The New York Times and Syria: Integrity in the Cross Hairs?

By Ed Timperlake

Recently, a New York Times writer has taken the old adage that  “truth is the first causality of war” to a new level.  It would be useful if the editors would be aware of this.

Ignorance or an audacious lie by a senior writer for The New York Times, the readers can choose his explanation.

Distorting the public record by “The Gray Lady, ” is never helpful especially when potential war is being discussed. Sad to see a newspaper reporter simply making it up to aide the path to war.  It is a 21st century version of “Remember the Maine,”

In the New York Time’s piece by David Sanger, it is claimed that:

Ronald Reagan angered his close partner Margaret Thatcher by providing minimal assistance in the Falklands War.

Even more amazing are insulting quotes from White House officials cited by Sanger as part of the rush to war:

“Bungled by Cameron,” said one.

“Embarrassing,” said another. “For Cameron, and for us.”

Actually, it was one of England’s finest hours.

And when is a democratic action by a Prime Minister who asked his fellow citizens in jolly old UK to have a direct voice in an issue of going to war a matter of embarrassment for the US President?

A rather telling indictment, one would think.

This raises the question about the role of the US Congress, and failures of technical communications evident recently in the recent bungling of “consultation” by the President with Congress aside, why is the President avoiding taking this to Congress?

Bill Jayne, was Marine infantryman wounded at Khe Sanh recently wrote about US leaders showing equal courage:

The US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 clearly states: “The Congress shall have Power…To declare war.”

The President doesn’t have the unilateral legal authority to play games with the lives of those serving in our military.

If the Congress wants to declare war and commit the United States to a course of action that will result in a decisive military victory in Syria, then lets hear the debate and watch the vote.

Secretary Kerry once resided in the Sentate.

Let him take the argument to the Congress and build the case and the support in the public domain.

Most notably, it would be useful to understand how practical a “limited strike” is in a tinderbox.

The country needs to understand how an Administration, which has sponsored sequestration, suddenly has the money for an open-ended intervention and with declining US military capabilities.  Let us see the budget to go along with the policy.

And for the New York Times, please set the record straight.

In a not so subtle effort to blame Republicans de facto for current British angst, let us set the record straight.

I was a junior SES in Reagan 1 and do not remember it the way it is being reported in NYT by David Sanger, nor would Secretary Weinberger if he was still with us. But I guess the NYT Editor doesn’t read her own newspaper. It would be useful to search at least your own paper’s archives before pronouncing judgment on a period of history.

“Former Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger has been awarded an honorary knighthood in recognition of his ”outstanding and invaluable” contribution to military cooperation between Britain and the United States, the Foreign Office said today.”

Or perhaps a wider search might be in order.

“He convinced President Reagan of the need to assist Britain, and America went on to provide missiles, aircraft fuel, military equipment, and intelligence information to the British government.”

Ed Timperlake was Principal Director Mobilization Planning and Requirements/OSD for Secretary Weinberger.


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