What in god’s name is wrong with conservatives? Via Atrios, through Instapundit (no link intended), I read this from some guy named Jim Geraghty with the National Review:
I'm sorry, did the New York Times just put on the front page that IRAQ HAD A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM AND WAS PLOTTING TO BUILD AN ATOMIC BOMB?
Yes, the ALL-CAPS are original to the quote, and no, his source material was not correct. What he was reading was a summarized version of a NY Times article from Drudge, where “summarized” means leaving out the important stuff and “Drudge” means scum-sucking Republican hack. Specifically, here’s the original article (as correctly quoted by Atrios):
Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.
But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.
And here’s Drudge’s summary that dunce Geraghty reacted to:
NYT REPORTING FRIDAY, SOURCES SAY: Federal government set up Web site — Operation Iraqi Freedom Document Portal — to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war; detailed accounts of Iraq's secret nuclear research; a 'basic guide to building an atom bomb'...
And Drudge wasn’t summarizing it really; he was just selectively quoting the parts he wanted. As such, leaving out why the documents were online (Bush Admin under pressure from Republicans), when this happened (in recent weeks), and most importantly of all, when the documents are from (fucking “before the 1991 Persian Gulf war”).
That’s right, they posted documents about an Iraqi nuclear program from before the Gulf War. And from that, Geraghty dimwittedly proclaims victory for the pro-war idiots, saying stuff like “The New York Times just tore the heart out of the antiwar argument, and they are apparently completely oblivous (sic) to it.”
And thus, we again see why the Republicans are about to suck-it hard this mid-term election.
And what’s even funnier is how he does the typically conservative thing of “clarifying” a topic by inventing stuff into it so that it’s even better for his point. Although neither the original article, nor the Drudge post stated this, Geraghty writes: Let's go back and clarify: IRAQ HAD NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANS SO ADVANCED AND DETAILED THAT ANY COUNTRY COULD HAVE USED THEM.
Now, I’ll admit to only having skimmed the NY Times article, but nowhere did I read that the plans were “so advanced and detailed that any country could have used them”. What I read was that they were a “basic guide to building an atom bomb”, just as Drudge reported. And from that, Geraghty goes into fantasyland with his “clarifying” statement which only served to muddy the waters further. And he hadn’t even read the NY Times article yet. He had gotten that straight from Drudge, who had said none of this.
But that’s exactly how the conservative mind works. They take a few pieces and start inventing crap that they’d like to see around it, which they can only convey by summarizing and “clarifying” what another conservative said. I detailed that further here, suggesting it was “Like a game of eternal telephone, each wingnut continues to slightly embellish the “facts” until it comes back to the original nut as fresh confirmation of all they feared; and on it continues indefinitely.”
And so it is now. Drudge selectively quotes from the Times, and Geraghty takes it further by pronouncing it “Game, set, and match.” And I got to his blog from Instapundit, who simply goes with the one line: JIM GERAGHTY writes: "I'm sorry, did the New York Times just put on the front page that IRAQ HAD A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM AND WAS PLOTTING TO BUILD AN ATOMIC BOMB?"
And now it’s a done deal. Sure, the NY Times never actually said that on the front page or any other page. And sure, we all knew that Iraq had a nuclear program before 1991, but no matter. Geraghty insists that this is the final proof that the anti-war people were wrong and he was right. And all based upon an abridged version of a NY Times article that he hadn’t even read.
And of course, peppered throughout his post are ideas relating to how the NY Times meant for this to be a “slam-Bush story”, wanting it to be “spun as a ‘Boy, did Bush screw up’ meme”, even if it meant that they had to “knock down the ‘there was no threat in Iraq’ meme, once and for all.” Because if there’s one constant refrain from conservative nutjobs, it’s that everyone’s as actively into propaganda and spin as they are. Forget about the fact that this story will surely sell papers, hype their reputation, and deserved to be printed. For these guys, it’s all about how it helps or hurts Bush, conservatives, and the Republicans; and not necessarily in that order.
And what’s sad is that Geraghty eventually updated his post to announce that he had finally read the actual article that he had already declared victory from. But does he post a correction? Does he admit that it was a pre-1991 program they were writing of? Or to admit that the front page hadn’t said what he said it did? Of course not. He’s already had his “game, set, and match” moment, and it’s over. He’s won. So now he’s just reading the article for a little extra spoils for his victory.
Instead of fessing up, he proclaims that it was even more evidence that the Times was out to get Bush, writing:
Having now read it, I can see that every stop has been pulled out to ensure that a reader will believe that posting these documents was a strategic blunder of the first order.
That’s right, because the NY Times propaganda machine is like an organ, and they have to pull out stops to make different sorts of propaganda happen. And this time, they decided to pull out EVERY stop so that people would actually believe that Republicans screwed-up by posting nuclear secrets online. Hell, I suspect that they went so far that even Geraghty himself might have had a brief lapse of doubt regarding the infallibility of his beloved leadership. But he’s too smart for that. He knows: This is just more propaganda from the NY Slimes.
Oh, and he also shows us how clever he is because he noticed that the article didn’t mention whether anyone in Iran had accessed that website. And that means that they didn’t access it, and that there therefore isn’t any kind of problem at all. Because Iranian spies looking for nuclear secrets don’t know how to mask their IP address, and nobody anywhere else could ever sell the stuff to them. And so we therefore shouldn’t even concern ourselves with whether this helped Iran get closer to gaining a nuke. Geraghty is a clever, clever man.
Sure, he’s not clever enough to realize that, were these documents the actual confirmation of a nuclear program that they had been looking for, the Bush Admin could have proclaimed them as such without releasing their contents online. But what else could we expect from someone who goes apeshit over something he read from Drudge? Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
A Year from When?
Oh, and there’s also a funny part where he gets confused by this paragraph (emphasis his):
Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990’s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.
To which he writes:
Is this sentence referring to 1990, before the Persian Gulf War? Or 2002, months before the invasion of Iraq? Because "Iraq is a year away from building a nuclear bomb" was supposed to be a myth, a lie that Bush used to trick us into war.
Holy shit, what a dunce. It’s obvious that they were talking about the earlier years and not 2002. But that’s not what he wants to hear. So not only does he act like this is confusing, but by the end of the paragraph, he starts treating it like it’s already true. The dope’s playing Telephone with himself…and losing.
And remember, at no point does he confess to his readers that this was always about a pre-1991 nuclear program, and how we already knew about it; even though, at this point, he obviously understood that to be the case. And it’s equally obvious that his pre-reading fervor on this post somewhat tailored-off, as his CAPS button stopped getting stuck. Perhaps he’s got the keyboard equivalent of a Mood Ring, and it’s just showing us how excited he was. Whatever it was, he probably (secretly) realized his mistake, but would never ever confess to it in a million years. After all, he got approvingly linked from Lord Instapundit, and even a National Review dork like Geraghty must have creamed himself over the honor.
And thus, we conclude yet another lesson on conservatives, and why you shouldn’t smoke carpet fibers and lead paint while pregnant. Or whatever it is that causes this disorder.