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Sunday, October 24, 2004

The Washington Post endorses John Kerry

The Washington Post endorsed John Kerry on Sunday.

Here are some excerpts from the Post editorial:

"In Iraq, we do not fault Mr. Bush for believing, as President Clinton before him believed, that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. We supported the war and believed that the Iraqi dictator posed a challenge that had to be faced; we continue to believe that the U.S. mission to promote a representative government in Iraq has a chance to leave the United States safer and the Iraqis far better off than they were under their murderous dictator.

We do, however, fault Mr. Bush for exaggerating to the public the intelligence given him privately and for alienating allies unnecessarily. Above all, we fault him for ignoring advice to better prepare for postwar reconstruction. The damage caused by that willful indifference is incalculable. There is no guarantee that Iraq would be more peaceful today if U.S. forces had prevented postwar looting, secured arms depots, welcomed international involvement and transferred authority to Iraqis more quickly. But the chances of success would have been higher. Yet the administration repeatedly rebuffed advice to commit sufficient troops. Its disregard for the Geneva Conventions led to a prison-torture scandal in both Iraq and Afghanistan that has diminished for years, if not decades, the United States' image and influence abroad. In much of the world, in fact, U.S. prestige is at a historic low, partly because of the president's high-handed approach to allies on issues ranging far beyond Iraq.

These failings have a common source in Mr. Bush's cocksureness, his failure to seek advice from anyone outside a narrow circle and his unwillingness to expect the unexpected or adapt to new facts. These are dangerous traits in any president but especially in a wartime leader. They are matched by his failure to admit his errors or to hold senior officials accountable for theirs...

On many other issues, Mr. Kerry has the better approach. He has a workable plan to provide health insurance to more Americans; the 45 million uninsured represent a shameful abdication that appears not to have concerned Mr. Bush one whit. Where Mr. Bush ignored the dangers of climate change and favored industry at the expense of clean air and water, Mr. Kerry is a longtime and thoughtful champion of environmental protection. Mr. Bush played politics with the Constitution, as Mr. Kerry would not, by endorsing an amendment to ban gay marriage. Mr. Kerry has pledged to follow the Geneva Conventions abroad and respect civil liberties at home. A Kerry judiciary -- and the next president is likely to make a significant mark on the Supreme Court -- would be more hospitable to civil rights, abortion rights and the right to privacy.

None of these issues would bring us to vote for Mr. Kerry if he were less likely than Mr. Bush to keep the nation safe. But we believe the challenger is well equipped to guide the country in a time of danger. Mr. Kerry brings a résumé that unarguably has prepared him for high office. He understood early on the dangers of non-state actors such as al Qaeda. To pave the way for restored relations with Vietnam in the 1990s, he took on the thankless and politically risky task of convincing relatives that no American prisoners remained in Southeast Asia. While he wrongly opposed the first Persian Gulf War, he supported the use of American force in Bosnia and Kosovo. "

The full piece can be read here.


At 7:30 AM, Blogger Really said...

Is it just me, or should a newspaper objectively REPORT the news. Instead they like to tell us what to believe under the guise of reporting what is happening in the world.

At 6:27 PM, Blogger Outrage said...

Most newspapers have two departments: news and editorial. The functions of each are distinct. News seeks to report on events as accurately as possible. The editorial department usually has its own separate staff. Their job is to provide commentary and perspective. The news team reports. The editorial team provides guidance. Your confusing (conflating?) two separate entities.

For all their faults, the New York Times and Washington Post still do a better job than any other news outlet of digging up hard to find facts and illuminating what is going on in the world (I would also give a shout out to the Economist). What is the alternative? Fox? Where white men in suits rant about a world they know nothing about based on preconceived biases and virtually no on-site reporting? The Washington Post has real reporters. I don't like everything they do (including the posted editorial, which I thought was a bit wishy-washy, as if they were afraid to offend any of the Washington establishment), but overall, I admire the quality and professionalism of the work they provide.


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