Further evidence, not that it was needed, of the weakness of Pakistan’s government institutions: the distinctly subpar quality of its official press flacks.

Consider this bit from the lead story in today’s New York Times, which presents evidence that the Pakistani military has been killing people it doesn’t care for in the contested Swat Valley:

“There are no extrajudicial killings in our system,” said Col. Akhtar Abbas, the army spokesman in Swat. “If something happens, we have a foolproof accountability system.”

“Foolproof,” huh? Here’s a tip, colonel: Next time, try a line that’s at least faintly plausible. It’s a shame that Peter Sellers isn’t around to play this role in the film version.

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Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.