Robert Wright, my arch-nemesis, and an on-line columnist for The New York Times, can't quite bring himself to condemn my Iran piece, which he admits is filled with actual reporting. So instead he resorts to libeling the writer:
"...The author of the article is Jeffrey Goldberg, who has previously been accused of pushing a pro-war agenda via ostensibly reportorial journalism. His 2002 New Yorker piece claiming to have found evidence linking Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda is remembered on the left as a monument to consequential wrongness. And suspicions of Goldberg's motivations only grow when he writes about Israel. He served in the Israeli army, and he has more than once been accused of channeling Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu."
Has there ever been a more passive paragraph written than the previous? "Has previously been accused," "is remembered on the left," "has more than once been accused of channeling Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu." Jesus, Bob, can't you at least cowboy-up and write a direct sentence?
I will explain in a moment why Wright scribbles in bile about me (it has to do with some unfortunate dictator-coddling tendencies he occasionally exhibits), but first, a couple of small points: On this al Qaeda matter, Wright neglects to mention that the Institute for Defense Analyses recently issued a five-volume report that, among other things, confirms, using original Ba'athist documents, that Saddam Hussein's intelligence service funded and influenced a jihadist Kurdish terror group in Northern Iraq that had links to al Qaeda networks (This, by the way, is what I charged in the New Yorker piece, not something as grandiose as Wright suggests). I don't know why Wright hasn't read the report. (You can download it here).
On another of his "arguments," it is true that I served in the Israeli army. It is also true that my service in the army soured me on the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and that I wrote a book based on my army experience in which I condemned the occupation. (This is a book that, by the way, The Progressive magazine, not known as a neocon rag, named as a best book of the year.)
As to the charge that I channel Bibi Netanyahu, the charge was made after I interviewed Netanyahu and published the results of that interview on the Atlantic website. Roger Cohen, the Times columnist, made the charge, which was then repeated by one Robert Wright. Others in journalism thankfully recognized the interview for what it was: An interview.
For those of you who are asking, "So why does Robert Wright lose his mind whenever the subject of Jeffrey Goldberg arises?", the answer is simple. In 2002, writing in Slate, Wright denied that the Kurds of Iraq were victims of a Saddam-led genocide. The genocide of the Kurds, of course, was documented by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the U.S. State Department, and by hundreds of journalists. Yours truly then accused Wright publicly of denying a proven, documented genocide, and I reminded him of the unsavory history of genocide-denial. Wright then whined -- I mean, really whined -- to Slate's then-editor, Jacob Weisberg, about my criticism; Weisberg, to his credit, stood by my charge. Robert Wright has never forgiven me for embarrassing him like that, and he tries to pay me back every chance he gets. The only notable aspect of all this is that The New York Times now enables his vendetta.