The Washington Post throws some crumbs to its liberal readers

The Washington Post editorial page has done outstanding work trying patiently to explain the need for military action against Iraq to its knee-jerk anti-interventionist readers. However, perhaps to appease these readers or perhaps because it just can’t resist, the Post is not above taking cheap shots at the architect of the policy it embraces — President Bush. For example, in this mostly insightful editorial, the Post claims that “the Bush administration’s clumsy and often high-handed diplomacy” is partly responsible for an enduring rift with the U.N. Security Council over Iraq. But the Post does not explain its basis for this claim. Instead, the Post goes on to acknowledge that Bush took the U.S. case to the Security Council and attempted for six months to persuade Council members “to accept the consequences of the process they claim to favor.” After it became apparent even to the Post that France and others were acting in bad faith, Bush continued to work for Security Council support, rather than walking away from this phony process as he probably should have. The only “high-handed” position the U.S. has taken is its refusal, ultimately, to be bound by the outcome of the Security Council. But, since the Post backs that refusal, it cannot make a principled claim that Bush is acting improperly. Thus, like the Tom Friedman, the Post’s criticism of the president is not principled.

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