Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Return of the aluminum tube monster

Michael Gordon co-wrote, with Judith Miller, the infamous aluminum tube article in the New York Times, the article which formed much of the basis for the PR spin by the Bush Administration, particularly Dick Cheney, to lead to the attack on Iraq. Gordon is now flogging a book he wrote on the very war his misleading article helped to cause! It's enough to make you sick.

In order to sell more of his blood-soaked books, Gordon allowed himself to be interviewed by Amy Goodman, who came fully prepared, and nailed Gordon to the wall. Note the belligerence in Gordon, who comes across as the world's biggest asshole. Gordon twists and turns, and raises every red herring in the book, but admits that there were strong dissenting opinions in the U. S. government about the use of the tubes, and yet wrote the article without even the slightest hint that Saddam could have had any reason for having the tubes except making nuclear weapons of mass destruction. In particular, there was absolutely no reference to Energy Department and State Department views which differed from the Bush war-mongering view. The official Miller/Gordon response seems to be that no one would talk to them about these dissenting views, but it appears certain that they simply didn't ask anyone other than the Bush Administration sources. Washington itself was full of people who could have set the matter straight, definitively, at the time the article was published (for an excellent account of how scientifically bad the aluminum tubes story was, see James Moore). The article was written based entirely on anonymous American government sources, needless to say only those who supported what amounted to the main plank of the Bush Administration case for war, and came at exactly the time that the Bush Administration had decided to start its PR campaign (right after the summer for, as Andy Card pointed out, you don't sell a new product like the attack on Iraq in the summer).

John R. MacArthur describes the Gordon-Miller article:

"In a disgraceful piece of stenography, Michael Gordon and Judith Miller
inflated an administration leak into something resembling imminent Armageddon:
'More than a decade after Saddam Hussein agreed to give up weapons of mass
destruction, Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked
on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb, Bush administration
officials said today.'

The key to this A-bomb program was the attempted
purchase of 'specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe
were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium.' Mysteriously,
none of those tubes had reached Iraq, but 'American officials' wouldn't say why,
'citing the sensitivity of the intelligence.'

Gordon and Miller were
mostly careful to attribute their information to anonymous 'administration
officials,' but at one point they couldn't restrain themselves and crossed the
line into commentary. After nodding to administration 'critics' who favored
containment of Hussein, they wrote this astonishing paragraph:

Mr. Hussein's dogged insistence on pursuing his nuclear ambitions, along with
what defectors described in interviews as Iraq's push to improve and expand
Baghdad's chemical and biological arsenals, have brought Iraq and the United
States to the brink of war.'"

Judith Miller has borne the brunt of the justified criticisms of the campaign of deceit waged by the Times to fool Americans into a disastrous, illegal, and immoral - not to mention expensive to the tune of a trillion or two dollars - war, but Gordon shouldn't be allowed to get off scot-free. In particular, it would be a shame if he were to make one thin dime off a book on a war which he played a major role in causing.