Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rush to Peace

The lede editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer this morning was a fairly typical anti-war newspaper pontification. What caught my eye was the headline: "Casualties of a lie".

I read it carefully. Predictable stuff. It took the coincidence of a Medal of Honor award and the release of the Rockefeller report to trash the war from start to finish. But I didn't find the one word I expected. The word is "lie."

It says "Bush and his aides repeatedly overstated the threat posed by Iraq in the run-up to the war." It says "more than 4,000 U.S. casualties might have been avoided were it not for Bush & Co.'s rush to war." It says "the Bush administration over-hyped evidence that Iraq was an imminent military threat." It talks of "Bush's hubris." It quotes the report on a "relentless public campaign" to justify invading Iraq.

It also notes:

Indeed, the report found that some statements by Bush, Cheney, and other administration officials were in line with the best estimates of the U.S. intelligence community.

But no "lie." The Inquirer hardly could write "lie" because the report the editorial is based on doesn't say "lie." The editorial writer wrote as strongly as he could and stopped at the water's edge.

And the staffer who put the headline on the piece read it and filtered it though what every journalist knows is the truth about Bush and Iraq. And all the careful pussyfooting around the L-word went right out the window. I bet he or she never even noticed it wasn't what the editorial said.

So can we say the Inquirer "overstated" the perfidy of Bush in its "rush to editorialize." That it "over-hyped evidence" that Bush lied, in a case of journalistic "hubris" as part of a "relentless campaign" to run away from Iraq.