April 16, 2006

Judy Miller: Still Propagandizing for the Times

I've observed before that the New York Times learned absolutely nothing from its craven willingness to make itself a propaganda outlet for the Bush administration in the runup to the Iraq war. Now we discover that Judy Miller herself still writes for the Times, albeit under a different byline: "by William J. Broad and David E. Sanger."

You have to read almost to the end of this article, before coming upon the paragraphs that undercut all the scaremongering that precedes them:
Speaking to reporters in Washington on Thursday, just hours after Mr. Ahmadinejad's claim, senior intelligence officials said they had seen nothing yet that would lead them to revise their estimate that Iran is still five to 10 years away from making a weapon.

Kenneth C. Brill, the director of the National Counterproliferation Center, created to track programs like Iran's and North Korea's, cautioned against accepting at face value Tehran's recent claims about producing enriched uranium and plans to produce 54,000 centrifuges.

"It will take many years," he said, "to build that many."
Of course, the great majority of people won't read that far.

Most of them will probably only read the opening, and skim the rest (if they even do that). And here's how the piece begins:
Of all the claims that Iran made last week about its nuclear program, a one-sentence assertion by its president has provoked such surprise and concern among international nuclear inspectors they are planning to confront Tehran about it this week.

The assertion involves Iran's claim that even while it begins to enrich small amounts of uranium, it is pursuing a far more sophisticated way of making atomic fuel that American officials and inspectors say could speed Iran's path to developing a nuclear weapon.

Iran has consistently maintained that it abandoned work on this advanced technology, called the P-2 centrifuge, three years ago. Western analysts long suspected that Iran had a second, secret program — based on the black market offerings of the renegade Pakistani nuclear engineer Abdul Qadeer Khan — separate from the activity at its main nuclear facility at Natanz. But they had no proof.

Then on Thursday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Tehran was "presently conducting research" on the P-2 centrifuge, boasting that it would quadruple Iran's enrichment powers. Centrifuges are tall, thin machines that spin very fast to enrich, or concentrate, uranium's rare component, uranium 235, which can fuel nuclear reactors or atom bombs.
And we're treated to the usual meaningless formulations, such as: "If Iran moved beyond research and actually began running the machines..."

And: "If Mr. Ahmadinejad's claim is correct, it probably indicates..."

And: "There are other indications that Mr. Khan may have been dealing with Iran as recently as six years ago..."

So why the hell did the Times even bother to examine its reporting that preceded the Iraq invasion? They're doing the same exact thing all over again. This isn't reporting: it's warmongering of the first order. The administration wants to scare people out of their wits (stupidity loves company, and all that)-- and the Times is happy to follow the administration's wishes.

As I noted a few days ago:"The constant stream of scare stories about Iran is designed only to terrify the American public sufficiently, so that when Bush holds a press conference to announce air strikes against Iran that have already begun, enough people will believe that the strikes were necessary -- since Iran was about to launch nuclear weapons against us momentarily."

Just as before, the New York Times is playing right along.

So Judy Miller's spirit lives on at "the paper of record." What a glorious note on which to begin a new week.