But It Was Bush That Misled The Public

AMERICAN FUTURE » Blog Archive » The New York Times on Iraq, 1993-2005

Except for a brief period during 1994, The Times’ editorial position was distinctly hawkish during the Clinton presidency. At no time did the Times express any doubts regarding the credibility of intelligence information pertaining to WMD. Throughout this period, the paper’s editors insisted on an aggressive UN-directed inspection regime, which was their preferred means to disarm Saddam’s Iraq. They frequently made note of Saddam’s efforts to thwart the inspectors, and insisted that Iraq must fully cooperate before the sanctions implemented at the end of the Gulf War should be lifted. The Times’ objective was the elimination of Iraq’s WMD, not regime change. Bringing democracy to Iraq was not a topic in its editorials.

Notwithstanding their preference for inspections, the editors did not shy away from advocating the use of air strikes – including unilateral American air strikes – if the obstacles constructed by Saddam made it impossible for the U.N.’s inspectors to fulfill their missions. The Times endorsed every U.S. military operation ordered by Clinton. None of the editorials insisted that the U.S. must obtain Security Council approval before undertaking a military action, nor did they require that military operations – unilateral or multilateral – be authorized by new Security Council resolutions.

When the editors criticized the Clinton administration, it was for being too dovish, not too hawkish. They leveled similar criticisms at the U.N. Security Council. China, Russia and especially France were taken to task for giving priority to their commercial interests over coming to grips with the threat posed by Iraq’s WMD.

It would appear that the concern about “misleading” information about Iraq depends more on which party the President belongs to than what was actually said.

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