If you read the New York Times today, you’ll see an editorial entitled “End Date for Iraq” in which the following quotation appears regarding reaction to Obama’s announcement Friday that all U.S. troops will be out by the Christmas holiday:
“The announcement triggered some foolish criticism from neo-conservatives — who remain shamefully unapologetic for their role in unleashing this war — [who] accused Mr. Obama of abandoning Iraq now.” [Emphasis added].
I found this to be a remarkable statement coming from the Times’ editorial board, given that, to my recollection, the Times has never ever devoted its awesome reportorial resources to a good investigative story about the truly pivotal role the neo-conservatives played in rallying support for invading Iraq both within and outside the Bush administration. And don’t think it wouldn’t make an interesting read!
While the Times — and other mainstream media — missed the boat in the run-up to the war, when it might have made a real difference, it’s still a very, very important story to tell, because the neo-cons are trying to do the same thing vis-a-vis Iran today. One need only substitute, among other parallels, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in the case of Iraq for the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), which last week effectively called for attacking Iran.
Don’t misunderstand me: I don’t think the neo-cons by themselves were responsible for what many experts and historians believe was the greatest U.S. foreign-policy disaster since at least Vietnam, if not in the country’s history. As they themselves ceaselessly point out, neo-cons didn’t have their fingers on the button. But there’s no question that the people who did have their fingers on the button — Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush — were greatly influenced by their neo-con advisers for whom ousting Saddam Hussein by any means necessary was the top priority, particularly after 9/11. They were a necessary, but not by themselves a sufficient cause of the debacle that followed.
That the Times editorial board now appears to recognize their role is gratifying. But in-depth reporting on what precisely was that role — and what the neo-cons are doing today — would be even more gratifying… and timely, too.