By Their Clichés, You Shall Know Them

At least since September 11, the buzz-phrase for every investigation has been “connect the dots.” Republicans were highly imaginative in connecting the dots between Afghanistan and Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, while Democrats preferred connecting the dots between Enron executives and the Bush administration.  Donald Rumsfeld, who has raised this kind of political gibberish to high art, told Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation:

I was musing over the fact that there are so many books that have been written—“Why England Slept,” Pearl Harbor, what happened, why didn’t we know?  Right now on Capitol Hill, the members of the House and the Senate are trying to—are looking, having investigations on September 11th of last year, and trying to connect the dots, as they say, trying to piece together what might have been known, and why didn’t we know it, and why weren’t we able to connect the dots?  What the president is saying very simply to the world is let’s look at the dots today.  Our task is not to connect—connect the dots as to why England slept, or what happened with Pearl Harbor, or what happened on September 11th only.  Our task is to connect the dots before the fact, and—and see if we can’t behave in a way that there won’t be books written about why we slept, or what happened.


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