Magazine | June 3, 2013, Issue

Talking Points

CONFIDENTIAL — EYES ONLY

Please review the following talking points and submit revisions, etc. NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 10!

(Draft includes revisions from DepWar and DepState and WH.)

Early in the morning on December 7, the Japanese armed forces [Do we know for certain it was the Japanese? Suggest “foreign combatants” or “shadowy international menaces.”] attacked [Again, suggest: “jostled” or “visited roughly” or “made unscheduled diplomatic arrivals at.”] the United States military bases in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. [Need to clarify that Hawaii is a colonially occupied territory of the U.S. government. Suggest: “assorted American assets temporarily stored in a region whose indigenous peoples await the return of their King Kamehameha.”]

It is at this moment unclear to our intelligence-gathering personnel both in Washington and on the ground in the region what, exactly, occurred or the precise motives behind this act of war. [Note: Need to rephrase this. “Act of war” suggests that we were invaded and attacked, which is NOT advantageous at this point. WH suggests waiting until after midterms to define the event so specifically. Suggest: “. . . this confusing and unclear set of uncertain events.”] At this point in time, while the Japanese Imperial Government is claiming credit for the event, we have no certain knowledge that this is, in fact, so. [Suggestion: Several 8mm reels of comedy shorts such as “The Chinaman’s Milkmaid” and “Ants in Your Pants 1938” have been viewed in parts of the island of Lanai. Quite possibly this episode was a result of protests against these short films, both of which are, to us, harmless photoplays, but to others might represent a cultural and ethnic insult. Maybe possibly point to this as a motive?]

The region in question is a complicated and unsettled one in general [Please check: Is this racist?? Suggest: “. . . the region in question is one with a long tradition and rich historical tapestry.”], and before we move forward, we need to make sure all of the facts are gathered.

Needless to say, the president and his team in Washington will bring the same zeal and enthusiasm to hunting down the architects of this crime that they brought to restoring America’s economic and financial greatness.

God Bless America! [Need?]

CONFIDENTIAL — EYES ONLY

Please review the following talking points and submit revisions, etc. NO LATER THAN SEPTEMBER 14!!

(Draft includes revisions from Def., State, NSA.)

Early this morning, on September 11, 2001, four passenger airplanes were hijacked by members of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. [Not comfortable with this lede. Not sure it’s possible to say “members” or “terrorist” or “al-Qaeda.” Would be more comfortable with a simple: “. . . four passenger airplanes were redirected by youths on a purely coincidental basis, without connection to any known larger entity.” Please revise.]

#page#As a result, the Twin Towers in New York’s Wall Street area were destroyed, as well as an entire wall of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. More than 3,000 American lives were lost. [Does this include the eight youngsters who were flying the planes? If not, please revise. Need to be inclusive here.]

In addition, United Flight 93 was retaken by heroic actions of its passengers and plunged into the earth without further loss of life. [Seems unnecessary here. Please substitute: “Other events also occurred on this day, including the release of Ben Folds’s solo album, Rockin’ the Suburbs.”]

It is clear that the evil [Please strike.] forces behind this attack [Please replace “attack” with “expression of hurt.”] were driven by a fanatical [Please strike.] desire [Please strike.] to impose [Please strike.] fundamentalist, radical Islam [Please strike.] on the world, and an unwillingness to live peacefully in the 21st century [Please strike.].

[Please replace paragraph above with: “Investigations are being initiated by the Inspector General and the Department of Justice, in coordination with the New York State Police, into the cause of these events. [Please replace “events” with “mysterious occurrences.”] Until such time as these investigations are concluded and a report is filed, it’s important for all of us to remain calm.”]

[Possible paragraph: “Early indications from intelligence sources suggest that this expression of violent outrage may have been triggered by the cancellation of the hit series Xena: Warrior Princess, which has proved very popular in the region from which the amateur jetliner pilots originated.”]

[Please remove all references to the speculated backgrounds of the pilots of the aircraft. Still trying to determine who exactly they were. Probable: white men.]

In the meantime, we urge all Americans to remain vigilant of any signs of terrorism and terrorist activity. [Uncertain about this. Suggest adding: “. . . especially from the usual types” at the end.]

God bless America! [Incendiary and unprovable. Please remove.]

In This Issue

Articles

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The Campaign Must Go On!

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The Difference It Will Make

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Features

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Agent McConnell

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Books, Arts & Manners

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Two Masters

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Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

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Politics & Policy

The Week

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Athwart

Your Firstborn, Too

Second terms are the price a man pays for the hubris of thinking he deserves one. The Boston Herald, searching for a term to sum up the president’s merry May, chose ...
The Long View

Talking Points

CONFIDENTIAL — EYES ONLY Please review the following talking points and submit revisions, etc. NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 10! (Draft includes revisions from DepWar and DepState and WH.) Early in the morning on ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED; YOU ARE WEIGHED AND FOUND WANTING; YOUR KINGDOM WILL BE DIVIDED AND SURRENDERED TO THE PERSIANS It’s one year later, but the same old subway station Stairs I ...
Happy Warrior

Long-Run Silence

The other day, Niall Ferguson, a celebrity historian at Harvard, was at an “investors’ conference,” the kind of speaking gig he plays a lot of: You get a ton of ...

Most Popular

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The Comey–Trump Dance

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Politics & Policy

Is James Comey Michael Wolff-ing Himself?

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Culture

Wednesday Links

T'was the 18th of April in seventy-five: The midnight ride of William Dawes and Samuel Prescott (and Paul Revere). The Forgotten Nazi History of “One-Pot Meals.” Dorothy’s Wizard of Oz Ruby Slippers on Sale for a Whopping $6 Million. On April 18, 1906, an earthquake and fire destroyed 80 percent of ... Read More
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The Underappreciated Barbara Bush

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White House

McConnell and Russian Election Interference

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U.S.

California’s Simmering Political Revolt

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Culture

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World

Macron’s Post-Democratic ‘Europe’

Whatever else you may think about France’s President Macron, he is, so far as his own country is concerned, an interesting and innovative politician. But when it comes to the EU, he remains committed to the old Procrustean vision that has caused the union so much trouble, is about to cost it one of its largest ... Read More