WP, NYT on Those Weekly Standard Wackos Pushing for Regime Change in Iraq

August 30th, 2005 8:07 AM

Today the Washington Post's Peter Carlson "celebrates" the 10th anniversary of The Weekly Standard magazine, puckishly noting that it "is a truly excellent right-wing warmongering magazine, no matter what your political persuasion might be."

Carlson unearths a bit of prescient "warmongering" to demonstrate the WS's reach: "Without a doubt, the most important idea yet advanced by the Standard came in the essay 'Saddam Must Go,' written by Kristol and Robert Kagan and published in November 1997. The idea was: Hey, let's invade Iraq, conquer Baghdad and overthrow Saddam Hussein for expelling American weapons inspectors. At the time, nobody paid much attention to the suggestion. But five years later, President Bush dusted off the idea and ordered the Pentagon to execute it. And, as we all know now, it worked perfectly. Or maybe not. You make the call."

Actually, perhaps people did pay attention, at least to the general idea of regime change in Iraq, given that within a year the Iraq Liberation act was passed by the House (360-38), and Senate (unanimous consent). President Clinton (the very same) signed it into law in October 1998, announcing at the signing ceremony: "The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life....The evidence is overwhelming that such changes will not happen under the current Iraq leadership."

Back in March 2003, New York Times media reporter David Carr also documented the Standard's influence, and also botched a similar backhanded compliment: "Five years ago, during the Clinton administration, The Weekly Standard made the broad, seemingly preposterous assertion that America was entitled and even compelled to engineer regime change in Iraq. But under the current administration, driven by 9-11, that contention has become conventional wisdom."

But as demonstrated, regime change in Iraq was "conventional wisdom" even then.