Watch what you say

Published January 25, 2005 10:00PM (EST)

In the weeks after the attacks of Sept. 11, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer warned "all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do."

As the Senate continues to debate the nomination of Condoleezza Rice, at least one Republican thinks it's time for Democrats to remember Ari's warning. Speaking on the Senate floor a short time ago, Virginia Sen. George Allen said his Democratic colleagues should "be careful" when criticizing Rice for making false statements about the war in Iraq lest they "diminish Dr. Rice's credibility in capitals around the world." Allen explained that Rice's "detractors can do a great disservice to this country, a great disservice by playing too hard a partisan game."

Funny, we would have thought that Rice "diminished" her own credibility -- that she did a "disservice" to the country -- when she made statements that turned out not to be true about Saddam Hussein's supposed nuclear weapons program. But we wouldn't say that. We need to be careful.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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