Regarding Jay Inslee's debate comments and the history of our editorials on the Iraq war
There appears to be come confusion about the tweets our @seatimesopinion account posted Tuesday night around the time of the gubernatorial debate between Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna. To clear it up, here is a recap of the history of The Seattle Times' editorial positions on the Iraq wars.
During the debate, McKenna asked Inslee why 10 of the state's newspapers (including The Seattle Times) have endorsed McKenna for governor. Inslee responded that he works for the people of the state of Washington, not for the newspapers. (As an aside, in the unlikely situation that a current Seattle Times employee ran for office, our editorial board would not automatically endorse that candidate.)
Inslee then said the same newspapers that endorsed McKenna had urged the U.S. to go to war in Iraq.
So people could read our editorials for themselves, we sent out two tweets. The first tweet said, "Fact check: @JayInslee accuses editorial boards of cheering Iraq War. Our 11/11/90 editorial calls for caution http://seati.ms/P8J6gH #wagov."
He didn't specify in the debate which war he was talking about, so we tweeted links to editorials on both wars.
But let's focus on the second Iraq War when Inslee was serving in Congress, and all the editorials we published leading up to his vote against the Iraq resolution. The resolution, which Congress approved, gave President George W. Bush the authority to attack Iraq. As you will see below, our editorials opposed the war leading up to that vote. Here are our editorials:
In a Sept. 1, 2002 editorial, we said, "The case for war has not been made."
In a Sept. 13, 2002 editorial, we said, "President Bush did not make a case for the United States taking on Iraq alone... ."
In an Oct. 8 2002 editorial, we said, "If the White House wants to move the nation toward war, this cannot be the president's last, best effort to lay out the evidence against Iraq ... ."
On Oct. 10, 2002, Congress voted to give Bush the authority to attack Iraq unilaterally, according to this Washington Post news story. This is the vote where Inslee opposed the resolution.
So, to be clear, none of our editorials, leading up to that vote, pressured members of Congress to authorize the president to send U.S. troops to Iraq.
Even after Congress voted, we continued to advocate for diplomacy. In our New Year's Day 2003 editorial, we wrote, "Careful diplomacy might well avert a war with Iraq."
In a Jan. 28, 2003 editorial, we said, "U.N. arms inspectors need more time." At that point, more than 57,000 Army reserve and National Guard members had already been placed on active duty, according to this Jan. 12, 2003 story from the news side.
In our Jan. 29, 2003 editorial about the State of the Union address, we said, "Bush did not make the final case for an attack on Iraq."
In a Feb. 6, 2003 editorial, we wrote, "Many people here at home still need to be convinced the threat is worthy of the risk and sacrifice of lives, money, lengthy occupation and unintended future consequences."
By mid-February, there were already 150,000 U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf. Here's a Feb. 19, 2003 news brief that notes that.
Our editorial board got behind the war on Feb. 23, 2003 in this editorial calling it a "just war against Saddam." At that point, we felt it was important to support troops who were headed to war.
On March 20, 2003, the attack on Baghdad began.
On March 21, 2003, Inslee voted in favor of a Congressional resolution expressing support for President Bush and the troops, according to this news side story. The story quotes Inslee saying that some of the language gave him heartburn but, "Nineteen-year-old young people sitting in the desert needed an expression that we cared about them."
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
Postman On Politics