FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The NYT and WMD

by GARY LEUPP

Some thoughts on Judith Miller’s piece “Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, an Iraqi Scientist Is Said to Assert” (New York Times, April 21). I recommend this article for everyone’s careful reading.

Imagine you are Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense [sic] and de facto Secretary of State. You (and that marionette, some of whose strings you pull, and some of whose strings Powell pulls, depending on the day) have insisted for many months that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction threatening me here in Boston. Your troops encountered no such weapons in their invasion, and have found none since the occupation began. This might strike some as embarrassing. You are a billionaire and so need have no need for shame, but Powell whines about international opinion, and some action seems in order to assure the world and even your own people that the pretext for war was valid. You apply yourself to that task with your wonted shrewdness and efficiency.

The last thing you want is for that Blix fellow, who you had Wolfowitz investigate early on in the Bush presidency, to go prowling around actually hunting for the weapons in a professional manner. You don’t want the U.N. in, conducting some unserviceable lame-ass investigation which, you’ve stated from the outset, will never find anything. One option is to simply fed-ex the anthrax to Iraq and stage its discovery, rather like you staged the jubilant welcome by kids waving U.S. flags on one or more streets in Baghdad as it was liberated. There are risks in that, which you’ve listed and mulled over carefully. A more refined approach would be to plant a story in the New York Times, a reliable vehicle in the past for such operations, somewhat along the following lines.

You announce that an unnamed Iraqi scientist (unnamed for his own security reasons, since he might face “reprisals” from some unnamed somebody in newly-free Iraq), a scientist unavailable for interview by reporters, has told U.S. authorities that on the eve of the U.S. invasion, Saddam’s regime “destroyed chemical weapons and biological warfare equipment” and that U.S. investigators have visited the site of destruction, and confirmed the scientist’s story. (So the Iraqis, facing immanent invasion, saw fit to destroy powerful weapons threatening the whole world, anticipating defeat but hoping to embarrass the victors by eliminating evidence for the pretext of that invasion. Makes good sense, don’t it?)

More. You have this scientist wax helpfully loquacious, informing you “that Iraq had secretly sent unconventional weapons and technology to Syria, starting in the mid-1990’s.” This abets your faction in the ongoing discussion of the timing of the Syria regime change effort you’ve advocated for years. And have him also note “that more recently Iraq was cooperating with Al Qaeda,” confirming a tie you announced the day after Sept. 11 to widespread and enduring, irksome skepticism.

You allow a New York Times reporter, who was not permitted to interview the scientist, nor visit his home, nor permitted to write about this momentous discovery for three days, whose copy was submitted for a check by military officials, to reveal this information to the world. You announce that this is the best evidence “to date” (as though one or more other shreds of evidence had been unearthed recently), adding that “it may be the discovery,” so others might not be necessary.

Quite brilliant. You have to admire such audacity. But I think of the opening passage of the samurai epic, Heike Monogatari, that chronicles the inevitable downfall of a ruling circle less obnoxious that the one now wreaking havoc on Iraq. “The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; the mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind.”

In the meantime, let us not let them throw dust in our eyes.

GARY LEUPP is an an associate professor, Department of History, Tufts University and coordinator, Asian Studies Program.

He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

 

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

More articles by:
May 26, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Stage of Capitalism: Germany’s Assault on the IMF
Pepe Escobar
Hillary Clinton: A Major Gold-Digging Liability
Sam Pizzigati
America’s Cosmic Tax Gap
Ramzy Baroud
Time to End the ‘Hasbara’: Palestinian Media and the Search for a Common Story
José L. Flores
Wall Street’s New Man in Brazil: The Forces Behind Dilma Rousseff’s Impeachment
Patrick Cockburn
The Battle of Fallujah: ISIS Unleashes Its Death Squads
John Feffer
The Coming Drone Blowback
Alex Ray
The Death Toll in Syria: What Do the Numbers Really Say?
Richard Pithouse
We Shall be the Prey and the Vulture
Binoy Kampmark
Trump and the Polls of Loathing
Manuel E. Yepe
A Cruise Ship Without Tourists Arrives in Havana
Jack Rasmus
Greek Debt Negotiations: Will the IMF Exit the Troika?
Ajamu Nangwaya
Pan-Africanism, Feminism and Finding Missing Pan-Africanist Women
Howard Lisnoff
Israel, a Palestinian State and Anti-Semitism
May 25, 2016
Eric Draitser
Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?
Dan Arel
The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party
Marc Estrin
Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs
Sam Husseini
Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?
Susan Babbitt
Invisible in Life, Invisible in Death: How Information Becomes Useless
Mel Gurtov
Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?
Kathy Kelly
Hammering for Peace
Dick Reavis
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Wahid Azal
Behind the Politics of a Current Brouhaha in Iran: an Ex-President Ayatollah’s Daughter and the Baha’is
Jesse Jackson
Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms
Colin Todhunter
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum
Dave Lindorff
72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail