draining the swamp

brian faler brianfaler13 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Jan 3 20:31:03 UTC 2002

I am a reporter for National Journal, a politics and government magazine based in Washington, and am working on an article on the language and rhetoric of the war on terrorism.  I was wondering if anyone knew where the phrase "draining the swamp" comes from.  The Bush administration has used the phrase repeatedly, over the last three or four months.  I've heard that its an adaptation of something Mao Tse-tung said during the Chinese Civil War - that he referred, at one point, to "draining the sea" in order to kill the fish more efficiently. But I would guess that it predates that - that the phrase somehow refers to the fight against malaria.  Or maybe it comes from American colonials moving west into forbidding lands. Anyway, if anyone has any ideas, I would certainly appreciate their opinions.

Brian Faler

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