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[casi] WashPost: Commentary Rebutted. Columnists Squabble.

Two updates concerning the Washington Post:

(1) Susan Blaustein's inept article ('scrap oil-for-food') was rebutted in a
letter published Friday.

(2) On Sunday, hawkish Post columnist Charles Krauthammer savaged the NYTimes
for crusading against war with Iraq.  But in a seperate column, Post ombudsman
Michael Getler was "disconcerted" about the Post's own lack of anti-war

This journalistic sensitivity, while encouraging, will continue to ring hollow
so long as the 500-pound gorilla of American media bias -- lack of sanctions
coverage -- remains lurking in the corner.

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA

Blaustein's article:

Rebuttal follows

Iraqi Oil-for-Food Costs
Friday, August 16, 2002; Page A24

Susan Blaustein is right that "a clearer picture of Saddam Hussein's funding
mechanisms" would help us understand some seemingly odd maneuvers by his
government and by the Western governments that deal with him [op-ed, Aug. 4].
But Ms. Blaustein falsely claimed that "the U.N. oil-for-food program costs $6
billion a year."

The oil-for-food program costs the United Nations (and the United States)
exactly nothing. The money it lays out for merchandise, and the money for the
program's own administrative expenses, come entirely from the sale of Iraqi oil.

Nor is the oil-for-food program accurately classed as a "humanitarian program"
similar to those in Bosnia, Rwanda and Afghanistan. In those programs, wealthy
nations donate money to try to stave off humanitarian catastrophe. In the
oil-for-food program, no money is donated. The program entails permission for
Iraq to exchange its own oil for certain tightly monitored goods.

None of this is intended as support for Saddam Hussein, a wretched dictator if
ever there was one. But we also must remember the existence of the 20 million
other Iraqis, and understand the real facts of their situation. Those facts can
be gotten directly from the United Nations at




Kidnapped by the Times
By Charles Krauthammer
Sunday, August 18, 2002; Page B07

... "It is one thing to give your front page to a crusade against war with Iraq.
That's partisan journalism, and that's what Raines's Times does for a living."


Covering the War Before It Starts
By Michael Getler
Sunday, August 18, 2002; Page B06

... "Once this war starts, if it starts, a lot of questions are going to be
asked. Before then, The Post, undoubtedly, will play its role in getting these
questions answered, and not just on the opinion pages. But some missed
opportunities lately have been disconcerting." ...

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