Purporting to document Pollack's evolving views on Iraq, CNN left out his original gung-ho Iraq "tune"


During the July 30 edition of CNN Newsroom, anchor Heidi Collins introduced Kenneth Pollack of The Brookings Institution by saying that Pollack "has been a vocal critic of the administration's handling of the [Iraq] war, but he says that an eight-day visit has changed his outlook a bit." Collins also said that Pollack's "tune is changing a bit" with respect to the war. Pollack went on to discuss how a recent visit to Iraq has left him "more optimistic" about the war. However, while focusing on Pollack's criticisms of the "handling" of the war, Collins failed to note that Pollack was an influential proponent of the Iraq invasion before it happened, leaving viewers with the impression that Pollack was a war opponent who has become more supportive of the war. Pollack's 2002 book on the subject was titled The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq (Random House).

Describing Pollack's book in a February 8, 2003, New York Times op-ed, Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote: "Kenneth Pollack, the Clinton National Security Council expert whose argument for invading Iraq is surely the most influential book of this season, has provided intellectual cover for every liberal who finds himself inclining toward war but uneasy about Mr. Bush." From Random House's online description of the book:

Examining all sides of the debate and bringing a keen eye to the military and geopolitical forces at work, Pollack ultimately comes to this controversial conclusion: through our own mistakes, the perfidy of others, and Saddam's cunning, the United States is left with few good policy options regarding Iraq. Increasingly, the option that makes the most sense is for the United States to launch a full-scale invasion, eradicate Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, and rebuild Iraq as a prosperous and stable society--for the good of the United States, the Iraqi people, and the entire region.

Pollack believed for many years that the United States could prevent Saddam from threatening the stability of the Persian Gulf and the world through containment--a combination of sanctions and limited military operations. Here, Pollack explains why containment is no longer effective, and why other policies intended to deter Saddam ultimately pose a greater risk than confronting him now, before he gains possession of nuclear weapons and returns to his stated goal of dominating the Gulf region. "It is often said that war should be employed only in the last resort," Pollack writes. "I reluctantly believe that in the case of the threat from Iraq, we have come to the last resort."

From the 9 a.m. ET hour of the July 30 edition of CNN Newsroom:

COLLINS: Update on Iraq: Is the U.S. making progress? Ken Pollack of the Brookings Institution has been a vocal critic of the administration's handling of the war, but he says that an eight-day visit has changed his outlook a bit. He's joining us now from Washington. Ken, nice to see you --

POLLACK: Thanks, Heidi.

COLLINS: -- on the program. That's right. I mean, you are a self-proclaimed critic of the way that the Bush administration has handled this war. You wrote a book about the situation in Iraq. You've shared your thoughts all over TV and some newspapers, but yet it seems like the tune is changing a bit.

POLLACK: Right, well, this is the first time I've been to Iraq where I've come back actually a little bit more optimistic than when I went. Previous visits, I've always come back more depressed, more frustrated because things didn't seem like they were working, and this time around, what we saw, in particular in the security sector, and to some extent with local economics and political governance --


POLLACK: -- is better.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Heidi Collins
CNN Newsroom
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