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Friday, October 12, 2007


What did Condi say?

AP reports (and most media follow with similar language):
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday accused Iran of "lying" about the aim of its nuclear program, saying there's no doubt Tehran wants the capability to produce nuclear weapons and has deceived the U.N.'s atomic watchdog about its intentions.
George Bush has said that many times, of course, and possibly Rice has as well, but that is a complete distortion what she said yesterday.

Note that the word "lying" is just a single word in quotes in the AP story. Here's the full quote in which Rice used the word lying (a quote which is actually included in the AP story):

"There is an Iranian history of obfuscation and indeed lying to the IAEA."
As far as I know it's a lie that Iran has a history of "lying" to the IAEA, but even if that were true it is not the same as "'lying' about the aim of its nuclear programs"; those are simply words AP puts in Rice's mouth.

As for the "no doubt Tehran wants the capability to produce nuclear weapons," Rice again said no such thing (although certainly she and Bush believe it and Bush has said so). What she did say is "And there is Iran pursuing a nuclear weapons -- nuclear technologies that can lead to nuclear weapons grade material." Not only is there no "no doubt" in that sentence, but the dash indicates to me that the second half of the sentence is basically Rice catching herself, backing away from an unprovable assertion into a statement which is true. Indeed, just a few sentences before she had used an almost identical formulation - "the fact that these are technologies that they are pursuing that have the capability to lead to nuclear weapons grade material," clearly not saying there is "no doubt Tehran wants the capability to produce nuclear weapons."

What the Administration is saying and doing is bad enough; there's no need for the press to exaggerate it.

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