Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Iraq redux: Fool me once, fool me twice?

One hopes not. Paul Krugman IDs the purposeful lies that led us into the Iraq war. And the same people that did it are still around - to wit, Jeb Bush's foreign policy team.

... The Iraq war wasn’t an innocent mistake, a venture undertaken on the basis of intelligence that turned out to be wrong. America invaded Iraq because the Bush administration wanted a war. The public justifications for the invasion were nothing but pretexts, and falsified pretexts at that. We were, in a fundamental sense, lied into war.

The fraudulence of the case for war was actually obvious even at the time: the ever-shifting arguments for an unchanging goal were a dead giveaway. So were the word games — the talk about W.M.D that conflated chemical weapons (which many people did think Saddam had) with nukes, the constant insinuations that Iraq was somehow behind 9/11.

... truth matters, and not just because those who refuse to learn from history are doomed in some general sense to repeat it. The campaign of lies that took us into Iraq was recent enough that it’s still important to hold the guilty individuals accountable. Never mind Jeb Bush’s verbal stumbles. Think, instead, about his foreign-policy team, led by people who were directly involved in concocting a false case for war.

So let’s get the Iraq story right. Yes, from a national point of view the invasion was a mistake. But (with apologies to Talleyrand) it was worse than a mistake, it was a crime.

AZBlueMeanie at B4AZ has some choice words about the lies and the media's role in the run-up to the war.

The Beltway media villagers have all decided that the framing of the question — in order to extricate themselves from their own complicity — should be "would you have invaded Iraq, knowing what we know now?" The premise of the question presupposes that decisions were made in good faith based upon "faulty" intelligence. In other words, Iraq was a "mistake."

That is complete bullshit. There was solid reporting at the time questioning and undermining the Bush administration’s case for war from McClatchy News and Scripps Howard, and numerous international news sources. There was solid evidence that the case for war was based upon fabricated "cooked" intelligence. The American people were being lied to, and it was reported at the time.

But the so-called "gatekeepers" of the mainstream corporate news media all chose to ignore this countervailing reporting for the Bush administration’s narrative (see the New York Times’ Judith Miller, for example) because they made an editorial decision to cheer lead for a Neocon war of adventure in Iraq, the consequences of which we are still living with today.

A Slate article has links to the Jon Stewart interview with Judith Miller who still defends the reporting at the time. It'w worth the view to see how Stewart holds it together - barely.

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