Why LAT called for Iraq pullout

Jim Newton, new editor of the Times editorial pages, explains to Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell why the paper on Monday called for a ceasefire and peace talks.

"I see no moral reason to wait until fall," Jim Newton, editorial page editor at the Los Angeles Times told me earlier today. "We need to evaluate in real time. That’s part of the motivation for the editorial this week. Besides Gen. Petraeus, others have a right to assess the facts as well."


It’s the kind of talk we heard often in relation to Vietnam and later conflicts but oddly missing in regard to Iraq. But the Times is taking all sorts of bold stands on the war these days. Six weeks ago the paper advocated – hold on to your hats – that the U.S. actually start to disengage in Iraq.

That editorial was titled simply, if eloquently, "Bring Them Home."

Rather than chide the vast majority of newspaper editorial pages, yet again, for continuing to endorse, or at least accept, the continuing (now expanding) U.S. mission in Iraq, I am happy to tip my hat to the only ultra-large paper that has come out for the start of an American pullout. That position, until now, has been left to papers such as the Seattle Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Orange County Register and Roanoke Times.

What’s happening at the L.A. paper, which as recently as January backed the “surge”? It’s as if a little-noted earthquake struck Spring Street this spring and really shook things up.

Mitchell is editor of E&P.

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