President Biden.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

"Loose lips sink ships," proclaimed World War II propaganda posters. The original idea was to prevent the spread of rumors dangerous to morale — and perhaps also to contain classified truths.

President Biden is almost old enough to remember the slogan's initial use. But he could still use a reminder to avoid careless talk. In remarks delivered in Des Moines yesterday, Biden accused Russia of committing "genocide" in Ukraine. Because it's a deeply serious charge that could theoretically trigger an international tribunal, administration officials had previously avoided using the term. Later that day, therefore, Biden was forced to conduct some rhetorical cleanup. Speaking to reporters on the airport tarmac, he clarified that he would "let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me."

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Samuel Goldman

Samuel Goldman is a national correspondent at TheWeek.com. He is also an associate professor of political science at George Washington University, where he is executive director of the John L. Loeb, Jr. Institute for Religious Freedom and director of the Politics & Values Program. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard and was a postdoctoral fellow in Religion, Ethics, & Politics at Princeton University. His books include God's Country: Christian Zionism in America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) and After Nationalism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021). In addition to academic research, Goldman's writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.