Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Prague Crock

Eric Alterman makes the point I was going to make in response today's lead New York Times editorial, but I hate to waste a good pun.

The Times opined:

"The Bush administration was also alone in making the absurd claim that Iraq was in league with Al Qaeda and somehow connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That was based on two false tales. One was the supposed trip to Prague by Mohamed Atta, a report that was disputed before the war and came from an unreliable drunk. The other was that Iraq trained Qaeda members in the use of chemical and biological weapons. Before the war, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that this was a deliberate fabrication by an informer."

Alone. Just the Bush Administration and one other source. The New York Times editorial page.

Let's reminisce:

EDITORIAL DESK | November 12, 2001, Monday

Essay; Prague Connection

By WILLIAM SAFIRE (NYT) Op-Ed 785 words
Late Edition - Final , Section A , Page 19 , Column 5

ABSTRACT - William Safire Op-Ed column discusses 'undisputed fact' connecting Iraq's Pres Saddam Hussein to September 11 terrorist attacks (M)

EDITORIAL DESK | March 18, 2002, Monday

Protecting Saddam

By WILLIAM SAFIRE (NYT) Op-Ed 737 words
Late Edition - Final , Section A , Page 25 , Column 5

ABSTRACT - William Safire Op-Ed column says disinformation technique is being used to wipe out fact of meeting between Mohamed Atta, leading Al Qaeda hijacker, and Ahmed al-Ani, Iraqi consul, five months before Sept 11 attacks in US; says Russia, certain European officials and Arab potentates downplay evidence, hoping to erase Saddam Hussein's clandestine support of international terrorism; says they do not want United States to have reason to liberate Iraqi people, and they see great profit in doing oil business with Hussein and collecting tens of bilions in debts; says meanwhile, Iraqi scientists are racing to build nuclear and biological weapons that would blackmail into impotence any power daring to unseat Hussein (M)


EDITORIAL DESK | May 9, 2002, Thursday

Mr. Atta Goes to Prague

By WILLIAM SAFIRE (NYT) Op-Ed 751 words
Late Edition - Final , Section A , Page 39 , Column 1

ABSTRACT - William Safire Op-Ed column questions efforts by CIA and Justice Department to cast doubt on report that Mohamed Atta, leader of Sept 11 terrorists, met Ahmed al-Ani, Pres Saddam Hussein's espionage chief, in Iraqi Embassy in Prague in April 2001; says if there was a meeting, it would demand immediate US military response (M)
(Sorry, the budget can't accomodate more elaborate flashbacks.)

We all know Safire's full of shit, Gail, but isn't calling him an unreliable drunk a bit harsh?

The real issue is why the Times' editorial page repeatedly published a claim it knew to be absurd.

And you can't begin to rehabilitate yourself unless you acknowledge your errors.

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