It was just over 6 years ago, during his first debate with Al Gore, that George W. Bush first used the phrase "fuzzy math." At the time the Bush handlers gave him the term so that he could mock Gore for citing statistics:
Look, this is a man who has great numbers. He talks about numbers. I'm beginning to think not only did he invent the Internet, but he invented the calculator. It's fuzzy math.
I might also add that Bush followed that up with a charge that Gore was trying to use 'fear' as a tactic to get people to vote, but I will save that hypocrisy for another post.
I refer to Bush's comment, because he apparently has a very difficult time getting his numbers straight.
During his news conference earlier this week came this enlightening exchange:
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
Back on Iraq, a group of American and Iraqi health officials today released a report saying that 655,000 Iraqis have died since the Iraq war.
That figure is 20 times the figure that you cited in December at 30,000. Do you care to amend or update your figure? And do you consider this a credible report?
BUSH: No, I don't consider it a credible report. Neither does General Casey and neither do Iraqi officials.
I do -- I do know that a lot of innocent people have died, and that troubles me. And it grieves me. And I applaud the Iraqis for their courage in the face of violence.
I am, you know, amazed that this is a society which so wants to be free that they're willing to -- you know, that there's a level of violence that they tolerate.
And it's now time for the Iraqi government to work hard to bring security in neighborhoods so people can feel -- can feel, you know, at peace.
No question it's violent. But this report is one -- they put it out before. It was pretty well -- the methodology is pretty well discredited.
But I, you know, talk to people like General Casey. And, of course, the Iraqi government put out a statement talking about the report.
QUESTION: So the figure's 30,000, Mr. President? Do you stand by your figure, 30,000?
BUSH: I, you know, I stand by the figure a lot of innocent people have lost their life. 600,000 or whatever they guessed at is just, it's not credible. Thank you.
The study, a scientific effort led by Gilbert Burnham of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, was in line with standards used to determine casualties of other wars, as well as deaths caused by disease and natural disasters. A very high percentage of the data collected was verifiable by death certificates, which also revealed that the majority of victims died from gunfire.
For those who would like to get a fuller idea of the methodology, a useful story on the report can be found here.
What is especially troubling about the president's cavalier dismissal of such numbers is that it indicates a propensity for rejecting reality and attempting to pass off the Bush cabal's worldview as 'truth.'
We see it all the time with this White House. It is the reason that they continue to tie in Saddam Hussein with Al Qaeda. It is the reason that we still hear about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. It also explains many other troubling policies that reject arguments about global warming and stem cell research, to name just a couple of examples.
The Bush doctrine on 'facts' seems to be that if deliberate distortions are floated consistently and repeatedly in the public arena, they will be accepted by some as 'truth.' There will be no need to back up this illusionary truth with anything factual. And the media can be counted upon to display those who are grounded in facts as merely having a contrary opinion.
To be a bit more blunt about this, there is no factual equivalency here. George W. Bush lies. He lies often.
If the Bush figure of 30,000 Iraqis killed is not a deliberate lie, than he should defend the methodology behind the arrival of that number. He should also refute the process used to obtain a figure that is more than 20 times the one he so dishonestly rejects.
That will not happen because Bush does not care about dead Iraqis. Actually he doesn't care all that much about dead Americans. Dubya is already on record, referring to our own soldiers as bait. After all, didn't he say that we should be fighting terrorists in Iraq, so we don't have to fight them here?
President Bush, our soldiers are not supposed to be used as cannon fodder, and far more than 30,000 Iraqis have been slaughtered thanks to our 'liberation' of their country.
Please, somebody get this man a calculator for Christmas. While you're at it, throw in a conscience.