Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Do you understand?

From the White House:

President Bush Meets with Alhurra Television on Wednesday
  • First, people in Iraq must understand that I view those practices as abhorrent.
    They must also understand that what took place in that prison does not represent America that I know.
  • The American people are just as appalled at what they have seen on TV as the Iraqi citizens have. The Iraqi citizens must understand that.
  • The people of Iraq must understand, sovereignty will be transferred on June 30th.
President Bush Meets with Al Arabiya Television on Wednesday
  • First, I want to tell the people of the Middle East that the practices that took place in that prison are abhorrent and they don't represent America. They represent the actions of a few people. Secondly, it's important for people to understand that in a democracy that there will be a full investigation.
  • Again, it's very important for people, your listeners, to understand, in our country that when an issue is brought to our attention on this magnitude, we act -- and we act in a way where leaders are willing to discuss it with the media.
  • And so the people in the Middle East must understand that this was horrible.
  • The Iraqi citizens must understand America is not going to leave until the job is complete.
  • ... first of all, you've got to understand, sir, that military options are always my last option, not the first option, and that we can promote freedom without use of military.
  • Secondly, it's very important for the people of the Middle East to understand that freedom doesn't have to look like America.
Fred Kaplan in Slate writes:
Too often, the president began a sentence with the words, "People in Iraq must understand ..." or "The Iraqi people must understand …" or "People in the Middle East must understand … ." He probably didn't mean it but, to an Iraqi audience, these phrases may seem insistent, overbearing, even autocratic, coming from the man who is currently occupying their country.
We also read (in Slate's Frayster round-up) something to the effect that "[you] must understand" translates into Arabic into a less-than-friendly attitude.


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