Thursday, July 26, 2007

New York Times Has Shameful Editorials On Iraq

Written from Ashland, Ore.--

I wonder if the goofy and finally ousted L.A. Times editorial page editors Michael Kinsley and Andres Martinez have migrated to the New York Times or are exerting undue influence there. What else can explain the New York Times editorials on the war in Iraq?

Surely, it cannot be the son of A.M. Rosenthal, Andrew Rosenthal, now editorial page editor of the Times, who is fully responsible for some of the recent shrill and defeatist editorials. A.M. Rosenthal, a fighter devoted to American interests, must be rolling over in his grave at what his son is running in his newspaper now.

I was particularly struck by the beginning of yesterday's lead editorial, "No Exit Strategy."

"The American people have only one question left about Iraq," the editorial started out. "What is President Bush's plan for a timely and responsible exit? That is the essential precondition for salvaging broader American interests in the Middle East and for waging a more effective fight against Al Qaeda in its base areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan. And it is exactly the question that Mr. Bush, his top generals and his diplomats so stubbornly and damagingly refuse to answer."

This has the same hectoring tone that the New York Times has been using these days toward the Bush Administration, and it is entirely wrongheaded. If followed, it would not only surrender Iraq to the enemy, but it would hand Al-Qaeda a victory that would redound to its benefit throughout the Middle East and Europe. It would paralyze any American determination to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where just yesterday they murdered an innocent South Korean hostage.

Do we want the terrorists to rule the Middle East? Do we want to hand victory to the suicide bombers, the kidnappers and the murderers, and give them carte blanche to spread their policies of religious dictatorship and enslavement of women elsewhere in the world? Because that surely will be the consequence were our forces to bug out of Iraq.

The New York Times has been joined by the Los Angeles Times and implicitly by Time magazine in calling for a U.S. phased withdrawal from the war. The Washington Post has a little more fortitude. But, generally, too much of the American press is ready to turn tail and run.

And this is just at a moment when our skillful generals, buttressed by the special forces we have sent to Iraq, the Green Berets, the Navy SEALS, Army rangers, the Marines, are turning the tide in large portions of Iraq, certainly in Anbar province, but in other provinces as well, and even have reduced the shameful killings in the city of Baghdad.

Whatever has happened to the dovish wimps in the press? Why don't more of them absorb the lessons of history and realize that great nations have fallen before because of their unwillingness to fight for their freedoms? Where is their devotion to American freedoms? Why don't they realize that freedom is never free, and fall in behind those volunteer soldiers who are fighting for it?

And how ironic it is that President Bush and Vice President Cheney, who avoided personal combat in the Vietnam war, have turned out now to have absorbed those lessons and be willing to fight? Yes, some will say, they are willing to fight with other Americans' blood, but this does not do them justice. They have put their personal reputations and their positions in history on the line, they have stubbornly pursued the national interest, without stinting. For that, they deserve, at this difficult time, our support and respect. We cannot overly focus on their youthful mistakes.

And it would be a good thing for the New York Times to cease thinking that it alone knows what's best for the country.

--

I was disappointed in Greg Kirkorian's recent article in the L.A. Times about the trial now beginning in Dallas of leaders of the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim group accused of aiding the terrorist Hamas organization.

There are complicated issues in this trial, but Krikorian lost no opportunity to shade his article toward the Foundation's side, and against the U.S. government. It would be better to report things more straightforwardly, and reserve judgment until the verdict is in.

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