And having produced that gusher of propaganda, having been outed and humiliated by subsequent events in Syria, she now presents a much revised tale that is first of all a defense of herself as a culture-loving dupe.
The truth was there to see all along. Plenty of it was right under her nose, though she chose to not share details of that with her readers until now — including in her apologia a raft of disturbing incidents and signs she witnessed in Syria, but omitted from her Vogue story last year. Beyond that, there has been abundant documentation available for years on the horrors of the Assad regime’s assassinations, surveillance, torture, and terror techniques. Even before the violence that erupted into public view in the streets of Syria last year, there were reports on offer everywhere from Amnesty International to the State Department web site, to the testimony of Syrian defectors, the bomb craters in Lebanon, etc.
Credit Joan Juliet Buck that she has shed her infatuation with the “fun” first lady of Syria. But her current confessions, coming this late in the day, dwelling as they do on how she was “duped,” seem less about setting the record straight on Syria than about distancing herself from responsibility for one of the most mortally embarrassing pieces of journalism produced in recent times.
In her own convoluted defense, Buck describes the rationale with which she took on the Syria assignment. “I was curious…Syria gave off a toxic aura. But what was the worst that could happen? I would write a piece for Vogue that missed the deeper truth about its subject.” She then delivers to her readers the bizarre journalistic creed: “I had learned long ago that the only person I could ever be truthful about was myself.”
(P.S. – Until the rebellion began last year, and with brief exceptions such as the period of the Lebanese uprising against Syrian occupation in 2005, it was not that hard to see the ruins of Palmyra, in eastern Syria, even without a personal introduction to Asma al-Assad. All you had to do was pay for a visa, and spend a lot of time on a Syrian bus.)
Image and thumbnail courtesy shutterstock / basel101658.