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