Man Without Qualities

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Fussing II

The Man Without Qualities does not believe that William Safire's columns alleging a French company's brokering of rocket fuel sales to Iraq are the right way to approach the French problem even if the columns are correct, including their assertions of French government complicity.

The evidence Mr. Safire marshals is a set of fragmentary, largely ambiguous e-mails which can always be claimed to have been quoted out of context. My concern here includes the likelihood that that kind of evidence is almost certain to result in a bogged-down, pointless, conflicting set of accusations and denials - even if Mr. Safire is right. And assuming he is vindicated, how big a deal is brokering compared to actually selling or delivering the prohibited items?

And exactly that seems to be happening. I don't treat things that appear in Tom Paine very seriously, but this piece does demonstrate one reason why the Safire approach is just not worth the effort.

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