Roger L. Simon

A 'Skimmity Ride' for Pinch

I just read Captain Ed’s latest post on NYTrogate in which it is revealed that CBS themselves reported on the ‘mysterious’ site of Al Qaqaa back in April 2003, then praising the good work by the Third Infantry in uncovering an equally mysterious white powder. Don’t these people read their own articles? Probably not.

You know this particular attempt by the New York Times and CBS to flog this low-rent partisan propaganda from self-serving (to put it mildly) UN bureaucrats ten days before an election would be risible if the election itself weren’t so important. Well, it must be to them too. That’s obvious – because if they were doing it to sell newspapers, they are driving most of us further and further away from print.

But I digress. The real question here is what happened to those explosives at Al Qaqaa. Well, here they are. [Simon, will you quit being a wiseacre. It’s RDX, not THX. -ed. Okay, okay] I’ll be serious. Let’s review. As Belmont Club notes, Watson, there are three possibilities. 1. The RDX was gone before the war started. 2. It disappeared in the early days between the arrival of the Third Infantry and 101st Airborne. 3. It disappeared later. Now since it would have taken some forty highly-visible trucks to decamp with these supposed 380 tons of explosives and since Saddam and his Baathist cronies had at least six months to do what they wanted with this stuff during the prolonged Security Council bla-bla-bla and since no such explosives have apparently been used to attack US troops during the entire insurgency, even a twelve-year old boy making his first shave with Occam’s original razor would undoubtedly pick ONE – THIS HAPPENED BEFORE THE WAR STARTED.

But did the New York Times respond that way? Noooooo…. Without, as far as I know, interviewing a single soldier who was there (or consulting the old CBS report) they trumpeted this story all over their front page as if Armageddon itself were about to be released and the culprit was that Christer George W. Bush. Maybe they think he secretly wants to bring on The Rapture. Again, it’s almost funny but it’s not. Of course, it’s remotely possible that the US forces somehow screwed up here, but when you consider that if that happened it happened in the midst of an all-out war when things of this nature inevitably occur, the idea that you could blame that on any sitting president is nothing but propaganda in its most blatant form.

Now who is responsible for this cheap smear? Well, as one real smart fellow once said, “Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one.” And nobody that I know of has been able to successfully contradict him. And the man who owns The New York Times is Pinch Sulzberger. He’d evidently rather see George Bush lose than his newspaper print the truth. Now what should be done about Mr. Sulzberger’s behavior? I propose a ‘skimmity ride.’ You English majors may recall it from Chapter 36 of Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge. The offending party is driven around the town in an open wagon and subjected to public ridicule. Maybe we should bring that back.

UPDATE: NRO’s editorial makes sense.