Did the neos
get the Times
to buckle on the Henry Kissinger question
When last we visited the deepest recesses of conservative media criticism insiderdom, a gaggle of neo-conservatives were charging the New York Times with bias against the president's Iraq policy. Their prime evidence was a series of Times' articles portraying Henry Kissinger as a critic of the president's policy when, in fact, said the neos, he was a supporter. This of course was based on an earlier Kissinger OpEd in the Washington Post.
Today's Times' article on Colin Powell by James Dao says Powell ...
believes that Mr. Bush should first press for a new round of weapons inspections and then seek international support for invasion plans. That view has recently been endorsed by three Republican foreign policy experts: former Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and Lawrence S. Eagleburger, and former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft.
Now, as I argued
earlier, I think the neos were simply wrong on this. To the extent that there is legitimate disagreement that's because the shadings of Iraq policy can be rather subtle and even more because Kissinger's column was laughably clotted and hedged and meant to give almost everyone something to grab on to.
But if Kissinger cavilled and hedged -- I'm sorry, qualified and explained -- on a lot of things, inspections policy wasn't one of them. He explicitly endorsed precisely what Powell is saying with regard to inspectors. Hell, even Fox News -- before the party-line got established -- could see that. Let's go to the tape, or rather, the text of Kissinger's column ...
the objective of regime change should be subordinated in American declaratory policy to the need to eliminate weapons of mass destruction from Iraq as required by the UN resolutions. The restoration of the inspection system existing before its expulsion by Saddam is clearly inadequate. It is necessary to propose a stringent inspection system that achieves substantial transparency of Iraq institutions. Since the consequences of simply letting the diplomacy run into the ground are so serious, a time limit should be set. The case for military intervention will then have been made in the context of seeking a common approach.
At any major metropolitan newspaper the details of a particular story will often reflect the information the given reporter had at hand rather than the paper's broader editorial line. But Iraq's a big issue. And this Kissinger matter has gotten a lot of attention. It's hard to see how this telling omission just slipped through. Much easier to imagine that the Times
just got rolled.