I know I’m a week late in seeing it, did this attack on Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei come out of nowhere or what?
The Washington Post doesn’t always get it right, but it’s never gotten it quite this wrong. First, the editors can’t seem to decide whether they want the IAEA Director General to be more or less independent. They fault him for ignoring his mandate as an international civil servant and then, paradoxically, suggest that he should more faithfully follow the lead of the United States.
There’s plenty of sloppy thinking in this piece, but the second paragraph is really a gem:
Mr. ElBaradei was lionized by opponents of the Iraq war for debunking Bush administration charges that Saddam Hussein had restarted his nuclear program before the 2003 invasion. Emboldened, he has now set himself a new task: stopping what he considers to be the “crazies” in Washington who “want to say, ‘Let us go and bomb Iran.’ ” We’re not part of that camp, though we consider its members saner than many of the statements of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But what’s really unacceptable is Mr. ElBaradei’s way of accomplishing his aim, which is to excuse the Iranian activity that most justifies the would-be bombers — uranium enrichment — while also trying to undermine the principal non-military leverage against it, which is economic sanctions.
Let’s review. First, the Post insinuates that Dr. ElBaradei doesn’t deserve a feather in his cap for getting Iraq WMDs right when the world’s largest intelligence bureaucracy got it wrong.
Then comes a weird, backwards bit of logic. To summarize: Iran hawks are less crazy than Ahmedinejad. That means that Iran hawks are sane. Therefore, ElBaradei, who wants to stop the Iran hawks, is crazy.
And it’s downhill from there. The Post says ElBaradei excuses uranium enrichment. Actually, ElBaradei makes an enrichment freeze a central point of negotiations with the Iranians and talks about its importance at every turn. Finally, the Post concludes that sanctions are the “principal non-military leverage” the international community has. Diplomacy anyone?
Really, the Washington Post editorial board is not always crazy. After all, I consider them much less crazy than the editorial board of the Washington Times, so they must be sane!
— Scott Paul