Ten Years Ago Today . . . And No It Was Not Worth It

I hate looking back.  Ten years ago today the US invastion of Iraq began. 

The push for war with Iraq felt like a time of public madness.  The American media has never been less absolutely incompetent than in those months.  Yeah, the media pretty much sucks now, but back then they were awful beyond the telling of it.  The largest peace rallies in history got no coverage.  American media has spent the last decade hoping no one reminds them how bad they were, how gullible, how insanely biased for the Bush administration they were and how they mindlessly lapped up any lie they were told.

Richard Clarke:

First, the leaders of the Bush administration were intent on invading from the beginning of their time in the White House. When the 9-11 attacks occurred, Bush cabinet members immediately discussed how that tragedy could be used to justify an invasion.

Bush himself asked me to try to pin the blame for 9-11 on Iraq. Vice President Dick Cheney propagated a myth that a hijacker had met with Iraqi intelligence officials in Prague, even though we knew at the time Cheney said it that the report was false and that the hijacker was in Virginia at the time of the alleged meeting.

And:

Fourth, those who profited most were Iran and al Qaeda. For years, Iran’s aggression in the region was held in check by the Baghdad government. Since the U.S. invasion, Iran has gained greater influence throughout the area, undermining the U.S. and its allies.

Because we were busy in Iraq, U.S. military and intelligence assets were not available to end quickly the al Qaeda and Taliban presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thus, the people who actually attacked us on Sept. 11 were free for years to regain their strength.

The USA Today Editorial Board:

The administration’s primary justification — that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction — was at best a massive miscalculation. None was ever found. The secondary reason — that Saddam had connections to Osama bin Laden — was simply a lie, supported by neither evidence nor logic but believed by half the public.

Amplify these assertions with the White House sound blaster, and the message received by Americans still edgy after the 9/11 attacks was that the United States faced an imminent threat that only war could avert.

A docile Congress overwhelmingly authorized an invasion. And so the Bush administration’s campaign of “shock and awe” began, only to disintegrate swiftly into civil war, followed eventually by an unsteady peace and, ultimately, U.S. withdrawal.

The war in Iraq was a mistake that beggars the imagination.  It was sold with lies and half truths and quarter truths by an immoral administration, pedalled by a pliant and lazy media and authorized by a fearful Congress.

I think it’s important to emphasize that while average Americans were horrified, shocked and grieving, I don’t think we were terrified or terrorized.  Our leaders were terrified and terrorized.  The collective bed-wetting fear of America’s elite class is a shameful commentary on their weak character.  Members of Congress were paralyzed with fear, blinded with fear that left them incapable of thinking clearly or of making decisions.  Bush and his administration were terrified too, that’s why they figured a war was the answer.  They had to scare Americans into favoring the war, hence their “mushroom cloud” lies.

Our leaders behaved shamefully.  They were fearful, jingoistic cowards.

Iraq wasn’t worth it.  With all due sympathies to the Iraqi people, their supposed liberation wasn’t worth a single drop of American blood nor the loss of one American life.  That sucks for them, but I have a hard time looking at their nation after a decade of chaos and death and believing they’re better off than they would have been otherwise.

Joseph Palermo, at Huffpo:

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) surveyed the nightly news during the first three weeks of the invasion in March and April 2003 and found that on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, CNN, and Fox, pro-war U.S. sources outnumbered antiwar sources by 25 to one. With a 25 to 1 ratio of warmongers versus critical voices on the nation’s dominant news shows it’s no surprise that people came to believe the Bush administration’s hype about WMDs. These news sources also assiduously avoided giving much coverage to the massive anti-war demonstrations that took place across the United States in the lead up to the war, including the 15 million strong global rally for peace on February 15, 2003.

We also hear the “argument” that Saddam Hussein was such a bad guy we had no choice but to invade and occupy Iraq, kill over 100,000 Iraqi civilians, and send over 4,400 American soldiers to their deaths. But at the time the world had plenty of human rights violators, including many, like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, who were for decades considered faithful U.S. allies. The warmongers ten years ago brushed off the observation that the United States armed and aided Saddam Hussein’s government throughout the 1980s in his war of aggression against Iran, which was the period when he committed some his most heinous acts. (Remember the 1983 footage of Donald Rumsfeld warmly shaking the tyrant’s hand?) To this day, on occasion, we hear Condi Rice or Ari Fleischer or some other defender citing the litany of villainy that Saddam Hussein was responsible for as an ex post facto justification for Bush’s war of aggression against Iraq.

Concluding with:

Ten years ago our “leaders” in the government, the corporate media, and the “national security” establishment assured us that invading Iraq was in our national interest. They promised us everything from “democracy” breaking out in the Middle East, to progress in ending the Israel-Palestine conflict, to the reduction of “terrorism” and having access to cheap oil. The American people, we were told, if they bore this burden would be rewarded in the long run with a safer world. Most of all they assured us that Iraq wouldn’t become another Vietnam. An all-volunteer military force could meet the challenge, they promised, for relatively little cost in human lives and U.S. treasure.

But the whole thing was a very Big Lie.

And after throwing away so many lives and so much money we’re now being told (by many of the same people who sold us the Iraq War) that we have no resources left to ensure that our children get a good education, or that our elderly can retire in dignity, or our poor people are given hope for a better future.

A mournful story.

In the lead up to the invasion, I was at a family event and I made some comment along the lines of, “A war with Iraq will be a disaster.  I hope it doesn’t happen.”  A family member turned to me in shock and said, “Oh no.  We can beat their army and free their country.  We have to.  We have to go get those turkeys before they come over here and get us.”  (I swear to god, that’s exactly what my relative said.)  I shook my head and replied, “I’m not saying we can’t beat their army.  I’m saying what comes after is going to be a fiasco we’ll all wish never happened.” 

Myrelative was furious with me.  “Why don’t want us to be safe?  We have to keep America safe!”  As America finally withdrew from Iraq, this same relative, far from chastened, said, “Well I hope those Eye-Rain-Eeeans have learned what will happen if they mess with us.”  I nearly wept.

The constant drumbeat of terror in the news back then did the trick.  It scared people into seeing dangers around every corner.  Rather than shaking Americans out of our complacency and helping us see the world in new ways and engage the world differently, the events of the 2001 led to the disaster of 2003 because the so called very serious people were a bunch of pathetic crybabies who lacked any thing like morals, ethics, or strength of character.  They magnified their own fears and wept for Big Daddy Bush and Big Daddy Cheney to take away all their fears and comfort them.  And if the price wsa telling a few lies and going to war in Iraq, so be it.

I feel mournful this morning.  I look back on ten wasted years and think what could have been.

Fuck you George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and all the Neo-Cons and Donald Rumsfeld and all the mindless cheerleaders in the media and the rightwing blowhards who called everyone opposed to the war traitors and the cowards in Congress who voted for it  Fuck you and horse you road in on.  And all the everyday Joes and Janes out there who lapped it up gladly and who were sure it was the right thing to do and have never once acknolwedged you were lied to.  You were wrong.  You were astonishingly, horrifying wrong.  There’s a special circle in Hell for all of you.

  1. #1 by Richard Warnick on March 19, 2013 - 10:45 am

    Imagine if we had decided after 9/11 to wean ourselves off oil and other carbon-based fuels. We’d have reached that goal by now.

    I really empathize with all the soldiers who had to wear chemical warfare suits for weeks in the desert because of Bush’s lies. Maybe a minor thing compared to all the worse suffering caused by the illegal invasion of Iraq, but it highlights the extreme stupidity of it all.

    • #2 by Glenden Brown on March 19, 2013 - 11:05 am

      A decade of lost opportunities. Imagine if instead of a war in Afghanistan, we’d revved up the Peace Corps worldwide. If we’d rallied the resources of the world toward ending hunger and communicable diseases worldwide. Lost opportunities and wasted resources.

  2. #3 by Richard Warnick on March 19, 2013 - 11:03 am

    Think Progress: A TIMELINE OF THE IRAQ WAR

  3. #5 by brewski on March 19, 2013 - 11:50 am

    ” Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people.
    And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.”
    William Jefferson Clinton

  4. #6 by Richard Warnick on March 19, 2013 - 12:11 pm

    Out of context. Here’s the link you forgot to provide. You left out the first sentence of the paragraph (purely by accident, I assume).

    If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future….

    That was in 1998. The Clinton administration DID respond, and Iraq complied with U.N. Security Council resolutions. They had no nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons in 2003 – a fact that was known to the CIA and the Bush administration.

  5. #7 by brewski on March 19, 2013 - 12:27 pm

    Iraq complied after 1998?
    Then explain 1441 in 2002.

    “Recognizing the threat Iraq’s non-compliance with Council resolutions and
    proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles poses to
    international peace and security,”

    “the fact that Iraq has not provided an accurate, full, final, and
    complete disclosure, as required by resolution 687 (1991), of all aspects of its
    programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles with a
    range greater than one hundred and fifty kilometres, and of all holdings of such
    weapons, their components and production facilities and locations, as well as all
    other nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not
    related to nuclear-weapons-usable material,”

    Where is this compliance of which you speak?

  6. #8 by brewski on March 19, 2013 - 12:31 pm

    On 8 November 2002, the Security Council passed Resolution 1441 by a unanimous 15–0 vote; Russia, China, France, and Arab countries such as Syria voted in favor, giving Resolution 1441 wider support than even the 1990 Gulf War resolution.

    Did France lie?

  7. #9 by Richard Warnick on March 19, 2013 - 1:49 pm

    brewski–

    How is it possible to disclose something that does not exist? They were in compliance, but the Security Council didn’t buy it because they wanted to keep Iraq under sanctions.

    You do realize that in 1998 President Clinton was describing a hypothetical future scenario that never happened?

  8. #10 by Richard Warnick on March 19, 2013 - 2:10 pm

    Here’s the bottom line for us Americans:

    And after throwing away so many lives and so much money we’re now being told (by many of the same people who sold us the Iraq War) that we have no resources left to ensure that our children get a good education, or that our elderly can retire in dignity, or our poor people are given hope for a better future.

  9. #11 by brewski on March 19, 2013 - 2:18 pm

    Thank you for answering a question with a question.

    So you are saying that the UN Security Council lied, France lied, Hillary lied, Willie lied, Powell lied, Tenet lied?

  10. #12 by Richard Warnick on March 19, 2013 - 2:28 pm

    Diplomacy ain’t beanbag. They were making further demands on Iraq to justify sanctions. Call it lying if you want.

  11. #13 by cav on March 19, 2013 - 2:41 pm

    Cheney is quite the salesman.

  12. #14 by Richard Warnick on March 19, 2013 - 2:53 pm

    Where Are The Media’s Iraq War Boosters 10 Years Later?

    Long story short – all still working as so-called “journalists” and making very good money.

  13. #15 by brewski on March 19, 2013 - 3:20 pm

    I can’t believe you called Hillary and Willie liars.

  14. #16 by brewski on March 19, 2013 - 3:25 pm

    “It would be far preferable if we not only had legitimate cooperation from Saddam Hussein and a willingness on his part to disarm and to account for his chemical and biological storehouses,”
    Hillary Clinton
    March 6, 2003

  15. #17 by brewski on March 19, 2013 - 3:28 pm

    “But I knew from my husband’s administration that he certainly received the same kind of intelligence reports — that here was a man who was intent, obsessed with having weapons of mass destruction.”
    Hillary Clinton
    June 2003

  16. #18 by Richard Warnick on March 19, 2013 - 3:36 pm

    Once again, statements of opinion. Call them lies if you so please!

    Everyone knows by now that the illegal invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with so-called “weapons of mass destruction,” and nothing to do with terrorist plots against the USA.

  17. #19 by brewski on March 19, 2013 - 3:50 pm

    You love the phrase “everyone knows”. Is that bitter lefty shorthand for “all the bitter lefty blogs I read”?

    • #20 by Richard Warnick on March 19, 2013 - 4:09 pm

      It’s shorthand for the verdict of history. What all the history books say.

  18. #21 by brewski on March 19, 2013 - 3:58 pm

    http://blog.usni.org/2012/07/20/iraq-chemical-weapons-moved-to-syria-before-2003-invasion

    James Clapper, now the Director of National Intelligence and formerly the director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, said in 2003 that he believed materials had been moved out of Iraq in the months before the war and cited satellite imagery.

    On June 5, 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Clapper to be United States Director of National Intelligence. Clapper was unanimously confirmed by the Senate for the position on August 5, 2010.

    So lets assume this Obama official is correct. What does this mean?
    1. That if Saddam removed WMD in the months before the March 2003 invasion, then that means Saddam had WMD to move. So in other words, this Obama top official says Saddam had WMD.
    2. That if Saddam removed WMD in the months before the March 2003 invasion, then Saddam was not complying with the UN inspectors providing a full account for those stockpiles.

    So on the only 2 points that matter, this top Obama official says that you are wrong. And that what “everyone knows” is also wrong.

    End of story.

  19. #22 by Richard Warnick on March 19, 2013 - 4:14 pm

    I actually believe I know more about satellite imagery than James Clapper does. One of the things I know is that it won’t tell you what is inside a container or a vehicle. In 2003 Clapper worked for the Bush administration and he was implying he knew something he did not (OK, he was lying).

    A spokesman for General Clapper’s agency, David Burpee, said he could not provide further evidence to support the general’s statement.

    In 2003 the CIA knew from Saddam Hussein’s foreign minister and his head of intelligence that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction.

    Hussein Kamel, the highest-ranking Iraqi official ever to defect from Saddam Hussein’s inner circle, told CIA and British intelligence officers and U.N. inspectors in the summer of 1995 that after the Gulf War, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them.

    There were no weapons. The Bush administration lied. That’s how the story ends.

  20. #23 by brewski on March 19, 2013 - 5:01 pm

    Why did Obama appoint a Bushie and a liar and someone who knows little about satellite imagery to be United States Director of National Intelligence? He could have named you since you know everything.

    • #24 by Richard Warnick on March 19, 2013 - 6:13 pm

      I wonder how good General Clapper is at the intel thing, too. You’re Saddam. The U.S. is invading your country. So you send your best weaponry to Syria? Really?

  21. #25 by cav on March 19, 2013 - 5:46 pm

    brewski. That ‘End of Story’ is still suspended by those two, very large IFs. Richard says it better.

    It would be wrong not to speculate.

  22. #26 by Larry Bergan on March 19, 2013 - 6:20 pm

    All those failed television personalities still have their lucrative jobs and Bradley Manning sits in prison. Just astonishing.

    Still one of the proudest days of my life is when I told Sean Hannity that my father fought for freedom in world war II and that he could stick the book he just signed for me up his ass.

    What a terrible person.

  23. #27 by brewski on March 19, 2013 - 6:25 pm

    If i had two kilos of coke in my house, and the police come and 10 seconds before they bash down the door I flush it all down the toilet, so the police don’t find any coke, that does not mean I did not have any coke and it does not mean that the police’s intelligence was wrong and it does not mean the police were lying.

  24. #28 by brewski on March 19, 2013 - 6:26 pm

    “So you send your best weaponry to Syria? Really?”

    It was not his best weaponry. It was his most incriminating evidence. Yes really.

  25. #29 by Obama's jack booted thruncheon weilding goons on March 19, 2013 - 8:24 pm

    Suppose we talk about all the rest of the mayhem spawned by obama that is only worth it if you support fascism and drone murder terrorism. Let’s stick with what’s going on right now please.

  26. #30 by Obama's jack booted thruncheon weilding goons on March 19, 2013 - 8:30 pm

    Wean yourself, you need the government to hold your hand?

  27. #31 by Larry Bergan on March 19, 2013 - 9:40 pm

    brewski:

    Honestly, you’re just not getting it. Saddam outsmarted Bush and Cheney by making sure he didn’t have any WMD’s. The ones he “GASSED HIS OWN PEOPLE WITH”, which were given to him with a handshake from Rumsfeld were no longer operable when we invaded the country.

    Sure; Saddam is dead now without a decent trial, but history will see Bush and Cheney as the real losers. Too bad America will be seen that way too unless we finally convict these dirty bastards and their handlers.

    • #32 by Richard Warnick on March 19, 2013 - 10:04 pm

      Bush wants to play by Republican rules: If you keep claiming that the only mistake you made in your whole life was trading Sammy Sosa, the history books will rewrite themselves and you’ll be a great President.

      • #33 by Larry Bergan on March 19, 2013 - 11:16 pm

        Tim Russert used to end “Meet The Press” every week by saying, “what about those Bills?”

        If I had the responsibility to report on the most important issues facing my populace every week, I sure wouldn’t be wasting my time watching any damn football game!

  28. #34 by Larry Bergan on March 19, 2013 - 9:54 pm

    At least Glenden gave the perps an ass whipping here.

    Ouch!

  29. #35 by brewski on March 19, 2013 - 10:01 pm

    Larry,
    You have it exactly backwards.
    Saddam was playing a stupid game of chicken and he lost. He was calling the rest of the world’s bluff that no one had the stomach to attack him again. He suckered the UN into the oil for palaces program. He suckered Sean Penn to do his PR for him. His own army thought he has chemical weapons and they even carried their own chemical masks. It was a giant bluff and he lost.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sroZVwS_jxo&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DsroZVwS_jxo&has_verified=1
    This is not outsmarting anyone.

  30. #36 by Larry Bergan on March 19, 2013 - 10:16 pm

    brewski:

    I can’t believe you linked us to the video of Saddam being hanged. Was that the best copy? Why does everything we get from the middle east look like it was created with a brownie camera. You can get an HD movie camera for a song these days.

    Personally, I think Saddam is hanging around with Ken Lay somewhere. They’re probably having sex on the beach.

    Hopefully, Karl Rove and the rest will join them there and leave our conciseness by fucking each other instead of the United States.

  31. #37 by Richard Warnick on March 19, 2013 - 10:32 pm

    True enough, Saddam was worried that if the Iranians knew for sure his chemical arsenal was gone it might be a problem. So he bluffed. But I think he was smart enough to know that the USA knew the truth.

    What he didn’t count on was the Bush administration’s plan to lie our nation into a war of aggression.

    Actually the Iraqis didn’t have enough usable chemical protective gear. Our forces were far more prepared for chemical warfare.

    On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.

  32. #38 by Larry Bergan on March 19, 2013 - 10:48 pm

    Tenet might have been in touch with Scott Ritter at one time, who never stopped trying to give the America people the information they needed to know to prevent a war of choice.

    Not a coward, he.

  33. #39 by cav on March 19, 2013 - 10:51 pm

    The whole country had been ‘Softened-Up’, by weekly bombings, no-fly zones, and severe sanctions. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis had already been killed or died from those actions – and yes, this was Clinton’s way with Iraq. One can out-smart, and still not out gun. The PNAC / AEI neocons and Dem leadership can be just that vicious. FACT.

    And all this was on the heals of another Great Lie which enabled ex CIA chief GWHBush to set that whole scenario up with his explosive attempt to get us all passed the war reticence we’d developed during Vietnam, Nicaragua, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. And we shouldn’t put too small an emphasis on all the interconnected, bloody aftermath of the fall of the Iranian Shah (another of our scoundrels). Hell, some of those assholes are still in leadership.

    Treacherous, unrelenting, in our name and on our dime.

  34. #40 by cav on March 19, 2013 - 11:04 pm

    Obama helped them all escape jail. Shees!!!!!

  35. #41 by Larry Bergan on March 19, 2013 - 11:06 pm

    Hard to follow those comments, but…

    Tears are running down the eyes of the majority of the Supreme Court, because they have a new Pope who suits them.

    Off topic?

  36. #42 by cav on March 19, 2013 - 11:13 pm

    Nut-shelling too great a chunk of History is damned near sure to be hard to follow.

    It’s a sordid mess.

  37. #43 by Larry Bergan on March 19, 2013 - 11:23 pm

    Well it’s either a sordid mess, a sewer or something much worse.

    Exceptionalism doesn’t seem like the right term in 2013. :(

    Invading Iraq wasn’t exactly like going to the moon, but it cost a lot more; in more ways then one.

    The comment at #39 was a definite gem.

  38. #44 by brewski on March 19, 2013 - 11:49 pm

    “I mean eyeball-to-eyeball contact between two of the most powerful [men] in the administration, Colin Powell and George Tenet — and George Tenet assuring Colin Powell that the information he was presenting at the U.N. was ironclad,”

    Chief of Staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson

  39. #45 by cav on March 19, 2013 - 11:50 pm

    SIexceptionallyFUABS !

    Wilkerson saw through it. Tenant’s talk is just that.

  40. #46 by Larry Bergan on March 20, 2013 - 12:08 am

    George Tenet dropped out of site, but Scott Ritter was dropped out of site.

    Colin Powell has been running ever since he held up the vial of powder.

    George Bush’s dad held up a baggie of cocaine before the American public which sent thousands of blacks to purgatory.

    These two events may be unrelated, but I don’t think so. Terrorism is terrorism.

    Money to be made by destroying peoples lives and rebuilding, (not really)!

    Something about disaster capitalism.

  41. #47 by Larry Bergan on March 20, 2013 - 12:34 am

    Whoops. That’s probably sight. :)

(will not be published)


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