No doubt I will be attacked (again) for writing critically about this ‘free market’, ‘pro-American’ journal. However, I will proceed.
The Economist magazine (or newspaper, as it chooses to describe itself) last week had a weird racialist rant against Secretary of State Rice. A whole page devoted to claiming (amongst other things) that Condi Rice went along with the evil Bush on Iraq (that the Economist supported the judgement to go into Iraq was somehow forgotten) because she was black and,. therefore, had learned that the way to get ahead was to conform to the will of powerful white men (Rice as Aunt Thomisina?).
There was also a claim that Secretary of State Rice was a poor administrator who ran the State Department badly – this claim rather pleased me, as it can only have come from State Department staff and anyone who is unpopular with the death-to-America fanatics who have tried to dominate Foggy Bottom for decades can not be all bad.
This week the Economist ran a little article on the trial of Lewis Libby. The article claimed that the defence of Mr Libby (against the claim that he obstructed justice in the inquiry into the exposure of CIA agent – the fact that the person was a CIA staff member, not a secret agent, was of course not mentioned in the article) would be that it was all Karl Rove’s fault. But (the Economist article explained) the guilt of Mr Rove does not mean that Mr Libby is innocent.
In fact the ‘exposure’ of the CIA ‘agent’ was nothing to do with Mr Libby or Mr Rove – the person responsible was Richard Armitage.This is common knowledge and Mr Armitage has himself has admitted it.
The whole thing goes back to the effort of the husband of the CIA employee (an ex-State Department person and donor to the 2000 Gore and 2004 Kerry campaign) to discredit American and British claims about Saddam Hussian efforts to buy materials for his atomic weapons program, specifically from the nation of Niger. Elements in the State Department and the CIA opposed British and American policy on Iraq and so tried to discredit the claims made in support of that policy. Richard Armitage, then working for Secretary of State Colin Powell, tried to fight back by pointing out to the media that the supposedly independent people attacking the Administration were part of these factions in the State Department and the CIA who had an agenda of their own. All perfectly normal in the cat fight that is politics.
I am no expert in these matters, but my understanding is that Saddam was after such material. But the Economist article did not cover any of the basic matters – or even that it was Richard Armitage (not Mr Libby or Mr Rove) who ‘leaked’ the fact that the ex Ambassador’s wife was part of a certain faction at the CIA.
All the Economist was concerned with was the ‘lies’ of Mr Libby and Mr Rove. The fact that, whether or not there should be a court case, the whole thing is directed at the wrong person, Mr Libby not being Mr Armitage, escaped them.
In fact the prosecutor involved is politically motivated (no surprise there, we are dealing with the United States after all) and has attacked Mr Libby in order to attack the Vice President and, through him, the President. The jury is of course stacked with Iraq war critics. I did not think highly of the judgement to go to war myself – but I do not like political show trials either.
As for the Economist’s level of knowledge: It was as if an American journal had run an article about British politics and had talked of ‘Prime Minister Cameron’ and ‘Queen Diana’.
I do not know where the Economist gets its staff from (some ‘school of journalism’ perhaps), but I rather resent that they get paid money for writing about things they know nothing about.
Still, as I am careful never to pay for reading bits of the Economist, at least they are not spending my money.