The New York Times has the rather annoying problem of having to make actual facts fit their confirmation bias. By making journalistic pretzels of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, they’ve backed into the fact that W.M.D.’s really did exist in Saddam’s Iraq, despite their protestations.
In 2004, an NYT public apology declared
To anyone who read the paper between September 2002 and June 2003, the impression that Saddam Hussein possessed, or was acquiring, a frightening arsenal of W.M.D. seemed unmistakable. Except, of course, it appears to have been mistaken. [emphasis mine]
Ten years later, above the fold “The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons” dances like a drunk Muppet around the issue of W.M.D.:
Reached recently, [Charles A. Duelfer, a former United Nations official working for the Central Intelligence Agency] agreed that the weapons were still a menace, but said the report strove to make it clear that they were not “a secret cache of weapons of mass destruction.”
“What I was trying to convey is that these were not militarily significant because they not used as W.M.D.,” he said. “It wasn’t that they weren’t dangerous.”
The NYT, on one hand, is saying that a frightening arsenal of W.M.D. (chiefly, chemical weapons) didn’t exist in 2004, and on the other hand, the chemical weapons found in the last ten years are frightening, dangerous, but not W.M.D. This tweet sums it up pretty well.
2005: Bush Lied People Died 2014: What difference does it make #WMDs
— Razor (@hale_razor) October 15, 2014
Assuming the mantle of self-righteousness, the NYT article goes on to slam the Bush administration for withholding the dangerous-but-not-W.M.D. chemical weapons finds from Congress, and covering it up, lest anyone find out that some of them were made by western (even American) companies in the 1980’s Iran-Iraq war (in which we supported Iraq). And now, the dangerous but militarily insignificant devices could pose a threat in the hands of—you guessed it—Daesh*
The secrecy fit a pattern. Since the outset of the war, the scale of the United States’ encounters with chemical weapons in Iraq was neither publicly shared nor widely circulated within the military. These encounters carry worrisome implications now that the Islamic State, a Qaeda splinter group, controls much of the territory where the weapons were found.
In a schizophrenic episode, the New York Times simultaneously asserts that chemical weapons found in Iraq since 2003 are not W.M.D., and are in fact militarily insignificant; and that the weapons did not deteriorate and are still capable of causing havoc.
The report also played down the dangers of the lingering weapons, stating that because their contents would have deteriorated, “any remaining chemical munitions in Iraq do not pose a militarily significant threat.”
By 2006, the American military had found dozens of these blister-agent shells in Iraq, and had reports of others circulating on black markets, several techs said. Tests determined that many still contained mustard agent, some at a purity level of 84 percent, officials said.
Had these results been publicly disclosed, they would have shown that American assertions about Iraq’s chemical weapons posing no militarily significant threat could be misread, and that these dangerous chemical weapons had Western roots.
Facts have a disturbing effect of destroying liberal bias, like Bush’s justification for the 2003 Iraq invasion was false. I am continually amazed at how today’s “journalists” can dance so well and never seem to hear the real music.
*I no longer call ISIS by any name other than Daesh, because it doesn’t grant them the claim of being a “state”, and mostly because they hate the name.