Monday, October 29, 2007

How Times Have Changed

Here's a Monday morning exercise to go with your first cuppa. First, read the following excerpt from an editorial in today's NY Times.

America’s allies and increasingly the American public are playing a ghoulish guessing game: Will President Bush manage to leave office without starting a war with Iran? Mr. Bush is eagerly feeding those anxieties. This month he raised the threat of “World War III” if Iran even figures out how to make a nuclear weapon.

With a different White House, we might dismiss this as posturing — or bank on sanity to carry the day, or the warnings of exhausted generals or a defense secretary more rational than his predecessor. Not this crowd.

Four years after his pointless invasion of Iraq, President Bush still confuses bullying with grand strategy. He refuses to do the hard work of diplomacy — or even acknowledge the disastrous costs of his actions. The Republican presidential candidates have apparently decided that the real commander in chief test is to see who can out-trash talk the White House on Iran.

"Pointless invasion." "Bullying." "Disastrous costs." Notice the tone? Quite shrill, isn't it?

Now, try to imagine an editorial with the same tone on the issue of starting another war back in late 2002 or early in 2003. Try to imagine that leading up to the editorial, the NY Times and the other major newspapers had not carried the Judith Miller-esque claims of Iraqi WMDs and that nation's capacity to deliver them over wide areas. Try to imagine stories that were based in fact rather than on White House press releases. Would the US still have embarked on King George's Excellent Adventure?

Possibly, but it is just as likely that with real reporting, the American public might have been skeptical of any connection alleged between Iraq and 9/11. Congress might not have been so quick to authorize military force on the issue. Thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis might still be alive and many, many more might not have been maimed. Our economy might be in better shape. We might have had some real domestic problems solved. The administration might have been exposed for the vicious and incompetent gaggle that it is.

Yes, it's good to see the NY Times and the other media finally doing their jobs.

It would have been even better if they had never stopped doing their jobs.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home