Discussion of George Bush reversal “We will sit in Baghdad”

This reversal is often played on the Reverse Speech circuit. The claim is that it was found a couple of weeks before the US went into Iraq.

Forward section: Bush: “… will help that nation build a just government after decades of brutal dictatorship. The formal leadership of [that government is for the Ir]aqi people to choose”.
The issue with this reversal is the chosen beginning point, which is incorrect, and as a result the first two words documented are incorrect.

For a start, we will is not evident. We will occurs behind [for the Ir]aqi. There is an obvious [r] at [w]e, and there is [th] which produces a [d]/[th] sound around where [w]ill begins. Where it has been cut at the initial makes it almost sound like there is a [p] as in the word [pray]. Cutting at the wrong position can create a sound and even a word that is not there. An example is if one starts a reversal at the onset of a FS [s], it will typically sound like [d] in reverse.

Secondly, listening to the seconds before this reversal, one can hear another phrase, which sounds like Swish little baby carried I will refer to this as the first reversal, and the documented reversal as the second reversal.

The documented reversal is begun at the point of [rr] in carried.Therefore, the correct beginning of the reversal will need to be ascertained. One may hear that either carried or carry is the natural ending of the first reversal. It needs to be ascertained whether the second reversal begins with the [d] from FS [th]e (so that the final word of the first reversal is carry), or begins after it (so that the final word of the first reversal is carried). An overall listening can give the sense that the end is carry and the second reversal begins with [d]/[th] at the point of [th]e in the FS. However, closer examination shows that the [d] sound may actually belong to the end of the first reversal (as in carried), although in a general listening it may sound like the beginning of the second reversal.

The second reversal, if it does not begin at [th], begins at the FS word [for]. The rounded vowel gives a sense of [ou] in you, and the movement toward [th]e at the end of [for] helps to give some sense of [y] as the tongue is moving toward the front of the mouth and is fairly high. The next question is [f]or. With [f] one can assume you’ve. But we have a grammar dilemma with the word sit. You’ve would make it present perfect and sit ought to be sat (past participle), which it is not. Alternatively, one could assume that the [f] has weakened substantially in the RS and has simply assimilated with the [s] in FS [is]. This is possible, and would make the word you’ll. Yet, one can still perceive [v]. This does not mean it is not meant to be [‘ll]. In normal FS, not every sound representative of the speaker’s words will sound exactly that. Nevertheless, [v] can still be perceived.

Of course, if the FS [th] was included, it can sound like they’ll, and in fact a general listening gives that; however, the second reversal beginning without pause and starting with a vowel can help to create the sense of a [th]/[d] beginning, but in fact does not.

Therefore, in this case, we would have You’ll sit in Baghdad or You’ve sit in Baghdad (if one accepts the grammar error)   However, one might continue to consider they’ll/they’ve sit as a possibility.

Little baby carried possesses some unity as a phrase but with swish, this word would have to sit alone or be discarded as gibberish. Swish little baby by itself is rather odd.

Carried, however, has an amplitude that is similar to You’ll sit in Baghdad rather than Swish little baby, which is softer (You can hear that in the audio above). If we include swish, we may have to see carried as a one word statement that follows, that is, written with a comma before it – swish little baby, carried – you’ll/you’ve sit in Baghdad. If we ignore swish as gibberish, we have little baby carried.

There does appear to be a word following Baghdad. This is rubbish. I am unsure as to whether it is part of the clause or just gibberish. There is [v] from FS [of] in the FS where the [r] is. However, [r] is arguably acceptable here.

This word, though, runs directly into the gibberish following, which is a mark against it.

You’ll/You’ve sit in Baghdad rubbish 

If the pronoun is you, is this Bush speaking to himself? Or, is he talking about an external other, and doesn’t refer to himself? We could consider things will turn into a mess for him/his administration, assuming this is the meaning of rubbish, rather than actual physical rubbish. If it is they, we could consider that he is speaking about US forces.

There is another possibility for rubbish – that it is not the ending of the reversal, but a separate statement from a conflicting aspect of Bush’s subconscious, one that is expressing strong disagreement with sit in Baghdad.

And the meaning of the first reversal? Besides an interpretation of a desire to be nurtured, it could also mean being left holding (carrying) the baby, which means having to deal with it because others won’t take responsibility.

Here is the whole lot from beginning to end

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