A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Monday, March 29, 2004 :::
A correction: A Mind That Suits quoted Dr. David Kay as saying "we were almost comletely wrong," and it is embarrassing to enter a Google search on that and find that the only people who had him saying that were blogs, which is why they should be taken with a grain of salt. As with all information. The quote was "we were almost all wrong." The point is the same.

In trying to find better documentation, this writer ran across this transcript from the News Hour. Lacking any other summary of his final report, such as the public version of the interim report, this interviews has the most useful information. It is interesting to note that Dr. Kay begins by saying they haven't been found "yet," but then he did resign in frustration. Anyone attentive to the strict standards of science would say "yet," because not all possibilities have been exhausted. However, there is the blunt fact of his resignation and his declaration. Conservatives should build the case from the ground up, starting with what would have happened if we had NOT gone in, which is that the sanctions would have been lifted and Saddam would have gone to town. The best assumption has to be that we won't find them anytime soon, and the answer we come up with needs to start workin sooner rather than later. Now would be a good time.

Such an attempt has, indeed, finally been made, and it is by one of the most effective operators this town has ever seen, former Secretary of Just About Everything Important George Shultz. The article, while long, is well worth reading, although it will only help to start the conversation that should have started automatically with the interim Kay report last October. (Link requires free registration.)

It also illustrates why Mr. Shultz was wise to never seek elective office: it is 4500 words long (at least) and the first 1500 are introduction. A real snooze-inducer, unfortunately. But all of the previous attempts this writer has seen have tried to use the "well, we really thought..." line of argument, which begs for the rejoinder, "well, you were really wrong, weren't you?" This takes the situation as it was. That's the place to start.

It is also a reminder that Mr. Shultz, in person, is a radically different human being than the one that appears on TV. He is not telegenic, at times, under harsh lights, resembling a somewhat bewildered manatee. In person, however, you are certain that there are few things that he would attempt that he couldn't do, and most surprisingly, he seems to be having a great deal of fun. When it was this writer's duty to sit through interminable hearings for the (then) House International Affairs Committee, he would almost audibly breathe a sigh of relief when Mr. Shultz entered the room. He has a twinkle in his eye that seems to say, "This is one great big game and I have most of the marbles." And he usually did.

He is also the only cabinet member this writer ever saw with the, um, guts enough to refuse to answer questions from a Member of Congress until that member apologized for something he had said. If more appointed officials had that nerve, we might never again have to listen to a question from Sen. Kennedy.

It is also a reminder that when Pres. Reagan made Mr. Shultz Secretary of State, there were reports from indiscreet associates at his country club that Mr. Shultz, a Princeton grad, has an orange tiger tatooed to his rather ample posterior. That should give you an idea of the kind of fire that lies hidden under that avuncular, slow-talking hulk that appears on TV.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 2:16 PM



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