During the runup to the Iraq War, The Washington Post’s Walter Pincus was one of the few national security journalists challenging the weapons of mass destruction assumptions being made by the Bush administration. Unfortunately, the administration’s bogus claims were usually given A1 treatment, while Pincus’s stories often made their way onto A21.
At the time, I was one of the editors working on the newsdesk of The Post’s website and we would often try and get the “other side” from Pincus featured prominently on the homepage. Still, you have to wonder what would have happened if his reporting was featured more prominently in the newspaper.
Pincus is still around, now authoring a column entitled “Fine Print.” He recently wrote a column which asked: “Has Obama taken Bush’s ‘preemption’ strategy to another level?” Pincus quotes a revised “strategic guidance” document which is startling in its bluntness:
“For the foreseeable future, the United States will continue to take an active approach to countering these threats by monitoring the activities of non-state threats worldwide, working with allies and partners to establish control over ungoverned territories, and directly striking the most dangerous groups and individuals when necessary” — emphasis added (by Pincus.)
I expected this column to get a lot of traction — for reporters and editorial boards around the country to pick up and run with this story. But, the follow-ups have been relatively few. Where are the questions? Where are the editorials? Isn’t this an issue worth probing?
To answer Arthur Brisbane’s recent question, yes, now would be the time to be a “truth vigilante.”