Thursday, June 09, 2005

Anonymous Sources

Glenn Reynolds has a strange interpretation on this Howard Fineman column. "HUGH HEWITT is criticizing Howard Fineman for relying on an anonymous source so soon after the Newsweek Koran-flushing debacle. Hugh points to some non-anonymous sources, as well." But the officer that Fineman quotes while anonymous, is not a "Deepthroat" style source. He is offering his frontline view opinions:

June 8 - I'm sitting here with a gloomy letter from Iraq, written by a high-ranking officer I cannot name in a branch of service I cannot name in a part of the country I cannot name. But trust me, because I trust him. Iraqis, he says, have no feel for or belief in the democracy we want to create, and our occupation is making them less, not more, capable of self-government.

"Our eventual departure," he worries, "will leave nothing but cosmetic structure here." "Every mission," he writes, "requires a conscious escape from the resignation that there is nothing here to win and every occasion to fail."

Small miracles do happen -- a child is saved, a generator is installed. There remain "possibilities." But sullen eyes along the roadsides give this officer "the feeling that we have stayed too long but can not leave."

The difference between a source saying "Interrogator X flushed a Koran on day Y" and the above sentiments should be reasonably obvious.

And for the life of me, I can't understand what he means by "so soon after the Newsweek Koran-flushing debacle." Is Newsweek required to stand down from using anonymous sources for a specific period of time?

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