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Saturday, September 15, 2007

"That's yesterday's tape"

For the title of this post, I've quoted a line from "Groundhog Day," the classic Bill Murray movie about a guy who discovers that he's literally reliving the same day of his life -- again and again. In the film, everyone around the main character says and does the same thing every day unless he changes the pattern.

Study President George W. Bush's August 28 speech before the American Legion and you might start to think he's playing "yesterday's tape" when discussing American foreign policy.

The speech setting and content are reminiscent of Vice President Dick Cheney's VFW speech in August 2002. Indeed, many of the President's claims about Iran sound eerily familiar to those who recall the buildup to the Iraq war.

Specifically, didn't Bush give much the same speech on October 7, 2002, in Cincinnati, Ohio?

Nuclear threats

Bush, October 2002:
If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year.....America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.
Bush, August 2007:
Iran's active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.
Regime change

Bush, 2002:
regime change in Iraq is the only certain means of removing a great danger to our nation.
Bush 2007:
We seek an Iran whose government is accountable to its people -- instead of to leaders who promote terror and pursue the technology that could be used to develop nuclear weapons.

Bush, October 2002:
The time for denying, deceiving, and delaying has come to an end. Saddam Hussein must disarm himself -- or, for the sake of peace, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.
Bush, 2007:
Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. And that is why the United States is rallying friends and allies around the world to isolate the regime, to impose economic sanctions. We will confront this danger before it is too late.
For those not following the larger story all that closely, Iran signed a "significant" deal with the IAEA this past summer -- and the US is nonetheless trying to get other major powers to increase sanctions and pressure.

To those who recall IAEA and UNMOVIC inspections in 2002-03, this too may sound familiar.

Hat tip: Glenn Greenwald.

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