Saturday, 7 June 2003

Count the number of on-the-record quotes in this story

This New York Times op-ed news story alleges that some analysts think the mobile bio-weapons labs aren’t mobile bio-weapons labs; instead, they think Saddam Hussein used them to produce hydrogen gas for use weather balloons. This apparently because you need clandestine mobile facilities to make hydrogen for weather balloons, stationary factories being unsuitable for the task.

Only two people are quoted by name, neither of whom have anything to do with the investigation. So, until proven otherwise, any rational observer should consider the rest of the quotes to have been made up by Jayson Blair—er, “Judith Miller and William J. Broad.” By the way, “Miller” allegedly was in two places at the same time (“Iraq” and “Kuwait”) while writing the story, while “Broad” was supposedly reporting from “New York.” To top it all off, the article also reads the minds of unnamed “critics” instead of bothering to find any to quote (on background or otherwise). It’s all typical, Pulitzer-quality (or at least Sulzburger-quality) Times journalism. Sign me up for a subscription!

Wednesday, 2 July 2003

WMD, lies, and videotape

Pejman Yousefzadeh isn’t very impressed with Josh Marshall’s logic in arguing that the administration lied about Iraq’s possession of biological and chemical agents. Now, one could plausibly make the argument that the administration lacked sufficient evidence to reach the conclusion that Iraq had WMD, but that’s not the same thing as lying, which—as Pej points out—requires someone to (a) know A is false and then (b) claim A is true (or vice versa).

So, Josh’s argument basically boils down to: the administration didn’t really think there was WMD in Iraq, but expected to find some WMD when they got there to cover their story that there was WMD in Iraq. This is like saying you don’t honestly expect Wendy’s to be selling hamburgers, but you expect Wendy’s to just happen to have some hamburgers lying around the store when you visit to back up your false claim that Wendy’s does, in fact, sell hamburgers.

Josh may be on firmer ground in questioning the credibility of Judith Miller, the New York Times’ ambassador for all things WMD (and whose very existence has been called into question in this weblog). To her credit, though, at least her stories haven’t described the grand vistas of pyramids and pagodas that we’d expect to be present in a Jayson Blair account. (Although, I must say that I find Josh’s belief that Miller’s reporting has helped the case of the hawks laughable.)

Sunday, 25 April 2004


I’ve been tied up preparing for this job interview the last couple of days, so I haven’t gotten around to posting about the Iraq situation. Thankfully, Steven Taylor read my mind in his critique of the decision to hand over power on June 30th without figuring out who would be getting the power first (though the silver lining in this process is the belated jettisoning of Ahmed Chalabi, Iraq’s Charles de Gaulle wannabe), as well as his consideration of how the UN’s involvement in the handover is undercutting John Kerry’s position on Iraq.

Thursday, 27 May 2004

Fake Tennessean does 180 on Fake Iraqi Patriot

Robert Garcia Tagorda documents nicely Al Gore’s minor Ahmed Chalabi problem—namely, that he also treated Chalabi as a credible figure in the Iraqi exile community, at least until it came time for him to follow Howard Dean down the road of ex-DLCer dementia.

For the record, I found Chalabi less than credible, and was hardly a fan of Judith Miller’s Iraq WMD reporting, largely based on information provided by Chalabi’s pals, at the time either.