The Guardian June 2, 2004


The New York Times admits wrong on Iraq but how wrong?

One of the leading newspapers published in the US, The New 
York Times has at last begun to have second thoughts about 
its own coverage of the lead up to the Iraq war.

It claims that "Over the last year this newspaper has shone the 
bright light of hindsight on decisions that led the United States 
into Iraq. We have examined the failings of American and allied 
intelligence, especially on the issue of Iraq's weapons and 
possible Iraqi connections to international terrorists. We have 
studied the allegations of official gullibility and hype. It is 
past time we turned the same light on ourselves".

It says, "we have found a number of instances of coverage that 
was not as rigorous as it should have been" and refers to such 
matters as the claims made about Iraq having weapons programs and 
chemical and biological weapons, about the aluminum tubes said to 
have been imported for a nuclear weapons program, that Iraq was 
cooperating with Al Qaeda and that Syria had sent "unconventional 
weapons" to Syria and was also cooperating with Al Qaeda.

It goes on to claim that "in most cases, what we reported was an 
accurate reflection of the state of our knowledge at the time."

Blaming others

The NYT puts most of the blame for the misinformation 
(deliberate lies in the opinion of many) on Iraqi defectors. 
After saying that these allegations came from an Iraqi scientist 
who claimed to be "an official of military intelligence" the 
newspaper says, "The Times never followed up on the veracity of 
this source or the attempts to verify his claims".

The newspaper promises to "continue aggressive reporting aimed at 
setting the record straight".

There is, however, no indication that this leading US newspaper 
intends to shine "the bright light of hindsight" on President 
Bush, Colin Powell and others who are responsible for assiduously 
pushing this same misinformation for the purposes of justifying 
the invasion and occupation of Iraq, a war that they had already 
decided on and planned for.

The simple reason is that the NYT continues to support the 
illegal war and the intention of the US leaders to keep their 
military forces in Iraq for "as long as it takes". The NYT 
will continue to justify this with their own misinformation 
about the right of nations to full independence and sovereignty 
which includes control over all military forces that may 
temporarily be in occupation of Iraq.

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