State Department Official Says Things He Does Not Believe to Be True

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Alberto Fernandez, director of the office of press and public diplomacy in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, says he "seriously misspoke" when, during an interview in Arabic with Al Jazeera, he said, "There has been arrogance and stupidity by the U.S. in Iraq." Fernandez insists "this represents neither my views [nor] those of the State Department." A "senior administration official," by contrast, attributed the burst of candor to a mistranslation. Or maybe Fernandez was drunk.

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  1. “There has been arrogance and stupity by the US in Iraq. This represents neither my view nor those of the US State Department.”

    Don’t you just love bureaucrats?

  2. He just said what the Al Jazeera audience wanted to hear. Maybe it even blunted some of the anger and hatred over there.

  3. So does the State Department think we acted with humility and wisdom?

  4. He just said what the Al Jazeera audience wanted to hear. Maybe it even blunted some of the anger and hatred over there.

    Anger and hatred over there? Fuck you, asshole. Who has murdered whom? When did the Iraqis whip themselves up into a racist fury about white American Christians and attack Texas?

  5. “There has been arrogance and stupity by the US in Iraq. This represents neither my view nor those of the US State Department.”

    The fact that it isn’t his or the State Department’s opinion doesn’t make it any less true, however.

  6. “There has been arrogance and stupity by the US in Iraq.”

    “this represents neither my views [nor] those of the State Department.”

    It does, however, represent the truth.

  7. What did he mean by the word ‘by’? Probably he meant Canada, as Canada is ‘by’ the U.S., like my cat is by me right now (trying to typr too) =D

    So yeah it was dem Canukistanis being stoopid and arogant and stuf.

  8. a,

    Is there something false about my statement? Is it your position that there is only negligible anger and hatred for the US in the middle east? Yes, yes, fuck me for being accurate. I hate myself.

  9. The fact that it isn’t his or the State Department’s opinion doesn’t make it any less true, however.

    It *was* stupid to imagine that the Iraqis were capable of civilization. Split now and let ’em murder each other as they see fit – saves money too!

  10. I have no problem with arrogance. Stupidity I can’t stomach.

  11. It *was* stupid to imagine that the Iraqis were capable of civilization. Split now and let ’em murder each other as they see fit – saves money too!

    Let me guess: Some of your best friends are Iraqi…

  12. “It *was* stupid to imagine that the Iraqis were capable of civilization. Split now and let ’em murder each other as they see fit – saves money too!”

    You’ve been waiting five years to write that, haven’t you?

    It must be a relief not to pretend you respect non-white people after all this time.

  13. a:

    Your comment was both intelligent and insightful. We here at H&R have much to learn from you.

  14. So Bush has taken the pathological lying of his administration a step further, demanding retractions from anyone who speaks truth about Iraq?

  15. Like the war or not, I have a real problem with a member of the State Department voicing his criticism while appearing on al Jazeera in an official capacity.

    There’s a time and place for dissent – that wasn’t it.

  16. Like the war or not, I have a real problem with a member of the State Department voicing his criticism while appearing on al Jazeera in an official capacity.

    That comment struck me more as an observation than criticism. It’s like saying “We lost in Vietnam.”

  17. Calling something arrogant and stupid sounds a good deal more like criticism to me.

  18. This has recant or lose your job all over it.

  19. Calling something arrogant and stupid sounds a good deal more like criticism to me.

    The insurgency is kicking our ass because the powers that be refused to even consider the possibility that there would be one–no, we’d waltz in and the happy Iraqis would all smile and throw flowers at us. THAT was our post-war plan: have flowers thrown at us.

    Sincere question: three years later, how can I or anyone else describe this without having our description considered “criticism”? Stupid arrogance sounds pretty straightforward to me, despite the negative connotations of the two words.

  20. “Like the war or not, I have a real problem with a member of the State Department voicing his criticism while appearing on al Jazeera in an official capacity.”

    Why? Are you claiming an affiliation between Al Jazeera and either the Al Qaedists, the Shiite militias, or the Sunni insurgents?

    I certainly wouldn’t want to see a State Department official talking trash about us to Pravda circa 1969, but Al Jazeera is not our enemy. They’re an indepent media outlet, and one that often criticizes the very people we keep getting into scrapes with.

  21. It’s like saying “We lost in Vietnam.”

    .. we didn’t lose! .. we came in second!!..

    .. Hobbit

  22. Calling something stupid and arrogant is expressing an opinion not making an observation of fact. Just because you or I happen to agree with that opinion does not change that reality.

    The role of the State Department is to support and advance U.S. foreign policy. This doesn’t meet that standard.

    Joe, as for Al Jazeera just being the local independent news outlet, you’re probably right. They’re just like CNN only in Arabic.

  23. Calling something stupid and arrogant is expressing an opinion not making an observation of fact. Just because you or I happen to agree with that opinion does not change that reality.

    So could you answer my previous question: how can one describe our flower-throwing postwar plans without facing charges of either criticism or dishonesty?

  24. “The role of the State Department is to support and advance U.S. foreign policy. This doesn’t meet that standard.”

    Convincing people in the Arab world that we actually give a damn about the mass slaughter we’ve set in motion, that it wasn’t our intent, is very much in the interests of our foreign policy. It’s difficult to do that if you don’t admit that there have been failures in the performance of our leadership.

    You can’t alway bludgeon people over the head Soviet style with assertions of how wonderiffic you are. Sometimes you have to level with them, especially in the face of obvious failure, or they’re not going to trust you.

    American foreign policy is not the same thing as George Bush’s popularity.

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