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    But They Found WMDs in Saddam’s Brain Scan

    saddam_brainscan.jpgQuote:  “There comes a point where the absence of evidence does indeed become the evidence of absence.”  Senate Intelligence Committee report, dismissing links between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

    Figure of Speech:  chiasmus (key-AS-mus), the criss-cross figure.  Chiasmus is the Greek letter “X.”

    Before the war, our spies failed to find links between Bin Laden and Hussein — proving, the White House concluded, that we had bad spies.  The Senate Intelligence Committee now says otherwise:  Not only did Saddam Hussein not harbor terrorists, he actually tried to arrest al-Qaeda members.

    The report rhetorically bitch slaps Donald Rumsfeld, who said before the war that “the absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence.”  Both Rummy’s version and the Senate’s use a chiasmus, Figaro’s very favorite figure.  It takes a phrase or clause and repeats it in mirror form.  Use a chiasmus to seize your opponent’s argument and flip it onto its back.

    The White House is now forced to reach this conclusion:   Senators are bad people.

    Snappy Answer:  “Ask not how the evidence makes you look, ask how you make the evidence look.”

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    Reader Comments (4)

    The chiasmus is the reason I love Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. =)

    Small excerpt from one of her poems as an example (in English for your benefit):

    "So where does the greater guilt lie
    for a passion that should not be:
    with the man who pleads out of baseness
    or the woman debased by his plea?

    Or which is more to be blamed--
    though both will have cause for chagrin:
    the woman who sins for money
    or the man who pays money to sin?

    So why are you men all so stunned
    at the thought you're all guilty alike?
    Either like them for what you've made them
    or make of them what you can like."
    September 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFia
    As always, love the site.

    A by the way...

    ...as occasionally reported by the media, we did find chemical weapons including sarin gas over there. However, due to some technical definition someone with more expertise than I might be able to clarify, these artillery shells did not count as WMD. I believe it is because these shells would be fired from a howitzer and have a range measured in tens of miles, not the hundreds of a short-range ballistic missile. Someone who knows more than I may need to put their $0.02 in.

    September 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDoc L
    True, but the chemicals were older than Figaro's tuxedo, and used about as often.
    September 15, 2006 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    Rumsfeld went further than that.

    He said evidence of absence was in and of itself proof of the opposite, that WMD's were present.

    From the first paragraph of a January 15, 2003, CNN article, headlined Rumsfeld: Lack of Evidence Could Mean Iraq is Hiding Something: "The failure of U.N. arms inspectors to find weapons of mass destruction 'could be evidence, in and of itself, of Iraq's noncooperation' with U.N. disarmament resolutions, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Wednesday."
    January 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMD

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