After President Trump ordered the killing of terrorist mastermind Gen. Qasem Suilemani of Iran, the New York Times devoted the week in coverage to paranoia and fear-mongering over a potential war, as a sampling of headlines reveals.
On Friday left-wing “Interpreter” columnist Max Fisher weighed up things and found: “Scorecard of Washington vs. Tehran ‘Is Looking Bad for Both Sides.'" Fisher’s Friday newsletter, “The Calculus of Conflict With Iran” blamed Trump for kicking off a series of events (specifically, withdrawing from the Iran nuclear accord) that allegedly led to the killing of an eight-year-old girl on the commercial flight shot down by Iran:
On Wednesday, before dawn, Iran launched a series of missiles at American military targets in Iraq. It was retaliation for President Trump having ordered a drone strike on Iran’s top military leader, a sudden American escalation that had followed months of lower-level conflict between the countries. Later that morning, Ms. Haghjoo and Elsa boarded a flight bound for Kyiv, Ukraine, where they would change planes before continuing home to Toronto....findings released by the American and Canadian governments suggest it would have begun, for the passengers on board, with a sudden explosion....Most analysts consider the immediate conflict’s start to have come in May 2018, when President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear accord, imposed crushing sanctions on Iran and issued a series of maximalist demands.
Also on Friday was a story by Jennifer Steinhauer touting veterans "weary and wary" of "embarking on another war" in the Middle East. Steinhauer quoted one veteran who feels "the dark echo of Iraq," with the journalist adding her own analysis: “American skepticism about employing military force, once derided by some as unpatriotic, is much more on display, even among veterans who may have directly faced the lethal danger that Iran presents in the Middle East.”
Baffling, considering the Times fretted over why so few supported invading Libya when Obama sent U.S. forces there. The paper faulted Americans for being more interested in the NCAA college basketball tournament and having "compassion fatigue."
Thursday’s front page also contained David Sanger’s “news analysis:” “A President’s Mixed Messages Unsettle More Than Reassure.” The jump-page text box warned, "Misunderstandings can prove to be as dangerous as missiles.”
The front page of Wednesday’s paper featured Peter Baker’s own "analysis:" “'Messy,’ ‘Hasty’ and ‘Impulsive’: A Bumper Car Presidency Keeps Even Allies on Edge.”
Also on Wednesday’s front page was “Democrats Press for Details on Threats Cited by Trump.” The lead sentence placed Trump on the defensive for killing a terrorist, er, a “top Iranian general”:
Under increasing pressure to defend the killing of a top Iranian general in Iraq, senior Trump administration officials offered new justifications but little detail on Tuesday, citing threats to the American Embassy in Baghdad and intelligence suggesting other imminent attacks that helped prompt the strike.