Clark tells the truth,
    and is called a liar for it

In October 2002, the New York Times ran a story about connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda, part of the “liberal” media support effort for the White House disinformation campaign trying to pin responsibility for 9-11 on Iraq. (That effort was a success: to this day, most Americans believe that Iraq was responsible for 9-11, despite the fact that the operation was clearly paid for mostly with Saudi money and staffed 75% by Saudi nationals. (As discussed here.)

A reporter challenged Wesley Clark, already by then critical of the push to invade Iraq, to respond to that story. He said what any sensible person would have said: it’s not surprising that there were some contacts between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government, so documentation of such contacts isn’t really evidence of an Iraqi role in 9-11.

He was right about that, of course: Of all the people and documents we captured when we won the war, not a single one points to any connection between Saddam Hussein and 9-11.

Today’s New York Times has another story, in which Clark’s earlier statement is portrayed as contradicting his more recent skepticism about an Iraqi role in 9-11. But that’s nonsense.

Saying there were links between Iraq and al-Qaeda is one thing.

There were.

Saying there was a link between Iraq and 9-11 is a different thing.

There wasn’t.

Why is that concept so hard for Edward Wyatt to grasp?

After all, there were, and are, links between US intelligence and the Syrian secret police. Maybe there shouldn’t be, but there are. But only in some Chomskian parallel universe does that make the United States responsible for the massacre at Hama or Syrian-sponsored terrorism against Israel.

[Blogospheric footnote: Glenn Reynolds, who has been aiding and abetting the Clark character-assassination team almost from the beginning, is delighted to weigh in, positing a moral equivalence between Clark’s accurate statements and the inaccurate statements from the Bush administration Clark was criticizing. Someone should tell Glenn that it’s considered bad manners to use the term “lied” about someone who is telling the truth, even if someone you support has been accursed of lying for telling untruths. And it’s also not really done to accuse someone of switching positions when he has in fact been consistent.]

Update: Steve Koppelman has a review of other b.s. charges, starting with Al Sharpton’s race-baiting of Howard Dean. It’s hard to decide whether the sloth of reporters in not noticing real scandals is more unprofessional and worse for the country than their habit of reporting fake scandals as if they were real, or vice versa. Call it a draw.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

One thought on “Clark tells the truth,
    and is called a liar for it”

  1. So much for the new Al Sharpton

    What's worse? Was it assailing Howard Dean for not appointing any blacks or Latinos to his cabinet during his tenure as governor of Vermont… Sharpton said Dean did not hire any minorities to his Cabinet, suggesting a stark contrast to his presidentia…

Comments are closed.