That Axis of Evil

Slate
by Jacob Weisberg

10/11/06

In his first State of the Union Address in January 2002, George W. Bush deployed the expression 'axis of evil' to describe the governments of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Critics jumped on the president for his belligerent rhetoric. But the problem with Bush's formulation wasn't his use of the term 'evil,' a perfectly apt description of the regimes of Saddam Hussein, the Iranian mullahs, and Kim Jong-il. The real issue was with the 'axis' part. With the reference to the Axis powers of World War II, Bush suggested that there was some sort of alliance or cooperation among these three enemies of the United States. His turn of phrase indicated that they represented a unitary problem and implied that in taking on one, America would be dealing with all three. Nearly five years later, we can see the damage caused by the president's too-cute slogan and the muddled thinking behind it...

//www.slate.com/id/2151353


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