Bloggers react to the National Intelligence Estimate report that Iran ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003, and to news that a conservative blogger fabricated reporting from Lebanon. Bloggers also parse news that divorce rates hurt the environment.
No nukes is good nukes: A consensus report from 16 U.S. spy agencies released Monday reveals new findings about Iran's nuclear weapons program that contradict earlier reports that highlighted the country's nuclear ambitions. Bloggers are divided as to what this means for the Bush administration's future dealings with Tehran.
"[Y]ou have here a classic example of Bush's foreign policy thinking: his position is that Iran is a threat and must be countered by all necessary means," observes Bush critic Andrew Sullivan. "This applies whether Iran is cooperating or not cooperating. It applies if Iran is accelerating work toward a nuke or if it has suspended its work ... The empirical reality doesn't matter when dealing with the regime like Tehran."
Bloggers wonder when Bush policymakers learned of the new intelligence. "They said they knew that Iran had nuclear weapons, that Iran was about to start World War 3," fumes the Huffington Post's lefty Tony Hendra. "At the barest minimum they knew that was a lie. At the barest minimum they had no evidence to back that up … yet they said that they did. They said they knew. That's called lying." Political Animal Kevin Drum speculates that congressional pressure forced the release of the report, suggesting: "Democratic members of the various intelligence committees saw the NIE (or a summary or a verbal report or something) and went ballistic. Footnotes and dissents are one thing, but withholding a report whose primary conclusion is 180 degrees contrary to years of administration innuendo produced a rebellion."
But Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters defends the administration: "So why did it take from August to the end of November to finalize the NIE? The data seemed so at odds with the conclusion of previous NIEs—all of which insisted that Iran continued to pursue nuclear weapons -- that the DNI assigned a 'red team' to punch holes in the new information."
It all makes InstaPundit Glenn Reynolds go hmmmm. Atop a link-heavy roundup of blogger reaction, he asks, "But what could have happened in 2003 that might have persuaded the Iranians to stop work on a weapon of mass destruction?" Thomas Josceylyn has even more questions at the Weekly Standard's WorldwideStandard blog.
The Beirut fabulist: While the New Republic deals with fallout over the Scott Beauchamp mess, the conservative blogosphere confronts a fibber at the National Review Online's milblog, the Tank. Blogger W. Thomas Smith Jr. wrote a Sept. 25 post "reporting on the ground in Beirut." After HuffPo blogger Thomas Edsall raised questions about figures and anecdotes in Smith's Beirut report, he admitted that facts in his original post were inaccurate. His editor Kathryn Jean Lopez responded, calling the posts "sloppy" and vowed to do a "more thorough review" of his writing. Bloggers are fed up.
"Online journalists and bloggers can't have it both ways: They can't ask for mainstream media parity when their reporting is dead-on and ahead-of-the-curve–and at the same time hide behind the 'well, I was just blogging' excuse if their reporting turns out to be as ill-sourced and wrong-headed as the legacy media's," writesMichelle Malkin, leading the charge from the right. Rick Moran at RightWing Nuthouse gives a detailed run-down of Smith's offenses and notes, "Clearly, Scott Beauchamp has nothing on Smith when it comes to just making stuff up."
Curt at milblog Flopping Aces wonders if the blogosphere was too quick to "pile on" Smith, and notes HuffPo's leftwing allegiances. After a lengthy review of the situation, he concludes: "Did Smith play loose with a few facts? Hard to say at this point seeing as how the ones accusing Smith of these violations have some questionable allegiances. But it does appear many of us were too quick to demonize Smith."
"I'm not particularly a fan of Lopez — I think that she can be prissy and wildly prone to seeing what she wants to see and she can also act the weasel — but I think that her heart and commitment are in the right place and that she's fundamentally pretty honest," writes Adam at the Crossed Pond. "As it stands, I'm OK with her explanation … but I'm most definitely not OK with W. Thomas Smith's explanation/pseudo-apology and I'm not even sure that he is acting appropriately as a journalist at all."
Read more of the blogosphere on W. Thomas Smith.
Divorce is so not green: The Washington Post reports today on a study that shows divorced families—who obviously need two homes instead of one—use more water and electricity. Bloggers ponder the implications of the study.
"They needed a study for this? Think of the time and money they could have saved if they knew the aphorism 'Two can live cheaper than one,' " snipes Jeff Miller at the Catholic blog Curt Jester. Jennifer at All Things Jennifer adds, "I have a STRONG feeling that the last thing I would care about in the midst of going through a very emotional time would be the *GREEN* impact of my marriage ending."
Ayn Rand enthusiast Gus Van Horn wonders, "So the woman who wakes up and realizes that she should take control of her own life and leave the sodden, abusive lout she married as a foolish girl should worry instead about the total of their separate electric bills should she do so? The man who learns that his wife has been sleeping around should remember that, at least when she isn't 'saving water' under some other guy's roof, she's reducing water consumption under his?"
Read more blogger responses to the divorce study.