Quote: “If we have a military strategy, I can’t identify it. I don’t know what’s worse — that they have one and won’t tell us or that they don’t have one.” Stephen Hadley, then deputy national security advisor, in an excerpt from Bob Woodward’s new book.
Figure of Speech: dilemma, the figure of unsavory choice. From the Greek, meaning “double point.”
Early in the war — back when Condi Rice was the national security advisor, and before Stephen Hadley moved up to take her place — the two met with their top Iraq official, who had just returned from Baghdad. The man was bothered by the sparse number of American troops. According to a new Woodward exposé, Hadley responded with a dilemma.
This figure of thought often appears in good-news bad-news jokes. (Doc: “The good news is, you have 24 hours to live. The bad news is that I forgot to call you yesterday.”)
Want more black humor? Get the painstakingly reported Fiasco: The Military Adventure in Iraq. Only that reads more like a bad-news bad-news joke.
Snappy Answer: “The good news is, you can torture it out of them.”