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Monday, June 13, 2005 

The '8-month gap', and why it doesn't matter

Does the White House acknowledge that Tony Blair held a top-secret highest-level meeting on Jul 23, 2002, of which the DSM represents the minutes and the document released by the London Sunday Times over the weekend the agenda?

Sunday afternoon a WH spokesman David Almacy made public comments for which there is no transcript at the WH website but about which we have two reports, one from AP, the other from David Sanger of the NY Times. Sanger quotes Almacy as saying "he could not comment on [the latest document's] authenticity", but also as noting - somewhat peculiarly, doesn't it seem? - that it "was written eight months before the war began".

Now, it is easy to understand why the White House would prefer to contend that the documents are not authentic. If my wife, for instance, were to regale her closest friends with stories of what a clown I am and then explain to them how she was having to manipulate me to use a couple intermediaries in my (hypothetical, I assure you!) insider-trading plot so the illegality of my - our - acts would not be blatant, and then one of those friends showed up on Oprah with a tape . . . well, my wisest response would be to deny that my wife was there that day at all (at the same time, punishing my wife severely, maybe by refusing to accompany her to serve at the homeless shelter, or by putting ridiculous conditions on our contribution to the AIDS center, or . . .)

So, what did Almacy have to say? Apparently: if the meeting took place, and if the Brits snickered at the US administration for not having planned for the aftermath of the invasion, then they were just silly because "there was significant post war planning in the time that elapsed [between July 2002 and March 2003]."

Huh? The 'rebuttal' is that we are not stuck in the current endless quagmire because we did not begin planning early enough (since 8 months could in principle be adequate time); it is for an entirely different reason! Ain't that a classic 'gotcha'! And even if the DSM is real it is a silly document!

Although it is outside the portfolio of this site, I won't leave you without Almacy's characterization of that 'other' reason. Part 1 is that "Anytime you go to war you have to be flexible to adapt to the unexpected." That's straight Sun Tzu, and as unexceptionable as it is jejune. The zinger is in Part 2: "That is why we gave our commanders the flexibility to do so." Let's try that again:

That is why we gave our commanders the flexibility to do so.

So, the quagmire is the fault of a few rotten-apple generals! Is it time to search the Pentagon website for generals from West Virginia?

 posted by Clem Yeobright  # 5:58 PM  
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