In what has to be considered a breakthrough moment for the MSM, my hometown Chicago Tribune actually brokedown and practiced the craft of journalism. They examined 9 of the reasons that President Bush used prior to the war to justify and, lo and behold, reached a rational, sane, conclusion:
After reassessing the administration’s nine arguments for war, we do not see the conspiracy to mislead that many critics allege. Example: The accusation that Bush lied about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs overlooks years of global intelligence warnings that, by February 2003, had convinced even French President Jacques Chirac of “the probable possession of weapons of mass destruction by an uncontrollable country, Iraq.” We also know that, as early as 1997, U.S. intel agencies began repeatedly warning the Clinton White House that Iraq, with fissile material from a foreign source, could have a crude nuclear bomb within a year.
Seventeen days before the war, this page reluctantly urged the president to launch it. We said that every earnest tool of diplomacy with Iraq had failed to improve the world’s security, stop the butchery—or rationalize years of UN inaction. We contended that Saddam Hussein, not George W. Bush, had demanded this conflict.
Many people of patriotism and integrity disagreed with us and still do. But the totality of what we know now—what this matrix chronicles—affirms for us our verdict of March 2, 2003. We hope these editorials help Tribune readers assess theirs.
Imagine that! A major metropolitan newspaper put a little time and effort into an investigation of things that bloggers have been writing about for more than 2 years and reached exactly the same conclusion!
Not only that, but their criticisms of the Administration’s case for war are not based on Democratic party talking points but rather intelligent assessments of what information the Administration had available as opposed to what they were publicly saying. The Trib can’t quite make the psychic leap and say that the US couldn’t afford to be right about Saddam’s WMD, but their criticism comes off as reasonable and well thought out.
And they may be the only major metro paper that actually admits that WMD was not the only reason we went to war:
The administration didn’t advance its arguments with equal emphasis. Neither, though, did its case rely solely on Iraq’s alleged illicit weapons. The other most prominent assertion in administration speeches and presentations was as accurate as the weapons argument was flawed: that Saddam Hussein had rejected 12 years of United Nations demands that he account for his stores of deadly weapons—and also stop exterminating innocents. Evaluating all nine arguments lets each of us decide which ones we now find persuasive or empty, and whether President Bush tried to mislead us.
In measuring risks to this country, the administration relied on the same intelligence agencies, in the U.S. and overseas, that failed to anticipate Sept. 11, 2001. We now know that the White House explained some but not enough of the ambiguities embedded in those agencies’ conclusions. By not stressing what wasn’t known as much as what was, the White House wound up exaggerating allegations that proved dead wrong.
This is an excellent article to save and refer back to in the future when we hear for the 5,000th time from some lefty loon that “Bush lied. People died.”