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The [Friday] Papers

First, some housekeeping.

1. My Facebook friends know that I snapped last night at all the Tribune and Sun-Times news stories (and photos) that have begun to clog my Facebook news feed, along with an increase in press releases and event notices. I love Facebook; it's fun and powerful and I have yet to truly explore all it can do. But my Facebook page is a personal page and I've watched in annoyance as it has turned into a Chicago news service smothering what I'm really there for: updates from friends and acquaintances about the urgent, the quirky, the witty, the sad, and the trivial aspects of their lives.

That isn't to say that I don't want folks to post interesting stories or notices of events they are involved in that keep us all in the loop - and the vast majority of those on my list who received my message of ire are not culprits - but that many newspaper reporters are now apparently under mandates to sign up for Facebook and spread their work far and wide, and it's crowding out all that makes Facebook so enjoyable. Don't smother the damn thing out of desperation.

"Young people use these sites to connect with friends, or make new friends, and resent it when their outlets are used for ham-handed marketing efforts," Bob Reed wrote recently of his brief foray onto Facebook.

I don't think the distinction is so much an age issue as the purpose of use, but in the main Bob has it right.

"Mainstream media types, such as me, risk looking like posers by being on Facebook," he says. "Moreover, I'd wonder if Facebook isn't concerned about the flood of professional types and established companies entering its space. While the prevailing wisdom of the Internet is the 'more the merrier', having too many establishment players could easily drain the cool factor and remake Facebook into a watered-down, non-descript Web utility such as AOL.

"To me, social networks are among the most dynamic concepts the Internet era has to offer. There's a bunch of them. Some have more users and clicks than others, but the good ones have a core mission. They aren't one size-fits-all. Not yet, at least. From now on, I'll pick my networking spots more carefully."

2. The link I provided in an Obama item at the bottom of my column yesterday was the wrong one. I mixed up a Windy City Times interview with an NPR interview. The link is now corrected.

3. Also, I wrote yesterday in my review of the Tribune's evolving editorial position in the run-up to the Iraq war that "I couldn't find any editorials around the launch of the war in March 2003."

Late in the day I was sent the editorial that eluded my search. It's an important part of the story and the column now includes an excerpt from it.

Now, on to today's column . . .

War Drums
Unlike the Tribune editorial page's skeptical though ultimately resolute march to war, as featured yesterday, the Sun-Times editorial page was cocksure about war from the beginning. The rampage of its editorials is breathtaking to review, and this list is by no means exhaustive. Let's take a look.

*

Allies Gladly Leave Dirty Work To Us
September 15, 2002
"We can expect our allies to show up after the victory to claim credit."

*

U.S. May Be Forced To Wage Fight Alone
January 31, 2002
"Certainly, alternatives to military action must and will be considered."

*

Time To Separate Our Allies, Ingrates
April 12, 2002
"At this crucial juncture in the history of this planet, we need our allies to stand with us, soul to soul if not shoulder to shoulder, in a fight that will determine the future of the world."

*

Better Get Them Before They Get Us
June 4, 2002
"Few things are certain about nuclear terrorism. But one thing is: Should a nuclear device, paid for and developed by Saddam Hussein's criminal regime in Iraq, ever be detonated in a U.S. city, the atrocity will occur even while negotiations are going on over resuming international weapons inspections. Guaranteed.

"The only way Saddam will stop is if we stop him."

*

Another Reason To Topple Saddam
June 6, 2002
"Most likely the most effective thing Bush can do to promote peace in the region is to bring down Saddam Hussein of Iraq . The message of regime change there - that the United States is serious about destroying state-supported terrorism - would, as former CIA Director James Woolsey put it, change the face of the Middle East."

*

Bush Must Press Case Against Iraq
August 6, 2002
"No one wants to wage war against Saddam; 11 years ago we preferred hope that some element of his long-abused citizenry would finally dislodge him. That hope proved overly optimistic. As Saddam struggles to advance his nuclear and biological weapons programs, we cannot merely hope he will refrain from using them. Nor can we continue to turn a blind eye to Iraq 's support for international terrorism. Failure to bring Congress on board will only open the way for political grandstanding should an attack on Iraq suffer a setback, always a possibility in war, on the way to inevitable victory. Congress, which has already granted the administration authority to combat terrorism, will, we believe, rise to the occasion. And the American people, absorbing the process, will better understand why war with Iraq is a grim necessity."

*

Whole World Wise To Saddam's Game
August 7, 2002
"Up to his old tricks, the Butcher of Baghdad was attempting to dispel the growing threat of military action against him by once again dangling the false prospect of compromise. He invited a U.S. congressional delegation to Iraq to nose around themselves, searching for his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons program, and he told the UN that he was ready - sincerely this time - to begin talking about inspections, which broke down four years ago."

*

U.S. Has Reason To Attack Saddam
August 19, 2002
"We have advocates for doing nothing, nevertheless. Even members of Bush's own party have been restive lately, complaining that the case to attack Iraq has not been made, the peril not proven.

"This is disappointing, but not surprising. When Adolf Hitler's troops were rolling over Europe, there were loud voices in the United States claiming there wasn't a threat. They were wrong in 1941. And they're wrong now.

"One last point to remember: During the Gulf War, Iraq rained missiles down on Israel, a noncombatant. Consider what one military analyst told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month about what would happen if Saddam Hussein did that again with nuclear weapons.

"'Strikes on Israeli population centers are likely to trigger a major nuclear war,' he said.

"If averting a 'major nuclear war' isn't reason to act, what is?"

*

Let's Hear It For 'Willful Blindness'
August 28, 2002
"Those of us who want President Bush to make the case against Iraq are getting our wish. Just the other day Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld disclosed intelligence information about al-Qaeda terrorists taking shelter right under Saddam Hussein's nose. Reports persist of a terrorist training camp south of Baghdad, and a small Islamist group operates a chemical-weapons lab in northern Iraq. And of course it's no secret that Iraq is working feverishly to produce nuclear weapons technology. Now, to that intelligence evidence, Vice President Dick Cheney has added the rationale, saying Saddam already has weapons of mass destruction, and he can't be allowed to become capable of threatening the world with nuclear blackmail.

"Now that the Bush administration is making its case, let's hear the other side, the argument for, well, appeasing terrorists like Saddam."

*

It's Time For UN To Stand Up To Iraq
September 13, 2002
"But it is the issue of weapons of mass destruction, and what the consequences for the world would be of a nuclear-armed Iraq, that is the prime motivating factor behind Bush's projected military action. Even as Baghdad's ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Al-Douri, accused Bush of 'the longest series of fabrications that have ever been told by a leader of a nation,' Iraq was harboring and supporting terrorists, including members of al-Qaeda, manufacturing biological and chemical weapons, working on nuclear capability and building long-range missiles."

*

Seeing Is Believing On Iraq Inspection
September 18, 2002
"In comic books and old serials, it was common for our hero to fall for tricks devised by the villain that he had fallen for many times before. Selective memories are the stock and trade of action adventures. But in real life, when a villain with the taste for mass destruction of Saddam Hussein threatens to pull wool over eyes again, the last thing to do is take him at his word. Perhaps bowing to pressure from the United Nations following President Bush's speech last week, or perhaps indulging in gamesmanship, Saddam has agreed to allow UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq for the first time in nearly four years. The offer was made, Iraq said, 'without conditions,' leading some people to think it's one the United States can't refuse."

*

Iraq Debate Displays Democracy In Action
September 30, 2002

*

Poor Reasoning, But Not From Bush
October 1, 2002

*

With Inspections, It's All Or Nothing
October 3, 2002

*

No Way To Contain Iraq Without Force
October 6, 2002

*

Delays Play Into Saddam's Hands
October 9, 2002

*

Bush Stands Tall With UN Victory
November 10, 2002

*

UN Stumbles Down The Rabbit Hole
January 22, 2003

*

U.S. Forces Aim High, Will Not Be Denied
March 21, 2003
"Afghanistan can be seen as a reflection of the next Iraq: a place being transformed toward representative government, but where nation-building will not be achieved overnight."

At least they sort of accidentally that part right.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Face the music.



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Posted on March 21, 2008


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