Best retirement (2008)

Judy Miller

When your own newspaper's star columnist calls you—a colleague—a "woman of mass destruction," you might as well leave. Unfortunately, it was too late. By the time Judy Miller was finally unembedded from The New York Times in November 2005, even the Bush regime had stopped looking for the WMDs that she had brayed about in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Her farewell from the Times was ignominious at best. It wasn't only Maureen Dowd who skewered her; it was also the paper's ombudsman, Byron Calame, and even the friggin' editor, Bill Keller. Finally, on November 9, Miller announced her departure. To relive those moments, go to, the erstwhile journo's own website for damage control. Her final spin: "[M]ainly I have chosen to resign because over the last few months, I have become the news, something a New York Times reporter never wants to be." At least the bad news. An unrepentant Miller pointed proudly to her having served time in jail to protect sources. In retrospect, maybe she should have been confined several years earlier to some sort of hoosegow for news gals. That wouldn't have protected sources, but it might have protected some soldiers, not to mention Iraqi civilians. To the bitter end (made sweeter by what was said to be a six-figure package to get her out the door), Miller portrayed herself as a modern-day John Peter Zenger. The name we'll always associate with her work, however, is Ahmed Chalabi.


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