Friday, February 09, 2007

Explosively foreign

Today Secretary of War Robert
gates 10
held a press conference in Seville. He was asked about the much-postponed public presentation of the “proof” of Iranian assistance for Iraqi insurgents. He blamed Iran for the new bugaboo, the “explosively formed projectile,” which he seems to have called “explosively foreign projectiles.” That may be a transcript error, but I do love the idea of a projectile, or indeed anything else, being explosively foreign. [Update: it is a transcript error.]

He admitted that the evidence is “very ambiguous,” and went on to add some ambiguity of his own: “In terms of the particular, it’s the sophistication of the technology. I think that there are some serial numbers. There may be some markings on some of the projectile fragments that we found.” That’s a lot of qualifiers about a form of evidence as specific as serial numbers. And wouldn’t you think they’d have filed the serial numbers off?

Asked if he was consciously adopting a different style than Rumsfeld’s with our Old European partners at the NATO [correction: international security] meeting, he claimed not to be familiar with the man: “I wasn’t in Washington, so I don’t know very much about the style of my predecessor, by golly.” I may have added the last two words.

Gen. David Petraeus, aka Colonel Combover,

has been talking up Fallujah as the model for Baghdad. He evidently means not the part about bombing it into rubble, but the part about treating it like the Gaza Strip, with restricted access to what they’re laughingly calling “gated communities,” fingerprinting, i.d. cards, etc. Petraeus’s deputy, British Lt-Gen. Graeme Lamb (not really the butchest name, is it?), says that we know Fallujah is doing well now because the city’s Business Association now has 340 members. So it was all worth it.

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