Friday, November 18, 2005

It's Close, but Rumsfeld Was Most Valuable Liar

by Jim Glover

It's already been a year and a half since Representative Henry Waxman produced and posted "Iraq on the Record: The Bush Administration's Public Statements on Iraq." [1]

The report documented, among other things, a grand total of 237 different "misleading statements" by the administration's five major dissemblers in their successful campaign to lie the U.S. into the Iraq war and to rationalize the first months of that war.

Many of the lies are directly quoted, such as Dick Cheney's assertion, on March 17, 2002, that "we know they have biological and chemical weapons," and George W. Bush's claim, on October 2,2002, that "the Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency."

I thought it might be instructive to analyze the five major liars a bit further, to establish, one might say, the admistration's Most Valuable Liar, or, of course, MVL . Thus the two tables you see below.

In my interpretation, the data do not establish an absolute clear winner. But if I had to cast an MVL vote, I'd have to go with Rumsfeld. As you can see, he was the most effcient liar, averaging 2.26 misleading statements per appearance. That put him nearly a full lie ahead of the least efficient tall tale teller, Colin Powell (1.47 Lies Per Appearance).

Powell's rate of only one and a half lies per appearance might even be inflated, if we take into account his famous speech before the United Nations, in which he was more or less forced to pack a large number of whoppers into that one event. Powell also later reportedly referred to his UN speech as the low point of his career. That would seem to indicate a generally poor attitude toward team lying. Moreover, Powell has since left the team, demonstrating questionable willingness to "stay the course."

To return to Rumsfeld, he also comes through as the most versatile, or perhaps complete, liar. Whereas Rice, for example, nearly specialized in lies about Iraq's nuclear threat, Rumsfeld was strong in all categories of lying. Whatever kind of particular lie was called for, Rumsfeld came through.

In any case, I'll now leave you to peruse and enjoy the tables on your own. As you review them I hope you will appreciate that you are examining the data of greatness. This is some of the most intensive government-team lying ever seen.

Table One: Lies Per Speech:

Bush: 2.04
Cheney: 2.04
Rumsfeld: 2.26
Powell: 1.47
Rice: 1.81

Table Two: Number of Lies Referring to Iraq as an Urgent Threat:

Bush: 4
Cheney: 1
Rumsfeld: 5
Powell: 1
Rice: 0

Table Three: Number of Lies Exaggerating
Iraq's Nuclear Capacity:

Bush: 14
Cheney: 22
Rumsfeld: 18
Powell: 10
Rice: 17

Table Four: Number of Lies Overstating
Iraq's Chemical/Bio Weapons:

Bush: 18
Cheney: 7
Rumsfeld: 21
Powell: 32
Rice: 6

Table Five: Number of Lies Trumping up
Iraq/Al Qaeda Connection:

Bush: 19
Cheney: 21
Rumsfeld: 8
Powell: 7
Rice: 6


MARCH 16, 2004


At 7:43 AM, Blogger The Sinclairs said...

Jeff and I are very happy to see the data on the MVL. Please keep us posted about any other data we should know about. Jeanne


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