Analogies Bush Has Drawn Between the Iraq War And Assorted Punctuation Marks

“I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, [the current violence] will look like just a comma.”

“Our commitment to a free Iraq must end with an exclamation point, not an ellipsis.”

“The overthrow of Saddam was an apostrophe, indicating possession of Iraq by its long-oppressed people.”

“The only way to stop the sectarian violence is to find a bridge between the Sunnis and Shiites, a hyphen that will join the two separate party into one compound nation.”

“We have enclosed the insurgents in parentheses, marking them as little more than an interruption to the rise of democracy that can be ignored without changing the overall meaning of the region’s struggle for liberty.”

“Though Saddam and Al Quada had no direct links, their relationship was that of a semi-colon, joining related but distinct proponents of terror.”

“Setting a timetable for withdrawal would be like starting a Spanish sentence with an inverted question mark, a signal that all that follows is uncertain and conditional.”

“When I sent my Secretary of State to the UN to make the case for war, I jokingly referred to him as Colon Powell, as he served to introduce an itemized list of our grievances against the Iraqi dictator.”

“Victory is still possible in Iraq — albeit a victory enclosed in scare quotes and followed by an asterisk.”


  1. Whoever came up with those rocks!

  2. I’ve heard it said that the “comma” remark is Bush speaking in code to the relgious nutbags. The idea is “don’t put a period where god puts a comma.”

  3. Another reason for “Colon” Powell — he was delivering a load of manure to the UN.

  4. He could also say:

    We have bracketed the insurgents, while at the same time used braces to help the American people understand the gravity of the situation.

    GWB needs to start reading more of Safire’s On Language column.

  5. It’s a lot like Mr. Helpmann in Brazil, except without sports metaphors.

    “Bad sportsmanship. A ruthless minority of people seem to have forgotten good old-fashioned virtues. They just can’t stand seeing the other fellow win. If these people would just play the game… ”

    “We’re fielding all their strokes, running a lot of them out, and pretty consistently knocking them for six. I’d say they’re nearly out of the game. ”

  6. What, no interrobang&#8253

  7. Bush uses grammatical metaphors in other areas too. He wants to overturn Roe v. Wade to stop women’s periods.

    I also heard this zinger: “In Abu Ghraib we hook their genitals to car batteries to give them the tilda of freedom.”

    “Torture in the name of freedom is the ampersand of democracy.”

    Not bad, since everyone will remember him as Asterisk anyway.

  8. “Victory is still possible in Iraq — albeit a victory enclosed in scare quotes and followed by an asterisk.”

    Very appropriate, especially since a slang term for ‘asterisk’ is ‘splat’.

  9. The ironic thing is, the ones you made up are more coherent and well-thought-out than the original

  10. Putting it all together: The Iraq situation is $&#*ing going to @^*%.

  11. Mark,
    What, no interrobang?

    That would be the rest of the world:
    WTF is he DOING?!

    (These are brilliant–just brilliant.)

  12. I’m an Italian girl and I hate you.

  13. hmmm…i’m doubtful about the “don’t put a period where god puts a comma” link…that slogan is from the UCC folks, who are definitely not big fans of Bush!