Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Let the Apologies Begin

The Huffington Post
Let the Apologies Begin
Michelle Pilecki

Or continue, as the case may be. The Milwaukee Journal has offered its own apology for "promulgating the administration's now patently false claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction." Editorial page editor O. Ricardo Pimentel notes that his 10-person editorial board didn't have the influence of The New York Times, the resources of the United Nations nor access to secret US intelligence.
His board believed the claims and wrote accordingly. "Like you, we read voraciously on the topic and made the best editorial decisions we thought we could. There was countervailing evidence even back then, of course, but the overwhelming weight of the evidence available to us [emphasis in original] was that Hussein did indeed have WMD."

Now, of course, we discover much evidence that the intelligence fed the public, including us, was "cooked" or "fixed" -- choose your favorite description -- around what the administration viewed as its most salable argument.... [C]ount us as among the many who were duped. We should have been more skeptical. For that lack of skepticism and the failure to include the proper caveats to the WMD claim, we apologize, though I would note that, ultimately, we didn't believe that the president's central WMD argument warranted war. Not then and especially not now.

Give Mr. Pimentel credit for not using the "everybody thought there were WMDs" excuse. Too many of the "watchdogs" of the press too easily accepted the claims of "weapons of mass destruction" and ignored the skeptics like Scott Ritter. The former chief weapons inspector wrote a July 20, 2002, op-ed in The Boston Globe -- months before the war -- "In direct contrast to [his inspection team's] findings, the Bush administration provides only speculation, failing to detail any factually based information to bolster its claims concerning Iraq's continued possession of or ongoing efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction."

Yes, there was a lot of "countervailing evidence" before the invasion, and the media ducked their responsibility to examine it.