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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Some posts need to be stolen whole

Although unlike serial plagiarists like Tony Blair, Ben Domenech, or Vladimir Putin, I'll give credit where credit is due. In this case, credit goes to Jonathan Schwarz for this post on his blog:
So in a speech yesterday Bush said this:

Today, some Americans ask whether removing Saddam caused the divisions and instability we're now seeing. In fact, much of the animosity and violence we now see is the legacy of Saddam Hussein. He is a tyrant who exacerbated sectarian divisions to keep himself in power.

I actually have some sympathy for this perspective. But it does contrast starkly with Bush's pre-war views, as recorded in the January 31, 2003 "White House Memo":

The memo indicates the two leaders envisioned a quick victory and a transition to a new Iraqi government that would be complicated, but manageable. Mr. Bush predicted that it was "unlikely there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups." Mr. Blair agreed with that assessment.

Again, Bush's speech was yesterday (Wednesday). This memo story was on the front page of the New York Times two days before (Monday). So...would it be too much to ask for some enterprising reporter to repeat both instances of Bush's words back to him, and politely ask when between January 31, 2003 and March 29, 2006 HE MANAGED TO FIGURE THIS OUT?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess: yes, it is too much to ask.

That's the end of Jonathan's post. Feeling compelled to add value, I'll ask: Does anyone think W actually used the word "internecine," or even knew that there were different religious and ethnic groups in Iraq? According to the NY Times, the memo was written by David Manning, Tony Blair's chief foreign policy adviser at the time. I'm pretty sure he was paraphrasing. Let's imagine what the conversation was really like, perhaps enhancing a bit just for fun:

W: So, let's go to war!
Blair: Now?
W: Well, in March.
Blair: Are you prepared?
W: Yeah. We got tanks and planes and humvees and Predators and tanks and stuff.
Blair: But George, old chap, what if things don't go smoothly?
W: Huh?
Blair: Well, the Iraqis might start fighting amongst themselves. There are different ethnic groups and religious sects there.
W. Huh?
Blair: Quite. Saddam keeps quite a lid on it, but the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds don't really like each other. When we take Saddam out, they may start attacking each other.
W: Huh.
Blair: There could well be internecine fighting; even civil war.
W: There won't be interseen fighting, whatever that is. Very unlikely. Wanna go play fetch in the Rose Garden?
Blair: Woof!