Memory hole?

The Deputy Secretary of Defense told the New York Times that critics of the Dubai Ports World deal were giving aid and comfort to the enemies of this country. Now the Administration line has changed, and the quote seems to have been disappeared.

Yesterday, the New York Times had a story in which the Deputy Secretary of Defense was quoted as accusing critics of the Dubai Ports World deal of weakening the country, under the headline:

Bush Aides Stand Firm, Saying Port Deal Raises No Alarms

The story quoted Gordon England, the Deputy Secretary, as follows:

If the furor over the port deal should go on, Mr. England said, it would give enemies of the United States aid and comfort: “They want us to become distrustful, they want us to become paranoid and isolationist.”

Yet the Google link brought up by that quote now goes to an article headlined

White House Seeking Brief Delay in Completion of Port Deal

which omits the England quote entirely.

I can understand why Mr. England might regret his remarks, now that Karl Rove (an ear planted firmly to the ground) has announced that concerns about the deal are legitimate. But I’m puzzled at the apparent willingness of the New York Times to allow him the Senatorial privilege of editing the record retroactively.

More generally, the Bushites inside and outside government no doubt regret having said that critics of the deal are a bunch of racist, irresponsible fear-mongers. (Can you say “projection”? I was sure you could.) After all, that group turns out to include about two-thirds of the population and heavy majorities in both Houses of Congress. But we shouldn’t let them, or anyone else, forget that they said it.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com