The ignorance is thick again this morning
Good morning, journalistic commuters... I'm sorry to report that we have another day of pretty thick ignorance, not as bad as some days on record, i.e. - not as bad as the high reported on June 11, 1929, (records only go back to 1911), but still very high. Please be alert as you drive your way through the papers today for very thick clouds of ignorance, interspersed with medium to light ignorance, with an occasional gust of total darkness, here and there. Readers are advised to carry a candle and a BIC lighter with them, and on occasion, to think of England (but only during certain periods of English history).
The thickest ignorance today is apparently swirling around in the USA Today Article quoted below, which we have conveniently interspersed with certain enlightening comments (IN CAPS) to help you scrape the mud off as you wade through the turgid prose:
HEADLINE: Powell blames terror error on new system
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department acknowledged Thursday it was wrong in reporting terrorism declined worldwide last year, a finding that was used to boost one of President Bush's top foreign policy claims — success in countering terror.
Instead, both the number of incidents and the toll in victims increased sharply, the department said. Statements by senior administration officials claiming success were based "on the facts as we had them at the time; the facts that we had were wrong," department spokesman Richard Boucher said.
AS YOU CAN SEE, THE POLICY OF TOTAL ERROR DISTRIBUTED AS GOVERNMENTAL SUCCESS PR FOLLOWED BY A MUMBLED APOLOGY LATER CONTINUES. THE "OOPS, YOU'RE RIGHT WE WERE TOTALLY WRONG ON THAT" DEFENSE SEEMS TO WORK MAGICALLY IN GOVERNMENT NOWADAYS. IN THE BUSINESS WORLD "TOTALLY WRONG" IS USUALLY FOLLOWED BY UNEMPLOYMENT OR BANKRUPTCY, SO EVIDENTLY GOVERNMENT WORK IS FAR MORE SAFE, AT LEAST FOR THE FOUR YEARS THAT YOUR PARTICULAR IDIOT IS IN THE TOP OFFICE.
The report, issued in April, said attacks had declined last year to 190, the lowest level in 34 years, and dropped 45% since 2001, Bush's first year as president. The State Department is now working to determine the correct figures.
Among the mistakes, (NOTICE THE PLURAL HERE... LOOKS LIKE LOTS OF MISTAKES, HUH?) Boucher said, was that only part of 2003 was taken into account.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday the errors were partly the result of new data collection procedures. "I can assure you it had nothing to do with putting out anything but the most honest, accurate information we can," he said.
WHICH BASICALLY SAYS, "OKAY, OUR DATA COLLECTION METHOD WAS A NEW THING, BUT WE PUT IT OUT ANYWAY." YA GOTTA WONDER HOW POWELL FEELS SAYING THAT SENTENCE. I DON'T SUPPOSE THAT HE GOT TO BE A GENERAL BY GIVING MANY EXPLANATIONS LIKE THAT. I THINK THAT THE MILITARY TERM FOR SUCH REPORTS IS "UNSAT" (FOR UNSATISFACTORY).
"Errors crept in that frankly we did not catch here," Powell said of the report, which showed a falloff in the number of attacks worldwide in 2003 and the virtual disappearance of incidents in which no one died.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said this week the administration had refused to address his contention that the findings were manipulated for political purposes. Waxman had written Powell asking for an explanation.
Boucher said a reply to Waxman was in preparation. "We wanted to make sure that we give the congressman the best and most accurate picture of what we know and what's going on as we can," he said.
He said the errors began to become apparent in early May. "We got phone calls from people who were going through our report and who said to themselves, as we should have said to ourselves: 'This doesn't feel right. This doesn't look right.' And who started asking us questions," he said.
One of Bush's major foreign policy claims is that his post-Sept. 11 strategy to counter terror was showing success.
EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT THERE ARE MORE TERRORISTS AND MORE TERRORIST ATTACKS SINCE BUSH STARTED TREATING THEM AS SERIOUS ADVERSARIES WORTHY OF THE ENTRE FOCUS OF HIS MILITARY (WHICH CAN'T FIND THEM). IT'S REALLY GLAMOROUS NOW TO BE A TERRORIST. EVERYBODY THINKS YOU ARE STANDING UP TO THE ENTIRE U.S.
Ken Mehlman, the president's campaign manager, said in April, "Ultimately the most important thing that people want to see on the war on terror is, what is your vision for dealing with it and what is your record."
AND THERE IT IS, THE UGLY PHRASE OF THE DECADE: "WAR ON TERROR. "YOU CAN'T HAVE A WAR ON TERROR BECAUSE WARS ARE FOUGHT BETWEEN COUNTRIES, NOT BETWEEN A COUNTRY AND INDIVIDUALS. THIS TERM HAS UPPED THE ANTE ON THE RESPONSE TO TERRORISM SUCH THAT THE ADMIN CAN AND WILL DO ANYTHING BECAUSE, AS THEY SAY, WE ARE AT WAR.
"Obviously one of the most important issues in this election is the question of how do we continue to fight and win the war on terror so we keep our homeland safe," Mehlman said.
HERE'S THE THICKEST OF THE THICKET. WAR IS TERRIBLE, TERRIFYING, AND TERRORIZING. THERE IS LITTLE DIFFERENCE IN FEELING THE TERROR OF DYING AT WAR AND THE TERROR OF DYING IN PEACETIME. WAR CREATES TERROR, BUT ON A MORE MASSIVE SCALE. YOU CAN'T FIGHT TERROR, YOU NEED TO PACIFY IT (NOT TO APPEASE/PACIFY, YOU NEED TO MAKE TERRORIST-GENERATING CULTURES AND SOCIOLOGIES INTO PEACEFUL CULTURES)
At the same time, Vice President Dick Cheney and Mehlman have questioned whether Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was qualified to conduct a war against terrorism.
IT'S A GREAT COMPLIMENT TO THINK THAT SOMEONE WOULDN'T GET CAUGHT UP IN THIS SLIPPERY SLOPE OF A PHRASE.
When the annual report was issued April 29, senior administration officials used it as evidence the war was being won under Bush.
J. Cofer Black, who heads the State Department's counterterrorism office, cited the existence of only 190 acts of terrorism in 2003 as "good news" and predicted the trend would continue this year.
LET'S SEE, WHEN ENRON COOKS THE NUMBERS, THEY (EVENTUALLY) GET CAUGHT, FINED, AND DISGRACED... BUT ALL WE CAN DO TO THESE GUYS IS VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE. SO HOW ABOUT A LITTLE JAILTIME THROWN IN?
Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage said at the time, "Indeed, you will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight."
YOU CAN'T REALLY PREVAIL IN A FIGHT. SOMEONE ALWAYS GETS HURT, SO, OVERALL, THERE IS A LOSS. AS THEY USED TO SAY IN THE 60'S (YOU DO REMEMBER THE 60'S, DON'T YOU?):
"FIGHTING FOR PEACE IS LIKE %$@#ING FOR CHASTITY"
His office did not respond Thursday to a request for a statement in light of disclosures some of the findings in "Patterns of Global Terrorism" were inaccurate and understated.
"When we are sure we have the new facts, the right facts, we will prepare an appropriate analysis and give you our assessment at that moment," Boucher said.
AS IF WE HAVE ANY REASON TO BELIEVE THEM NEXT TIME (UNLESS THEY ISSUE AN APOLOGY OR AT LEAST A DISCLAIMER FIRST). IF THEY WERE SCIENTISTS THEY WOULD HAVE TO GIVE THE STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THEIR FINDINGS. A STATISTICAL VARIANCE WHERE THEY ARE LIABLE TO BE COMPLETELY WRONG ISN'T LIKELY TO
GET THEM AN "A" IN ANY CLASS.
LET'S JUST REVIEW SOME OF THEY THINGS THAT THEY HAVE BEEN WRONG ABOUT:
1) BUSH IN PRE-PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: "I WON'T ENGAGE IN NATION BUILDING"
2) RUSSIA/CHINA AS PRIMARY STATE DEPARTMENT CONCERNS BEFORE 9/11
3) BUSH ON VACATION DURING HEIGHTENED AL QAEDA ALERT PRIOR TO 9/11
4) WMD IN IRAQ
5) INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES
6) TODAY'S GAFFE
WELL. YOU'RE SAFE NOW, AND YOU MADE IT THROUGH THE THICK STUFF. YOU MAY NEED TO TAKE A SHOWER IF ANY OF IT STUCK ON YOU... BUT YOU SHOULD BE OKAY. CARRY ON.