There are stupid people everywhere on earth. In most countries they quietly putter their lives away, trying to grow mangos in Nova Scotia and getting into occasional bar fights with people who tell them Jean-Luc Picard isn’t a real person.
What’s unique about 21st century America is that we have a gigantic industry devoted to finding these people and giving them jobs opining about politics. “Can’t tie your own shoes?” read the want ads. “Believe two plus two equals nine, and willing to say so in public? Apply today for a career in the Right Wing Media!”
Thus there are dozens, hundreds, thousands of these cretins toiling away in the subsidized vineyards, making their Idiot Wine. But I think we need to stop today and salute Jim Geraghty of National Review, who has produced perhaps the Stupidest Vintage ever.
As we’ve known since the early nineties, Iraq got close to building a nuclear weapon before the 1991 Gulf War. The shortest estimates are that Iraq would have needed perhaps another year (without the sanctions imposed in August, 1990 after the invasion of Kuwait).
After the Gulf War, however, the Iraqi nuclear program was destroyed by the IAEA and never reconstituted. During this time the IAEA required Iraq to explain in detail exactly what their pre-91 nuclear program achieved. Copies of these documents were given to the U.N. on repeated occasions, including in fall, 2002. Before any were publicly released, sensitive information about weapon design, etc. was excised.
After our newest war huge numbers of Iraqi government documents were captured. America’s right pushed for them to be publicly released online. (They believed the documents would hold overlooked clues to Saddam’s Chamber of Secrets hiding his WMD and valentines from Osama.)
Now the New York Times has reported that the uncensored versions of the nuclear documents were accidentally included in the online release:
…the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraqâ€™s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb…
Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Husseinâ€™s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.
Here’s where Jim Geraghty and his Brain The Size Of A Grain Of Rice come in. In a post at National Review, he asks:
I’m sorry, did the New York Times just put on the front page that IRAQ HAD A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM AND WAS PLOTTING TO BUILD AN ATOMIC BOMB?
Wow, that’s AN EXCITING ALL-CAPS QUESTION.
Let’s give it AN EXCITING ALL-CAPS ANSWER:
What’s confused Mr. Grain of Rice Brain, of course, is the difference between what Iraq had done before the Gulf War in 1991 and twelve years later before the recent war.
Now, making this mistake is remarkably stupid to start with. Still, you can imagine that someone who knows nothing whatsoever about the subject could do so. Where Jim “My Brain Weighs Eight Milligrams” Geraghty really outdoes himself is going ahead and writing something about it. Because doing so required him to consider whether it was more likely that all these things were true —
1. The CIA spent $1 billion without finding any trace of an Iraqi nuclear weapons program.
2. The New York Times discovered Iraq actually had a nuclear weapons program a year away from a bomb and decided to reveal it in an ambiguously-worded sentence in paragraph 14 of a story about something else.
3. The Bush administration knows about this program and has modestly decided not to say anything about it.
— or whether it was more likely he’d misunderstood something. And then decide it was the former.
Even better, he then takes the stupid foundation and builds a giant Mansion of Dumb on top of it. (Doesn’t this incredible revelation mean that Joe Wilson has been proven completely wrong?!???)
But again, we shouldn’t blame Mr. Geraghty. He’s doing the best he can with his three neurons. In other times and places he would have lived a happy, simple life, whiling away the hours trying to milk chickens. The responsibility truly lies with the owners of National Review, who’ve plucked him out of his natural habitat.
In other words, it’s the puppet-masters who matter, not the puppets. Although given Mr. Geraghty’s performance here, that analogy is an insult to the intelligence of puppets.
EXTRA BONUS STUPID: While Jim Geraghty is Patient Zero, the Idiot Virus has spread here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and surely millions of other places thanks to this.