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October 27, 2004
The Big Apple Takes Two Bites Out Of CQ

It's great to have friends, and two good friends in the New York media world gave Captain's Quarters prominent mention today. The New York Sun and the New York Post, both of which have published my work in the past, reference posts I wrote yesterday regarding two separate subjects.

John Podhoretz writes in today's Post about the late hit that the New York Times and CBS attempted to deliver on George Bush, a transparent and terribly clumsy way of trying to get John Kerry elected. Podhoretz actually expresses sympathy for the instinct to look deeper into the Al Qaqaa story but disdainfully critiques both the research done on it and the decision to publish at this time:

It's hard to fault the Times for pursuing the story aggressively. In an official document sent to a U.N. agency two weeks ago, the Iraqi interim government said the explosives had disappeared during the looting that followed Saddam Hussein's fall in April 2003.

That official Iraqi communication makes the story news, no matter the source or the motive behind the document being leaked.

The problem is that the story drew unsupported conclusions about how the explosives had disappeared while the United States military should have been guarding them.

And that's why it's a late hit designed to do maximum damage to the president's re-election effort and designed as well to give John Kerry a weapon to use against George Bush in the closing days of the campaign.

For that reason, the Times spun its own story, even though the evidence that its conclusions were unsupported is right there in the story itself.

Podhoretz reviews the "Omar letter" that Whiskey mentioned earlier, noting that even if the letter that initiated the report was legitimate (which some question), it never included any assertions of post-Saddam looting at Al Qaqaa. Contemporaneous reporting shows that the material did not exist at Al Qaqaa when our 3rd Infantry Division arrived on April 3, and so we can be reasonably sure that the materiel was moved by Saddam, pre-invasion. Even if we can't pinpoint that, Podhoretz points to the analysis done by Cpt. Ian Dodgson here at CQ to show how unlikely it is that looters could have carted this stuff off:

Nobody knows what happened to the stuff. It's theoretically possible that it was looted after the war's conclusion though, as Ed Morrissey points out at captainsquartersblog.com, it would have taken 100 men working 12 hours a day for two weeks to shlep the stuff away. And that would surely have been spotted by somebody.

It seems far more likely that Saddam had the materiel moved. According to one report, the United Nations last visited the facility on March 8, a week before the war began. But the U.N.'s major report on the facility came out two months earlier. Saddam could have been moving the materiel out over the course of the two months before the war began maybe into Syria. Who knows? That's the point. Who knows? Certainly not the Times. Certainly not John Kerry. But they'll both do or say what they feel they need to do or say to secure the result they want on Nov. 2.

The Sun publishes a house editorial today as a follow-up to Thomas Lipscomb's excellent work in uncovering documentation revealing the extent to which the Viet Cong followed and supported John Kerry's work in the anti-war movement in the early 1970s. Titled "The Amateur," the Sun invokes the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie Foreign Correspondent as a parallel to John Kerry's experience as a dupe for enemy totalitarians:

One of our favorite movies is the film Alfred Hitchcock made in 1940 called "Foreign Correspondent." It's about how civilization's enemy in what became World War II sought to manipulate a peace movement dubbed "well-meaning amateurs" and through them, the press. We wouldn't want to draw exact parallels to the Vietnam era - or our own wartime drama today - but we couldn't help think of it as we read Thos. Lipscomb's dispatch, issued on our Page 1 yesterday, on how the communists in Hanoi were viewing the activities of John Kerry's Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

It's impossible to excerpt this editorial and do it justice; it's really a perfect companion piece to Lipscomb's article. The Sun agrees with my conclusion:

Certainly, Mr. Kerry himself has placed Vietnam at the center of his campaign - not only by emphasizing it at the Democratic convention in Boston, but by pledging, as recently as this weekend, to "hunt down and capture or kill the terrorists" with the same energy that he put "into going after the Viet Cong." Our favorite rejoinder to that boast came from Captainsquartersblog.com, which, commenting on Mr. Lipscomb's dispatch, remarked, "The only conclusion that one can draw from the historical record is that John Kerry will chase them to Paris to negotiate our surrender on their terms."

It's quite an honor being mentioned in one of these great newspapers, but twice in one day pretty much guarantees I'll have to butter my head to fit through the office doors today. Be sure to read both articles, and again, if you're not subscribing to the New York Sun, you're not only missing out on some terrific journalism but also an opportunity to support those who support bloggers. (Hat tip: my friends at the Sun.)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 27, 2004 7:29 AM

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» Abbreviations for First Names from Michael Williams -- Master of None
In this Captain's Quarters post about explosives in Iraq, Captain Ed Morrissey quotes a New York Sun article that uses an abbreviated form of Thomas Lipscomb's first name.One of our favorite movies is the film Alfred Hitchcock made in 1940... [Read More]

Tracked on October 27, 2004 4:49 PM



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