Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 23, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

WHEN IS A SODA CAN NOT A SODA CAN?....Spencer explains the mysterious soda can quote here. Sort of.

Kevin Drum 11:26 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (9)

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To me it seemed that the Iraqi dude was pointing out that while you might be able to tell exactly what a material object such as a Pepsi can is/contains, you cannot know that with certainly when dealing with a complex, rivalry-ridden human organization such as the Iraqi Police.


Posted by: Cranky Observer on May 23, 2007 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

How much soda would a soda can can if a soda can could can soda?

Posted by: Matt on May 23, 2007 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

When it's ajar?

Posted by: ssmug on May 23, 2007 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

I think one of Spencer's commenters gets it right when he says that the quote speaks volumes about the officer's fear of expressing himself directly.

Posted by: thersites on May 23, 2007 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Passage to Baghdad. by Spencer Ackerman.

Posted by: gregor on May 23, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

What this demonstrates is that when an interviewer is conducting an interview in translation, s/he needs to damn well indicate that in the story.

My guess is that this can all be cleared up by asking an Iraqi fluent in English what the metaphor means; better yet, play that Iraqi the tape of the original Arabic.

Posted by: Disputo on May 23, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

To me, it meant that he was saying, Yes, the police just as infiltrated as you think it is, but don't ask me to say it out loud. The soda can just happened to be what was in front of him--with Clarence Thomas' pubic hair on it, of course.

Posted by: Kenji on May 23, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Now we're back to reading the tea leaves, i mean, soda.

Posted by: absent observer on May 23, 2007 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

You don't need to analyze the liquid inside a soda can to know what's inside it. It's a soda can, therefore it's filled with soda.

The Iraqi regime is controlled by sectarian Shiite parties, and therefore they're collaborating with the Shiite militias. This isn't an accusation he can make directly, so he's hinting. It's really pretty obvious what he means.

Posted by: AJL on May 23, 2007 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK
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