Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Accountability begins at home

On the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, the Enquirer editorial writers got indignant. They want answers from the Bush administration:
It's time to provide (Americans) an accurate, unvarnished view of the situation on the ground -- what quantifiable progress has been made economically and politically in Iraq, and how much more "progress" is needed before our role can be substantially reduced.

Americans also deserve to know the state of our military, how the commitment to Iraq affects its overall mission, and how long it can sustain such stresses.

The Bush adminstration hasn't provided those answers since 9/11. And the Enquirer editorial board believes the administration will do that now, because the Enquirer demands it? Right. You can read Wednesday's editorial top to bottom and still not know whether the editorial board believes the war continues to be worth fighting.

Let's go back to 2003, and see what the Enquirer had to say back then. Here's the editorial from March 20, 2003, after the initial invasion.
By the time you read this the deadline President Bush imposed on Saddam Hussein will have passed and the United States may be at war -- a war we believe to be a horrible necessity.

We believe the Iraqi regime poses a grave threat to the security of the region and to the United States. For 12 years he has refused to disarm, refused to cooperate fully with United Nations inspectors and refused to disavow the use of terrorist organizations. At the same time he has continued to develop chemical and biological weapons, weapons he was supposed to have abandoned after the Persian Gulf War.

Saddam is a tyrant of historic proportion. His is a heritage of barbaric cruelty to his neighbors and his own countrymen. Torture and rape have become tools of his government. After the Gulf War the U.N. tried to contain him with repeated resolutions. He has resisted those efforts by violating the no-fly zones and using oil revenues to supply his military rather than feed his people. The fact is that he cannot be permanently contained. He must be disarmed.
It is better to do it now than to wait until he has used his weapons directly, or supplied them to terrorist groups willing to use them in their own causes.

We wish it had not come to this point. It would have been better to have the members of the United Nations lined up at our side in this effort. It would have been better still for Saddam to have heeded the world's call for his disarmament. But now our nation is committed and we wish only for a swift and decisive conclusion to the conflict.

As Bush said Monday in his ultimatum to Saddam, we are at war with a regime, not with the Iraqi people. Our troops may roll over Saddam's forces with relative ease, but a real victory in Iraq will be the establishment of a government that can hold the diverse factions of the country together and serve as an example to other nations in the region. The sooner the conflict ends, the sooner that healing process can begin.
The Enquirer didn't bother to ask how long the war would last. They bought the administration's propaganda hook, line and sinker. And at the time, the Enquirer could only look at the positives. Here's the editorial from the next day, March 21, 2003:
We've been hearing about all the possible negative consequences that might come from a war with Iraq. It is time to look at the positives that are possible, even likely, to come out of this conflict.

After Afghanistan and now Iraq, the United States is showing Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and others that the United States is no paper tiger afraid to bite back.

The forcible disarming of Iraq signals that the United States will no longer wait, like an old-time boxer, for an opponent to take his best shot, but we will strike before an enemy can deal us a lethal blow.

War with Iraq can reduce by one the list of proven aggressor states with weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

It can make terror states or terrorist-haven states slower to open their doors to al-Qaida or other terrorist groups.

It can warn North Korea or others that we will not drift into a position of weakness where we can be neutralized by nuclear blackmail.

If U.S. advanced weaponry proves so superior, it could deter rogue states from venturing aggression or seeking nuclear weapons.

If the United States restrains this war with precision targeting, spares civilians and finds Iraq's undisclosed WMDs, it will go a long ways toward refuting protests.

It can free the United States and Britain from the costs of enforcing no-fly zones over Iraq for 12 years and from open-ended costs of containing Iraq's WMDs.

A liberated Iraq could help build the critical mass of self-governing states in the Mideast.
War crimes trials afterward can serve notice that officers or scientists who develop banned WMDs for hostile purposes will be punished to the maximum degree. They can also set the record straight about Iraq's weapons programs.

If the United States can hand post-war control over to a legitimate Iraqi government, it can punch gaping holes in radical Islamist arguments that we are bent on Mideast empire.
It could set up the United States to act as a credible broker to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The collapse of the U.N. Security Council into irrelevancy by failing to enforce its own resolutions against Iraq should define more clearly the limits of U.N. power.

It could bring Security Council reforms such as out-front disclosure of the lucrative contracts that French, Russian and Chinese companies have to develop Iraqi oil fields.

This war can energize the United States to get serious about homeland security, immigration screening and border control.

A swift end to the war could produce a swift end to economic recession now that consumers and investors are no longer left guessing when war will occur.

Secretary of State Colin Powell this week counted 45 nations that support forcibly disarming Iraq, but a swift allied victory will send scores more scurrying to the U.S. side. And instead of disrupting intelligence sharing on terrorists, a swift, successful war and enlightened reconstruction of Iraq could persuade even more nations to help root out sworn enemies of America.
It seemed ridiculous then, and blithering nonsense today. Every paragraph is more outrageous than the one before. Do they stand by that now?

It's easy to see that before David Wells & Co. wrote Wednesday's editorial they didn't bother to review what they'd written five years earlier. Editorial & Publisher found a good number of papers questioned the war from the start. The Enquirer wasn't one of them. The editorial board didn't have the intellectual wherewithal to question the war in 2003, and they don't today have the gumption to take a stand, to say after five years whether we're safer, or whether it's money and lives well spent. It didn't have the honesty to go back to its list of "positives" and see how many have been achieved. And now they want answers, from an administration that has never and won't now give them.

It's bad enough that you can look at the front page of the Enquirer day after day and not even realize the nation is at war, but then to have the editorial board drop this drivel on us is beyond shameful. There's plenty of information out there, and the Enqurier editorial board could have done the research and come to its own conclusion. Is it really that hard to come up with a list of consequences of five years of war? Could they exhibit some honesty, go back and review what they've written and say whether they stand by those editorials today? Frankly, they're too lazy and/or stupid and/or cowardly to do that kind of work. How can they accept paychecks for producing this crap?

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

But what does that have to do with Ikea?

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't we all know by now that the Enquirer's sole purpose is to make money from advertising and not care for any serious journalism? Just consider the cases of employees that lost their jobs from the Enquirer for upsetting advertisers with their reporting!

9:49 AM  
Anonymous mr. whig said...

^^ tee hee

That drivel is all Bronson, who drank the Kool-Aid a long time ago. Like a bum's shit in Gano Alley, you can smell a Peter Bronson dump before you step in it.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Standard" Liberal 'drivel' that would have the American "body-count-to-date," equate to coverage of the conflict. Where are the "positive" stories about good things our troops relate and are involved in 'there?'
Nothing but 'doomsday' due to fewer KIA's than during identical time period in Washington, D.C.

7:14 PM  

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