”stay the course”から”benchmark”へ

 イラク政策に関して“stay the course”を繰り返し言ってきたブッシュ大統領が、驚いたことにそんなことは言っていないと言い出した。代って使い出したのが”benchmark”である。これは撤退のための”timetable”とは異なると主張する。大統領は、現実とはかけ離れたsemantic game(言葉遊び)に溺れている。(鳥居英晴)

 「“stay the course”なんて言っていない」と発言したのは、10月22日のABCテレビのTHIS WEEK。ホストのジョージ・ステファノポロスとのやり取りは次の通り。

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's exactly what I wanted to ask you about, because James Baker says that he's looking for something between cut and run…
BUSH: Cut and run and…
STEPHANOPOULOS: … and stay the course.
BUSH: Well, listen, we've never been "stay the course", George. We have been "we will complete the mission, we will do our job and help achieve the goal", but we're constantly adjusting the tactics, constantly.

Youtubeのビデオ
http://youtube.com/watch?v=6Jq0j80UB_c
http://youtube.com/watch?v=qt6pXTMGThA

 マイアミ・ヘラルド紙のコラムニスト、レオナルド・ピッツは「Simply Orwellian: Cutting and running from 'stay the course'」と題したコラム(10月30日付)で、ジョージ・オーウェルの小説「1984年」を引用しながら、次のように述べている。

 In the world Orwell invented, words had no objective meaning beyond that assigned to them by the Party, whose slogans, not incidentally, were, ''War is Peace,'' ''Freedom is Slavery'' and ''Ignorance is Strength.'' In that world, there was no past -- or rather, the past was what the leaders said it was, and it was a waste of time to check for yourself, because all books, newspapers and other records were constantly being updated to reflect whatever the new reality was.

(中略)"We've never been 'stay the course,'" he says. Oh, we say. To which I can only add that war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. And Orwell was only off by 22 years.

ホワイトハウスのスノー報道官は10月23日の記者会見で、大統領は”stay the course”という表現をもう使わないと述べ、現状を顧みない政権だとの「誤った印象を与えている」と中止の理由を説明した。

Because it left the wrong impression about what was going on. And it allowed critics to say, well, here's an administration that's just embarked upon a policy and not looking at what the situation is, when, in fact, it's just the opposite.

ワシントン・ポスト紙のピーター・ベーカーは10月24日付で、ホワイトハウスは”stay the course”から”cut and run”している、と皮肉まじりに次のように書いた。

But the White House is cutting and running from "stay the course." A phrase meant to connote steely resolve instead has become a symbol for being out of touch and rigid in the face of a war that seems to grow worse by the week, Republican strategists say.

 カリフォルニア大学バークレー校の言語学教授のジョージ・ラコフは10月27日付のニューヨーク・タイムズ紙で、大統領自身が”stay the course”という表現のわなにはまってしまったと指摘する。

“Stay the course" was for years a trap for those who disagreed with the president's policies in Iraq. To disagree was weak and immoral. It meant abandoning the fight against evil. But now the president himself is caught in that trap. To keep staying the course, given obvious reality, is to get deeper into disaster in Iraq, while not staying the course is to abandon one's moral authority as a conservative. Either way, the president loses.

“stay the course”に代ってホワイトハウスのbuzzwordになっているのが”benchmark”(達成度の尺度)である。

10月25日の記者会見で、ブッシュは”benchmark”と”timetable”はまったく違うと強調している。

There is a significant difference between benchmarks for a government to achieve and a timetable for withdrawal. You're talking about -- when you're talking about the benchmarks, he's talking about the fact that we're working with the Iraqi government to have certain benchmarks to meet as a way to determine whether or not they're making the hard decisions necessary to achieve peace. I believe that's what you're referring to. And we're working with the Iraqi government to come up with benchmarks.

Listen, this is a sovereign government. It was elected by the people of Iraq. What we're asking them to do is to say, when do you think you're going to get this done, when can you get this done, so the people themselves in Iraq can see that the government is moving forward with a reconciliation plan and plans necessary to unify this government.

That is substantially different, David, from people saying, we want a time certain to get out of Iraq. As a matter of fact, the benchmarks will make it more likely we win. Withdrawing on an artificial timetable means we lose.

 Benchmarkとは、イラク政府が軍を増強すること、宗派抗争を収束させること、石油収入の公平な分配などが、どの程度達成されているかというこののようである。ブッシュはなぜ”timetable”という言葉を避け、”benchmark”にこだわるのか。マーキュリー・ニューズ紙(10月28日付)のQ&Aが説明している。

QUESTION: Officials have used several terms to describe the idea of setting goals. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad referred to a "timetable" on Tuesday. President Bush in a press conference Wednesday talked about "benchmarks." A statement from the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on Friday talked about "timelines."
Are they all the same thing?

ANSWERS: Not really. According to the dictionary, a "timetable" is a "schedule of the time certain things are supposed to happen," especially the arrival of trains and planes. It suggests precision. "Benchmark," the dictionary says, is a "standard or point of reference in measuring or judging quality." It draws its origin from the permanent locations surveyors use to map heights and distances. It is not a measure of time. A "timeline" is a "chronological summary or listing of historical or planned events." Newspapers frequently use timelines as a quick way to show the sequence in which events took place.

Q. Where did the idea of a timetable come from?

A. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., first suggested it in an opinion piece for The New York Times in May, calling for the United States to set a deadline for withdrawal. That idea was immediately rejected by the Bush administration, but several politicians have revised it as a way to get Iraq's government to move more quickly. Most recently, sources told McClatchy Newspapers and the New York Times that the Bush administration was working on a timetable for Iraqi officials to take over certain security functions next year, after which, presumably, U.S. troops would come home.

Q. Why is the idea of setting a timetable so controversial?
A. The Bush administration argues that any date-certain timetable simply gives Iraq's insurgents a target date, after which they can press hard to take over the country. But with polls showing that the war in Iraq is now unpopular with a majority of Americans, Democrats and some Republicans are looking for something other than an open-ended commitment to remain in Iraq. The idea of setting a timetable provides at least some suggestion that troops will come home.

 ニューヨーク・タイムズのコラムニスト、フランク・リッチの「Dying to Save the G.O.P. Congress」(10月29日付)は、こう切り捨てている。

 Of course all the White House's latest jabberwocky about 'benchmarks' and 'milestones' and 'timetables' (never to be confused with those Defeatocrats' 'timelines') is nothing more than an election-year P.R. strategy, as is the laughable banishment of 'stay the course.' There is no new American plan to counter the apocalypse now playing out in Iraq, only new packaging to pacify American voters between now and Nov. 7. And recycled packaging at that: President Bush had last announced that he and Mr. Maliki were developing “benchmarks” to “measure progress” in Iraq back in June.

Jabberwocky:わけのわからない言葉 Defeatocrat:Democrat とdefeatismをかけあわせたもの

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