- The Washington Times - Friday, February 14, 2003

Not since the 1930s, when the New York Times averted its eyes away from the impending Holocaust in Nazi Germany, has the paper equalled the pusillanimity of its current editorial position on Iraq. Last summer, executive editor Howell Raines launched a journalistic guerrilla war in the paper's once-trusted news columns against any military action against Iraq. The newspaper subsequently demanded that any attempt to deal with the matter of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction should go through the United Nations. President Bush, of course, did go through the United Nations, securing a unanimous resolution for the disarmament of Iraq, placing the burden of disarmament clearly on Saddam Hussein, with the threat of military force backing it up.
But after weeks of Iraqi non-cooperation, cited unequivocally by Hans Blix, and after plentiful evidence that Saddam was not only not cooperating with the U.N. inspectors but actively trying to foil them, the Times balked. The standard now was not simply U.N. resolutions, but unanimity in the Security Council, even if the facts overwhelmingly supported the U.S. and U.K. position. Yesterday, the Times capitulated altogether, arguing that the previous U.N. demands haven't worked and therefore we should have a new U.N. demand, that by a date certain, Iraq should disarm or else. Why should this "or else" be believed when all previous "or elses" have been exposed as toothless? The Times won't say. Nor do the editors give us an actual new date for this compliance. Next month? Next fall? Next year? Nor do they give us a reason why Russia, France, Germany and the others would agree to war next time, when they have refused to countenance it this time. Nor have they shown why Saddam shouldn't interpret this gambit not as a final deadline but as another sign that the world simply doesn't have the will to see its rogue states controlled.
No matter. What matters is that the United States should never act alone in matters of grave international urgency. By "alone," of course, I mean with dozens of other countries, including four of the six biggest European countries. Then, the Times breathtakingly equates President Bush's current position with French President Chirac's:
"Debating a new resolution would compel both the United States and France to answer a fundamental question. For President Bush it is what, if anything, would persuade him not to go to war with Iraq. And France must declare what, if anything, would persuade it to endorse military action. Their answers could restore a sorely needed sense of common purpose."
Have the editors of the Times been asleep for the last six months? What the president has demanded no, what the United Nations has demanded is that Saddam actively cooperate in the disarmament of his illegal weapons. Is that so hard to understand? And France, by signing Resolution 1441, has given exactly the same response. The difference is that the United States is actually abiding by its words, while France, not for the first time, is scurrying away from its clear and unequivocal responsibility for its own resolution.
The Times then complains: "It simply cannot be perceived as 'America's war.' " So, the United States is required not simply to control weapons of mass destruction, maintain international order, risk life and limb to keep the world safe, but it must always also control the "perception" of its actions. But how? Sometimes, significant parts of world opinion are simply wrong. Sometimes, perceptions change after the United States does the right thing, and not before. To place perceptions above reality, to make American foreign policy and the security of American citizens dependent on persuading the editors of Le Monde, is essentially to abdicate American foreign policy. It is the old isolationism, writ large. In fact, it is worse. It is the old isolationism in a new world where isolationism is not an option. It is as close to surrender as it is far from self-confidence. It is fear wrapped in flim-flam.

Michael Moore will get the Oscar
Of course, he will. These people are in the movie business. They made "A Beautiful Mind" the best movie of the year. You think a made-up documentary will stop them? For a little light relief, here's a short extract from a truly hilarious Michael Moore parody in London's satirical magazine "Private Eye" (my brother sends over a copy every couple of weeks). It's Michael Moore's diary, as written by Craig Brown: "
The tobacco companies (all run by men) have been extremely successful in convincing the firearms lobby to pacify the car manufacturers by distributing crack cocaine to 132 nuclear plants so that now up to 69 percent of women between the ages of 28 and 39 are unable to drive their kids to school without inhaling harmful emissions from the ozone layer caused by toxic fumes radiated by President Bush under direct instructions from yes, you guessed it the tobacco companies. So where does that leave the rest of us? Ho-hum. From where I'm standing, guys, it looks like we're drowning in deep doggy-do. And I don't know 'bout you, but deep doggy-do's not something I like to drown in at least not when there's a Pammy Anderson movie just started on the TV!!!"
Mr. Moore in reality is a little less coherent than this, but it's a pretty accurate otherwise, innit?

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