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WMD, Dem Spin, Bush’s Numbers

Gleanings from the web on the matter of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD), more precisely whether there were any to begin with:

TimesWatch.org examined The New York Times’s Jan. 28 front-page story on the findings of former WMD inspector David Kay and, not surprisingly, found the paper of record doing spin instead of news:

“The headline to a front-page story from Wednesday puts the onus on Bush to back up claims of Iraqi WMD: “Bush Backs Away From His Claims About Iraq Arms.” Reporter David Sanger does just that, putting all the blame on Bush while failing to note that intelligence in other countries (as well as Bush critic/presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry) shared Bush’s opinion on Iraq’s arms capabilities.

“Despite the story’s loaded headline, if Bush is backing away from his claims, he risks tripping over the feet of Britain, France, Germany, Israel, Australia, and the UN. As ex-weapons inspector David Kay told the Washington Post: “Everyone was wrong. Outside experts like myself and other intelligence agencies … including the Germans and French believed he [Hussein] had weapons.”

“A Wall Street Journal editorial notes what Sanger fails to point out: “That Saddam had WMD was the consensus of the U.S. intelligence community for years, going back well into the Clinton Administration…. No less than French President Jacques Chirac warned as late as last February about “the probable possession of weapons of mass destruction by an uncontrollable country, Iraq.””

Speaking of WMD, the mystery novelist Roger L. Simon, a liberal who in the wake of 9/11 has grown increasingly disenchanted with the Democrats, made it quite clear on his blog (rogerlsimon.com) that he’s not buying what the party’s selling:

“Democratic politicians are yelling and screaming right now about missing WMD. Bush lied, etc. Yet there were always two major arguments for war in Iraq ? the moral one (Saddam was a mass murdering dictator) and the “practical” one (the “imminent” … or not WMD threat). In part because of [the] Europeans, their influence in the UN, etc. our government over-emphasized the latter, although the former was at least equally important and proved to be completely true (hundreds of thousands of mass graves). But other than Joe Lieberman, every other Democratic candidate is acting as if this argument did not exist.

“Well, for what it’s worth, I have news for them. This one California Democrat, proud American, agnostic Jew, lifetime liberal (sometime even leftist) whose family allegiance to the Democratic Party goes back several generations (my parents were “Gladly with Adlai”) is not going to be voting their way this time. I don’t care what George Bush’s tax policies are. Unless the Democrats have a moral awakening, which doesn’t seem in the cards, I won’t desecrate the memory of those who were gassed (Kurd, Jew or whoever) by voting for them.”

On the subject of George W. Bush, the folks at The Weekly Standard (weeklystandard.com) are hardly surprised by the president’s declining job approval numbers. From the “Scrapbook” section of the magazine’s Feb. 9 issue: “Perhaps you’ve wondered why the Democratic presidential candidates look so good these days on TV while President Bush is behind the 8-ball. Well, Bob Lichter of the Center for Media and Public Affairs has the explanation.

“From January 1, when the Democratic race went full throttle, to January 18, the day before the Iowa caucuses, the coverage of the entire Democratic field on ABC, NBC, and CBS was 71 percent positive. That’s the most favorable coverage of presidential candidates ever recorded by Lichter’s group. John Kerry’s coverage was 96 percent favorable. John Edwards’s was 100 percent favorable – not a single unkind word about him was aired on the nets. No wonder he surged in Iowa.

“Yes, Howard Dean took some hits, but his coverage was still 58 percent positive. What about Bush? Since the war in Iraq ended last April, his coverage has been 68 percent unfavorable, 32 percent favorable.”

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at jmaoz@jewishpress.com.

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