Friday, July 20, 2007
Memory Hole: Iraq Benchmarks
If you've read George Orwell's 1984, you're familiar with the concept of the "memory hole." It is the recepticle in the Ministry of Truth where inconvenient truths are conveniently disposed of. During my sabbatical, I noticed a glaring, obvious example of the phenomenon. Do you remember the Iraq Report Card?
Initially, we were told this:
Report says zero benchmarks met by Iraq government
WASHINGTON - A draft report to Congress on the war will conclude that the U.S.-backed government in Iraq has met none of its targets for political, economic and other reform, speeding up the Bush administration's reckoning on what to do next, a U.S. official said Monday.
One likely result of the report will be a vastly accelerated debate among President Bush's top aides on withdrawing troops and scaling back the U.S. presence in Iraq.
The "pivot point" for addressing the matter will no longer be Sept. 15, as initially envisioned, when a full report on Bush's so-called "surge" plan is due, but instead will come this week when the interim mid-July assessment is released, the official said.
Read more at: Journal & Courier
Then, we were told this:
Bush presents a mixed report on Iraq progress
WASHINGTON: Asking for patience with what he called "an ugly war," President George W. Bush on Thursday presented a mixed progress report on Iraq, with some military advances offset by persistent violence and halting movement toward political reconciliation.
In a news conference focused on the 25-page progress report issued Thursday, he said the Iraqi government had shown progress on only 8 of 18 "benchmarks" set by Congress, but that there was sufficient forward motion to give "cause for optimism." He also warned Congress against pursuing efforts to limit his war-fighting powers.
Read more at: International Herald Tribune
The news media quickly dropped the first story, and dutifully reported the White House spin practically verbatim. Are we that stupid? Forgetful?
This is sadly only one example of the phenomenon.