Yesterday, former United Nations ambassador John Bolton published an op-ed in the pages of The New York Times, arguing that the United States has no choice but to bomb Iran. “Only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor … can accomplish what is required,” Bolton wrote.
But The Intercept’s Jon Schwarz noticed something odd about that sentence in the paper’s online edition. The reference to Israel’s attack on the Osirak reactor contained a link to a Washington Post op-ed that argued that far from crippling Iraq’s nuclear weapons program, Israel’s attack actually compelled Saddam Hussein to employ 7,000 scientists and spend $10 billion in pursuit of a nuclear bomb.
This is not exactly the sort of supporting link that Bolton might have hoped for. And when Schwarz called Times op-ed deputy editor Sewell Chan, he learned that an editor had inserted the link by mistake, and that Chan would see to it that the Osirak reference would link to a straight news story covering the bombing.
Now, when you click on that link in the Bolton piece, you are directed to the New York Times story that reported the incident — along with a denunciation of the attack by the Reagan administration, under which John Bolton served as an assistant attorney general.
The New York Times did not issue a correction indicating that editors had changed the link.