I try very hard not to toss out too many “Orwellians” out there when I write. It’s not that I don’t think that there’s a lot of Orwellian stuff going on, it’s just that, well, everyone’s doing it, and I’m an individual, damn it.
But when I read the following headline, the very first word to pop into my head (thought police, stay away) was, “Orwellian”.
Ah, Michael O’Hanlon, that whacky one-time “critic” of the Iraq war calling for the GAO report to be… um… “improved”. One word thrown in this context that wouldn’t have a double meaning here would be, “ironic”.
By now the O’Hanlon as an Iraq War critic has been handily dealt with, but bear with me as we take a short stroll down memory lane. Back in late July, Michael O’Hanlon teamed up with his buddy from the Brookings Institute, Kenneth Pollack, to write a glowing OpEd about all the great things happening in Iraq.
Almost instantly, the right were on their feet. O’Hanlon and Pollack were touted as anti-Iraq War people who had seen the error of their ways and were now helping to carry the torch for Bush’s “surge”.
This was a little misleading, however, as the dynamic duo had, actually, been rather supportive of the efforts from the beginning.
Man, such harsh criticism. It’s a wonder how Bush managed to avoid breaking down into a shuddering, weeping mess following the litany of very bad things said about his Iraq war policies.
But seriously folks.
They were never critics, in fact both authors had been cheerleading for the war since before its inception. So there’s your first little bit of doublespeak. But almost just to make sure you know what side O’Hanlon is fighting for, he comes out with this statement that he hopes that the report released by the GAO is “improved” before it’s official release.
Is that “improved” spelled e-u-p-h-e-m-i-s-m? Just curious because that’s what it seems like to me, as in, euphemism for “I really hope the report is altered by the White House so that it is more in tune with the message the White House is attempting to portray as congress gets ready to decide the future of the Iraq War.”
Of course, it is important to note that the whole reason why we even know of this report in the first place before its official release to avoid such “improvements”:
The person who provided the draft report to The Post said it was being conveyed from a government official who feared that its pessimistic conclusions would be watered down in the final version — as some officials have said happened with security judgments in this month’s National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. Congress requested the GAO report, along with an assessment of the Iraqi security forces by an independent commission headed by retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, to provide a basis for comparison with the administration’s scorecard. The Jones report is also scheduled for delivery next week.
And in case you’re wondering, GAO stands for the Government Accountability Office, which, assuming it is not under the thrall of Bushian Orwellianism, seeks to hold government “accountable”. Something this government has been avoiding for a rather long time… like, since forever.