A coincidental series of unavoidable setbacks

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Yesterday the British government failed to get a chartered Boeing 757 out of Gatwick Airport to go to Libya to pick up stranded British citizens. Naturally the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, was asked how come with all the resources of the government working in concert this once proud nation still proved so disorganized it couldn't get a jet off the ground in ten hours during a first-class emergency when other nations were flying in and out of Tripoli all day. And the ever-unflappable and ever-fluent Mr. Hague made an announcement that appealed to me enormously: "We need to know," he said, "whether today was a coincidental series of unavoidable setbacks, or a systemic flaw."

What utterly delightful phrasing. I plan to borrow this and use it often. No more apologies for total screw-ups from me. I have a much better way to refer to them now.

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