Lakhdar Brahimi, meet Lizzie Grubman
If you had begun to wonder how well things were (or weren’t) going in our efforts to establish full Iraqi sovereignty before the Bush administration’s June 30th deadline, consider the subliminal grammatical clues put forth by reporters covering the matter for the New York Times. Specifically, for this one exercise, we’ll look at Christine Hauser’s “Top Candidate to Lead Iraq’s Interim Government Says He Doesn’t Want the Job”, May 27, 2004:
Dr. Shahristani, a Shiite, had established his credentials by breaking with Saddam Hussein over his plans to develop an atomic bomb and spent several years in Abu Ghraib as a result. He escaped to the West in 1991, during the Persian Gulf war, and led an exile group from London in the intervening years.
A spokesman for Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations envoy who has been leading the effort to build a new government, said Wednesday afternoon that Dr. Shahristani had “clarified that he would prefer to serve his country in other ways.”
That’s right, one of those newsworthy figures received a qualifying clause while the other did not. In other words, it’s assumed that we already know who or what “Abu Ghraib” is, while we need to be reminded who or what this “Lakhdar Brahimi” is or signifies.
Sadly “abuse” will beat “reconstruction efforts” everytime, although in childhood, the opposite always held true: “paper” beats “rock”, right? (This was how the game was played, correct? I honestly don’t recall there being a comparable schoolyard triptych for “mask/women’s underwear/dogs”.)