September 19, 2003

Keller Watch Felicity Barringer has

Keller Watch

Felicity Barringer has an op-ed (sorry, an article) about the future of the U.N. over at the NYT. We are treated to the following series of (italicized) apercus--often simply written up as wholly non-controversial, generally accepted facts and realities.

"A mood of skittish uncertainty has descended on the leaders of the United Nations. They are eager to overhaul their institution, but worry whether any change can give it the freedom it needs to survive without being seen as either a lackey of the United States or an easily swattable gadfly."

Very vivid imagery. And the U.N. felt very lackeyish, didn't it, during the Res 1441 imbroglio?

And this:

"The fundamental assumption of its neutrality has been supplanted, at the fringes of the Muslim world, with the assumption that the United Nations is simply a stalking horse for the imperial ambitions of the United States."

We are left to ponder what is meant by the "fringes of the Muslim world"? Is that code for al-Q and those who bomb UN headquarters, Jordanian embassies, and Shi'a shrines--or, more ominously, is Ms. Barringer alluding to public opinion over at the omnipresent "Arab street"?

It gets better:

"Europeans today view the United Nations as the embodiment of international law and world order. The United States seems to view it as a tool to be used when handy."

Oh yeah, says who? Ms. Barringer as she was dashing this piece off on the laptop?

And more still:

"The Bush administration is facing a lot of international skepticism. Despite the recent decision to turn back to the United Nations for its imprimatur on the forced remaking of Iraq, many here fear that the United States may step back yet further from the creed of multinationalism hewn to by presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton and treat the organization merely as a necessary evil."

Translation: We (over at the NYT) think you (Dubya) have taken the wrecking ball to varied international fora and we're not happy about it. FDR got it. Your daddy did. So did Bill Clinton. So what's your problem you brutish, unilateralist cowboy?

Not quite yet done, Barringer opines some more:

"The French dislike the degree of American power being exercised today around the world, and the American tendency to skirt, isolate or ignore multilateral institutions."

Remember, this is ostensibly a NYT article--not opinion piece.

Is Bill Keller on holiday or something? I mean, this is embarrassing....

UPDATE: Take a look at today's masthead too.

Soundbite: Bush is misleading the American public about a Saddam/September 11 connection (though he never actually said Saddam was implicated in 9/11) and hasn't learned the lessons of the "poison of Vietnam", ie. misleading the American public about overseas developments.

It's shabbily written and so nakedly partisan. Can't the newspaper of record do better?

Posted by Gregory at September 19, 2003 09:50 AM
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