The New York Times and Colin Powell

Looking through the response on Memeorandum to the New York Times editorial published today (and that I wrote about here), I see that the editorial has drawn fury from the right, and scorn from the left. The right, obviously, is outraged at the Times‘ “surrender to the terrorists”; and the left is dismissive of a too-late editorial that comes after years of beating the drum for war via official editorial policy and via reporting slanted in favor of Bush administration policy (by the likes of Judith Miller and Michael Gordon, for example).

Michael van der Galien (actually more centrist than right-wing):

The New York Times has – truly- decided that it is time for the US to pull out of Iraqcompletely[.]

[…]

Read the whole thing yourself – I just wanted to point out that I find it a bit ironic that the NYT acts as if it came to this conclusion hesitantly, after much debate, etc., while the entire world knows that the NYT was one of the most active critics of the war for a long time. Sure, the NYT played along with the Bush administration in the run-up to the war, but for years already, the Times has emphasized the bad news, and ignored the good news coming out of Iraq.

I am a critic of the war myself, and I did come to that conclusion after much deliberation and [not] until I truly felt that Bush et al. had messed it up beyond (immediate) repair, but for the Times to act as if it only recently came to this conclusion is hilarious. The Times will not even fool my dog, Duco (black labrador retriever). [Emphasis above mine, except for the last four words, “for a long time.”]

Dave Schuler at Outside the Beltway [a conservative contributor to a centrist blog]:

The primary question I have is this: having abandoned our primary leverage against the situation deteriorating further and spreading to other countries—the presence of American troops in Iraq—what means do they suggest employing to mitigate the consequences of what they’re advocating?

I responded to this absurd argument in Comments.

Jules Crittenden [linked from Memeorandum]:

Genocide preferred. NYT should be applauded for its honesty. An outcome that is “even bloodier and more chaotic … further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows … power grabs” is better than continuing the path of progress toward eliminating al-Qaeda, exposing and hopefully acting against Iran’s influence, training increasingly effective Iraqi troops, working with a nascent democratically elected government in its fits and starts.

And my personal favorite, Don Surber, who bemoans the liberals’ betrayal of their traditional values, which, he now tells us, he has actually always respected and admired:

The New York Times today called for U.S. troops to surrender Iraq to the insurgents and al-Qaida in an editorial, “The Road Home,” that was long on words, short on logic, and absent of heart.

In calling for abandoning Iraq, the Times has abandoned the underpinnings of liberal principles: that the government exists to protect the poor, the elderly, the infirm and women.

While I believe that government exists to protect the rights of its citizenry, I respect that contrarian position.

The Times would leave that principle on the battlefield in its bizarre call to flee at once — “It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.”

The Times argument is the war is unpopular so we should. That is childish. Was the war right because it was popular at the time? Should we execute criminals because that is popular? The Times has too long a history of unpopular things that it supports to make the “applause-o-meter argument.”

War is not a television game show to be cancelled after 4 seasons.

[…]

The chaos would result in zero civil liberties for 25 million Iraqis. The Times clamored for extraconstitutional rights for 500 or so jihadists at Gitmo — men captured on the battlefield. Now the Times is willing to forfeit any civil justice system at all in Iraq.

What the Times proposes may be over-the-top, but it should be remembered for the Times has abandoned its principles.

Its next call to spend more money on the environment will be framed with the reminder of how large a carbon footprint the Al-Qaida Car Bombing Brigade will leave in Iraq if we surrender immediately.

Its next call for equal pay for women will be framed with a reminder that the Times is willing to allow in Iraq for the stoning of raped women as punishment for “adultery.”

Its next call for more spending on education will be framed with the reminder that the Times is willing to allow students in Iraq to be blown up in their schools and to be forced to attend jihadist schools.

Its next call for “affordable housing” will be framed with the reminder that the Times is willing to allow for millions more to become refugees in Iraq as they flee the violence that will engulf that nation in the wake of a withdrawal of the U.S. troops.

Its next call for revamping Homeland Security will be framed with the reminder that the Times is willing to allow Iraq to resume its role as the chief exporter of terrorism to Israel.

[…]

Just as 150 years ago, the nation could not survive half free, half slave, so teh world cannot survive half free, half slave.

In Genesis, Cain asked the question which was the foundation of civilization: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The Times got that basic question wrong today.

I thought it was worth quoting Don at some length — this level of cynical exploitation of political and social values you despise in any context other than warring against Iraq is too richly ironic to be truncated.

Oddly enough, though, the real liberals (as opposed to the rights’ fantasy liberals on the Times’ editorial board) are not at all pleased with “The Road Home.”

Brilliant at Breakfast‘s Jill, posting at The Crone Speaks:

Harsh words, and long overdue from Those Wonderful People Who Gave You Judith Miller. But the paper has not forgotten who the bosses of this country are, for it advocates keeping enough forces in Iraq to “stage effective raids and airstrikes against terrorist forces in Iraq, but not enough to resume large-scale combat.”

Sayeth Mudhead, “How ya gonna do it, Porge?”

But here’s the kicker:

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have used demagoguery and fear to quell Americans’ demands for an end to this war. They say withdrawing will create bloodshed and chaos and encourage terrorists. Actually, all of that has already happened — the result of this unnecessary invasion and the incompetent management of this war.

And who helped build public opinion for this war? Why, none other than the New York Times, via articles like these, by Scooter Libby’s Best Bud [Judith Miller]. …

Ankush, posting at Ezra Klein’s place, writes:

For my money, the Times‘ latest editorial is less an argument for withdrawal than another argument for abolishing editorials. They’re embarrassingly behind the curve here, and I hope they’re not under the impression that simply because their editorial runs the entire length of the page, they’ve performed an act of Utmost Seriousness.

“What liberal media?” indeed.

My own view is similar to Mustang Bobby‘s:

About Time: The New York Times finally gets it.

But Bobby also notes the Times‘ astounding declaration: “A majority of Americans reached these conclusions months ago”:

“Months ago”? How about years? One of the first postings on this blog dealt with the quagmire factor and that our invasion of Iraq would do nothing but set off the civil war in that country and make the United States the target of every disgruntled Islamic teenager who believes they have nothing to lose by attacking the West.

Interesting juxtaposition here: the London Times published an article today about Colin Powell’s disingenuous attempt at, as Scott Lemieux put it, “wip[ing] some blood off his hands“:

THE former American secretary of state Colin Powell has revealed that he spent 2½ hours vainly trying to persuade President George W Bush not to invade Iraq and believes today’s conflict cannot be resolved by US forces.

“I tried to avoid this war,” Powell said at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. “I took him through the consequences of going into an Arab country and becoming the occupiers.”

The New York Times is not the only Johnny-come-lately trying to resurrect a reputation tainted by support for the disastrous decision to invade and occupy Iraq.

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4 Comments

Filed under 05_kathy

4 responses to “The New York Times and Colin Powell

  1. Powell spent two and a half (2.5) hours trying to talk The George out of a hopeless, useless, criminal war? Really? Such a hero.

  2. Pingback: University Update - Iraq - The New York Times and Colin Powell

  3. That was my take, too. GW has left a trail of broken careers, broken lives and broken laws behind him. Too bad he’ll never pay back for what he’s destroyed.

  4. Pingback: Dave Schuler » Outside The Beltway | OTB

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