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Frank Rich'sWar New York Sun editorial
Bush and Vice President Cheney with lying to get America involved in the war in Iraq, as the New York Times columnist Frank Rich did yesterday, have a special obligation to get the truth correct themselves. It's one thing for Mr. Rich to disagree with the decision to go to war in Iraq and to blame Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney for the decision. It's another for Mr. Rich to accuse our elected leaders of misleading the country while the columnist himself goes about misleading readers of The New York Times.
Mr. Rich writes that the White House's record on the road to Iraq recalls the saying, "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.'" Here is what Mr. Bush said in his 2003 State of the Union address, the one whose 16 words about Uranium in Africa caused such a storm. "The dictator who is assembling the world's most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages - leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured. Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained - by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape. If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning."
That the president spoke the truth has been sadly confirmed in free Iraq. The Associated Press's Nadia Abou El-Magd interviewed Firas Adnan, whose tongue had been cut off with a box cutter by a Saddam loyalist. Mr. Adnan, "his slurred words barely comprehensible," said of Saddam, "He is a despot, the biggest despot, Iraq will be much better without him." Susan Sachs of Mr. Rich's own New York Times reported from the mass graves of Hilla: "On April 11, 1991, a few weeks into the Shiite rebellion, Iraqi helicopters dropped leaflets over Karbala ordering everyone to leave or be attacked with chemical weapons. Mr. Mohani piled his relatives into a pickup truck and a car and fled. About four miles south of the city, the escape route was blocked. There, he said, he saw Mr. Hussein's son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, executing people randomly at a checkpoint. 'He was telling people to get out of their cars and then he would shoot them, shoot them until his arm was too tired to do it anymore.'"
Does Mr. Rich think his own colleague and the Associated Press are also part of what he derides as "propaganda" and "the disinformation assembly line"? And when it comes time for a new generation to ask their elders what they did during the war to end the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, what are the editors of the Times going to have to say for themselves?
Read it all
And go over to American Future for The New York Times on Iraq, 1993-2005
Baghdad forfeits the protection of the U.N. cease-fire resolution every time it violates the cease-fire terms. [January 21, 1993 editorial]
This page remains persuaded of the vital need to disarm Iraq. But it is a process that should go through the United Nations. [March 17, 2003 editorial]
A war can be lost because public opinion turns against its continued prosecution. The New York Times – the self-described "newspaper of record" – is among the world's most influential opinion leaders. As shown by the cited quotations, the newspaper's stance on Iraq underwent a complete transformation during the decade separating 1993 and 2003. While its editors never lost their fear of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their prescription for countering the threat posed by the weapons was altered beyond recognition. Hat ip x__dhimmi