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What public documents should look like from now on
January 11, 2007 7:33 AM   Subscribe

The annotated G.W. Bush A little over a week ago, we discussed the Institute for the Future of the Book and their publication of the Iraq Study Group Report in a profoundly innovative new format designed to elicit, y'know, democracy: reasoned deliberation on issues of importance on the part of the governed. At the time, I expressed my opinion that the publication set a new standard for the release of public documents in a democracy. Well, they've done it again, with this rapid-turnaround publication of our preznit's most recent address to the nation, outlining his new strategy for Iraq. Interested members of the public are invited to append their "comments, criticisms and clarifications."
posted by adamgreenfield (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Content aside, that's lovely.
posted by empath at 8:08 AM on January 11, 2007


I haven't read the whole thing, but it starts right out with a mistake. The President said, The elections of 2005 were a stunning achievement. We thought that these elections would bring the Iraqis together ­ and that as we trained Iraqi security forces, we could accomplish our mission with fewer American troops. But in 2006, the opposite happened.

He clearly means that the opposite of what they expected happened. However, this is what the annotation said, The violence that happened in 2006 was not the opposite of what had happened the previous year, as Bush claims, but a direct consequence of it...

Mistake, or are they just trying too hard to make him look bad (something he seems to accomplish all on his own without help from others)?
posted by caddis at 8:30 AM on January 11, 2007


That commentary is fantastic - very concise descriptions of what is actually happening in Iraq. Talk about cutting through the bs with a laser.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:40 AM on January 11, 2007


"I have a truly marvelous proposition of everlasting world peace which this input field is too small to contain."
posted by ardgedee at 10:20 AM on January 11, 2007


Really excellent idea. The interface is still a bit clunky, but the project has enormous potential. Really, with this speech though, all we need is one phrase stamped across the page in BIG red letters. SAME OLD BULLSHIT (or as Barbara Boxer, I think, called it, "Stay the course pluse 21,500."

The only satisfaction -- and it's a meager one indeed knowing that this "plan" only ensures more dead people and grieving families and wasted capital and spiraling hatred -- is that it is so obvious that whatever they plan to do here "won't work," because there is no way it can work, no definition of what "working" means that isn't nonsensical fantasy, and no end point but an eventual US withdrawal under conditions of raging sectarian strife. What these folks who keep saying "getting out now is a recipe for failure" as a fallback defense of Stay the Course 4.0 do not seem to grasp is that the US has already failed. Get used to it. And bring our boys home. The Iraqi bloodletting will be awful, and we should attempt to extricate anyone who has helped us, and their families, as we tried in Vietnam. We should make sure we don't leave any faction better armed than the others (though Iran certainly will keep the Shi'ite militias in Kalashnikovs and RPG launchers).

The full price for Bush's folly will be paid in blood, for many years, by tens of thousands of ordinary Iraqis we were supposed to be "helping." We can postpone it, but we can't stop it. And to the wankers who think we just need to pound someone, or something, harder and harder so we don't "lose the way we did in Vietnam," I ask: who, where? And ask the Russians how well that's worked in Afghanistan or Chechnya.

Unreal. The anti-war left, and indeed the most strident and aggressively oppositional of us, were right from the beginning of this folly. It will be Bush's folly. You could see it in his eyes last night. Scared shitless of what he's uncorked.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:23 AM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Paragraph 20 is the clincher. Is he going to carry out his dream, and Cheney's, to attack Iran?
If he does we, that is, the whole world, will suffer the oil crisis to end all. Operation Fan Strike - and we all get a piece.
posted by Cennad at 10:27 AM on January 11, 2007


I apologise for not saying that it is the personnel involved who will suffer most - and their families. It's a bloody tragedy.
posted by Cennad at 10:33 AM on January 11, 2007


I apologise for not saying that it is the personnel involved who will suffer most - and their families. It's a bloody tragedy.
posted by Cennad at 10:33 AM on January 11, 2007


Fascinating example. These folks have some great ideas on the future of how we'll be consuming (err, reading) things. It would be lovely to be able to wikify this speech - you know, allow people to add notes like Flickr allows you to do with pictures. You could really take someone's speech to task if you could summit hyperlinks to parts where the speaker contradicts themselves. It could be anarchy, but it could also be a fascinating application of the hive mind.

As for the content, there's nothing I could say publicly that hasn't already been said better by others elsewhere (such as fourmaccheese). A bloody awful mess, all of it.
posted by rmm at 11:10 AM on January 11, 2007


profoundly innovative new format designed to elicit, y'know, democracy: reasoned deliberation on issues of importance on the part of the governed.

Ahem.

Even if it's not quite new, it will be interesting if this kind of publication and scrutiny will raise the bar for politcal speeches and documents. They were once, believe it or not, the main instrument by which public issues were debated and public opinion shaped.

I certainly hope these kinds of projects will encourage more (and better) argument and less adornment in public speeches.

But I also see the potential that this will be the final push into utter meaninglessness of public rhetoric. Why give critics anything substantial to get traction on when you can just present a smooth, blank surface instead?
posted by Urban Hermit at 1:51 PM on January 11, 2007


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