The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, March 19, 2004

Bush historical airbrushing...

And not, I think, the first instance of it.

From the WaPo today (emphasis mine):
On April 23, 2003, Andrew S. Natsios, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, laid out in a televised interview the costs to U.S. taxpayers of rebuilding Iraq. "The American part of this will be $1.7 billion," he said. "We have no plans for any further-on funding for this."

That turned out to be off by orders of magnitude. The administration, which asked Congress for another $20 billion for Iraq reconstruction five months after Natsios made his assertion, has said it expects overall Iraqi reconstruction costs to be as much as $75 billion this year alone.

The transcript of that interview has been pulled from the USAID Web site, the agency said, "to reflect current statements and testimony on Iraq reconstruction."

You may recall that the job of the hero Winston Smith in George Orwell's 1984 is do much the same: to revise the archives of the Times to reflect current 'realities'. Thus (Chapter 1):
The Times of the nineteenth of December had published the official forecasts of the output of various classes of consumption goods in the fourth quarter of 1983, which was also the sixth quarter of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. Today's issue contained a statement of the actual output, from which it appeared that the forecasts were in every instance grossly wrong. Winston's job was to rectify the original figures by making them agree with the later ones.

USAID's airbrushing of history differs from that of the regime in 1984 only in that it does not alter inconvenient items but removes them altogether.

How many more instances of similar tidying-up by USG, I wonder?

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