THE BLOG
05/05/2008 01:11 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Times ' Michael Gordon: A "Message Force Multiplier?"

A few months back the United States' top 16 intelligence agencies produced a "National Intelligence Estimate" on Iran that exposed almost everything the Bush administration had been saying for years about the threatening nature of Iran's nuclear program as an elaborate web of lies. So embarrassing to the administration was the Iran NIE, which brought to mind the "smoking guns" and "mushroom clouds" that proved to be total fabrications leading up to the Iraq invasion, that even President George W. Bush found himself on the defensive and had to backtrack. Before the NIE threw dirt in the gears of the Bush war machine Michael Gordon had been a loud and prominent mouthpiece at The New York Times providing endless stenography for Bush and Cheney's most fear-inducing claims about Iran's nuclear capacity.

Michael Gordon shifted gears after the administration's new "mushroom cloud" stories failed to generate much buzz, and he then began flogging another anti-Iran story that the Bush administration and General David Petraeus wanted disseminated: the scary-sounding "explosively formed penetrators" (EFPs) coming from Iran into Iraq and doing harm to American soldiers. But after the EFP stories didn't do the trick to provoke an already war-weary American public into calling for US military action against Iran, Gordon is at it again, dutifully turning to his official sources -- the only ones he knows or cares about -- to generate more alarmist claims that just happen to serve perfectly the Bush administration's calls for some kind of an attack on Iran.

And what is the new pretext for war against Iran that US officials and their underlings inside the Iraqi government are now spoon-feeding Michael Gordon so he can splash it on the front page of The New York Times? Gordon's below-the-fold story in today's Times is entitled: "Hezbollah Trains Iraqi Militants In Iran, American Officials Say."

Now sometimes I'll bother to go in and dissect Gordon's articles and point out that he always quotes from official sources with no apparent effort at all on his part to place their claims in context -- especially the context of the fact that these same kinds of official sources lied to him about Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction." Gordon keeps flogging the attack Iran story for the Bush administration.

We recently found out the extent of the Pentagon's control of an elaborate propaganda network that sent dozens of retired military officers onto the public's television airwaves equipped with talking points so they could perform their duty as "message force multipliers." They told us that there was "no doubt" that Saddam had WMD, aluminum tubes to be used as nuclear centrifuges, flying drones that could gas an American city, that we'd be greeted as liberators, etc.

Gordon was the co-author with the infamous Judith Miller on a front-page article on Sunday, September 8, 2002 that probably did more to further the Bush administration's calls for war against Iraq than any other article published by anyone anywhere (mainly because Dick Cheney and other officials pointed to the Gordon-Miller article on the Sunday political talk shows giving their bogus claims legitimacy in the establishment "liberal" press).

We have become accustomed to having the views of people who were so wrong about Iraq thrown in our faces without accountability or even an acknowledgment that maybe we shouldn't listen to these people anymore. Yesterday's Times had short opinion pieces on what the US should do in Iraq from Frederick Kagan, Richard Perle, and Kenneth Pollack. Today's paper has Gordon's shrill stenography on the front page and William Kristol's sage views in the opinion section. These people never lose their high perches no matter how many of their past lies are exposed so they can tell us over and over again that this time they really can be trusted to interpret world.

I find it curious, and so should Michael Gordon, that every single time he gets an exclusive "scoop" from his official sources they invariably lead him to report events or issues that lead to greater tension between the US and Iran, and more importantly, they fit perfectly into the Bush Administration's goal of massaging public opinion into accepting the wisdom of a military strike against that country. Gordon knows that if the US did not invade and occupy Iraq and overthrow the Sunni government in Baghdad -- all actions his reporting helped facilitate -- the Shia would not be empowered in Iraq and Lebanon's Hezbollah, which has its hands full dealing with Israel, would be only a marginal player in Iraq if at all. But Gordon wants us to forget that history as if it is just a "back story" and become alarmed about Iran's role in Iraq and stiffen our spines for yet another war, which is exactly what the Bush administration wants. Thanks Again Mike!