Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe:
Let’s see. Before the current frenzy over those 16 dubious words in the State of the Union address, there was the frenzy over the inability of allied troops in Iraq to find a weapons of mass destruction ”smoking gun” – stockpiles of banned nerve gas and lethal biological agents.
Before that, there was the frenzy over the administration’s failure to prevent the post-liberation pillaging of more than 170,000 treasures from the Iraqi National Museum – a frenzy that faded when it turned out the real number was closer to 50.
The actual lowball estimate at this point is 13,000 from the storage room, and another 47* from the exhibition room.
Of course, it is technically true that 13,047 is closer to 50 than it is to 170,000…but I don’t think that’s what he meant.
(And you gotta love the dismissive reference to a “frenzy over the inability” to find WMDs. As if anyone who actually expected the administration to find the very rationale for the war is just some kind of hysterical nincompoop.)
*This number was initially reported in an AP article as 47,000, but all the subsequent articles I’ve seen on the topic report it as 47, so my guess is that the AP report was a typo. More bad information to muddy the water, unfortunately, though I’m sure there are plenty of people who will be willing to split the difference and call it, well, 33.