I was alerted by Antiwar.com on Sunday morning May 23 that I was seriously misquoted in an article in the Alameda Times-Star by Byron Williams, described as “an Oakland pastor and syndicated columnist.” Mr. Williams attributed the following neo-Jacobin quote to me: “Our first tasks now must be to crush the rebellions, punish the al-Sadr types and disband the militias.” The quote, though obviously not mine, looked familiar. It is from John O’Sullivan in the May 3, National Review. I had used the quote, attributed to O’Sullivan, in my article early this month, “National Review‘s Plan for Victory in Iraq.”
I contacted Mr. Williams. He acknowledged his mistake and apologized. Mistakes such as this can have a long life. Mr. Williams’ article is likely to find its way into another writer’s file, and one day I will find myself lumped together with Perle, Frum, Kristol and Wolfowitz in a paragraph bringing the blame home to the neo-Jacobins who destroyed America’s image in the world and unleashed more terrorism.
The speed of the Internet spreads errors faster than they can be corralled. One wonders how future historians will cope.