Monday, January 14, 2008
Kristol Mess (Part II): Claim in New 'NYT ' Column on Iraq Contradicted by 'NYT' Article
His first column for The New York Times' op-ed page last Monday held a major attribution mistake, and then the paper's public editor came out against his hiring. Now a key claim in William Kristol's second column for the paper has been undercut by an news article at the Times a few hours later.
Kristol in his column, which hailed the success of the "surge" in Iraq, concluded with this trump card: Now the Iraqi government had agreed on de-Baathification, a key gain that proves his point and pretty much destroys the Democrats' stand. But now at www.nytimes.com comes a kind of corrective from the paper's Solomon Moore in Baghdad. It opens:
"A day after the Iraqi Parliament passed legislation billed as the first significant political step forward in Iraq after months of deadlock, there were troubling questions — and troubling silences — about the measure’s actual effects. The measure, known as the Justice and Accountability Law, is meant to open government jobs to former members of the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein — the bureaucrats, engineers, city workers, teachers, soldiers and police officers who made the government work until they were barred from office after the American invasion in 2003.
"But the legislation is at once confusing and controversial, a document riddled with loopholes and caveats to the point that some Sunni and Shiite officials say it could actually exclude more former Baathists than it lets back in, particularly in the crucial security ministries. Under that interpretation, the law would be directly at odds with the American campaign to draft Sunni Arabs into so-called Awakening militias with the aim of integrating them into the police and military forces. That plan has been praised as a key to the sharp drop in violence over the past year and as being the most effective weapon against jihadi insurgents like Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia."
UPDATE: The Times' lead editorial on Tuesday also raises doubts about the Kristol claim on the Baath advance, suggesting that rather than a great "accomplishment" it "may only serve to further reinforce the bumbling nature of President Bush's ill-conceived adventure in Iraq."