Katie Couric Opposes Iraq War, Flag Pins, and the Dan Rather Lawsuit

CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric lined up with her hero Hillary Clinton in opposing the current war in Iraq, reports the Washington Examiner:

“Everyone in this room would agree that people in this country were misled in terms of  the rationale of this war,” said Couric, adding  that it is “pretty much accepted” that the war in Iraq was a mistake.

“I’ve never understood why [invading Iraq] was so high on the administration’s agenda when terrorism was going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that [Iraq] had no true connection with al Qaeda.”

Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin added the former Today co-host traced her discomfort with the administration’s march to war back to the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“The whole culture of wearing flags on our lapel and saying ‘we’ when referring to the United States and, even the ‘shock and awe’ of the initial stages, it was just too jubilant and just a little uncomfortable. And I remember feeling, when I was anchoring the ‘Today’ show, this inevitable march towards war and kind of feeling like, ‘Will anybody put the brakes on this?’ And is this really being properly challenged by the right people? And I think, at the time, anyone who questioned the administration was considered unpatriotic and it was a very difficult position to be in.”

Perhaps Katie was aiming to add gravitas by trying to sound like Peter Jennings, running down the Republican administration for not understanding foreign cultures and making bone-headed mistakes like disbanding Saddam Hussein's army.

Further, Couric said the Bush administration botched the war effort, calling it “accepted truths” that it erred by“disbanding the Iraq military, and leaving 100,000 Sunni men feeling marginalized and angry...[and] whether there were enough boots on the ground, the feeling that we’d be welcomed as liberators and didn’t need to focus as much on security.” She added “I’d feel totally comfortable saying any of that at some point, if required, on television.”

...Couric referenced comments made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday’s “The Charlie Rose Show,” and said she actually agreed with Ahmadinejad on one point. “Oftentimes Westerners don’t really understand fully the values of this particular culture,” said Couric. “And I think the jury is still out as to whether democracy can really thrive in Iraq.”

Couric's opinions were unspooled at the National Press Club on Tuesday night for a taping of The Kalb Report, a series organized by former CBS reporter Marvin Kalb. She also counter-slammed Dan Rather on his lawsuit:

Couric took Rather to task for his reporting. “There were things in there that were quite egregious in terms of how it was reported,” she said. “And sloppy work is sloppy work…They did not dot their I’s and cross their T’s when it came to that story…And our job is to get right.”

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis