Sunday, May 29, 2005

Editorial: Sunday Times says we attempted to goad Iraq into war in 2002, is Bush a liar or just willing to risk the safety of American citizens?

The Sunday Times has an article by Michael Smith entitled "RAF bombing raids tried to goad Saddam into war." It opens with the following:

THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war, new evidence has shown.
The attacks were intensified from May, six months before the United Nations resolution that Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, argued gave the coalition the legal basis for war. By the end of August the raids had become a full air offensive.
The details follow the leak to The Sunday Times of minutes of a key meeting in July 2002 at which Blair and his war cabinet discussed how to make "regime change" in Iraq legal.
Geoff Hoon, then defence secretary, told the meeting that "the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime".

We realize that our readers are far more intelligent than the mainstream press corp but indulge us as we address the above. The Bully Boy and his cohorts went around screaming that we didn't want a "mushroom cloud," that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons. To accept those lies today, in the face of The Sunday Times of London's story, you have to accept that the Bully Boy was perfectly okay with the United States being attacked with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. If that were true, then the only response would be to call for an immediate impeachment. The leader of the country is not supposed to actively court the destruction of our nation.

But to believe the lies we were told, that truly is the most obvious conclusion.

Of course, the fact of the matter is that we were lied to. Everything we were told leading up to the invasion and everything that's followed can be characterized as lies and more lies.

Lying a nation into war is a pretty serious offense.

Now there are some who feel that the recent defense of Newsweek has awakened our press corps. We'd love for that to be the case. However, it can also be argued that the press is just closing ranks, protecting their own and still willing to swallow every lie the administration feeds them and duly spit it back out in a report.

Look, this is a serious matter. We'd even be willing to hold our tongues regarding Judith Miller and other stenographers if The New York Times or any other institution wanted to do now what they should have been doing in the lead up to the invasion, investigating the administration's claims and telling the people the truth.

Scott Shane, Douglas Jehl or Monica Davey (or anyone else) could be front paged with stories about the difference between what we were told and actual reality and we'd be willing to hold our tongues about Miller and the others. (Miller's the most infamous, she was far from the only one. And to date, no television program has issued any mea culpa that we're aware of.)

Why could a group of smart asses like The Third Estate Sunday Review do that? Because the bigger picture demands that Americans start getting some truth with their journalism. It's past time for some truth. We spent thirty minutes discussing this (Ava, Jim, Jess, Ty, Dona, Rebecca, Betty and C.I.) and we all agree that the truth coming out now (strongly and on the front page -- not tucked safely inside the paper where it can be ignored) is a great deal more important than Miller's head on a platter at this moment in time.

What we're saying is that we could take The Times running truth-telling stories without requiring them to note "by the way Judith Miller reported this differently." (Or any newspaper or TV program doing the same without making a point to name their reporters who got it wrong.) And here's a thought, who knows the lies that were told better than Miller? Get her committed to exposing reality and team her up with someone more trust worthy and let it rip. We're willing to bet that the sympathy she's been unable to garner for her current court issues, despite repeated attempts to garner sympathy, would suddenly emerge.

We're not going to spin here and say that all is forgiven and forgotten regarding Miller (to focus on The New York Times). That's not the case. It never will be. But if The New York Times wants to get back into the news business, we're perfectly willing to table our criticism of Miller for several months. Because we feel, and we can only speak for us, that the truth on the invasion/occupation is far more important than any individual reporter.

The latest from London's Sunday Times is explosive (as was the Downing St. memo). The press seems to have awakened a bit after the attacks on Newsweek. Our guess is that the way the domestic press handles the very serious issues emerging from across the Atlantic will tell us whether recent press coverage was about truth telling or protecting one of their own.

Lastly, we'll give credit to BuzzFlash for making The Sunday Times article their main headline.
As always, the editorial is the last feature (other than our "note") that we work on. As soon as we finish everything else, we rush around online (BuzzFlash is always one of the stops) to come up with potential topics for our editorial. There was no debate this week. All eight of us agreed that the only topic was The Sunday Times revelations. Congratulations and thanks to BuzzFlash for catching the story and prominently running it at their website.

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