(CNSNews.com) - The New York Times, accused of political bias for running -- at a steep price discount -- an anti-war ad insulting the top U.S. commander in Iraq, on Friday blasted President Bush's "failure" in Iraq.
The latest criticism came, not in a political ad, but in an editorial.
The lead editorial dismissed President Bush's speech to the nation Thursday night, in which Bush announced that "because of the measure of success we are seeing in Iraq, we can begin seeing some troops come home."
President Bush mentioned a total force reduction of 5,700 troops by Christmas. By July, the reduction could total more than 20,000 troops, he said.
But in the editorial on Friday, the New York Times accused President Bush of putting up smokescreens: "Mr. Bush has no strategy to end his disastrous war and no strategy for containing the chaos he unleashed," the newspaper said.
Bush's speech to the nation on Thursday night was a rehash of previous speeches -- a "carnival barker's come-on," the paper said, considering that the infusion of 30,000 troops was always intended to be temporary.
In a phrase reminiscent of MoveOn.org's anti-war ad, the editorial said Bush's claims about progress in Iraq "are believable only if you use Pentagon numbers so obviously cooked that they call to mind the way Americans were duped into first supporting this war."
The MoveOn.org ad -- which ran in the New York Times Monday for a price far lower than the going rate -- accused "General Betray Us" of "cooking the books for the White House."
(MoveOn.org reportedly paid $65,000 to run the ad, about $102,000 less than the going rate. A New York Times spokeswoman refused to discuss rates paid by any advertiser, and she also denied any political bias.)
On Friday, the New York Times insisted that President Bush has no new Iraq strategy; and it said President Bush's "endless insistence on staying the course will only make Iraq more bloody and frightening."
The editorial blasted Bush for failing to draw Iraq's neighbors into a solution to the conflict; "the world is still waiting" for Bush to involve Middle Eastern nations in a diplomatic effort, the newspaper said.
"Once again, it is clear that Mr. Bush refuses to recognize the truth of his failure in Iraq and envisions a military commitment that has no end," the editorial said.
"Congress must use its powers to expose the truth and demand a real change in strategy," the newspaper said, urging Democrats not to back off their insistence on an immediate troop withdrawal.
Noting that the burden of ending the war undoubtedly will fall to the next president, the editorial concluded that President Bush's "real plan is to confuse enough Americans and cow enough members of Congress to let him muddle along and saddle his successor with this war that should never have been started."
Subscribe to the free CNSNews.com daily E-Brief.
Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.