Former New York Times executive
editor Bill Keller now writes Times op-eds on alternate Mondays, as
well as articles for The New York Times Magazine.
Too bad his columns get failing grades. Scoundrel journalism is featured.
Truth and full disclosure are excluded. His March 18 article is typical.
Headlined, "Falling In and Out of War," it began well. He admitted he's
been wrong on war and wants "to avoid repeating the mistake." To his
credit, he also said "it's immeasurably more true for those in a position
to actually start a war."
He stopped short of explaining the vital role media scoundrels play,
especially The Times as America's most influential broadsheet. It's
major front page stories get global attention. As executive editor,
and earlier as managing editor, he decided what got featured.
Many promoted war and support for wealth and power. Populism was excluded.
So was and remains telling readers what they most need to know. Suppressing
it is standard Times policy.
In his latest article, Keller wrote:
"What are the right questions the president should ask — and we as his
employers should ask — when deciding whether going to war is (a) justified
and (b) worth it?"
He asked five "plus two caveats, and some thoughts about how all this
applies to" America's wars and prospective ones.
Too bad he omitted what most need saying. More on that below. His questions
"1. How is this our fight?"
In 2001, he claimed protecting America's "national interest" required
"go(ing) after the homicidal zealots" responsible for 9/11, "and the
Afghan regime that hosted them."
Neither Afghan officials, bin Laden, or others there had anything to
with it. Kellers knows or should. Yet he lied to readers, calling it
the right thing to do.
Francis Boyle is an international law expert. His latest article is
titled "End the Crime That Is the War on Afghanistan," saying:
"....the Bush administration's war against Afghanistan cannot be justified
on the facts or the law. It is clearly illegal. It constitutes armed
aggression. It is creating a humanitarian catastrophe for the people
Bush and Obama bear main responsibility for millions of lives lost,
mass destruction, unspeakable human misery, daily violence including
rape, murder and torture, and Washington's shocking indifference to
After over a decade, it's also America's longest war. It's unwinnable.
Pentagon, administration, and Congressional officials know it. Yet no
end of conflict's planned, nor is ending an illegal occupation as Afghans
"2. At what cost?"
Keller claimed overthrowing Gaddafi was right and easy. Ousting Assad
is also just but tough. He's dead wrong on both counts.
Putting "a price on freedom" demands not overspending, he claims. Doing
so may force Washington "to contract its global posture" like Britain
and other empires had to do.
In other words, winning wars at the right price advance America's imperium.
Counterproductive ones should be avoided. Keller ignored rule of law
principles, right and wrong, and other issues mattering most. It was
typical NYT journalism.
"3. Or what?"
What if alternate strategies short of war fail? "The ultimate 'or what'
question about Iran is, if sanctions and threats fail, could we live
with a nuclear Iran?"
Again, Keller knows or should that Iran threatens no one. It hasn't
attacked another country in over 200 years, and US intelligence, Mossad,
and IAEA inspectors find no evidence whatever of a nuclear weapons program
or intention to have one.
Moreover, possessing any type weapons suggests no intent to use them.
In contrast, America's the only country ever to use nuclear weapons
- gratuitously, in fact, when Japan was negotiating surrender.
Doing so was cold-blooded murder. Hundreds of thousands of civilians
died. Killing them was criminal wrongdoing. Lawlessness is replicated
in all US war theaters.
Today, America maintains a preemptive nuclear first-strike policy against
perceived or manufactured threats, including non-nuclear states. Israel
also is nuclear armed and dangerous.
In his 1997 book, "Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies,"
Israel Shahak said:
"Israel (is) clearly prepar(ing) itself to seek overtly a hegemony over
the entire Middle East (with no) hesitati(on) to use for the purpose
all means available, including nuclear ones."
Iran threatens no one. Neither does Syria. America and Israel menace
"4. And who else?"
Keller favors US wars when allies "share the cost to spread the risk."
In other words, he endorses coalition-of-the-willing lawlessness with
Syria's another matter because "no one is volunteering to join us yet."
In other words, collective might is right no matter how wrong.
"5. Then what?"
He's right. Unintended consequences matter, but not ones he mentioned.
Invading Iraq, he said, "distracted our attention and energy from the
far more important undertaking in Afghanistan."
In other words, unwinnable quagmires are bad enough. "(R)ushing too
fast for the exists" exacerbates things. Syria poses the same dilemma.
What comes after Assad, and does anyone support occupying another Muslim
Before waging war and deploying troops, said Keller, "deploy the fact-checkers"
to assure it's done for the rights reasons.
Excluded from Keller's equation was fundamental international and US
law. They're clear, unequivocal, and violations constitute lawless aggression.
No nation may interfere in the internal affairs of others for any reason
except self-defense when attacked or if clear evidence shows one's imminent.
Moreover, declaring war is the most serious decision nations make. America's
founders understood. As a result, they afforded Congress alone the power
"to declare war," not presidents on their own authority.
After Vietnam, the War Powers Resolution gave executives the power to
act unilaterally for 60 days in response to a "national emergency created
by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or
its armed forces." They have another 30 days to disengage, short of
congressional assent to continue.
All US post-WW II wars were illegal, including current ones. So will
attacking Iran and/or Syria. Compelling reasons, according to law, don't
exist. No other justification's legal.
Keller omitted what most needs explaining, highlighting, and repeating.
Grade him "F" for his latest op-ed. Give him a second one for betraying
Give the Times one also for daily scoundrel journalism instead of mandating
what writers are supposed to do - their job.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News
Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time
and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy