Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 10, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

IS IRAQ A FRONT IN THE WAR ON TERROR?....Here's a peculiar story from last Monday by Knight-Ridder's John Walcott. It's headlined "Analysis: Insiders Slam Bush's Speech," but far from being any kind of real analysis, it's less than 500 words long and it's practically all filler even at that abbreviated length. In fact, although it leads by saying that "some officials" thought Bush's Sunday speech was oversimplified, the real purpose of the article appears to be limited to getting the following paragraph in print:

"The war in Vietnam was not just about communism, and the war in Iraq isn't just about terrorism," one senior administration official said Monday, speaking only on the condition of anonymity because he disagreed with much of what his boss had said. "We lost in Vietnam because we didn't understand that as well as we should have."

In other words, Walcott says, winning in Iraq isn't really likely to have a big impact on the wider war on terrorism.

There's nothing especially unusual about this sentiment aside from the fact that it came from a very senior official in the Bush administration. So who do you think said it?

POSTSCRIPT: "Senior administration official" is a term of art and if I understand this correctly applies to only about 20 people in the entire world. So here's an assignment for Josh Marshall: how about making a list of all "senior administration officials" so that fans at home can play along?

UPDATE: A knowledgable emailer suggests that Richard Armitage is the most likely source for this quote. That sounds like a reasonable guess to me.

Kevin Drum 3:34 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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