Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken
gozz@gozz.com

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Somebody's head needs to be arranged, made fast, set in order around reality 

Tod Lindberg writes of the Downing Street Memo in the Weekly Standard,

For smoking-gun enthusiasts, the key to the plot is that word "fixed," as in, the fix is in. As in, the intelligence and facts weren't what Bush needed, so he fixed them. The problem with this analysis, if you can call it that, is quite simple: If what is being described is chicanery and wrongdoing in the form of the Bush administration fabricating intelligence, how come nobody in the room with Blair when C drops this bombshell is sufficiently perturbed to do so much as ask a follow-up question? How come Blair's "sofa cabinet" just goes on earnestly discussing the military options?

In fact, exactly how is it that the official note-taker at this meeting [...] decided to record this momentous revelation with a colloquialism worthy of a James Cagney gangster movie? The answer is that he is doing no such thing. "Fix" here is clearly meant in its traditional sense, in the sort of English spoken by Oxbridge dons and MI6 directors--to make fast, to set in order, to arrange.

Let's think: the memo isn't scandalous if one understands British English. Why then was it scandalous in the UK? Hmm.

Beyond that, Lindburg suggests the language of the memo is to be understood, "the intelligence and facts were being arranged around the policy." Uh, that doesn't help Lindberg's point at all: Policy being "arranged" around facts, good. Facts being "arranged" policy, bad. Teh.

Let's ask Mr. Blair, a speaker of "the sort of English spoken by Oxbridge dons and MI6 directors" for his take on it,

Q Thank you, sir. On Iraq, the so-called Downing Street memo from July 2002 says intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy of removing Saddam through military action. Is this an accurate reflection of what happened? Could both of you respond?

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, I can respond to that very easily. No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all.

Ha ha ha. Right wingers.

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