Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Found! Wingnuts of Mass Destruction

There are few examples of right wingnuttery more pungent than the argument that WMD were found in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, but due to the gross negligence of the Bush administration they were smuggled out of the country by insurgents and are now in the hands of the U.S.'s mortal enemies and that everybody -- White House and Democrats alike -- is so embarrassed that they're joined at the hip in a vast cover-up.
Hokie smokies!
I had not realized how really vast this cover-up was until I did some research on the story behind Melanie Phillips' "scoop" on it in The Spectator over the weekend and found similar stories littered through right-wing media archives over the last three years like so much road kill.
If I learned anything as an investigative reporter and editor, it is that if a story seems too good to be true then it isn't.

There also is the fact that diarreha of the mouth is as common in Washington as padded expense accounts, and the number of people who would have to keep quiet about a WMD cover-up of this magnitude would number in the thousands.
So why then does this story rear it's fugly head with such regularity?

Because if you're a right wingnut, breaking up is hard to do. Despite President Bush's own acknowledgement that there were no WMD, letting go of that canard is like admitting that the man you fell in love with and married is an abusive cad.

For another, there's usually someone out there with fancy sounding credentials to help advance this particular conspiracy theory.

In this case it is David Gaubatz, a self-aggrandizing right wingnut who worked for the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations and claims that he actually was shown four of Saddam's WMD sites, but all of the intelligence reports about them were . . . well, the president's dog ate them or something.

I was shocked to realize that a reporter as meticulous as Phillips relied on Gaubatz as her only source, but then she is only the latest right winger to succumb to his flapdoodlery in the service of trying to keep the WMD flame burning.

My favorite examples of this are the late great Tweedledum and Tweedledee of WMD -- Kurt Weldon and Peter Hoekstra.

Weldon was diselected after 10 terms in Congress by voters in his suburban Philadelphia district who were weary of his antics, while Hoekstra lost the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee, both because of that Republican crackup known as the 2006 midterm election.
Weldon hatched a wild scheme to go to Iraq with Hoekstra under the guise of visiting U.S. troops over the 2006 Memorial Day weekend.

Once there, they would detour to remote and extremely dangerous Nasiriyah Province where they would dig up those elusive WMD cited by Gaubatz with equipment borrowed from the Army.
Gaubatz blew the whistle on Kurt and Pete's Excellent Adventure after realizing that he was being used to kindle a re-election issue.

Glenn Greenwald sums up WMD wingnuttery thusly:
"What further proof is needed of just how completely bereft of judgment and integrity -- of how detached from reality -- this faction is? Everything is possible except for one thing -- that they were wrong about WMDs and the war. Perhaps the next time Howard Kurtz has Glenn Reynolds on CNN or lauds Michelle Malkin's epic truth-seeking battles, he can note that they promote this Worldwide Conspiracy and ask them to expound on it."
Incidentally, Gaubatz is not resting on his laurels. Greenwald reports that his latest project is to map every mosque and Islamic school in the U.S. for reasons that should be obvious . . . at least to right wingnuts.
Like I said, hokie smokies!

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