My new Daily Standard column, which builds on my blog posts concerning the whole Mary McCarthy matter, is now up. While there is some doubt surrounding the exact reasons for the CIA’s termination of Mary McCarthy at this point, there is no doubt that the media has been quick to lionize her. On Sunday, for example, The New York Times ran a ridiculous piece that argued McCarthy had an “independent streak” because she challenged the Clinton administration on its decision to destroy a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant named al-Shifa.
I say that the Times piece was ridiculous because the Old Grey Lady left out or spun nearly every salient fact surrounding the matter. Now, I realize that the strike on al-Shifa was controversial. Many public commentators to this day insist that the strike was a mistake. Christopher Hitchens made this argument for Slate yesterday. But, as I point out in my Daily Standard piece, the public discussion of the events in August 1998 has been quite lacking. The New York Times, in particular, has made no real attempt to understand the facts of the matter.
Here’s but one item on Joscelyn’s list:
Much of the criticism of the al-Shifa strike centers on a soil sample taken outside the facility that purportedly contained traces of EMPTA, a precursor used in the production of VX nerve gas, which is a particularly nasty weapon. If you read the Times account you would think that this was the strongest, or even the only, piece of evidence used to justify the strike.
That’s not the case. As I recount in my piece, President Clinton authorized the intelligence community to discuss the multiple threads of evidence used to justify the strike. One thread, in particular, was more important than the others. The NSA intercepted communications between the father of Iraq’s chemical weapons program, Emad Al Ani, and the plant’s management. Thus, the soil sample was not the only, nor even the strongest piece of evidence used.
As Joscelyn concludes:
These are 10 quick facts concerning August 1998. There are dozens more. It takes willful ignorance to pretend that none of this happened.
Read the rest.