UPDATE: I’ve finally got an audio file for the entire BBC Newshour program on which the Iran war plan document was discussed.
During the entire Iran war plan story that’s played out over the past week, I anticipated the fierce reaction of the pro-Israel right. After all, it’s what they do. But harder to credit is the response of many on the left, some of whom I consider friends and allies and others who’ve tried to discredit my work for some time. That’s why I could expect the carping of Moon of Alabama, War in Context or Dimi Reider at 972 Magazine. But some good friends too have bought into the narrative, which does disturb me. The relative of someone who offers technical help to me asked after reading Woodward’s smears whether she should continue being publicly associated with me. Thankfully, she said: Yes.
After he attacked an earlier leak I published, I spent weeks in a fruitless dialogue of the deaf with MoA’s author. Now, I make it a point not to follow the disparagement from the left. But here’s the general argument. I’m a witting or unwitting tool of Israeli intelligence because they concoct false psy ops material, leak it to me, and I dutifully publish it. The purpose of all this, according to this narrative, appears to be to advance a threatening Israeli posture, throw the fear of God into the Iranians and Americans and generally create a more contentious, propitious environment to advance Israel’s interests.
There’s only one problem with all this: Israeli intelligence, including the Mossad, Shin Bet and IDF (Aman) all oppose a war. The only pockets within the Israeli leadership which support one are the prime minister and defense minister. So you’d have to argue that one of them has duped me. Why Israel’s senior ministers would be taking time to do this to a Seattle blogger is beyond me.
Not to mention the question why Israeli intelligence would’ve leaked to me some incredibly embarrassing stories like the kidnapping of Dirar Abu Sisi or the exposure of the secret arrests of Ameer Makhoul, Anat Kamm or many others. Or why Israeli intelligence would care to accuse newscaster Yoav Even of rape. All of those stories came from the same source. That’s a whole lot of trouble to go to cultivate a media outlet like me.
What especially disturbs me about all these accusations is that they enforce a narrow zone of discourse on the question of war against Iran. According to the left narrative, if you write that Israel will attack Iran, you’re bringing the day that much closer. This gives bloggers like me far too much credit for moving debate.
This attitude in fact reminds me of Freud’s magical thinking, according to which his patients refused to do or say certain things for fear that doing so would cause a personal catastrophe. So you can’t warn of an impending war because doing so will somehow cause one. This loses sight of the fact that the author of the war would be Bibi Netanyahu and not Richard Silverstein.
The attacks of some on the left have the effect of sowing suspicion among us and dividing us. In effect, without intending to do so, it does the work of the right in helping discredit some among us who take a line that diverges from that of others.
I would ask anyone who believed or believes in me to stand back when they read such magical thinking and try to stay true to the verities rather than getting bogged down in the mire of mistrust and paranoia. I have been doing this since 2003. I have been through my share of scoops and even a hoax perpetrated by one enterprising right-wing funster (not the source in question here). The chances are that I’ve considered every angle of a story or leak, both good and bad, before my detractors have even had a chance to jump.
Though there is an element of risk and trust in what I do regarding sources, the risk of a war insufficiently vetted or criticized or anticipated is far worse. That is something my critics on the left have lost sight of.