In This Edition: Just Whose Revisionist History Is That George? - Revisionist History Is Code For Holocaust Denial - And Does George Really Want To Remind Us About The Holocaust? - Why Then Would Bush Risk Such An Association?
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"And we acted in Iraq, as well. We made it clear to the dictator of Iraq that he must disarm. We asked other nations to join us in seeing to it that he would disarm, and he chose not to do so, so we disarmed him. And I know there's a lot of revisionist history now going on, but one thing is certain. He is no longer a threat to the free world, and the people of Iraq are free. (Applause.) "
Sludge Report #152
Just Whose Revisionist History Is That George?
There seems to be a new phrase doing its rounds in the big White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. George Junior the dim grandson talks about "Revisionist History", Condi his sidekick hits the "Revisionist History" button. And Ari Fleischer attempts to explain… well sort of anyway.
QUESTION: Can you tell us more of what the President means by revisionist historians? And what is the genesis of that, and on what does he base it?
MR. FLEISCHER: Yesterday, in the President's remarks, he referred to -- he referred it to revisionist historians who are seeming to make the case that Saddam Hussein likely did not have, or did not have, weapons of mass destruction prior to the war. And the President bases that on some of the statements that he has heard where people are expressing doubt about whether or not the intelligence that was provided to the administration, as well as to Congress for many years was accurate intelligence information. The President has every reason to know that it was, indeed, accurate, just as previous administrations have said so, just as he believes so, and therefore, he said so. And so he looks at it and describes as revisionist history those who now seem to cast doubt on the accuracy of the intelligence information that stated that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction prior to the war.
Q: But isn't the discovery of actual weaponry what demonstrates the accuracy of intelligence -- that he was in possession of actual weaponry?
MR. FLEISCHER: And the President is confident in the accuracy of that intelligence.
MR. FLEISCHER: Because based on the history of Iraq, based on Saddam Hussein's previous possession of weapons of mass destruction which were known, based on the fact that I just indicated -- the United Nations, themselves, concluded that Saddam Hussein had failed to account for the thousands of liters of biological and chemical weapons that he possessed. The only way to lend credence to what you're saying is that when the United Nations concluded in 1998 that Saddam Hussein did, indeed, have these weapons, that he had failed to account for them, is that Saddam Hussein threw out the inspectors and destroyed his weapons of mass destruction and lost the receipt. How come Saddam Hussein didn't prove to the world that he had destroyed them if, when, indeed, he had them, yet he was not able to show the inspectors who were just in Iraq that he did, indeed, destroy them. That's a fanciful interpretation. That's what the President judges as revisionist.
Well thanks Ari. But sorry, not nearly good enough.
Revisionist History Is Code For Holocaust Denial
While technically the phrase "Revisionist History" means history which seeks to reinterpret the received version, in practice it has been used a great deal in recent years to apply to the work of David Irving and other holocaust deniers. They are revisionists in the sense that they look back at the "official" history of the holocaust and seek to re-cast it. There is now a whole genre of "revisionist" history publications, magazines and websites covering these and other similarly controversial theories.
And so many readers will well understand that the phrase "Revisionist History" has in recent times become code for "Holocaust Denial", which – especially when used by George Bush, the grand-son of a Nazi financier - begs a fair few $64,000 questions.
What is interesting about the Bush Administration use of this phrase then is the question: what do they hope to achieve?
At least in Ari's case use of the phraseology seems very tentative - perhaps it is being used against his counsel – and he is after-all due to leave for fresher pastures imminently.
If he is smart as he thinks he is then Ari is probably well aware that for George Bush to use the phrase himself runs a fairly high level risk of blow-back.
And Does George Really Want To Remind Us About The Holocaust?
A Sludge correspondent suggested this morning that George might well have gone on to explain why he hates revisionist history, perhaps citing some examples. E.G. he might have said…
"I dislike the revisionist historians that exposed my grandfather's role in trading with the Nazis while American men were dying.
"The exposure of Grandad Prescott's role in IG Farben and the gasses used in the death camps, the gold that was smelted from the mouths of the dead and used to make payment's back to Union Bank, where grandad Prescott was director.
The $1.5 million payment that was the genesis of the family fortune, that was indeed part of my trust fund..... I really hate those revisionist historians."
That said the history of George W's grandfather's role as a Nazi financier is not revisionist history at all. Rather it is the undeniable – and perhaps more importantly the undenied – truth. The only questions that surround the question of the Bush Family/Nazi relationship are those that ask why these facts remain on the fringe of the media. Why, for example, hasn't the Democratic Party ever run an attack advert campaign on this theme?
The following three links are only three recent examples of the story making an appearance in independent media.
- Take Back The Media. Flash Movie On The
Bush Nazi Connection
- Scoop Link: Newsweek Notes Bush Family's Nazi Tie
- Bush Family Whitewashing in Iraq and Nazi Germany
Why Then Would Bush Risk Such An Association?
Here there are two obvious answers.
Firstly the phrase may be intended as a shot across the bows of media running the story about "White House lies about Iraqi WMDs". Through the use of the phrase, America's News Editors are being asked, somewhat obliquely, to consider whether in some way the "WMD Lies" story is anti-Semitic.
Which is strange because George, Donald and Colin's lies about Iraq's WMDs seem to have very little to do with anti-Semitism. But then the allegation of anti-Semitism has always been the big gun in the media silencing game, and it has rarely been confined to things that are genuinely anti-semetic, and all the players in this game well understand this reality.
Thus in using this phrase the White House is effectively saying that they have every intention of using all the dirty tricks in their arsenal to shut up this debate.
Secondly the use of the remark may be identified as some sort of signal to the Jewish Lobby and pro-Israeli interests that the administration is in need of their support. Thus it can be seen as a sort of, "look we told these lies for you, we are in trouble – and now we need your help" plea to the Anti-Defamation League.
And as readers of American media will be aware the Anti Defamation League is an organisation that news-editors do not like to run into conflict with.
But for all its bluster, the latest White House communications tactic would seem on its face to be a very high risk stratagem given the real history of the Bush Family. Moreover it's use is the best evidence we have seen yet that the "WMD Lies" story is startling to seriously rattle the President and his men.
Anti©opyright Sludge 2003