Political Columnist Witcover Ends 24-Year Run at ‘Sun’ With Blast at War

By: E&P Staff

Noted mainstream political writer Jules Witcover wrote his final column for The Sun of Baltimore, ending a 24-year run. He exited with a strong anti-Iraq war message, going so far as to lament that he did not come out earlier for the impeachment of President Bush.

Witcover’s column in the Sun, long written with Jack Germond, dates back to 1981. Germond retired four years ago. A syndicated version of Witcover’s column will continue to appear elsewhere.

He observed today that while he was a strong supporter of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, “when President Bush began to shift his strategy to Iraq on the grounds that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that were a major threat to the United States, and he linked him to 9/11, I began to question that strategy and the motives, information and logic behind it….

“At the outset, I received much e-mail accusing me of disloyalty and even treason, but as the situation in Iraq festered and Mr. Bush’s rationales for the invasion crumbled, the mail began to turn around. In time I was criticized by some readers for not calling for Mr. Bush’s impeachment for misleading the nation into war.

“I wrote then that there was a more realistic vehicle for expressing public disfavor — the approaching 2004 presidential election. I argued that those who were against the war could use the election as a referendum on what I argued was an illegal war begun under false premises.

“Many voters obviously did so, but not enough, in part because the Bush campaign succeeded in making Democratic nominee John Kerry, himself ambiguous on the war, and his Vietnam service record the issue rather than the man who had started that war. In retrospect, I lament not having advocated impeachment, even as achieving it was unlikely.

“I have continued the column’s focus on this unnecessary and calamitous war and will be doing so as the column appears elsewhere. My principal regret in leaving this space in The Sun is that my readers in Baltimore will no longer read my views on what I consider the most critical crisis facing this country for the foreseeable future.”

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