Along the Tracks

Friday, June 27, 2003

Seeing the light in Iraq

Sorry about the long absence - in another busy phase at the paper, not to mention things going on at home.

I wanted to link to this column by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. It’s a good example why I find him both exasperating and refreshing. Yes, he hammers on Bush about the missing Iraqi weapons, but he confesses that, while searching for blistering indictments of the American occupation, he found instead person after person deeply grateful for our intervention. And he was honest enough to publish those, and admit that the humanittarian arguments for military action are often quite compelling - something he might also support. Of course, he’s still not going to say Iraq was justified (something he continues to oppose, just on sheer obstinance I guess), but other places - Congo, Liberia - are suddenly on the board, based on this reasoning.

He’s a liberal struggling with the real world. It’s interesting, and a credit to his integrity.

P.S. - I might note Kristof’s “integrity” has come into question over his articles last summer about the anthrax investigation, particularly his own focus on the “person of interest” Dr. Steven Hatfill. I found the columns a little much myself - but to be honest, the jury is still out on the doctor, and recent breaks in the investigation are once again pointing to his neck of the woods. In those articles, however, Kristof did make an excellent point: Why wasn’t the FBI putting on the full-press, to either tie Hatfill to the crime or exonerate him? The anthrax investigation is a terrible black mark on the FBI, particularly when you consider the amount of evidence and the limited pool of suspects ... er, persons of interest. Kristof was right to hound the feds on the topic; he just got a little carried away on one possible line of investigation.

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