Is that your final
I mean, where's friggin' Regis when you need him?
The title of James Risen's piece in the Times tomorrow lashes Condi Rice and Don Rumsfeld with cruelly apt understatement: "Rumsfeld and Rice Adjust Defense of Iraq-Africa Claim."
The original line out of the White House was that the uranium allegation turned out not to be true. They didn't know it at the time. And with what we know now it shouldn't have been there. But it was an honest mistake: no harm, no foul.
Only that didn't go over so well, especially when people started taking a closer look at the timing of who knew what when. So, now, well, now it is true. Or, in the tellingly ubiquitous word we're hearing from administration officials, 'accurate.'
Risen picks the signature quote from Rice, the theme around which she spent Sunday morning weaving a fugue of cynicism and mendacity: "The statement that he made was indeed accurate. The British government did say that."
Rumsfeld, lacking Rice's musical bent, was shall we say a touch more wobbly: "It didn't rise to the standard of a presidential speech, but it's not known, for example, that it was inaccurate. In fact, people think it was technically accurate."
Risen has other sentences that capture the essence of the situation with equally grand understatement.
The legalistic defense of the phrasing seemed to signal a shift in the focus of the White House's strategy in dealing with the political fallout over Mr. Bush's public use of evidence that was based in part on fabricated documents and in part on uncorroborated reports from abroad.
(Dr. Jones' fitness to practice medicine has been called into question since his qualifications were based in part on a forged diploma and in part on long, probing study of Marcus Welby, MD
Read Risen's article. But, I warn you, don't be drinking any beverages or eating any food while you do.