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March 31, 2004

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Here's something that might be worth blogging on: Condi Rice's (undelivered) 9/11 speech on current and impending threats - guess how many mentions of OBL, al Q, and Islamic extremist groups there were.


"guess how many mentions of OBL, al Q, and Islamic extremist groups there were."

Seven hundred and forty four.

No, actually you currently don't know how many references there actually were, either: the text of the speech isn't available and the allegations that there were no mention of the above topics are, as usual, based on anonymous and untraceable sources. This would be the point where I shrug, go 'Whatever.' and go find something else to write about. :)

Moe, I think this is another barkless dog case. Unless your theory is that Rice prominently mentioned al Q but the WH refuses to say so because Rove wants her to look bad, perhaps as a lightning rod.

"Moe, I think this is another barkless dog case. Unless your theory is that Rice prominently mentioned al Q but the WH refuses to say so because Rove wants her to look bad, perhaps as a lightning rod."

No, actually my theory is "Anonymous allegations are useless". Often fascinating, seductive and addictive, but useless. :)

Moe

PS: And Sherlock Holmes never went and checked to see whether the dog had been, say, fed drugged meat. I love the stories, but Doyle was never adverse to cheating a little when it came to the deductive powers of his most famous literary invention. :)

What about Wright's claim that she checked with people in the administration about the emphasis, etc. of the speech and they backed up her sources? Or is that no good either because she didn't get named administration officials on the record?

literary invention

Moe - Sherlock Holmes was real.

"Or is that no good either because she didn't get named administration officials on the record?"

No good, either. The days where we could trust an anonymous source on a reporter's say-so are long since gone, if indeed they ever really existed. So, I don't.

And I do recognize that following the widespread following of this stance will lead to a completely different set of problems, but that's not my fault: I'm not the one who poisoned the damned well.

I suspect that Ricky didn't take any more time than I did in deciding to endorse her candidacy.

Probably less. :)
I know three things about her: her party, her current job & her orientation. That she's not McKinney is enough.

guess how many mentions of OBL, al Q, and Islamic extremist groups there were

Exactly two less than were contained in President Clinton's final address to Congress on National Security Policy in December 2000. What do I win? BTW, Clinton didn't mention Al Qaeda once. Doesn't that mean he'd never heard of them? That's what his expression told me.

OBL and the Taliban were mentioned (as a unit) a pair of times.

Slart, shouldn't that be "two more than were contained in President Clinton's final address to Congress on National Security Policy in December 2000"?

Moe I agree with you regarding “anonymous and untraceable sources.” Even if this was true, it’s a nonissue to debate the alleged contents of the draft of a speech, which are almost always a work-in-progress.

Actually, Thorley, based on rilkefan's snark I guessed zero. I'd be happy to be wrong in this case, though.

Sorry Slart, I misread your earlier comment thinking that "OBL and the Taliban were mentioned (as a unit) a pair of times" pertained to Rice rather than Clinton.

They do link to excerpts of the speech. They ought to print the whole thing--on their own they're not very useful. (Though it's cool how she compares the missile defense budget to the entire antiterrorism budget--yeah, that's apples to apples.)

But the excerpts are there and would seem to make it clear that the reporter actually saw the speech.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40579-2004Mar31.html

There are good reasons to distrust anonymous sources, and situations when that distrust should apply to a lesser and greater disagree. Unfortunately in most cases (not yours, Moe) the standard used is "does it make Bush look bad"? When it doesn't, the distrust of anonymous sources is conveniently forgotten.

Sorry--the articles make it clear that the Post didn't have the full text, only the excerpt. But it also says that:

"The White House declined to release the complete text of Rice's speech, because it was not given. The White House did confirm the accuracy of excerpts given to the Post, and former U.S. officials provided a detailed summary of the speech."

One of the times when use of anonymous sources is more justified is when their claims can be independently confirmed.

Another is when they will lose their jobs if they speak on the record.

Another is when it's a matter important to the public interest, and there is no hope of obtaining the information through other means--say, because the White House can classify almost all of it, and has shown they use the classification and declassification power for their political benefit. Hypothetically.

"Unfortunately in most cases (not yours, Moe) the standard used is "does it make Bush look bad"?"

I'm no saint; in the past I've succumbed to the sweet, sweet temptation of anonymous sources. And I recognize the validity of some of the justifications for using them that you later posted. But it's just a bit too hard these days to tell apart the legitimate anonymous sources from the bureaucratic Great Gamesters. :)

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