Friday, June 10, 2005

Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another?

USA Today finally has a story about the Downing Street Memo. The story is at least partially about the fact that the mainstream media have not made any significant effort to cover the story. The reporter, Mark Memmott, even notes (as he should) that "Today marks USA Today's first mention."

Another win for Democrats.com - they got their money quote in the article:


“We want what the Michael Jackson, Paris Hilton and Star Wars stories have gotten: endless repetition until people have heard about it,” says David Swanson, one of the organizers of Democrats.com.


Heh. Indeedy. USA Today is the first paper to my knowledge to find someone other than an administration official to give a lame denial:


Robin Niblett of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, says it would be easy for Americans to misunderstand the reference to intelligence being “fixed around” Iraq policy. “ ‘Fixed around' in British English means ‘bolted on' rather than altered to fit the policy,” he says.


For those unfamiliar with Mr. Robin Niblett, he has been the source of many content-free blandishments on the subject of the Iraq War going right back to the beginning. For a slice of Niblett's revealed wisdom from back in 2002, check out this old PBS transcript.

For those unfamiliar with the context of the passage which Niblett is trying to explain away, here it is:


C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.


So in Niblett's English-to-English translation, we get


C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being bolted on to the policy.


Which, I think you'll agree, makes no fucking sense. God save us from these idiot experts.

1 comment:

Uncle said...

Am I the only one that thinks converting the phrase from "fixed around" to "bolted on to" actually makes it sound worse? The former phrase at least suggested that there was SOME attempt to make the information internally self consistent with the policy. "Bolted on to" suggests that the the intelligence was merely thrown in the file regardless of whether it was supporting or not. i.e. the intelligence wasn't manipulated, it was flat out ignored.