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October 07, 2004

Duelfer In The Sky With Diamonds

The new report on Iraq's missing WMD is an impressive piece of work. I'm surprised by the honesty of some sections.

But parts of it are incredibly peculiar. By this I don't mean they're false, or even that I disagree with the general ideas being expressed. They're just -- uh, how shall I put this? Let's just say: they break new stylistic ground in federal government documents.

For instance, from the introduction in Volume I:

This report will also attempt to broaden understanding by recalibrating the perspective of the reader. The Regime was run by Saddam and the calculations he made concerning WMD were based on his view of relevant related factors not ours. Optimally, we would remove the reader temporarily from his reality and time. We would collect the flow of images, sounds, feelings, and events that passed into Saddam's mind and project them as with a Zeiss Planetarium projection instrument. The reader would see the Universe from Saddam's point in space. Events would flow by the reader as they flowed by Saddam.

I... see.

Picture yourself in a boat on the Tigris
With trees used as gallows and mustard gas skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
Uday with kaleidoscope eyes

Then there's this:

Ideally, the reader would see what Saddam saw. Such a transmutation is impossible. However, this report will provide the reader a handrail to grasp in the form of a time line that will also serve as a constant reminder of contemporaneous events that filled the field of Saddam's view.

Yes. When you open the doors of perception, you will see that handrails and time lines and reminders are not separate objects. All is one within the Zeiss Planetarium projection instrument.

And finally:

Complicating understanding and analysis of the former Regime's WMD is the tendency to bring our own assumptions and logic to the examination of the evidence... When considering the very different system that existed under the government of Saddam Hussein, there is a risk of not seeing the meaning and not seeing the implications of the evidence.

Analysts were asked to look for something they may not expect or be able to see. A challenge like that faced by scientists engaged in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Therefore, before we begin this journey together, please buckle yourself securely into the ride, and lick the small, crudely-drawn picture of Daffy Duck on page 62.

Okay, I made that last sentence up. But here's the amazing thing: I did not make up the sentence before.

God bless the person who wrote all this. God bless them, and let's hope their next assignment is rewriting our nation's dishwater-dull tax forms.

Posted at October 7, 2004 02:25 PM | TrackBack

I can just imagine the rebuttal now from the Right:


Posted by: Hee En Ming at October 7, 2004 08:41 PM

Ah, yes, that would spice up things like Publication 587, goodness knows:


To deduct expenses related to the business use of your home, you must meet specific requirements. Even then your deduction may be limited. It is best to imagine yourself as an eagle soaring to the stratosphere; yes, you may ride the currents of the winds, but if you go too high you will asphyxiate and die. Limits are important.

Your use of the business part of your home must be Exclusive and Regular, in much the same way that the use of your toilet would be Exclusive and Regular if you ate a lot of fiber and only owned one toilet. It must be for your trade or business and it must be either your principal place of business, a place where you meet with clients in the course of your trade or business, or a separate structure you use in connection with your trade or business. If it were up to us, we would make you stop reading this right now and take an imaginary journey through space and time to the Land of Home Offices, where the menfolk work in harmony in separate rooms, near but not too near the refrigerator, and where no teenager ever comes in before 5 p.m. to use Dad's machine to perform web searches for a report about Uganda.

Now hang on to your hats, because we have some WONDERFUL things to say about Exceptions to Exclusive Use arising from Storage of Inventory or even (gasp) Product Samples. It is perhaps best for you to sit down and fan yourself a bit before we continue our magical journey.

Posted by: Ted at October 8, 2004 01:08 AM

How much did I fucking pay for this shit?

signed, A. Taxpayer.

Posted by: a different chris at October 8, 2004 02:41 PM