The Corner

Why Communications Are More Important Than People Realize

Imagine if, immediately after the criticism of the “16 words” in Bush’s State of the Union, the administration’s response had not been, in essence: “Oh, gosh, golly, gee, we’re so sorry, those words shouldn’t have been included, it was a big mistake.”

Imagine if the response had been instead: “The President cited British intelligence which continues to believe Saddam Hussein sought uranium in Africa. We believe our British friends know what they are talking about.”

Then Wilson would have happily leaked details – both true and false – of his secret mission to Africa and he would written his op-ed. Administration officials would — and should– have been responded by saying: “Joe Wilson believes that the 8 days he spent at a hotel in Niamey, sipping mint tea with government officials, provided him with more information and insight than British intelligence has gathered over the past few years. He’s entitled to his opinion. We don’t share it.”

And if the administration had wanted to play hard-ball it might have added: “We regret that the CIA had no one on staff available to undertake this sort of investigation.”

They would have refrained from adding: “No doubt all the CIA staffers were too busy writing tell-all books criticizing the president.”

Clifford D. MayClifford D. May is an American journalist and editor. He is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative policy institute created shortly after the 9/11 attacks, ...

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