May 10, 2003

NYT Watch Today's NYT Iraq

NYT Watch

Today's NYT Iraq masthead on the machinations over at Turtle Bay regarding the new draft resolution on Iraq reconstruction is a must read. If you read the piece closely, you will likely find that Howell Raines and Co. really don't find that much that is objectionable in the proposed resolution. That said, as the W. 43rd Street cabal (more pernicious than the alleged Straussian one!) appears constitutionally unable to welcome Bush administration diplomatic initiatives--the NYT's treatment of the effort is mostly trite and derisive.

There is mention of the "grudging admission" that the U.S. needs the U.N. in Iraq, of the U.S. "stubbornly" not allowing U.N. arms inspectors to be central in the effort to find more on Iraq's WMD capability, or how, since last March the Bushies have treated the U.N. with "disdain" (exactly how, we are not told). Then there are other assorted quibbles:

"Washington is eager to have the U.N. lift oil export sanctions, which have clearly outlived their original purpose. More questionably, it wants future petroleum revenues to be entrusted temporarily to a new assistance fund, which would largely be under American and British control. The U.N. would have only a limited oversight role through its representation on the new assistance fund's advisory board, on which the World Bank and International Monetary Fund would also be represented.

The U.N. is also being asked to grant American and British occupation forces legal authority to reshape Iraq's institutions. The U.N. would have only a small role. A special coordinator to be appointed by Secretary General Kofi Annan would take part, along with American, British and Iraqi representatives, in rebuilding local and national governing institutions. Regrettably, the United States seems intent on starting an interim government later this month, before the likely arrival of this U.N. coordinator."

With respect to the oil, it is clear that the U.N., World Bank, and IMF will have some oversight role. Hadly the stuff of unadulterated unipolar arrogance or reckless hyperpuissance overdrive. Ditto with the U.N. special coordinator--the U.S., given the U.N. refusal to seriously address violations of Resolution 1441 last year, might have pushed for a U.N. coordinator with virtually no say in the rebuilding of Iraqi government institutions. All this to say, it's a pretty good resolution and (hold your breath) even the French look set (at least at this juncture) to sign on to it with some minor modifications.

Put simply, even Howell is forced to conclude: "...its passage would mark a welcome step back toward international cooperation on Iraq." So why don't you feel that way after reading the editorial then?

There are other interesting offerings on tap today from the Saturday Times. Francis Clines makes good (Upper West Side style) sport of Karl Rove. There is much hyperbole in the piece but one graf got me in particular:

"He amiably disclosed very little about the president's re-election strategy. Until, that is, a student asked about the war in Iraq. "First of all, it's the battle of Iraq, not the war," Mr. Rove carefully corrected. He went on to describe a far larger and longer war against terrorism that he sees clearly, perchance fortuitously, stretching well toward Election Day 2004."

"Perchance fortuitously"? Thus does the NYT strongly suggest that Bush's top political advisor feels lucky that the U.S. faces ongoing perils post 9/11 (and Afghanistan and Iraq) that might require military action and American loss of life. A bit of a canard, no?

Posted by Gregory at May 10, 2003 12:56 PM
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