altering the past to flatter yourself and obscure your (no-longer existing) mistakes. thanks for the enlightenment!
posted by shoos at 1:23 PM EST on May 29 [!]

posted by Busithoth at 10:20 AM on May 29, 2005


failing to have pasted in my whole comment,
I'd just like to say oops,

and SPrintF, I think you summed it up sublimely.
posted by Busithoth at 10:27 AM on May 29, 2005


Bush Busithoth trying to rewrite history yet again.
posted by shoos at 10:41 AM on May 29, 2005


psmealey: at least when the Soviet's invaded they arrived with schools,hospitals, and sport stadiums. Also played nice with human rights. We on the other hand, promoted radical Islam and violence,...that continues presently.
posted by hortense at 3:00 PM on May 29, 2005


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