Thursday, August 18, 2005

Why is the NYT Standing Behind Judith Miller?

As I have metioned before, Arianna Huffington is doing a spectacular job covering the New York Times' Judith Miller and her inaccurate reporting on WMD in Iraq as well as her illegal leak in the Plame affair. Ms. Huffington is establishing her web site as a "must read" news source.

In today's article she notes a contradiction New York Times policy with regard to anonymous sources.

“When I was chief of the bureau in Washington,” he [Bill Kovach, the former Times Washington bureau chief] told Sidney Blumenthal, “we laid down a rule to the reporters that when they wanted to establish anonymity they had to lay out ground rules that if anything the source said was damaging, false or damaged the credibility of the newspaper we would identify them. If a man damages your credibility, why not lay the blame where it belongs? Whoever was leaking that information to Novak, Cooper or Judy Miller was doing it with malice aforethought, trying to set up a deceptive circumstance. That would invalidate any promise of confidentiality. You wouldn't protect a source for telling lies or using you to mislead your audience. That changes everything. Any reporter that puts themselves or a news organization in that position is making a big mistake.”

This doesn't seem like a complicated point to me. At best, Judth Miller was manipulated by an anonymous source. Therefore, under standard NYT policy that source should be exposed. Why won't Mr. Sulzberger follow the policy of his own paper?

You should read the entire article here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cause Sulzberger is a pitcher and not a catcher. Same as Miller.

8/18/2005 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Good find. And good question.

The media has gotten this wrong from the very beginning because they cant see past their own noses- they have painted this story as some sort of freedom of the press case which it just is not. Judith miller was playing patsy for Rove and whomever else and she got burned.

The whole anonymous source notion was not created to shield those in power from criminal prosecution if they decided to use the media as a conduit for their unethical/illegal behavior- that turns the whole idea on its head. And its time the NYT figured that out- they arent the victims here.

8/18/2005 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger truthseeker said...

Will the leak of Valerie Plame out the JINSA/CSP/PNAC Neocon which took US to war in Iraq for Israel via Cheney's office?

8/19/2005 01:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cindy Sheehan denied writing that her son died for Israel in Iraq

8/19/2005 01:48:00 AM  
Anonymous r said...

I may be way off target but ever since Fritz jailed Miller my opinion has been that she was told about Plame by someone in the WH and she passed it to Novak and Novak then called "two senior officals" to confirm..not the other way around, that she told the WH who Plame was..that makes no sense, the WH, I am sure knew all about Plame from the minute Wilson's column appeared. They didn't need Miller to tell them who she was or what she did. The only thing they needed Miller for was to feed it to Novak and muddy the trail of the source.

8/19/2005 01:56:00 AM  
Anonymous r said...

Excuse the long post but I am not sure how long this link will be good since junkyard snatched this subscription only report so I am posting the entire article.
This will help connect the dots behind Isr's withdrawal. But it still leaves the question of which way the fanatical zionist sect will jump..will they continue to pursue their delusion or not? And if so, what will they do to keep the terrorism war going to make it possible for Sharon, as he said today to..."respond more severly than ever to any terrorist attacks aafter disengagement". I hope everyone has their eyes wide would be a good time to put as many non partisan intelligence assests as possible in Mid East so we have a chance to know who really is doing what.

The Gaza Withdrawal and Israel's Permanent Dilemma
By George Friedman

Israel has begun its withdrawal from Gaza.
As with all other territorial withdrawals by Israel, such as that from the
Sinai or from Lebanon, the decision is controversial within the Jewish
state. It represents the second withdrawal from land occupied in the 1967
war, and the second from land that houses significant numbers of
anti-Israeli fighters. Since these fighters will not be placated by the
Israeli withdrawal -- given that there is no obvious agreement of land for
an enforceable peace -- the decision by the Israelis to withdraw from Gaza
would appear odd.

In order to understand what is driving Israeli
policy, it is necessary to consider Israeli geopolitical reality in some

Israel's founders, taken together, had four motives for
founding the state.

1. To protect the Jews from a hostile world by
creating a Jewish homeland.
2. To create a socialist (not communist)
Jewish state.
3. To resurrect the Jewish nation in order to re-assert
Jewish identity in history.
4. To create a nation based on Jewish
religiosity and law rather than Jewish nationality alone.

The idea of
safety, socialism, identity and religiosity overlapped to some extent and
were mutually exclusive in other ways. But each of these tendencies became a
fault line in Israeli life. Did Israel exist simply so that Jews would be
safe -- was Israel simply another nation among many? Was Israel to be a
socialist nation, as the Labor Party once envisioned? Was it to be a vehicle
for resurrecting Jewish identity, as the Revisionists wanted? Was it to be a
land governed by the Rabbinate? It could not be all of these things. Thus,
these were ultimately contradictory visions tied together by a single
certainty: none of these visions were possible without a Jewish state. All
arguments in Israel devolve to these principles, but all share a common
reality -- the need for the physical protection of Israel.

In order
for there to be a Jewish state, it must be governed by Jews. If it is also
to be a democratic state, as was envisioned by all but a few of the fourth
(religiosity) strand of logic, then it must be a state that is
demographically Jewish.

This poses the first geopolitical dilemma
for Israel: Whatever the historical, moral or religious arguments, the fact
was that at the beginning of the 20th century, the land identified as the
Jewish homeland -- Palestine -- was inhabited overwhelmingly by Arabs. A
Jewish and democratic state could be achieved only by a demographic
transformation. Either more Jews would have to come to Palestine, or Arabs
would have to leave, or a combination of the two would have to occur. The
Holocaust caused Jews who otherwise would have stayed in Europe to come to
Palestine. The subsequent creation of the state of Israel caused Arabs to
leave, and Jews living in Arab countries to come to Israel.

this demographic shift was incomplete, leaving Israel with two strategic
problems. First, a large number of Arabs, albeit a minority, continued to
live in Israel. Second, the Arab states surrounding Israel -- which
perceived the state as an alien entity thrust into their midst -- viewed
themselves as being in a state of war with Israel. Ultimately, Israel's
problem was that dealing with the external threat inevitably compounded the
internal threat.

Israel's Strategic Disadvantage
Israel was
at a tremendous strategic disadvantage. First, it was vastly outnumbered in
the simplest sense: There were many more Arabs who regarded themselves as
being in a state of war with Israel than there were Jews in Israel. Second,
Israel had extremely long borders that were difficult to protect. Third, the
Israelis lacked strategic depth. If all of their neighbors -- Egypt, Jordan,
Syria and Lebanon -- were joined by the forces of more distant Arab and
Islamic states, Israel would find it difficult to resist. And if all of
these forces attacked simultaneously in a coordinated strike, Israel would
find it impossible to resist.

Even if the Arabs did not carry out a
brilliant stroke, cutting Israel in half on a Jerusalem-Tel Aviv line (a
distance of perhaps 20 miles), Israel would still lose an extended war with
the Arabs. If the Arabs could force a war of attrition on Israel, in which
they could impose an attrition rate of perhaps 1 percent per day of forces
on the forward edge of the battle area, Israel would not be able to hold for
more than a few months at best. In the 20th century, an attrition rate of
that level, in a battle space the size of Israel, would be modest. Israel's
effective forces rarely numbered more than 250,000 men -- the other 250,000
were older reserves with inferior equipment. Extended attritional warfare
was not an option for Israel.

Thus, in order for Israel to survive,
three conditions were necessary:

1. The Arabs must never unite into a
single, effective force.
2. Israel must choose the time, place and
sequence of any war.
3. Israel must never face both a war and an internal
uprising of Arabs simultaneously.

Israel's strategy was to use
diplomacy to prevent the three main adversaries -- Egypt, Jordan and Syria
-- from simultaneously choosing to launch a war. From its founding, Israel
always maintained a policy of splitting the front-line states. This was not
particularly difficult, given the deep animosities among the Arabs. For
example, Israel always maintained a special relationship with Jordan, which
had unsatisfactory relations with its own neighbors. Early on, Israel worked
to serve as the guarantor of the Jordanian regime's survival. Later, after
the Camp David Accords split Egypt off from the Arab coalition, Israel had
neutralized two out of three of its potential adversaries. The dynamics of
Arab geopolitics and the skill of Israeli diplomacy achieved an outcome that
is rarely appreciated. From its founding, Israel managed to prevent
simultaneous warfare with its neighbors except at a time and place of its
own choosing. It had to maintain a military force capable of taking the
initiative in order to have a diplomatic strategy.

But throughout
most of its history, Israel had a fundamental challenge in achieving this

Israel's Geopolitical Problem
The state's
military preeminence had to be measured against the possibility of
diplomatic failure. Israel had to assume that all front-line states would
become hostile to it, and that it would have to launch a preemptive strike
against them all. If this were the case, Israel had this dilemma: Its
national industrial base was insufficient to provide it with the
technological wherewithal to maintain its military superiority. It was not
simply a question of money --all the money in the world could not change the
demographics -- but also that Israel lacked the manpower to produce all of
the weapons it needed to have and also to field an army. Therefore, Israel
could survive only if it had a patron that possessed such an industrial
base. Israel had to make itself useful to another country.

first patron was the Soviet Union, through its European satellites. Its
second patron was France, which saw Israel as an ally during a time when
Paris was trying to hold onto its interests in an increasingly hostile Arab
world. Its third patron -- but not until 1967 -- was the United States,
which saw Israel as a counterweight to pro-Soviet Egypt and Syria, as well
as a useful base of operations in the eastern Mediterranean.

1967, Israel -- fearing a coordinated strike by the Arabs and also seeking
to rationalize its defensive lines and create strategic depth -- launched an
air and land attack against its neighbors. Rather than risk a coordinated
attack, Israel launched a sequential attack -- first against Egypt, then
Jordan, then Syria.

The success of the 1967 war gave rise to
Israel's current geopolitical crisis.

Following the war, Israel had
to balance three interests:

1. It now occupied the West Bank and Gaza
Strip, which contained large, hostile populations of Arabs. A full,
peripheral war combined with an uprising in these regions would cut Israeli
lines of supply and communication and risk Israel's defeat.
2. Israel was
now dependent on the United States for its industrial base. But American
interests and Israeli interests were not identical. The United States had
interests in the Arab world, and had no interest in Israel crushing
Palestinian opposition or expelling Palestinians from Israel. Retaining the
industrial base and ruthlessly dealing with the Palestinians became
incompatible needs.
3. Israel had to continue manipulating the balance of
power among Arab states in order to prevent a full peripheral war. That, in
turn, meant that it was further constrained in dealing with the Palestinian
question by force.

Israeli geopolitics created the worst condition of
all: Given the second and third considerations, Israel could not crush the
Palestinians; but given its need for strategic depth and coherent borders,
it could not abandon the occupied territories. It therefore had to
continually constrain the Palestinians without any possibility of final
victory. It had to be ruthless, which would enflame the Palestinians, but it
could never be ruthless enough to effectively suppress them.

Impermanence of Diplomacy
Israel has managed to maintain the
diplomatic game it began in 1948: The Arabs remain deeply split. It has
managed to retain its relationship with the United States, even with the end
of the Cold War. Given the decline of the conventional threat, Israel's
dependency on the United States has actually dwindled. For the moment, the
situation is contained.

However -- and this is the key problem for
Israel -- the diplomatic solution is inherently impermanent. It requires
constant manipulation, and the possibility of failure is built in. For
example, an Islamist rising in Egypt could rapidly generate shifts that
Israel could not contain. Moreover, political changes in the United States
could end American patronage, without the certainty of another patron
emerging. These things are not likely to occur, but they are not
inconceivable. Given enough time, anything is possible.

advantage is diplomatic and cultural. Its ability to split the Arabs, a
diplomatic force, is coupled with its technological superiority, a cultural
force. But both of these can change. The Arabs might unite, and they might
accelerate their technological and military sophistication. Israel's
superiority can change, but its inferiority is fixed: Geography and
demography put it in an unchangeably vulnerable position relative to the

The potential threats to Israel are:

1. A united and
effective anti-Israeli coalition among the Arabs.
2. The loss of its
technological superiority and, therefore, the loss of military
3. The need to fight a full peripheral war while dealing with
an intifada within its borders.
4. The loss of the United States as patron
and the failure to find an alternative.
5. A sudden, unexpected nuclear
strike on its populated heartland.

Therefore, it follows that Israel
has three options.

The first is to hope for the best. This has been
Israel's position since 1967. The second is to move from conventional
deterrence to nuclear deterrence. Israel already possesses this capability,
but the value of nuclear weapons is in their deterrent capability, not in
their employment. You can't deal with an intifada or with close-in
conventional war with nuclear weapons -- not given the short distances
involved in Israel. The third option is to reduce the possibility of
disaster as far as possible by increasing the tensions in the Arab world,
reducing the incentive for cultural change among the Arabs, eliminating the
threat of intifada in time of war, and reducing the probability that the
United States will find it in its interests to break with

Hence, the withdrawal from Gaza. As a base for terrorism, Gaza
poses a security threat to Israel. But the true threat from Gaza, and even
more the West Bank, lies in the fact that they create a dynamic that
decreases Israel's diplomatic effectiveness, risks creating Arab unity,
increases the impetus for military modernization and places stress on
Israel's relationship with the United States. The terrorist threat is
painful. The alternative risks long-term catastrophe.

Some of the
original reasons for Israel's founding, such as the desire for a socialist
state, are now irrelevant to Israeli politics. And revisionism, like
socialism, is a movement of the past. Modern Israel is divided into three

1. Those who believe that the survival of Israel depends on
disengaging from a process that enrages without crushing the Palestinians,
even if it opens the door to terrorism.
2. Those who regard the threat of
terrorism as real and immediate, and regard the longer-term strategic threats
as theoretical and abstract.
3. Those who have a religious commitment to
holding all territories.

The second and third factions are in
alliance but, at the moment, it is the first faction that appears to be the
majority. It is not surprising that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is leading
this faction. As a military man, Sharon has a clear understanding of
Israel's vulnerabilities. It is clearly his judgment that the long-term
threat to Israel comes from the collapse of its strategic position, rather
than from terrorism. He has clearly decided to accept the reality of
terrorist attacks, within limits, in order to pursue a broader strategic

Israel has managed to balance the occupation of a
hostile population with splitting Arab nation states since 1967. Sharon's
judgment is that, given the current dynamics of the Muslim world, pursuing
the same strategy for another generation would be both too costly and too
risky. The position of his critics is that the immediate risks of
disengagement increase the immediate danger to Israel without solving the
long-term problem. If Sharon is right, then there is room for maneuver. But
if his critics, including Benjamin Netanyahu, are right, Israel is locked
down to an insoluble problem.

That is the real debate.

Send questions or comments on this article to

8/19/2005 02:51:00 AM  
Anonymous r said...

And in case my friend anonymous is lurking here I would like to emphasize the reports obvious connecting dots in the terrier war...

"The third option (for Israel)is to reduce the possibility of
disaster as far as possible by:

# increasing the tensions in the Arab world,

# reducing the incentive for cultural change among the Arabs,

# eliminating the
threat of intifada in time of war,

# and reducing the probability that the United States will find it in its interests to break with

8/19/2005 03:09:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Interesting essay, thanks "r". The theme of Israel's interest in splitting the Arab world is worth repeating. (It was also present, remember, in the Clean Break paper.) The theme of Israel's different, overlapping, identities is also worth remembering.

But on a more detailed level, I'm not sure what Mr. Friedman means when he talks about the necessity of the '67 occupation. He uses terms like "seeking
to rationalize its defensive lines," and needing "coherent borders." I'm no military analyst, but these sound to me like concepts more applicable to '48-49 than 1967. By then Israel's military preponderance was overwhelming. (I have read that DOD analysts were not suprised at Israel's victory in the Six Days War, but only that it took as long as it did.) And once the motive for the occupation is seen as old-fashioned expansionism rather than security, Friedman's explanation of Disengagement stops making sense. He says Sharon has now decided to put up with terrorism in order to stop enraging the Arab world. Well if that were true, then we should soon be seeing further "disengagement" from the main West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem. But don't hold your breath.

A more cynical, and to me more convincing, interpretation of the Gaza withdrawal is here--
(scroll down)
Mark Elf 8/19/2005

8/19/2005 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Yes, thanks for that article- it seems obvious but the way the author put it makes perfect sense- by splitting up the arab world there can be no no coordinated, uniform uprising of the many Arab states, although we of course are no where near that point yet (they are still united in prinicple and Iraq certainly doesnt change that).

I debate politics online frequently and I have been called anti-israel for suggesting that the neocons in the administration (and in PNAC) see the protection of Israel as almost paramount to the "protection" of the US. I have also been told there is no "proof" that the invasion of Iraq was based in large part on Israel's interests. To me, the stated PNAC and AIPAC agenda seem pretty clear to me and it very much does seem to be about Israel.

8/19/2005 02:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For evidence from an anti-Zionist Jewish historian that the USA war on Iraq (and the future one on Iran)is being fought for Israel, see this webpage:

Greater Israel -- What Does It Really Mean

8/19/2005 06:40:00 PM  

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