Monday, September 15, 2008

Selective Quotation

Is there a doctor in the house? The kind with a PhD rather than an MD, preferably in political theory? This may be stretching the remit of AW(i'Wod'), but I've found an Alan ('NTM') Johnson interview quoted - and, I think, intentionally misinterpreted. First Sarah Palin interviewed by Charlie Gibson Excerpts:

Gibson: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?
Palin: In what respect?
Gibson: The Bush — well, what do you interpret it to be?
Palin: His world view?
Gibson: No, the Bush doctrine, annunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.
Palin: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell-bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made and, with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.
Gibson: The Bush doctrine as I understand it is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defence, that we have the right to a pre-emptive strike against any country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with us?
Palin: Charlie, if there is legitimate evidence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country.

Now, via Arthur Silber, Cliff May of the Corner cites Alan Johnson's interview with Anne-Marie Slaughter (though, doubtless for his own reasons, he doesn't link to the interview, making the cut-and-paste less obvious, but the the Alan Johnson Interviews book page).

Alan Johnson: What are the central differences, and what are the elements of continuity, if any exist, between 'the Bush doctrine' and the 'grand strategy of forging a world of liberty under law' that you propose?
Anne-Marie Slaughter: Tell me what you mean by 'The Bush Doctrine'.

Johnson goes on to give his definition (and May reprints their exchange). I'm blogging this because I'm surprised that Democratiya is cited by anyone, ever. But I also think that Dean Slaughter is being intentionally misunderstood by the defenders of Palin. My interpretation of that exchange is that Johnson's original question is too wide-ranging for a verbal answer, so Slaughter short-cuts by asking for a working definition of the 'Bush doctrine' with which she can compare and contrast the Princeton Project on National Security's policies.

I think she understood the question, and wanted it clarified. So May's precis was wrong.

In other words, Dean Slaughter gave the same answer as did Palin.

Any opinions?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that if Palin had asked what the interviewer meant by 'The Bush Doctrine' it would have been a better and more honest way to answer the question than trying to bluff her way through even though she plainly had no idea what she was being asked.

9/15/2008 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

This cracks me up. Oliver Kamm telling off Melanie Phillips:

"Melanie has instead just put up a post on her Spectator blog entitled "Stasi tactics from Camp Obama", complaining that the Democratic presidential campaign is "behaving like an American Stasi". Honestly, Melanie, I am not part of the totalitarian Left and I admire John McCain. But I also know what the Stasi was, and how it operated - namely, by using the extensive and meticulous records that it inherited from Nazi Germany in order to blackmail public servants in West Germany, and directly aiding terrorist groups and tyrannies. I would never use the phrase "you can't say that"; but the analogies Melanie draws are no more reasonable than likening President Bush to Hitler."

Er... you don't say. However, Melanie gushes hyperbole on a daily basis and she is never going to stop.

9/16/2008 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

so Slaughter short-cuts by asking for a working definition of the 'Bush doctrine' with which she can compare and contrast the Princeton Project on National Security's policies.

Precisely. Slaughter already knows of various possible interpretations of the Bush doctrine, and wants to narrow down one. Palin clearly had no idea of any definition of the Bush doctrine.

9/16/2008 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. But, according to Republican rhetoric, and the constituency they appeal to, this is just mere (liberal) media trickery. What is more important is "values".

9/16/2008 05:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I saw Mad Mel's comment and couldn't help thinking that it was exactly the kind of thing that the Decents would normally jump down their opponents' throats for.
Fair play to Kamm for calling her on it, although personally (although I probably draw the line at Nazi comparisons) I tend to shrug off that kind of nonsense.

9/16/2008 08:36:00 PM  

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