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June 19, 2004

The Wall Street Journal is full of shit and almost certainly knows it

Posted by Phil on June 19, 2004 10:08 PM

A Saturday night with a martini and my boss's discarded WSJs...

The Wall Street Journal; June 17, 2004; pg 1, col 6:

The [9/11] commission staff also gave the most definitive refutation to date of an alleged meeting in April 2001 in Prague between lead hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence offical. In 2003, several Bush administration officials, including Vice President Cheney, pointed to the meeting as evidence of a possible link between the hijackers and Saddam Hussein. But the commission report said a surveillance camera showed Mr. Atta withdrawing $8,000 from a bank in Virginia when he was said to be in Prague. [My bold. pk]

The Wall Street Journal; June 18, 2004; editorial [Comments mine. pk]:

[N]early all of the media coverage has focused on what the 9/11 panel claims it didn't find [psht: "claims"]--namely, smoking-gun proof that al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were working together. [Only people who hate America need "smoking-gun proof." The rest of us trust our leaders!]


The "no Saddam link" story is getting so much play because it fits the broader antiwar, anti-Bush narrative [from people who hate America] that Iraq was [actually, we say "is"] a "distraction" from the broader war on terror. So once again the 9/11 Commission is being used [by people who hate America] to tarnish the Iraqi effort and damage President Bush's credibility in fighting terror. [Gosh, it's almost like they're terrorists themselves--whoever "they" are.]

Even here, though, the staff report is less a "slam dunk," as the CIA likes to say [or at least the former director, when guaranteeing bogus intelligence], than the coverage asserts. We are supposed to believe [why, the very idea!], for example, that the Commission has found out once and for all [those upstarts!] that there was no meeting in Prague between the Iraqi agent al-Ani [wait--they've got a name?! I mean, not a full name, but, still--maybe I'm wrong about this whole thing!] and 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta. But the only new evidence the report turns up [my bold] is that some calls were made from Florida on Atta's cell phone at the same time he was reportedly [or might we say "supposedly"?] in Prague. But since that phone would not have worked in Europe anyway, how do we know someone else wasn't using it? [Yeah! ... Huh?] The Czechs still believe the Atta meeting took place [I'm almost positive the Czechs have disavowed this story], and the truth is we still don't know for sure. [That depends on what your definition of "we" is.]

So, excusing the intrusive interjections, you followed that, right? The Wall Street Journal editorial page actively ignored its own front page of one day before, so desperate is it to defend President Bush. In what can only be construed as an insult to their readership, they contort and gesticulate to discredit and humiliate the cell phone story, while ignoring other evidence the report turned up.

Does Sean Hannity pen the WSJ's staff editorials? That scamp! So incorrigible--yet so lovable!

And yet--out of the snip--they try to make with the wickity-wack and end up providing an unintentional encapsulization of the real crux:

The country has traveled a long way psychologically from the trauma of September 11 if we are now focusing on the threats that allegedly don't exist instead of those that certainly do.

This is deliberately unclear and therefore dishonest language, but, still, it's pretty much what I've been thinking ever since the march to war in Iraq began.