As I observed below, much of the rancor behind the piling on by colleagues of embattled New York Times’ reporter Judy Miller is that Miller believed that Saddam Hussein had WMDs.
In other words, Miller got too close to the hated Bush administration. The New York Sun laments the “autophagy” of Ms. Miller by those who have worked with her for many years. But the Sun intrepidly adds:
“Our own interest in the matter is not so much in the turmoil of a great paper but rather in the substance of the Iraq war. In an attack on Ms. Miller that was published in Saturday’s Times, Maureen Dowd wrote, ‘Judy’s stories about W.M.D. fit too closely with the White House’s case for war. She was close to Ahmad Chalabi, the con man who was conning the neocons to knock out Saddam so he could get his hands on Iraq… Mr. Chalabi planted bogus stories with Judy and other credulous journalists.’ Ms. Dowd also notes that ‘Even last April, when I wrote a column critical of Mr. Chalabi, she fired off e-mail to me defending him.’ The April column by Ms. Dowd described Mr. Chalabi as a ‘convicted embezzler in Jordan, suspected Iranian spy, doublecrosser of America, purveyor of phony war-instigating intelligence.’ It described Mr. Chalabi as ‘the resourceful thief of Baghdad.’
“Where is the public editor of the Times when Ms. Dowd mounts this high horse and starts on about ‘bogus stories’ and ‘credulous journalists’?”
The Sun points out that the embezzlement charges against Chalabi appear to have been entirely political in nature and that it could be argued that it was the U.S. that double-crossed Mr. Chalabi, not the other way around.
In the ultimate heresy, the spunky Sun even argues that Ms. Miller is a more serious journalist than Ms. Dowd:
“Who has been the better journalist – Judith Miller or those attacking her in her own paper’s pages? Ms. Miller was sounding the alarm about the Iraqi threat and working her sources and fighting not to get beat. Ms. Dowd was parroting unsubstantiated smears, and Mr. Wilson was falsely downplaying Iraq’s effort to obtain weapons of mass destruction, without disclosing to Times readers his wife’s institutional interests. And huge numbers of Times reporters have been complaining about her to competing news companies. To which we can only say that if Ms. Miller is to be run out of the Times in favor of Ms. Dowd and Mr. Wilson and those who believe, falsely, that the Iraq war was all just an elaborate con job by Mr. Chalabi and his neoconservative allies — well, then the Times is in even worse straits than we thought.”