New York Times columnist Bill Keller has now called for the United States to launch missiles at Syrian government installations. (Reuters/Phil McCarten.)
Hail, hail, the gang’s nearly all here. Michael Gordon, Thomas Friedman, now Bill Keller. Paging Judy Miller! The New York Times in recent days on its front page and at top of its site has been promoting the meme of Syria regime as chemical weapons abuser, thereby pushing Obama to jump over his “red line” and bomb or otherwise attack there. Tom Friedman weighed in Sunday by calling for an international force to occupy the entire country (surely they would only need to stay one Friedman Unit, or six months).
Now, after this weekend’s Israeli warplane assaults, the threat grows even more dire.
And Bill Keller, the self-derided “reluctant hawk” on invading Iraq in 2003, returns with a column today stating right in its headline, “Syria Is Not Iraq,” and urging Obama and all of us to finally “get over Iraq.” He boasts that he has.
The Times in its news pages, via Sanger, Gordon and Jodi Rudoren, has been highlighting claims of Syria’s use of chem agents for quite some time, highlighted by last week’s top story swallowing nearly whole the latest Israeli claims. Days later, Obama said evidence was far from certain—even if chemicals were used it was very limited—and some of our allies who made same claims also expressed new skepticism. The Times editorial page urged caution. Jon Stewart mocked the hawks. But that hardly halted the foreign desk!
Yesterday, Reuters reported on one of the four United Nations investigators stating that if sarin was used in Syria it was more likely by the the rebels, not the regime. Still, David Sanger, later Sunday, continued (at least in his early drafts) to push the chem claims at the top of his story—while not noting the UN prober’s charge. He also highlighted John McCain’s calls for fast action, while burying contradictory claims, an old trick for the Times and The Washington Post from the run-up to Iraq war.