Thursday, December 1

Brussels' poodle: The pattern of New York Times editorial opinon on Iraq

"A war can be lost because public opinion turns against its continued prosecution. The New York Times -- the self-described “newspaper of record” -- is among the world’s most influential opinion leaders. As shown by the cited quotations, the newspaper’s stance on Iraq underwent a complete transformation during the decade separating 1993 and 2003."
-- Marc Schulman, American Future

Schulman's research turns up fascinating patterns. Another fascinating pattern would be revealed by a study of editorial opinion on Iraq at West Europe's strongest pro-EU newspapers during the same period and comparing this to NYT opinion.

One interesting bit of history dug up by Schulman is that Tony Blair was also Clinton's poodle when it came to Iraq. Of course there is an alternative view of Mr Blair: that he was a hawk on Iraq before George Bush came to office, and that he turned to America when he got no support from Britain's most powerful EU partners.
(Times Editorial 11/19/98)
Weary of endless confrontations with Iraq, President Clinton, Congress and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain are now rallying around the idea of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. The thought is certainly alluring. The installation of a democratic government in Baghdad would probably eliminate the threat of Iraqi aggression. Unfortunately, the only sure way to reach that goal is for American troops to invade Iraq and capture Baghdad, a risky prospect few Americans would support. The White House and the Pentagon are well aware of all these problems, and were openly skeptical about plotting against Mr. Hussein until Mr. Clinton unexpectedly embraced the idea earlier this week. If Mr. Clinton and members of Congress are serious about trying to overthrow him, they need to level with the American people about the potential financial and human costs. The project will not be cheap or bloodless. Nor is it likely to succeed without an American invasion and occupation of Iraq. Keeping Iraq isolated and controlling its weapons of mass destruction through aggressive inspection is an imperfect policy, but it is more practical than anything else that has been proposed.

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