Last night on Fox News, the Special Report “All-Star Panel” discussed a new Washington Institute for Near East Policy report calling for tougher sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. Panel regulars Charles Krauthammer and Fred Barnes naturally argued that the U.S. should instead attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
But disgraced New York Times reporter turned Fox News analyst Judith Miller — a rare “All-Star” panelist — briefly broke ranks. “I’m with the president on this one,” she said. “I think that we had eight years of calling the Iranians names. … What we really need to do is give it the good college try to see if there is a deal to be done.” Yet, Miller quickly sank back into her neoconservative comfort zone, arguing that if all else fails, “military action” will be necessary:
MILLER: And let’s say it doesn’t succeed, and the Iranians continue on their merry way, trying to have a bomb and trying to have relations with the world. At least then America will be able to say we have tried negotiations without preconditions. We have done everything we can. And it will set the stage for really tough sanctions. And, if that fails, unfortunately, military action.
It appears that old habits die hard when you’re hanging around the neoconservative crowd. As New York Magazine noted in 2004, “During the winter of 2001 and throughout 2002, Miller produced a series of stunning stories about Saddam Hussein’s ambition and capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction…almost all of which have turned out to be stunningly inaccurate.”
Miller’s neocon friends in the Bush administration (as well as Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi) fed her that false information, and she hung onto every word. In late 2002, citing unnamed officials, she co-wrote a New York Times article reporting that Iraq had “stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb.” Senior Bush officials then pointed to Miller’s story as justification for war with Iraq. Miller even claimed shortly after the invasion that WMD had been found in Iraq.
In 2005, Miller went to jail for refusing to testify in the Valerie Plame leak scandal (Plame ironically worked on countering Iran’s nuclear program). While Miller was in jail, Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby — a staunch neocon in his own right — wrote to her about how much he admired her and urged her to “come back to work — and life.”