What I *meant* to say was…

Donald Rumsfeld wins the backtracking award for the day. Apparently, when he said there was "no strong, hard evidence" of Iraq/Al-Qaeda ties, he really intended to say "there were ties between al Qaeda and Iraq".

Mr Rumfeld’s boss’s communication difficulties seem to have become contagious. Hopefully they’ll spread to Dick Cheney in time for tonight’s debate

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3 thoughts on “What I *meant* to say was…

  1. Rummy’s wheeze had been to say al-Qaeda were in Iraq, without explicitly saying they were mates with Saddam. Now given that they’d tried to kill Saddam a couple of times he was probably right.

  2. You have to remember that one of the Islamic terror groups specifically identified, both during the building of the case for war, and afterwards, as the bombs started falling, were a group of Iranian-funded Iraqi rebels operating inside the northern no-fly zone.

    Bartlett’s Bizarre Bazaar

  3. The problem here is that people who work in the military, and especially in military intelligence, use phrases like "credible evidence" and "strong evidence" with extremely precise and distinct meanings, while the public and the media don’t. Rumsfeld isn’t backtracking here: he said there was no strong, hard evidence, as part of an explanation of the kind of evidence they’re dealing with. It doesn’t mean there’s no credible evidence, because credible evidence is a different matter.

    I seem to remember some other of Rumsfeld’s comments being widely misunderstood by people who didn’t understand the precise difference between tactics and strategies.

    Of course, as a politician, part of his job is to explain things in a way that is easily understood. As far as I can see, though, he was doing a fairly good job of that but the media chose only to quote one sentence of the full speech.

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