Quote: “If the Sunnis do not support the constitution, that would be very negative.” American Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad
Figure of Speech: tautology (taw TAH low gee), the redundant figure
“Negative” means “bad” in diplomatese. If the Sunnis say no to
the draft Iraq constitution, that would certainly be negative.
But since “no” and “negative” mean the same thing, the ambassador
commits a tautology—repeating the same thought in different
“Free gift.” “New innovation.” “Violent battle.” All around, we’re surrounded by tautologies. (Sorry.) Yogi Berra turned the figure into an unconscious art form: “You can learn a lot just by observing.” Most of the time, though, the tautology is a pair of twins (whoops!) who are too close for comfort.
The writing on the Iraqi flag, by the way, means “God is great.” Which, arguably, qualifies as a tautology.
Snappy Answer: “And if we don’t pull out of Iraq, we’ll still be there.”
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