could get through an endless self-appraisal of his post 9/11 beliefs and not include a note about Libya’s abandonment of WMD in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq and capture of Saddam even as the remnants of Qaddafi’s regime flee to Niger. The Arab Spring has nothing to do the fall of Saddam, by the way, nothing at all because Bill Keller’s friends told him so.
Keller’s piece is a classic “Why I mattered then and why my opinions ought not to be held against me today.” The thousands who died in the war, the tens of thousands who were wounded and the millions who served are all –each one of them– far more important than Bill Keller and his little band of scribblers who still think they played a role in the decision to invade Afghanistan and Iraq and who think that if they had written a different op-ed, things would have been different.
It is astonishing to see, even ten years into a global war about which we know so much more now than we did then, that vanity still defines the Manhattan-Beltway media elite, that and reflexive left-wing politics. What is clear from all the memoirs, most recently Dick Cheney’s, is that the left didn’t matter at all, not in the councils of war, not in the political debates that swirled within Congress. They just didn’t matter.
The New York Times’ only significant contributions were great reporting from Iraq thanks to people like John Burns and Dexter Filkins, and harmful, disgraceful betrayal of national security secrets by the Manhattan gang seeking fame and fortune at the expense of American lives and secrets. Keller didn’t deal with his role in green lighting the leaks either, or the enormous damage they did to our ability to stop other attacks.
Never let it be said that Bill Keller had the courage to stand by his convictions and decisions.