A View From The Handbasket

Friday, November 11, 2005
Double-shot of duplicity
Posted by neros_fiddle at 8:40 AM
I remember when I listened to classic-rock radio (back when it was still "rock" radio) and they'd make a big deal out of double-shots ("Back-to-back Boston!"). It was a sort of queasy flashback this morning as NPR sent me screaming from my bed with the blood-stained combo of Ahmad Chalabi and Judith Miller.

First up, rehabilitated Iran spy Chalabi smugly disclaimed any responsibility for the lies and distortions that the US government eagerly accepted from his Iraqi National Congress as sufficient cause to go to war. Sure, his group provided a steady stream of dissidents with stories to tell, but he of course couldn't personally vouch for the authenticity of those fairy stories. But he's very grateful to us for sacrificing 2100 soldiers and spending hundreds of billions of dollars to put him in power as deputy prime minister of Iraq. Thanks!

The last chorus of Chalabi's exercise in buck-passing had barely faded before the dissonant power chords of Judith Miller blared forth. In a contentious interview with Renee Montagne, Miller insisted that the WMD fantasies she dutifully received from Chalabi and disseminated in the New York Times with the encouragement of people like "Scooter" Libby (and for which her newspaper eventually was forced to apologize) were in no way examples of sloppy or credulous reporting.

But the best part of the Miller piece was the obfuscation solo, where she tried to weasel out of the passage in the NYT piece she wrote just a few weeks ago, in which she recalled agreeing to identify Libby as a "former Hill staffer" for some particularly juicy background details (which in Washington is like identifying someone as a "former high school student"). She hotly denied that she ever intended to do such a thing and then insisted it was common practice for reporters to agree to identify someone in a certain way, get the info, and then try to negotiate a different identification. Montagne asked her if she did this often, and Miller screeched a denial. It was a head-spinning performance.

I'd rather listen to Boston, and that's saying something.

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