Strategic ambiguity

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Strategic ambiguity is the art of making a claim using language that avoids specifics. In promoting the war with Iraq, for example, members of the Bush administration talked in vague terms about links between Iraq and the terrorist group Al Qaeda. Similarly, after inspectors were unable to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Bush resorted to strategic ambiguity by claiming that Iraq had weapons "programs."

"Bush's reputation for imprecise speech may also make reporters reluctant to criticize his words so closely. And because his claims are often phrased in complicated and confusing ways, they are difficult for the press to directly refute," explains Bryan Keefer of the Spinsanity website, which studies manipulative political rhetoric.

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