In contrast to today, Hiatt and most other Post columnists were solidly onboard U.S. policy during George W. Bush's administration -- when it made Muslims the targets, not just for policy criticism but for U.S. bombs.
Hiatt's editorial section cheered Bush's march to war in Iraq, swooned over Secretary of State Colin Powell's deceptive WMD speech, prematurely saw victories in Iraq, savaged war critics like former U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson, and got pretty much everything wrong.
Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Hiatt's editorials pronounced without equivocation that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Only later, after the U.S. military found no caches of WMD did Hiatt concede that maybe the Post should not have been so categorical.
"If you look at the editorials we write running up [to the war], we state as flat fact that he [Saddam Hussein] has weapons of mass destruction," Hiatt said in an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review. "If that's not true, it would have been better not to say it." [CJR, March/April 2004]
Yet, despite the Post's many errors and the painful consequences of that war including more than 4,300 U.S. soldiers dead along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis there were no adverse consequences for the Post's editorial brain trust.
Hiatt and virtually every pro-invasion columnist (who hasn't passed away or retired) still have gainful employment in the Post's editorial section. The Post also has hired two of Bush's right-wing speechwriters, Michael Gerson and Marc Thiessen, to tilt the editorial section even further rightward.
Now, Hiatt and his team seem determined to whip Obama into line behind the Post's preferred Middle East policies, making sure the President doesn't stray far from the neocon path.