You can always tell by the noise when a fresh supply of Dubya Soup has hit the streets. That’s because people start yelling, “Torture! Wire taps! Abuse of power! Bush lied! Impeach!”
The latest infusion took place shortly before the Pentagon released its exhaustive study of 600,000 Iraqi documents – 1600 pages of analysis, which hit the airwaves with a dull thud.
That’s because by then it was old news. The report’s executive summary had been leaked to Warren P. Strobel of the McClatchy News Service prior to the release date, and he had already trumpeted it to the world with his spin firmly installed: “No evidence that Saddam Hussein’s regime has any operational links with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorist network.”
It was quite a surprise to Pentagon officials who had seen the documents and knew they contained a symbolic avalanche of Iraqi connections to al-Qaida grandpas, fathers, sons, brothers – and Osama bin Laden himself.
It seems that Saddam Hussein didn’t spend all his time terrorizing his countrymen, invading his neighbors, and making confetti out of United Nations Security Resolutions. He was plenty busy providing global terrorists with what Wall Street Journal Online called “financial support and weapons amounting to a ‘state-directed program of significant scale.’”
An abstract of the Pentagon Report stated it this way: “Because Saddam’s security organizations and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups.”
Perhaps because no photo was found of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden pricking their fingers and becoming blood brothers, the analysis stopped short of declaring an “operational link” between the two. And it was that tiny part of the 54-page summary that McClatchy decided to run with.
Apparently, Strobel just couldn’t pass up the chance to make Dubya Soup.
Steven Hayes of the Weekly Standard described how officials involved with the of the report saw the misleading McClatchy spin catching on and approached Karen Finn at the Pentagon Press Office about hastening the study’s release.
Fearing a deviation from bureaucratic protocol more than the character assassination of her boss, Finn refused – providing ingredients for more Dubya Soup in Strobel’s suspicious, Bush-addled view.
“The Pentagon on Wednesday canceled plans for a broad public release of a study that found no pre-Iraq war link between late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaida terrorist network…” was the next objective analysis that he sent down the wire, citing the “politically sensitive nature of it’s conclusions,” as the reason for the delay.
It makes you wonder whatever happened to the gruff, hotheaded newspaper editor in the movies. Like Ben Bradlee in All the President’s Men, hollering at eager young reporters, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, to dig up more sources before he would print an expose that would destroy reputations and careers.
I hate to think that he became extinct after Memogate.