Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Simple Request

Todd Gitlin has a very fine little request of the New York Times:

But would it be too much to ask that the paper publish a single sophisticated, full-length antiwar argument by someone who was not only right when it counted but who now elaborates on past rightness to sketch a postwar foreign policy?
Being right in the first place was a fairly simple proposition. The facts were not with the Administration, and much of the data was readily available to anyone curious enough to do some research. Those not put off by Colin Powell's self-immolation before the UN were exercising what every theater goer does: the willing suspension of disbelief. Most of what Powell said during that briefing was at best laughable. But the aluminum tubes were the dead give away to anyone working in the field of Nuclear Proliferation and nuclear enrichment.
Houston Wood was a consultant who worked on the Oak Ridge analysis of the tubes. He watched Powell’s speech, too.

“I guess I was angry, that’s the best way to describe my emotions. I was angry at that,” says Wood, who is among the world’s authorities on uranium enrichment by centrifuge. He found the tubes couldn’t be what the CIA thought they were. They were too heavy, three times too thick and certain to leak.

"Wasn't going to work. They would have failed," says Wood, who reached that conclusion back in 2001.

Thielmann reported to Secretary Powell’s office that they were confident the tubes were not for a nuclear program. Then, about a year later, when the administration was building a case for war, the tubes were resurrected on the front page of The New York Times.

Although not working directly in that particular field I suspected that Powell was wrong. One quick email confirmed my suspicion.

The NYT, and other establishment media sources, have disgraced themselves and know they were not objective. In fact some of them (Judith Miller, being the obvious example) have traded journalistic objectivity for access. They now spin (not unlike the very politicians they want access to) to perform a bit of CYA.

Now, belatedly, so many of the mea culpas from the previously pro-war crowd seem to be saying that they will "trust, but verify" next time.

Tell that to the family and friends of the 4000 dead Americans. Tell that to the family and friends of the scores of thousands of dead Iraqis.

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