NYT: On second thought, Bush did pull together a coalition on Iraq

And it only took them two weeks to realize their error! It seems that the Paper of Record had no record of the broad coalition built by George W. Bush for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, including ground troops from more than a dozen nations, when it attempted to explain the difference between the approaches of Bush and Barack Obama on war in Iraq and now Syria. On September 11, the Mark Landler article included this curious sentence: “Unlike Mr. Bush in the Iraq war, Mr. Obama has sought to surround the United States with partners.” Two days later, the Gray Lady issued a correction on a photo credit, but it took the layers of fact-checkers and editors another ten days to issue this correction. Since the NYT puts corrections behind a pay wall (!!), I’ll just use the screen shot (via Daniel Halper):




In the New York Times’ defense, they weren’t the only news agency with short memories. Our colleagues at Twitchy caught Josh Lederman of the Associated Press trying out the same line last night:



In fact, as others informed Lederman, three of the five Arab nations included in the coalition for last night’s strikes were part of the 2003 coalition, too. Also, Bush got a vote from Congress authorizing the action, something Obama has thus far not bothered to try. Lederman deleted the tweet rather than issuing a correction, and has not commented on this assertion since.

But seriously, how difficult is it to research this basic fact — especially given the White House insistence since late August that Obama intended to build a “broad coalition” in response to ISIS? Not all that difficult, as it turns out. In fact, one can find the data rather easily in this March 2003 explainer on the Coalition of the Willing in the archives of … The New York Times:

Who are the coalition members?

According to the Bush administration and press reports, they are: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Palau, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, Uganda, and Uzbekistan. Noticeably absent are major powers–France, for example–that were members of the coalition that overturned Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait in 1991. …

Other countries have not been named publicly but are likely members of the coalition. They include Israel, as well as several Arab states that are providing bases or other assistance to the war: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt. …

To what extent have non-American and non-British coalition forces joined the war effort?

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, in an op-ed on Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, wrote that the Australian Navy is supporting coalition troops and clearing mines, Polish special forces are defending an oil platform, a Danish submarine is patrolling nearby waters, and “Czech and Slovak special chemical- and biological-weapons response forces” are standing by to respond to bio-warfare attacks.

In addition, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE have sent 8,000 troops to Kuwait in a largely symbolic effort to help defend that country. They do not have a combat role.

What about other coalition members?

Rice wrote that they are providing “supplies, logistical and intelligence support, basing and over-flight rights, and humanitarian and reconstruction aid.”


And this was a skeptical explainer on Bush’s coalition, which notably includes the Arab support Bush received for the 2003 ground invasion. Forget Nexis access. Forget Google search capabilities. Are we to imagine that reporters at the New York Times — and their editors — can’t figure out how to access their own archives?

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