The New York Times forgets itself!

THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013

Blames everyone else for Iraq: Last night, Lawrence O’Donnell kept pouring it on concerning the run-up to war with Iraq.

“It was hard being against the invasion of Iraq,” O’Donnell sadly intoned, perhaps conveying the impression that he had spoken out.

Lawrence ran through a long list of Hollywood actors who bravely resisted. For more than ten minutes, he kept playing tape of the various things they had said.

We kept wondering when Lawrence would play the tape of the various fiery things he said. But how weird! No such tape ever appeared!

That’s because Lawrence didn’t speak out. Though you may be getting a different impression from watching his program this week.

Go ahead—watch the whole segment. How many viewers noticed the fact that their fiery host didn’t account for himself?

That said, there has been a lot of flim-flam this week concerning the run-up to war in Iraq. Yesterday, in this editorial, the New York Times savaged the miscreants who misled us into that war.

But how odd! They never mentioned the Times itself or anybody else in the press! This morning, the Times published three letters about the run-up to war—and good lord! One of the letter mentions the fact that the Times itself failed to serve!

That said, we were most struck by the third of these letters. We liberals never tire of blaming average people when things go badly wrong:
LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (3/21/13): I would propose a significant addition to both the apportionment of blame and the quantifying of costs for the tragic war in Iraq.

In the choice to go to war, the American people played the decisive role, with a clear majority in support.

Yes, we were manipulated and misinformed, but in the end responsible for capitulating to a deceptive administration.

On the cost side, the wholesale duping of our citizenry brought trust in government to historic lows and fueled the partisan divide that still haunts us today.

KS
Pound Ridge, N.Y.
We liberals never tire of this! According to this disgusted reader, we the people were “misinformed” and “wholesale duped” by “a deceptive administration.” But so what! We were “significantly” “responsible” all the same.

Technically, that is correct, of course. But people always base their decisions on their level of information. If people get misinformed and deceived, their decisions will often be bad.

This reader knows that the public got misinformed, but he wants to trash them/us anyhoo! This is one way our tribe tends to think.

This manner of thinking strikes us as empty, dumb, unpleasant. We're even inclined to say “bad.”

31 comments:

  1. Bob, let us hope that one of the lessons of the Iraq War was to break us out of the "Beltway" mentality that you seem to cling to -- that is, the New York Times and/or the Washington Post is the source of all news.

    Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel did yeoman's work for Knight Ridder asking the very questions that should have been asked and getting answers that weren't very flattering to the administration's spin.

    Here is what Landay recently told Christiane Amanpour: "Even some of our own newspapers wouldn’t print our own stories. Why? Because they say it wasn’t in the Washington Post. They hadn’t seen it in the New York Times, so how could we, as Knight-Ridder journalists, have gotten the same thing? So it was very lonely.”

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  2. It was not only the Bush Administration that misinformed us. Clinton did, do. Both Bill and Hillary stated that Saddam had WMDs. In fact, almost every world leader sincerely believed that Saddam had WMDs. It was appropriate for them to hold such belief, because that's what their spy agencies were telling them.

    I have read that Saddam wanted people to believe that he had WMDs, in order to maintain prestige. If so, then ironically Saddam Hussein deserves the blame for spreading the falsehood that led to his overthrow.

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    1. Yes, he did, David. In 1998. That's why he bombed the hell out of them. In 1998. And that is what effectively ended Saddam's hopes for a WMD program, as we learned too late in 2003.

      And yeah, let's blame Saddam for being a blowhard. Who would have thought? But it sure makes Dubya look even dumber for believing him without verifying it.



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    2. In fact, almost every world leader sincerely believed that Saddam had WMDs. It was appropriate for them to hold such belief, because that's what their spy agencies were telling them.

      I have read that Saddam wanted people to believe that he had WMDs, in order to maintain prestige. If so, then ironically Saddam Hussein deserves the blame for spreading the falsehood that led to his overthrow.


      This is false, please see here:

      http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/btw/watch.html

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    3. Thanks for the link, hardindr. As it points out, there were indeed some who questioned whether Saddam had WMDs. However, your link does not refute the 3 points I made:

      1. World leaders believed Saddam had WMDs.
      2. Spy agencies were saying that Saddam had WMDs.
      3. Both Bill and Hillary made public statements asserting that Saddam had WMDs.

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    4. Rather than expecting others to refute your nonsense, can you put forth any evidence to support your "3 points"?

      You see, that's how respectful dialogue works in the adult world, David. You just can't repeat what you want to believe, then claim its true because nobody can sufficiently "refute" it to your satisfaction.


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    5. Many people in the US intelligence community and WMD experts did not believe that Saddam had WMDs, as the McClatchy/Knight-Ridder reporters' sources made clear. They were ignored because their information did not fit into the Bush Administrations plans for Iraq. France's government certainly did not believe that Saddam had WMDs. It is very clear from Bob Woodward's book that Colin Powell did not believe many of the things he said at the UN during his WMD presentation. http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh062505.shtml

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    6. You know, no matter how much David wants to deflect blame from Dubya onto the rest of the worlf, the bottom line is that it was Dubya's decision, and Dubya's decision alone to go to war, and it remains his legacy -- along with tanking the entire U.S. economy.

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    7. How about something like this David and your fellow "anti-government waste" conservatives:
      "I was wrong. The liberals were correct. In the future I'll try not to play the mark for grifters."

      Berto

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    8. 1. World leaders believed Saddam had WMDs.
      2. Spy agencies were saying that Saddam had WMDs.
      3. Both Bill and Hillary made public statements asserting that Saddam had WMDs.

      [ This is all self-serving nonsense. What was absolutely clear to any person who wished to know was that Iraq was no possible threat to America and going to war with Iraq was a shameful tragedy. 23 Senators knew. Bryd and Kennedy knew, but of course they were being honest and the Clintons were not. As for Tony Blair, was there ever a greater liar as Prime Minister?

      LTR

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    9. I really don't want to berate David in Cal. He's just wrong with his assertions. Maybe it's just enough to point that out and not say any more?

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    10. Before we get too carried away, here is something else Hillary said during her famous speech from the Senate floor:

      "If we were to attack Iraq now, alone or with a few allies, it would set a precedent that could come back to haunt us. Russia has talked about an invasion of Georgia to attack the Chechen rebels. India has mentioned the possibility of a pre-emptive strike on Pakistan. And what if China were to perceive a threat against Taiwan?

      "So Mr. President, for all its appeal, a unilateral attack, while it cannot be ruled out, on the present facts is not a good option."

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    11. Squeaky McCrinkleMarch 21, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      I have never believed that George Bush, Tony Blair or John Howard believed that Saddam had WMDs, how could they? All three have blood on their hands and no amount of hand-wringing and dissembling will change that.

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    12. Iraq never had WMD's -- not in '98, not in '03. I was just never the case. Most of the intelligence came from a single source who was interrogated in Germany, someone known as "Curveball". He was understood to be a pathological liar and an extremely unreliable, good-for-nothing source. Except, of course, there were people in the Bush administration whose purposes the aforementioned Curveball served very well. The rest of the case...well, it was just pure nonsense. I know Powell impressed everyone when he showed a handful of grainy pictures of some trucks parked in a 7-11 parking lot and claimed that they were "mobile bio-weapons labs"...but anyone with an ounce of skepticism just chuckled. So, I think it is appropriate to blame the "American people".

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    13. "Iraq never had WMD's "

      "Never"? Someone else gassed the Kurds then.

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  3. Quaker in a BasementMarch 21, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    Hahahaha!

    Now ask Dave to do the "Saddam kicked the inspectors out." That's a good one!

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  4. These critiques are simply brilliant, the who-said-what on Iraq critiques are especially sorely needed.

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  5. We the people are responsible for informing ourselves. That's why we visit the Daily Howler, daily. We don't worship Bob Somerby, we don't always agree with him, we think some of his ideas are stupid, but we come hear to learn things we wouldn't learn elsewhere.

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    Replies
    1. But Bob still believes people are too stupid to inform themselves and question anything they read in the New York Times.

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  7. To return to the post... So, Larry had his finger in the air, at best, or Iraq? Does it really negate his report? It's a segment of some relevance and some silliness. O.K., it's nice to know the stars on the show Larry worked on spoke up, even if he didn't. And although She often does a terrible job in speaking up for our side, Garofalo did fine on this one and deserves credit for it (She was, in those days of patriotic correctness, putting her career on the line).
    MIA in the reports on those days are twin evil morons Christopher Hitchens and Dennis Miller, who sucked up so much of the oxogen and were wrong, wrong, wrong. Dennis Miller has subsequently said he really just thought it was time to show the world the U.S. could kick some ass. Indeed, isn't it likely that they didn't care about WMD because, had the plan worked even passably, nobody else would have cared either?

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  8. Snope confirmed that a whole bunch of leading liberals asserted that Saddam had WMDs http://www.snopes.com/politics/war/wmdquotes.asp

    A similar, but even broader list is at http://www.snopes.com/politics/war/wmdquotes.asp

    "Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein bluffed about WMDs fearing Iranian arsenal, secret FBI files show" at
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/iraqi-leader-saddam-hussein-bluffed-wmds-fearing-iranian-arsenal-secret-fbi-files-show-article-1.374580#ixzz2ODH6D3Gk

    "Intelligence agencies around the world erred in their assessments about Iraqi WMD." at http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/03/18/no_books_were_cooked_bush_iraq_wmd_intelligence

    OK? Does that satisfy you doubters?

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    Replies
    1. Well, no. I wonder if you bothered to read the first Snopes article you cite (actually you cite the same article twice), which states that the quotes presented in the inflammatory posting the article is fact checking are truncated and taken out of context and then presents them within the context of each speaker's larger remarks, which clearly show the excerpted remarks are being misrepresented.

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    2. Snopes also pointed out that a great many of those quotes were spoken years earlier in 1998, before Clinton bombed the hell out of Iraq and effectively ended their WMD program.

      But David, here's what you don't get. Even taking all this at face value and in the best light to your argument, listing a whole bunch of people who were also wrong doesn't make Dubya any more right.

      And since he, and only he, was the president, with the authority to invade or not to invade, his responsibility to the truth was greater.

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  9. Sorry, that second link should have been

    http://www.rightwingnews.com/quotes/if-the-bush-administration-lied-about-wmd-so-did-these-people-version-3-0/

    Pretty impressive list of people who said Saddam had WMDs.

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    1. But who weren't arguing for invading Iraq.

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    2. And let us never, ever, doubt the value of citing "www.rightwingnews.com" as an objective source of unvarnished, unspun truth.

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    3. "And let us never, ever, doubt the value of citing "www.rightwingnews.com" as an objective source of unvarnished, unspun truth."

      Ad Hominem. Is the article right, wrong, or some combination? Let us always analize the argument and leave the arguer out of it if we are interested in the truth of the argument.

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  10. Anon, contrary to your assertion, it's not the case that Snopes said the quotes presented "are truncated and taken out of context." In fact, Snopes said some of the quotes were truncated and context wasn't provided. However, if you read the lengthier context, it doesn't change what the speakers asserted about Saddam's WMDs. E.g., in some cases the missing context was that the speaker didn't approve of the war. That's worth knowing but it doesn't invalidate my point that many U.S. and world leaders said Saddam had WMDs.

    BTW the corrected link above gives greater context for various quotes.

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  11. I have no interest in defending hapless me-too-liberals who found it politically expedient to jump on a fake rationale-for-war-bandwagon. That said, current Bush administration apologists who now claim that these once infallible "masters of reality" were themselves merely but a "me too" faction reveals a distinct lack of moral fiber and character.

    The following has since been attributed to "Bush's brain", Karl Rove (Ron Suskind, New York Times Magazine Oct 17, 2004).

    "In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article . in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

    The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/magazine/17BUSH.html?_r=0

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