Listening to excerpts of Bush's news conference today, I couldn't believe it when I heard him say 'disassemble' when he meant, 'dissemble'. What's more, he went on to explain what the word meant. Wondering if I had heard right, I looked up the transcript. Here's the relevant part (ignore for the moment his treatment of the gravity of Amnesty's accusation):
QUESTION: Mr. President, recently Amnesty International said you have established, quote, a new gulag of prisons around the world beyond the reach of the law and decency. I'd like your reaction to that, and also your assessment of how it came to this -- that that is a view not just held by extremists and anti-Americans, but by groups that have allied themselves with the United States government in the past, and what the strategic impact is that in many places in the world the United States these days under your leadership is no longer seen as the good guy.
BUSH: I'm aware of the Amnesty International report, and it's absurd. It's an absurd allegation.
The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world. When there's accusations made about certain actions by our people, they're fully investigated in a transparent way.
It's just an absurd allegation.
In terms of, you know, the detainees, we've had thousands of people detained. We've investigated every single complaint against the detainees.
It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of and the allegations by people that were held in detention, people who hate America, people that have been trained in some instances to disassemble, that means not tell the truth.
Not for the first time, I wonder if the W stands for Wodehouse (see Bertie Wooster in Miami). As explanations go, this is right up there with: "My wife", said Lord Emsworth, "Was alive at the time", making it clear that there was no question of a voice from the tomb.