Iraq War excerpts updated 3-30-13

Retrospectives

The Worst Mis­take in U.S. His­tory — Amer­ica Will Never Recover from Bush’s Great For­eign Pol­icy Dis­as­ter By Peter Van Buren, Tom Dis­patch , March 7, 2013 …by invading Iraq, the U.S. did more to destabilize the Middle East than we could possibly have imagined at the time. And we — and so many others — will pay the price for it for a long, long time.

Tony Blair should face trial over Iraq war, says Desmond Tutu by  The Observer,   Sep­tem­ber 1, 2012   — Arch­bishop Desmond Tutu has called for Tony Blair and George Bush to be hauled before the inter­na­tional crim­i­nal court in The Hague and deliv­ered a damn­ing cri­tique of the phys­i­cal and moral dev­as­ta­tion caused by the Iraq war.

The Siren Song Of War: Why Pundits Beat The Drums For Iraq by Kathleen Geier, nationalmemo.com, March 22, 2013   Pundits like to imagine that they take political positions only after a careful consideration of the merits — listening to arguments, studying position papers, weighing the pros and cons, and coming to a decision. But politics is not necessarily so rational, and never was irrationality more plainly on display than in the months leading up to the Iraq War. Ten years later, it is worth exploring why so many opinion-makers – including those who were otherwise critical of the Bush administration — passionately advocated war. For at least some leading pundits, their position seems to have been shaped less by “reason” or “ideas” than something more primal and even tribal, reflecting their fantasies about who they imagined themselves to be. What follows is a taxonomy of certain pundits on the center and the left who, to their eternal shame, beat the drums of war — hard…Matthew Yglesias…Dan Savage…Christopher Hitchens…Paul Berman…David Rieff…Peter Beinart…Thomas Friedman…Next up are those heroic journalists – sometimes dubbed the “Keyboard Commandos” — who wanted to re-fight World War II in Iraq. This crew saw Islam as a noxious, world-conquering ideology akin to Nazism: Islamofascism, as the late Christopher Hitchens once coined it. He and Andrew Sullivan flattered themselves as intellectual heirs of George Orwell, saving the world from both fascism and left-wing appeasers. Sullivan’s smearing of war opponents as a “fifth column” made that abundantly clear……The inability of these pundits to think straight may simply be a symptom of narcissism poisoning. For them, invasion and war were all about presenting their preferred face to the world — and to themselves. Henry James once wrote that a writer should be “one of the people on whom nothing is lost.” For these pundits, everything was lost — everything, that is, but their own overgrown egos.

Democ­rats Share the Blame for Tragedy of Iraq War, 17 March 2013 06:59 By Stephen Zunes, Truthout | Op-Ed  The Democrats who voted to support the war and rationalized that vote by making false claims about Iraq’s WMD programs – a minority of Democrats, but much over-represented in Democratic leadership councils – were responsible for allowing the Bush administration to get away with lying about Iraq’s alleged threat. in most cases these members of Congress had been informed by knowledgeable sources of the widespread human and material costs that would result from a US invasion…As a result, support for the resolution authorizing the Iraq War is not something that can simply be forgotten…

How the Bush Admin­is­tra­tion Sold the War – and We Bought It by Joe Wil­son and Valerie Plame Wil­son, The Guardian, Feb­ru­ary 28, 2013 – We knew WMD intelligence was flawed, but there was a larger failure of officials, media and public to halt the neocon juggernaut…The Bush administration was determined to go to war, however bad the intelligence…That it was so successful is an indictment of a corrupt administration. But it is also emblematic of the failure of the checks and balances that are the hallmark of our democracy…the US Congress was ineffective, to say the least, in the exercise of its oversight responsibilities…Washington press corps was dilatory in its investigative reporting – valuing access and cozy relationships with senior officials above the search for truth; ultimately, the media served as lapdogs rather than watchdogs.

10 Years Later: Look­ing Back on the Iraq War So We Can Clearly Look For­ward by Ari­anna Huff­in­g­ton, Huff­in­g­ton Post,03/06/2013 …March 20, the 10th anniversary of one of the biggest disasters in the history of the United States. That was the day George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and a team of others — along with much of Washington and a very complicit mainstream media — took the nation to war against Iraq. The devastating consequences of that war will continue for decades, but a full accounting has still yet to happen. And that in itself has consequences. Allowing the toxic mixture of lies, deception and rationalizations that led to that war to go unchallenged makes it more likely that we will make similar tragic mistakes in the future. So I hope we can use this moment to assess what really happened, to look back in order to look forward…In the seemingly endless manufactured crisis over the “fiscal cliff” and the sequester, it’s amazing how much airtime and print space have been devoted to the deficit with the word “Iraq” barely getting a mention. Clearly a triumph of forgetting. … the consequences of this disastrous war are still very much with us……it’s vital that our accounting of the failures that led to this tragedy not be relegated to the past…for the 10th anniversary, let’s also build online monuments dedicated to those who planned and provoked and fomented the war, so we can join in the struggle of memory against forgetting.

The Neo­con­ser­v­a­tives

The Project for the New Amer­i­can Cen­tury By William Rivers Pitt, Infor­ma­tion Clear­ing House 02/25/03 - The People versus the Powerful is the oldest story in human history. At no point in history have the Powerful wielded so much control…PNAC, is a Washington-based think tank created in 1997. Above all else, PNAC desires and demands one thing: The establishment of a global American empire to bend the will of all nations…When Bush assumed the Presidency, the men who created and nurtured the imperial dreams of PNAC became the men who run the Pentagon, the Defense Department and the White House. When the Towers came down, these men saw, at long last, their chance to turn their White Papers into substantive policy. Vice President Dick Cheney…Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld…and Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is the ideological father of the group…

Cost of war

A Fearful Price By BOB HERBERT, Op-Ed Colum­nist, New York Times, Decem­ber 8, 2009 …The idea that fewer than 1 per­cent of Amer­i­cans are being called on to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq and that we’re send­ing them into com­bat again and again and again — for three tours, four tours, five tours, six tours — is obscene. All decent peo­ple should object…the over­whelm­ing major­ity of Amer­i­cans have no desire at all to share in the sac­ri­fices that the ser­vice mem­bers and their fam­i­lies are mak­ing. Most Amer­i­cans do not want to serve in the wars, do not want to give up their pre­cious time to do vol­un­teer work that would aid the nation’s war­riors and their fam­i­lies, do not even want to fork over the taxes that are needed to pay for the wars…The rea­son it is so easy for the U.S. to declare wars, and to con­tinue fight­ing year after year after year, is because so few Amer­i­cans feel the actual pain of those wars. We’ve been fight­ing in Iraq and Afghanistan longer than we fought in World Wars I and II com­bined. If vot­ers had to choose right now between insti­tut­ing a draft or exit­ing Afghanistan and Iraq, the troops would be out of those two coun­tries in a heartbeat…Here’s George Washington’s view, for exam­ple: “It must be laid down as a pri­mary posi­tion and the basis of our sys­tem, that every cit­i­zen who enjoys the pro­tec­tion of a free gov­ern­ment owes not only a pro­por­tion of his prop­erty, but even his per­sonal ser­vice to the defense of it.”

War Is a Force That Pays the 1 Per­cent: Occu­py­ing Amer­i­can For­eign Pol­icy by: J.A. Myer­son, Truthout | News Analy­sis, Novem­ber 14, 2011 …The nexus of power that Occupy is looking to challenge in this country does not stop at Wall Street. Military profiteering is an integral part of the system and it should be challenged…War profiteers benefit from the same corrupt system that bolsters the wealth of stock traders: this country provides more democracy, freedom and protection to the very wealthy than to the average citizen…

Iraq War Cost U.S. More Than $2 Tril­lion, Could Grow to $6 Tril­lion, Says Wat­son Insti­tute Study By Daniel Trotta, Reuters 3/14/13  …The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number

Amer­i­can Mil­i­tarism: Costs and Con­se­quences By Melvin Good­man, City Lights Books | Book Excerpt, Truth-out.org, 05 March 2013  …The United States has the most secure geopolitical environment of any major nation, but sustains a defense budget that equals the combined budgets of the rest of the world. ..The United States has become that militarized nation that President Dwight D. Eisenhower presciently warned against in his farewell address more than fifty years ago… …President George W. Bush … campaigned [in 2000] on the basis of moderation in foreign policy, multilateralism, and the so-called “new world order,” he and [Vice President] Cheney moved quickly to establish a “wartime presidency.” He campaigned on the basis of a modest buildup of the defense establishment, but doubled the defense budget during his presidency. …President Bush enunciated his doctrine of preemptive war in Iraq…His policy of unilateralism, … marked a radical turn in U.S. foreign policy…

Media/Communications

The Day That TV News Died by Chris Hedges, TruthDig.com, March 25, 2013 I am not sure exactly when the death of tele­vi­sion news took place. The descent was gradual—a slide into the tawdry, the triv­ial and the inane, into the cha­rade on cable news chan­nels such as Fox and MSNBC in which hosts hold up cor­po­rate polit­i­cal pup­pets to laud or ridicule, and treat celebrity foibles as legit­i­mate news. But if I had to pick a date when com­mer­cial tele­vi­sion decided amass­ing cor­po­rate money and pro­vid­ing enter­tain­ment were its cen­tral mis­sion, when it con­sciously chose to become a car­ni­val act, it would prob­a­bly be Feb. 25, 2003, when MSNBC took Phil Don­ahue off the air because of his oppo­si­tion to the calls for war in Iraq.

Don­ahue and Bill Moy­ers, the last hon­est men on national tele­vi­sion, were the only two major TV news per­son­al­i­ties who pre­sented the view­points of those of us who chal­lenged the rush to war in Iraq. Gen­eral Elec­tric and Microsoft—MSNBC’s founders and defense con­trac­tors that went on to make tremen­dous prof­its from the war—were not about to tol­er­ate a dis­sent­ing voice. Don­ahue was fired, and at PBS Moy­ers was sub­jected to tremen­dous pressure…

The celebrity trolls who cur­rently reign on com­mer­cial tele­vi­sion, who bill them­selves as lib­eral or con­ser­v­a­tive, read from the same cor­po­rate script…Their role is to fun­nel viewer energy back into our dead polit­i­cal system—to make us believe that Democ­rats or Repub­li­cans are not cor­po­rate pawns…

What mat­tered then and what mat­ters now is likability—known in tele­vi­sion and adver­tis­ing as the Q score—not hon­esty and truth. Tele­vi­sion news celebri­ties are in the busi­ness of sales, not jour­nal­ism. They ped­dle the ide­ol­ogy of the cor­po­rate state. And too many of us are buying.

The lie of omis­sion is still a lie. It is what these news celebri­ties do not men­tion that exposes their com­plic­ity with cor­po­rate power.…They are paid to dis­credit or ignore the nation’s most astute crit­ics of cor­po­ratism, among them Cor­nel West, Medea Ben­jamin, Ralph Nader and Noam Chom­sky. They are paid to chat­ter mind­lessly, hour after hour, fill­ing our heads with the the­ater of the absurd…Elite media fea­tures elite power. No other voices are heard.”

Don­ahue spent four years after leav­ing MSNBC mak­ing the movie doc­u­men­tary “Body of War” …about the par­a­lyzed Iraq War vet­eran Tomas Young… Don­ahue noted that only a very small per­cent­age of Amer­i­cans have a close rel­a­tive who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan and an even smaller num­ber make the per­sonal sac­ri­fice of a Tomas Young. “Nobody sees the pain,” he said. “The war is san­i­tized.”… Don­ahue was told that the film, although it had received great crit­i­cal acclaim, was too depress­ing and not uplifting.…I am stunned at how many Amer­i­cans stand mute.”

Updated 3/30/13

Original list of 3/26/13 containing additional quotes

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