Unquote

Today a minor point. One I often complain about. Op-eds are often too short for one to deal with someone’s views fairly. Quoting selectively is especially pernicious, in that it gives the impression of research, while in reality it may distort someone’s original meaning (we’re not the only ones to have noticed this strategy for what it is). George Will, a frequent practitioner of this strategy, gives us another example today. Even though Will thinks Bush has gotten us into horrible mess in Iraq, he can’t bring himself to say that a Democrat was right. His overall take is that democrats and republicans cannot face reality. Odd that he would say this, because his view seems to accord with the democrats.

But back to the quote-picking. Here’s his take on the comments of Nancy Boyda (curiously similar in editing to many war blogger pages):

>Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, House majority whip, recently said that it would be “a real big problem for us” — Democrats — if Petraeus reports substantial progress. Rep. Nancy Boyda, a Kansas Democrat, recently found reports of progress unendurable. She left a hearing of the Armed Services Committee because retired Gen. Jack Keane was saying things Boyda thinks might “further divide this country,” such as that Iraq’s “schools are open. The markets are teeming with people.” Boyda explained: “There is only so much you can take until we in fact had to leave the room for a while . . . after so much of the frustration of having to listen to what we listened to.”

The implication is that the democrats are so intolerant of reality they walk out on actual reports from the field. The impression is rather different from the full quotation:

>I was certainly hoping that General Keane would be able to be here as well. Let me say thank you very much for your testimony so much, Mr. Korb, and I just will make some statements more for the record based on what I heard mainly General Keane. As many of us, there was only so much that you could take until we, in fact, had to leave the room for a while, and so I think I am back and maybe can articulate some things that after so much of the frustration of having to listen to what we listened to.

>But let me just first say that the description of Iraq as if some way or another that itís a place that I might take the family for a vacation, things are going so well, those kinds of comments will in fact show up in the media and further divide this country instead of saying hereís the reality of the problem and people, we have to come together and deal with the reality of this issue.

It turns out that Boyda means to criticize the delusional metrics of war supporters–it’s just like a Market in Indiana–which is, after all, Will’s point.