Washington Babylon — August 12, 2010, 12:57 pm

Jeffrey Goldberg’s Convenient Facts

Jonathan Schwarz and Glenn Greenwald demolish Jeffrey Goldberg’s new piece in The Atlantic. The former writes, “Jeffrey Goldberg has just written a long article about the chances of Israel attacking Iran. (Apparently it’s 50-50.) The piece demonstrates that Goldberg remains at the top of his profession—he’s still America’s greatest foreign policy propagandist.”

Greenwald, elaborating on Schwarz’s post, starts his piece by citing this section of Goldberg’s new article:

Israel has twice before successfully attacked and destroyed an enemy’s nuclear program. In 1981, Israeli warplanes bombed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak, halting — forever, as it turned out — Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions; and in 2007, Israeli planes destroyed a North Korean-built reactor in Syria. An attack on Iran, then, would be unprecedented only in scope and complexity.

Then he notes this section from a 2002 story by Goldberg in The New Yorker:

Saddam Hussein never gave up his hope of turning Iraq into a nuclear power. After the Osirak attack, he rebuilt, redoubled his efforts, and dispersed his facilities. Those who have followed Saddam’s progress believe that no single strike today would eradicate his nuclear program.

So let’s see, in 2010 Israel had halted “forever, as it turned out — Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions.” Eight years earlier, though, the Israeli attack had failed. What could possibly explain these two completely contrary accounts by the same writer?

Greenwald explains: “Back then, Goldberg wouldn’t possibly claim what he claims now — that the 1981 strike permanently halted Saddam’s ‘nuclear ambitions’ — because, back then, his goal was to scare Americans about The Threat of Saddam. So in 2002, Goldberg warned Americans that Saddam had ‘redoubled’ his efforts to turn Iraq into a nuclear power after the Israeli attack.” And of course now Goldberg is trying to build the case for an Israeli attack on Iran.

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