Categorized | USA

New York Times Support for US Imperial Wars


by Stephen Lendman


The Times never met a US imperial war it didn’t endorse or designated enemy it didn’t vilify. Nor are concerns ever raised about constitutional and international law issues, crimes of war and against humanity, or mass slaughter and destruction.

Only supporting the home team and winning matters, not right or wrong, or cost in terms of dollars and human lives. It’s as true about Libya as US wars against Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, others ongoing directly or through proxies, as well as earlier ones, at least in their earlier stages.

The Times strayed far from June 13, 1971 when it was the first broadsheet to begin publishing the top secret Pentagon Papers under Neil Sheehan’s byline. At the time, its publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger said, “What was revealed, had to be revealed….people had the right to know.”

In fact, in a 1996 article, The Times (belatedly) said:

The Pentagon Papers “demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public, but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendent national interest and significance.”

Did misreporting about alleged Iraq WMDs matter less?Functioning as a de facto Pentagon press agent, Judith Miller’s manipulative agitprop bears huge responsibity for America’s 2003 war, lying in daily front page bylines.

Times editors were cooperatively complicit, as they’ve been for all US presidents in their direct and/or proxy wars, notably:

  • – Nixon before the Pentagon Papers and Watergate;

  • – Reagan in Central America and elsewhere;

  • – GHW Bush in Panama, Haiti and Iraq;

  • – Clinton on Rwanda, Iraq sanctions, the Balkan wars, and especially for attacking Serbia/Kosovo in 1999;

  • – GW Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan;

  • – Obama in six direct wars and other proxy ones; as well as

  • – every president since Johnson on Israel/Palestine.

The Times backed them all as it now endorses Obama’s Libya war, no matter its lawlessness to colonize and plunder another country, adding one more imperial trophy to America’s collection.

In feature articles, op-eds, and editorials, The Times cheerleads war, practically glorifying mass slaughter and destruction, besides suppressing vital truths by providing one-sided distorted coverage.

On February 28, 2011, shortly after strife began, op-ed contributors Irwin Cotler and Jared Genser headlined, “Libya and the Responsibility to Protect,” saying:

The Security Council “imposed an arms embargo on Libya, targeted sanctions and travel bans against Qaddafi, his family members and senior regime officials, (and) included a critical reference to Libya’s responsibility to protect (RtoP) its own citizens from mass atrocities.”

The General Assembly’s 2005 World Summit Outcome Document adopted RtoP. Paragraph 138 states each nation must “protect (its) population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.”

Paragraph 139 delegates responsibility to the UN “to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter, to help protect populations from” these crimes.

However, as Professor Marjorie Cohn, former President of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), explains:

“The UN Charter does not permit the use of military force for humanitarian interventions.”

As a result, justifying them under RtoP is illegal. It amounts to committing genocide, as well as crimes of war and against humanity to prevent them.

The UN Charter’s Chapter VI calls for peaceful conflict dispute resolutions. If they fail, Chapter VII authorizes the Security Council to impose boycotts, embargoes, blockades and severance of diplomatic ties – not war.

Nonetheless, Cotler and Genser said “much more needs to be done….to end (Gaddafi’s mass atrocities)” when, in fact, none were committed then or after NATO bombing began.

With no justification, they also said Gaddafi no longer “can legally be described” as Libya’s leader. The “nascent provisional government” should be recognized, despite no legitimacy to do so.

In addition, the Security Council needs to do more, they said, including perhaps authorizing “the rapid deployment of an African Union-European Union force to the country,” calling it “a test case for the Security Council and its implementation of the RtoP doctrine.”

Doing so, of course, effectively endorses war through an illegal invading force, protected by aggressive air support. In other words, bombing – committing crimes on the pretext of preventing them.

Cohn, however, explains that RtoP “violates the basic premise of the UN Charter,” calling for peaceful conflict resolutions, not war or other hostile interventions.

The New York Times disagrees, cheerleading war, other forms of violence and imperial dominance, falsifying reports as justification.

On February 28, its editorial headlined, “Qaddafi’s Crimes and Fantasies,” saying:

His “crimes continue to mount.” Citing unverified reports, it said “Libyan Air Force warplanes bombed rebel-controlled areas in the eastern part of the country. Libyan special forces mounted ground assaults on two breakaway cities near the capital. (Finally), the United States (EU and UN want) Qaddafi and his cronies to go (and) called on the International Criminal Court to investigate potential war crimes.”

In other words, when no evidence exists, Times correspondents, opinion contributors and editorial writers invent it, reporting it like fact, betraying their readers in the process by lying.

A March 21 editorial headlined, “At War in Libya,” saying:

Gaddafi “has long been a thug and a murderer who has never paid for his many crimes, including the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.”

Of course, neither he or falsely convicted Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi had anything to do with it, what Times writers won’t explain. In fact, Scottish judges knew Megrahi was innocent, saying so in their final opinion. In addition, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission’s investigation called his conviction a gross miscarriage of justice, saying no credible evidence of his involvement exists. Nor Gaddafi’s.

In fact, he never admitted fault, saying only Libya would accept responsibility to have international sanctions lifted. Nonetheless, to this day, he stands falsely accused, including by The New York Times.

Its editorial called UN Resolution 1973, instituting a no-fly zone, “an extraordinary moment,” even though Pentagon commanders admitted beforehand that passing it meant bombing Gaddafi’s command and control capabilities.

Once it began, The Times endorsed it, admitting “no perfect formula for military intervention.” It then falsely accused Gaddafi of “gather(ing) women and children as human shields at his compound,” calling him “erratic, widely reviled (despite his popularity), armed with mustard gas and has a history of supporting terrorism.”

Endorsing military intervention to remove him, The Times claimed if US recruited, armed and funded paramilitaries were “crush(ed), it would chill pro-democracy movements across the Arab world.”

In fact, like Washington and its NATO coalition partners, The Times deplores democracy, peaceful resolution, and rule of law principles, opting instead for lawless intervention for imperial dominance.

On June 16, its editorial headlined, “Libya and the War Powers Act,” saying:

“It would be hugely costly – for this country’s credibility, for the future of NATO and for the people of Libya – if Congress were to force (Obama) to abandon military operations over Libya.”

The editorial came during duplicitous congressional posturing on Libya, avoiding its responsibility to stop funding Obama’s war. Instead, debate focused on whether or not he had War Powers Resolution authority to wage it, not that under international and constitutional law it’s illegal – a consideration airbrushed from The Times’ editorial and other reports.

As a result, it said “Congress….needs to authorize continued American support for NATO’s air campaign over Libya,” failing to explain that NATO is code language for the Pentagon, running all its operations under its supreme US commander.

After rebel forces assassinated commander Abdul Fatah Younis, Times writers downplayed it, saying details about it were “in dispute,” when it was clear what happened.

On August 6, in a straight propaganda piece right out of Judith Miller’s playbook, Times writer David Kirkpatrick headlined, “In Libya’s Capital, Straight Talk From Christians,” quoting Protestant minister Rev. Hamdy Daoud saying:

“When NATO bombs at night, I hear my neighbors clap and cheer ‘bravo’….People are very, very down, and they are depending entirely on NATO,” in a city where near unanimity condemns its atrocities, besides rallying en masse for Gaddafi.

Never once did a Times writer report it or how daily bombings target civilians, factories, schools, hospitals, vital infrastructure, residential neighborhoods and other nonmilitary sites, slaughtering hundreds of innocent people.

Instead, they falsify reports about anti-Gaddafi sentiment and rebel advances, leaving unexplained how Washington and its NATO partners stand to gain if he’s ousted, at the expense of all Libyans, except a Western-installed puppet regime as in Iraq and Afghanistan, complicit in violence and immiserating their people.

On August 8, Times writer Kareem Fahim headlined “Libyan Rebels Dissolve Cabinet Amid Discord,” saying only that it was “for improper administrative procedures,” and that Younis “was killed more than a week ago in murky circumstances.”

Omitted entirely was explaining the Transitional National Council’s illegitimacy, that it’s teetering close to collapse, and that disparate rebel elements are in disarray.

A Final Comment

Like all US major media journalism, The Times substitutes managed news for truth, based on facts, not insults to its readers by distorting and/or omitting it.

In their landmark book, “Manufacturing Consent,” Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky explained their “propaganda model.” It controls the public message by ‘filter(ing)” disturbing truths, “leaving (behind) only the cleansed residue fit to print” or air.

It’s why America’s media, including The Times, risk a free and open society by controlling the news for powerful interests they support, at the same time betraying their readers, viewers and listeners.

As a result, a truth emergency exists when it’s so badly needed. It’s also why supporting independent sources is vital.

Where else can you get what America’s media won’t report, notably by New York Times correspondents, op-ed contributors, and editorial writers, straying far afield from honest journalism and opinions. Getting them, of course, means shunning them.

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