After some preliminary throat-clearing, the Gray Lady coughs it up
I'm a regular Roger Simon reader, and I was alerted by a post on his blog today to an editorial in the NY Times (since the Times now requires registration, that link might not work for you). I must confess I've stopped reading the Times on a daily basis, so I didn't see it myself.
The first paragraph contains the obligatory litany of gloomy events in the Mideast. And the whole thing is hedged with the usual cautions and caveats. This all comes under the heading of what Hitchens might call "throat-clearing" (I can't find the original source of the Hitchens phrase at the moment, but it is referred to in this Norman Geras piece--which, by the way, is itself well worth reading).
But after all the hemming and hawing, the Times coughs up a couple of extraordinary sentences. First it says that this year so far has been one of "heartening surprises." Then comes this: "The Bush administration is entitled to claim a healthy share of the credit for many of these advances."
I have to hand it to the Times. I never thought I'd see them give Bush any credit, even if the Times managed somehow to acknowledge that good things appear to be happening right now in the Mideast. I thought they'd just pull another "Communism-has-fallen-but-its-just-an-accident-pay-no-attention-to-that-man-behind-the-curtain-Reagan" routine.
When, in the very next sentence, the Times writes, "[The Bush administration] boldly proclaimed the cause of Middle East democracy at a time when few in the West thought it had any realistic chance," it somehow manages to leave out the tiny fact that the Times itself, to put it gently, was not among those few. This is followed in the next sentence by one of those declarations that is mindboggling in its ability to ponderously state the obvious, "there could have been no democratic elections there this January if Saddam Hussein had still been in power."
But I give credit where credit is due. One of the themes I've harped on here is the incredible difficulty involved in admitting error. This is not just a characteristic of the left, by the way--it's one that many human beings share on both sides of the fence, in matters both public and private. The Times is to be commended on being able to do it at all, so I guess I shouldn't carp on the fact that they haven't done it exactly the way I would have wanted them to.