Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The trouble with Wikileaks

In fact, Kim Philby, who spied for the Soviets during the hottest period of the Cold War, observed in his 1968 book, My Silent War, that secret documents, though glamorous, are frequently a snare and a delusion.

Quote, “Is it a first draft, a second draft or the finished memorandum? Was it written by an official of standing, or some dogsbody with a bright idea? Even if it is unmistakably a direct instruction to the United States Ambassador from the Secretary of State dated last Tuesday, is it still valid today? In short, documentary intelligence, to be really valuable, must come as a steady stream, embellished with an awful lot of explanatory annotation.”

Philby concluded, “An hour’s serious discussion with a trustworthy informant is often more valuable than any number of original documents.”

— Spoken by Brooke Gladstone of WNYC’s “On The Media” on National Public Radio, Dec. 3, 2010.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

George W. Bush has a heart attack and dies. Obviously he goes to Hell, where the Devil is waiting for him.

“I’m not sure what to do,” says the Devil. “You’re on my list, but I have no room for you. As you definitely have to stay here, I’m going to have to let someone else go. I’ve got three folks here who weren’t quite as bad as you. I’ll let one of them go, but you have to take their place. I’ll even let you decide who leaves.”

George W. thinks that sounds pretty good, so he agrees. The Devil opens the first room. In it is Richard M. Nixon and a large pool of hot water. He keeps diving in and climbing out, over and over. Such is his fate in Hell.

“No!” says George W. “I don’t think so, I’m not a good swimmer and don’t think I could stay in hot water all day.”

The Devil leads him to the next room. In it is Tony Blair with a sledgehammer and a room full of rocks. All he does is swing the hammer, time after time.

“No! I’ve got this problem with my shoulder. I would be in constant agony if all I had to do was break rocks all day.” George W. says.

The Devil opens the third door. In it, George sees Bill Clinton lying on the floor with his arms staked out over his head and his legs staked in a spreadeagle pose. Bent over him is Monica Lewinsky doing what she's famous for. Bush looks at this in disbelief for a while and finally says, “Yeah. I can handle this.”

The Devil smiles and says, “OK, Monica. You’re free to go!”