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New York Times Fact-Checkers Drop the Ball on Lieberman

The New York Times featured a profile of Senator Joe Lieberman on Monday, in which, predictably, a bunch of unnamed political hacks huff and puff and vent their rage at the Connecticut Senator and the Vice Presidential nominee of the … Read More

By / February 20, 2008

The New York Times featured a profile of Senator Joe Lieberman on Monday, in which, predictably, a bunch of unnamed political hacks huff and puff and vent their rage at the Connecticut Senator and the Vice Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party eight years ago. Midway through is this little attempt at revisionist history:

Mr. Curry had lunch with Mr. Lieberman in December 2005 and warned about the antiwar sentiment sweeping Connecticut. “This is not an argument over the capital gains tax,” Mr. Curry recalled telling him. “This is the biggest foreign policy mistake in the history of the country.” Mr. Lieberman, who often praised the defense secretary at the time, Donald Rumsfeld, shrugged off this advice. He saw the war as an epic struggle against Islamic terrorism; bombing Iran might not be a bad idea, either.

Actually, in October of 2003–a mere six months after the successful overthrow of Saddam Hussein–Lieberman called for Rumsfeld's resignation, long before it was fashionable. Here's what he said rather plainly on CBS News:

The uniform military feel deeply that he doesn't respect them, doesn't listen to them. The judgment about whether he stays or not is up to President Bush, but if I were president, I'd get a new Secretary of Defense.

Then there's the snarky, throw-away line stating that Lieberman came around to the belief, circa 2005, that "bombing Iran might not be a bad idea, either." Never mind the sneering tone: does Michael Powell have Lieberman on record (or even off) uttering anything along lines indicating support for "bombing Iran?" Lieberman has never called for the bombing of Iran. In fact, he delivered a speech at the Munich Security Conference last week in which he called for tougher sanctions so as to prevent military action. The assertion that Joe Lieberman thinks attacking Iran is "not a bad idea" is an outright lie. And it raises a question: why is establishment media now so keen on attacking anyone with views on military intervention to the right of Barack Obama's?

Related: The whole premise of this article is a factual error.

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