The Washington Post‘s Al Kamen has a snarky little item in today’s paper about the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. Kamen awards ElBaradei “a yellow flag and 15-yard penalty for..unsportmanlike conduct –taunting–after the new intelligence assessment on Iran was released.” Remember that ElBaradei is the man who warned the Bush Administration in 2003 about the lack of a nuclear program in Iraq and was subsequently attacked for his position by the Bush machine, the neocons and by many, including the Washington Post, in the mainstream media. Had ElBaradei’s work on Iraq been heeded, imagine the treasure, the lives–not to mention our international reputation and security –that would have been saved.
So, maybe the guy does deserve to gloat. But that’s now what he appears to have done. All Kamen can come up with as an example of what he describes as “his unseemly I-told-you-so gloating” is that ElBaradei “notes in particular that the estimate tallies with the [IAEA’s] consistent statements over the last few years that, although Iran still needs to clarify some important aspects of its past and present nuclear activities, the agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran.”
Maybe Kamen and his paper should set aside some time to reflect on how dead wrong they were in blasting ElBaradei on his Iraq assessment. While they’re at it, they might also remember that the Post‘s failure to give ElBaradei and the IAEA a fair hearing didn’t stop with Iraq. The paper’s editorial page kept up its attacks, with guns blazing, on the agency’s Iran assessments. You’d hope that institutions like the Post might have some humility given the magnitude of its past mistakes, the failure to ask tough questions, the willingness to accept the Adminsitration line, making it more difficult for the IAEA to play a role in maintaining international peace and security. But, naaah. Instead, Kamen prattles on: “Next thing you know, [Elbaradei] will be angling for another Nobel Peace Prize and reminding us about his report before the war that Saddam Hussein had no WMDs. That would would have drawn another 15 for unecessary roughness. Whatever happened to etiquette? Propriety?” Whatever happened to shame.