Did Rice misuse the word “decimate”?

McCain started it, but now 97 Republicans signed a letter urging Obama to avoid a Susan Rice nomination?

Honestly?

Why? Because she said that “Al-Qaeda had been decimated”? (Among other things)

I remembered when she said it. I was watching “Face The Nation” or one of those political Sunday TV shows with a friend. We were both impressed at how eloquently UN Ambassador Susan Rice was explaining the events surrounding the Benghazi attack. I said I wished I could be as articulate and have such a deep vocabulary as she did. I write political articles, but it takes me hours, sometimes days to do it, and I have to revise and revise. But I am digressing. We were watching this interview and Rice said the following (in case it was Face The Nation):

“President Obama said when he was running for President that he would refocus our efforts and attentions on al Qaeda. We've decimated al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden is gone.”

Now what is funny is that my truly picky friend picked up on the meaning of the word “decimate”. He said Rice was misusing it because decimate really means to reduce in size by 10%. I said I knew the original meaning of the word was something like that, but that people nowadays use it to mean that something has been destroyed. We actually looked it up in Google, now please don’t call us a bunch of nerds (that would be a misuse of the word "bunch" or the word "nerd"). We are really cool otherwise! So anyways, Dictionary.com says that the meaning of “to take a tenth of or from” has become obsolete and that “decimate” means “to destroy a great number or proportion of”.

Which means that Susan Rice used the word correctly.

So, lesson to all Republicans, give her a break and go back to figuring out how to solve the fiscal cliff issue. Or, come next elections, you will be decimated, and I don’t mean the old meaning of the word.

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8 comments to Did Rice misuse the word “decimate”?

  • BC

    Dictionary.com says that the meaning of “to take a tenth of or from” has become obsolete and that “decimate” means “to destroy a great number or proportion of”.
    Which means that Susan Rice used the word correctly.
     
    How did Rice use the word properly as you have admitted that decimate means utterly destroy and Al-Qaeda is resurging in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Mahgreb, Mali, Sinai, etc.  So Al-Qaeda and affiliates are alive and well.  This narrative will unwind on Obama like Iraq did on Bush, but this really isn't the point
     
    Any repub or dem will attack the other side given a chance. Bush – Valerie Plame, Clinton – Monica Lewinsky, Reagan – Iran Contra, Nixon – Watergate.
     
    So there's nothing new about this.  Here's what happened, like Bush – Obama started an unnecessary war and while not big like Iraq it still was unnecessary and for oil.  Then Obama did the George Bush fist pump – mission accomplished – Al Qaeda is really on the run/decimated/whatever.
     
    Sept 11th attack happens and Al-Qaeda on the run doesn't hold water, election is close and Obama Campaign wants no egg on their face.
     
    Thus begins the cover-up.   Rice then goes around the Sunday morning circuit lying about what happened and trust me she knew what really happened and was towing the party line.  It was extremely clear in a few hours from ground intel and the drone that this was an organized terror attack and not random as in Egypt.
     
    So now we have this who will get the blame game on "editing" the talking points.  Where this goes – who knows.
     
    The next problem, unrelated to Rice, is that 4 Americans were allowed to die despite any number of assets that could have been scrambled quite quickly.
     
    A drone was there in 25 minutes and trust me we have fully armed drones close by as well.  Again gets back to not wanting to admit Al-Qaeda is not under control as per the election.  More to the point there was and is a desire to say North Africa and the region is OK and it's extremely unstable.  So the larger point is not about a single statement about Al-Qaeda or affiliates rather the fear that this would be an attack on Obama's foreign policy.
     
    Next you have the whole business with Petraeus, which is getting weirder by the day and is linked directly to Benghazi.  What comes out here ultimately  is not going to be good for many.
     
    My take is this will not go away.  There are simply too many people in the know on what happened.  It will ultimately leak out and will be ten times worse than Watergate. 
     
    Someone will be hung for this to be certain, doubtful it's Rice or Obama though.
     
    Welcome to Washington politics.
     

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    • itaest

      I completely disagree. While it is unfortunate that 4 American men died, how does that compare to the 911 attack and to Condoleza Rice who said the memo "Bin Laden planning toi attack within the US" was not clear enough?

      This is just a whole lot of nothing. Not the death of the 4 men, but the scandal the Republicans are making out of it because they want to find something to hang Obama. Were mistakes made? Yes. Mistakes happen, but there was no cover up or great negligence.

      Petraeus affair was revealed because Republicans started to turn every rock to find out where the fire is and they don't care who gets burned in the process.

      Where do you get your news, BC?

      Obama started an unnecessary war? Which war?

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      • BC

        For starters, let me add something positive to the mix that our negative and devisive media isn't reporting other than in passing.
         
        30 people working at the embassy were saved that could have been killed.  They were ultimately flown out to Tripoli and on to Europe. 
         
        This was a huge success on the part of the various security forces on the ground.

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      • BC

        Comment was once the attack got going there was plenty of time to fly people in to assist and it appears that assets were flown into sigonella in Sicily, but not given cross border authority (CBA) to continue on to Libya.  Also appears a lot of people were repeatly told to stand down.  Only the president can grant CBA and it appears he did not or the assets would have come from outside of country.
         
        In the case of Bin Laden CBA was granted.
         
        Why this decision was made is unclear.  Could be political, from a foreign policy point of view decided they didn't want to send in assets as it would not be good for our efforts in Libya or perhaps they thought the situation was ending.
         
        Then you had security people at the CIA annex that were lasing the target with a GLD (ground laser designator) while they were under fire.  The only purpose of this is if an asset is inbound and is going to strike.  In this case probably an armed predator (already in country so no CBA needed).  And it never came so whatever was inbound or loitering was called back. 
         
        Why – who knows, but I think it will all come out.  The cover up was certainly political given the election.  The decisions made during the conflict as mentioned above may have been several.
         
        So mistakes were certainly made and hindsight is 20/20.  This being said what happened will ultimately come out.  Far too many people involved – you simply can't keep a lid on it when so many know.  I also think Americans are so tired of dishonest politicians that people would embrace the truth.
         
        With 9/11 it was over much more quickly.
         
        It is very easy to get into wild conspiracy theory on 9/11 though and I don't think we had specific intel on 9/11 other than an attack of some kind was coming.

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      • BC

        The Petraeus issue is a whole other topic.  My guess is a lot more will come out here.
         
        The unnecesary war was Libya as it was for oil and defense interests. 

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    • itaest

      Oh, and by the way:

      John McCain released a statement on reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence removed references to Al-Qaeda from the talking points Susan Rice used for her Sunday show appearances.

      First, note that McCain is no longer complaining about Susan Rice—instead he's complaining about why Al-Qaeda wasn't included in the talking points she received. McCain will never admit it, but whether he intended it or not, with this statement he's basically accepting the fact that Susan Rice accurately conveyed the information given to her by intelligence agencies.

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      • BC

        Right, so someone at DNI is going to be hung and as I predicted above it wouldn't be Rice or Obama.  There is zero chance that the white house did not know what happened and they deliberately mislead the public.  Not just that it wasn't a terrorist attack, but that Al-Qaeda has been decimated and as I mentioned above Al Qaeda and affialiates are alive and well and resurging all over the place.
         
        Outside of all of this both parties will go after the other one when they have a chance.  Right or wrong this is how DC operates.

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  • BC

    As you said in your initial article the economy does need to be fixed and it's a far larger issue than Benghazi or Petraeus.  This will require both parties compromising – we'll see what happens.
     
    If the economy really gets hammered I don't think it will be good for either party, but more importantly it won't be good for the populace.

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