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Right wing war hubris
Madison.com/Capital Times
Dave Zweifel
April 4, 2006

The media watchdog organization, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, likes to keep tabs on the pontificators in print and on television and occasionally looks back to see how they did.

The Iraq war, for instance, has been a treasure trove in providing some first-class embarrassments for America's punditry, particularly those talking heads on cable TV.

Here's a sampling. There are many more at the group's Web site, www.fair.org.

"Now that the combat phase of the war in Iraq is officially over, what begins is a debate throughout the entire U.S. government over America's unrivaled power and how best to use it." (CBS reporter Joie Chen, 5/4/03)

"The only people who think this wasn't a victory are Upper West Side liberals, and a few people here in Washington." (Charles Krauthammer, "Inside Washington," 4/19/03)

"Well, the hot story of the week is victory. The Tommy Franks-Don Rumsfeld battle plan, war plan, worked brilliantly, a three-week war with mercifully few American deaths or Iraqi civilian deaths. There is a lot of work yet to do, but all the naysayers have been humiliated so far. The final word on this is hooray." (Morton Kondracke, Fox News, 4/12/03)

"The war was the hard part. The hard part was putting together a coalition, getting 300,000 troops over there and all their equipment and winning. And it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but it is not as hard as winning a war." (Fred Barnes, Fox News, 4/10/03)

"This has been a tough war for commentators on the American left. ... Liberal writers for ideologically driven magazines like The Nation and for less overtly political ones like The New Yorker did not predict a defeat, but the terrible consequences many warned of have not happened. Now liberal commentators must address the victory at hand and confront an ascendant conservative juggernaut that asserts U.S. might can set the world right." (New York Times reporter David Carr, 4/16/03)

"Now that the war in Iraq is all but over, should the people in Hollywood who opposed the president admit they were wrong?" (Alan Colmes, Fox News, 4/25/03)

"I will bet you the best dinner in the gaslight district of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week. Are you willing to take that wager?" (Bill O'Reilly, Fox News, 1/29/03)

"There's no way. There's absolutely no way. They may bomb for a matter of weeks, try to soften them up as they did in Afghanistan. But once the United States and British unleash, it's maybe hours. They're going to fold like that." (Bill O'Reilly, Fox News, 2/10/03)

Dave Zweifel is editor of The Capital Times. E-mail: dzweifel@madison.com

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