Reuters 'Analysis': Obama Not 'Going It Alone' Like Bush Did; Oil Now a 'Concrete Interest'

On Thursday at Reuters, Andrew Quinn, with the help of Caren Bohan, cobbled together a pathetic "analysis" full of sympathy for a "struggling" Barack Obama and recognition of the need to keep oil flowing from Saudi Arabia. It also contained a false jab at George W. Bush and the War in Iraq.

First, let's look at Quinn's Bush jab:

Obama is committed to partnering with other countries rather than going it alone as did his predecessor George W. Bush, which both broadens and complicates the decision-making process.

This got the attention of Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic (HT Instapundit), who linked to the identical but unbylined Reuters item at the New York Times. Goldberg's response:

This, of course, is wildly inaccurate and misleading. Say what you will about the second Iraq war, but George W. Bush made partnerships with many nations in advance of the invasion, including and especially America's most valuable ally, Great Britain, as well as Australia, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, South Korea, the Czech Republic, and a couple of dozen others. Reuters should correct this inaccurate statement.

Good luck with that.

Quinn's assertion is more than "wildly inaccurate." It's objectively false. ICasualties.org has a list of casualties by country entitled (of all things): "Coalition Military Fatalities By Year and Month." 23 Counties are listed. There was a military coalition. George W. Bush was not "going it alone." Additionally, Fox Nation has a post indicating that the Iraq War coalition involved roughly twice as many nations (30, reportedly per the State Department) as the Libya (cough) "kinetic military action" (16).

What's more, even though the wire service appears to have been childishly determined to avoid using the word "coalition" during the Iraq War, I was able to find two examples where Reuters did acknowledge the existence of a military coalition:

July 7, 2006 ("US Sees Security Transfer in Half Iraq's Provinces") --

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Iraqis should take over policing from U.S. and coalition forces in half of Iraq's provinces by year-end, but that may not have an impact on American troop levels, a U.S. general said on Friday.

 

... The roughly 1,400 coalition troops now there will relocate, with some remaining nearby to move in again if requested by Iraq's prime minister. Security control also could revert to coalition forces if requested by the prime minister, Cichowski said.

 

December 6, 2006 ("US Forces Kill 7 Militants in Iraq, Two Children Die") --

 

BAGHDAD (Reuters) U.S.-led forces in Iraq killed seven militants with links to senior al Qaeda leaders in a raid on Monday near the area where Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed last week, the U.S. military said.

 

It said there were several women and children at the scene and that two children had also been killed.

 

"Coalition Forces received enemy machine gun fire from a rooftop upon arriving at the objective," it said. "Coalition aircraft supporting the ground force immediately suppressed the enemy fire, killing seven."

In the second instance, Reuters might respond by saying they were quoting the U.S. military; but why did the report's opening describe the protagonists as "U.S.-led forces"? Reuters might then respond that "U.S.-led" meant Americans and Iraqis. Nice try; no sale.

I found other examples of Reuters reports where military spokesmen were quoted as referring to "coalition forces" and the like. Reuters might respond that they have to carry quoted material as it was stated. But if there was no coalition, as Andrew Quinn claims and which the wire service appeared to believe during the war itself, shouldn't Reuters reporters have been challenging what Quinn would appear to believe were obviously false assertions?

Now let's get to some of the rest of Quinn's insufferable, violin-playing drivel posing as "analysis":

U.S. President Barack Obama is struggling to fashion a coherent Middle East policy that can encompass his decision to launch military action in Libya alongside his hesitant response to repression elsewhere.

 

It has not been easy to strike a balance between pragmatism and principle, with diverging U.S. national interests at stake in each conflict and an overworked Middle East policy team absorbed with crisis management.

 

"On a senior level there is a serious challenge on how to navigate all of this," said Brian Katulis, a Middle East expert at the Center for American Progress.

 

"They are doing the best that they can, but even folks in the White House and the National Security Council only have 24 hours in a day."

 

Stung by accusations it had sent mixed messages on Middle East events, the White House has said it was putting together a new, overarching strategy that will set out basic principles of U.S. policy towards the region.

If this were a conservative or Republican administration, the above would be described as "disarray" at best and "shoot first, figure out policy later" at worst. Also note that the ultraliberal Center for American Progress is, as usual, not described as such, while later hanging the "conservative" label on Max Boot.

As for oil, after a beginning tease telling readers that "U.S. ideals (are) tempered by concrete interests -- like oil," Quinn writes:

Saudi Arabia, the source of 12 percent of the United States crude oil supply, is vital economically and, as a result, Washington is unlikely to do anything that might fuel instability or undermine the ruling Saud family.

What? The government is using ensuring reliable supplies oil as a consideration in its decision to go to war and how to conduct it? How dare they!

Where's the "it's all about oil" crowd when you need 'em?

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.