No, I'm not anal retentive. I prefer to think of myself as cleverly pedantic. Deal with it.
Over at Accidental Deliberations, we have a piece describing the possible, "Maybe we are and maybe we aren't" withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. I'm particularly amused by this excerpt (emphasis added):
General George Casey, the top American commander in Iraq, said he believed a U.S. troop withdrawal could begin by spring 2006 if progress continues on the political front and if the insurgency does not expand.
I'm sorry ... "if"? "If"???? Good Lord, man -- what we have here is the dreaded hypothetical statement, don't we? The very thing that White House Press Scrotum Scott McClellan absolutely refuses to indulge since, well, hypotheticals involve speculation and if there's one thing Scott will not abide, it's speculation.
Of course, speculation seems to be perfectly acceptable when the situation calls for it, as you can read above, but all I can imagine now is someone at a subsequent WH press gaggle simply rewording that quote and asking Scott:
"Scott, if progress continues on the political front and if the insurgency does not expand, do you believe a U.S. troop withdrawal could begin by spring of 2006?"
And, despite General Casey's quote, you know, you absolutely know, that Scottie would reply, "Well, that's a hypothetical and, as you know, I don't want to get into hypotheticals."
It's not like McClellan even stops to consider the question. It's just a knee-jerk reaction on his part: "if" -> "hypothetical" -> "nope, moving on". And, sadly, with the WH Press Corpse's behaviour these days, it's pretty much what they deserve.