America’s “most trusted journalist,” Walter Cronkite, has denounced Operation Iraqi Freedom and blistered the Bush administration for its “arrogance.” He questioned the military’s ability to overcome Saddam Hussein and pronounced America’s future in the aftermath of the war to be “very, very dark.” He also said that the smartest president he ever met was Jimmy Carter.
All these remarks came in an recent appearance before a college crowd in Madison, New Jersey. The 86-year old Cronkite unleashed his broadside against the Bush administration during a speech at Drew University. He expressed doubt that the war on Iraq would go smoothly and said the military is “always more confident than circumstances show they should be.” Ironically, military spokesmen have been far more cautious in their predictions about the war than most of their counterparts in the media.
Cronkite opined that French opposition to the war “signaled something deeper, and more ominous, than a mere foreign policy disagreement.” He accused Bush of “arrogance” and of trying to dictate to the French and others. He labeled the policy of a preemptive strike on Iraq “a pretty dark doctrine.” He also says that he is worried that Congress has ignored the potential costs of the war and warned that “our great grandchildren’s are going to be paying for this war.”
His pessimism about military operations in Iraq echoes his reporting in the aftermath of the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam. Cronkite’s pronouncement of the Tet offensive as a “defeat” for us is widely credited as a turning point in American support for the war. In a famous half-hour news special, he declared that in the aftermath of Tet “it seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.” Lyndon Johnson was reported to be dismayed at the prospect of losing Cronkite’s support for the war. And indeed, public support for the war dropped 25% following Cronkite’s declaration and media coverage of the offensive in general.
Cronkite admitted that the media does “tilt toward liberalism,” although he denied any political partisanship. Elsewhere he has claimed that he never allowed his own “strong opinions” to color his broadcasts. But over the years, Accuracy in Media has documented Cronkite’s pronounced liberal bias. During the Cold War, Cronkite repeatedly passed on Soviet disinformation about U.S. defense policies. He pronounced the “Soviet threat” a myth and told Soviet journalists that the American people were muddled in their thinking about the Cold War.
In 1999, Cronkite came out of the closet and exposed his leftist bias. AIM reported Cronkite’s call for a world government and for the U.S. to renounce “some of its sovereignty” in pursuit of that goal. He called for a revision of the veto procedures in the United Nations Security Council to prevent the United States from blocking actions intended to move toward world government. It should be no surprise to find Cronkite echoing the far left in its support of Saddam Hussein.