Just like in 2003 when the New York Times convinced hundreds of smaller American newspapers and persuaded public opinion that invading Iraq was justified, now the same newspaper is whipping up support for escalating the war in Pakistan.

Today it ran a front page story on the danger of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and another on radical Islamist education system in Pakistan. Writer David Sanger, in a familiar move from the Iraq war playbook, cites unnamed “senior American officials” and reminds learned readers of writer Judith Miller in 2003 of the NYTimes position toward Saddam Hussein and Iraq. One paragraph reads,

Administration officials would not say if the subject [of nuclear weapons] would be raised during Mr. Zardari’s first meeting with Mr. Obama [on Wednesday].  But even if Mr. Obama raises the subject, it is not clear how fruitful the conversation might be.

Not clear how fruitful? The article also hints that Washington is thinking of using the anti-Taliban policy recently announced by Obama as an excuse to intervene militarily in order to “seize or destroy Pakistan’s arsenal.”

The other front page article today complained that Pakistan’s madrasas “offer almost no instruction beyond the memorizing of the Koran, creating a widening pool of young minds that are sympathetic to militancy.” Sabrina Tavernise for the NYTimes couples this propaganda with images of school children reading over the Koran and says things like,

The concentration of madrasas here in southern Punjab has become an urgent concern in the face of Pakistan’s expanding insurgency.

and

President Obama said in a news conference last week that he was “gravely concerned” about the situation in Pakistan, not least because the government did not “seem to have the capacity to deliver basic services: schools, health care, rule of law, a judicial system that works for the majority of the people.”