We're All Neocons to This Day
Remember back in the good ole halcyon days when the whole world, including Iraq, was our oyster and America, to paraphrase Chuck Krauthammer, bestrode the world like a colossus arrogantly dangling its unilateral genitalia over that oyster of a world?
Judith Miller notwithstanding, the American mainstream media, while it didn't exactly lie us into Iraq, nonetheless acted like a gigantic cheerleading squad repeating everything ever uttered by Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld, Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan as if they were the fifth gospel of Jesus fucking Christ. "Gimme a Dubya!" "W!" "Gimme an A!" "A!" "Gimme an R!" "R!" "What's that spell?" "P-E-A-C-E!"
Note that all these pronouncements of early victory came before George W. Bush's famous goony bird landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003 to announce the end of major military operations in Iraq. Note, also, that not all of these blowhards are of the odious ilk of Krauthammer, Judith Miller or Bill O'Reilly and the other fortune cookie prognosticators at Fox "News" but the "liberal" NY Times, the LA Times, NPR and Fox's token liberal, Alan Colmes.
"Iraq Is All but Won; Now What?" (Los Angeles Times headline, 4/10/03)
"Now that the combat phase of the war in Iraq is officially over, what begins is a debate throughout the entire U.S. government over America's unrivaled power and how best to use it." (CBS reporter Joie Chen, 5/4/03)
"Congress returns to Washington this week to a world very different from the one members left two weeks ago. The war in Iraq is essentially over and domestic issues are regaining attention." (NPR's Bob Edwards, 4/28/03)
"This has been a tough war for commentators on the American left. To hope for defeat meant cheering for Saddam Hussein. To hope for victory meant cheering for President Bush. The toppling of Mr. Hussein, or at least a statue of him, has made their arguments even harder to defend. Liberal writers for ideologically driven magazines like The Nation and for less overtly political ones like The New Yorker did not predict a defeat, but the terrible consequences many warned of have not happened. Now liberal commentators must address the victory at hand and confront an ascendant conservative juggernaut that asserts United States might can set the world right." (New York Times reporter David Carr, 4/16/03)
"Some journalists, in my judgment, just can't stand success, especially a few liberal columnists and newspapers and a few Arab reporters." (CNN's Lou Dobbs, 4/14/03)
"I doubt that the journalists at the New York Times and NPR or at ABC or at CNN are going to ever admit just how wrong their negative pronouncements were over the past four weeks." (MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, 4/9/03)
"Tommy Franks and the coalition forces have demonstrated the old axiom that boldness on the battlefield produces swift and relatively bloodless victory. The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics' complaints." (Fox News Channel's Tony Snow, 4/13/03)
"The only people who think this wasn't a victory are Upper Westside liberals, and a few people here in Washington." (Charles Krauthammer, Inside Washington, WUSA-TV, 4/19/03)
"The war was the hard part. The hard part was putting together a coalition, getting 300,000 troops over there and all their equipment and winning. And it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but it is not as hard as winning a war." (Fox News Channel's Fred Barnes, 4/10/03)
"Why don't the damn Democrats give the president his day? He won today. He did well today." (MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 4/9/03)
"What's he going to talk about a year from now, the fact that the war went too well and it's over? I mean, don't these things sort of lose their--Isn't there a fresh date on some of these debate points?" (MSNBC's Chris Matthews, speaking about Howard Dean--4/9/03)
"Now that the war in Iraq is all but over, should the people in Hollywood who opposed the president admit they were wrong?" (Fox News Channel's Alan Colmes, 4/25/03)
"I'm waiting to hear the words 'I was wrong' from some of the world's most elite journalists, politicians and Hollywood types.... I just wonder, who's going to be the first elitist to show the character to say: 'Hey, America, guess what? I was wrong'? Maybe the White House will get an apology, first, from the New York Times' Maureen Dowd. Now, Ms. Dowd mocked the morality of this war....
"Do you all remember Scott Ritter, you know, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector who played chief stooge for Saddam Hussein? Well, Mr. Ritter actually told a French radio network that -- quote, 'The United States is going to leave Baghdad with its tail between its legs, defeated.' Sorry, Scott. I think you've been chasing the wrong tail, again.
"Maybe disgraced commentators and politicians alike, like Daschle, Jimmy Carter, Dennis Kucinich, and all those others, will step forward tonight and show the content of their character by simply admitting what we know already: that their wartime predictions were arrogant, they were misguided and they were dead wrong. Maybe, just maybe, these self-anointed critics will learn from their mistakes. But I doubt it. After all, we don't call them 'elitists' for nothing." (MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, 4/10/03)
"Over the next couple of weeks when we find the chemical weapons this guy was amassing, the fact that this war was attacked by the left and so the right was so vindicated, I think, really means that the left is going to have to hang its head for three or four more years." (Fox News Channel's Dick Morris, 4/9/03)
"Well, the hot story of the week is victory.... The Tommy Franks-Don Rumsfeld battle plan, war plan, worked brilliantly, a three-week war with mercifully few American deaths or Iraqi civilian deaths.... There is a lot of work yet to do, but all the naysayers have been humiliated so far.... The final word on this is, hooray." (Fox News Channel's Morton Kondracke, 4/12/03)
"This will be no war -- there will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention.... The president will give an order. [The attack] will be rapid, accurate and dazzling.... It will be greeted by the majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation. And I say, bring it on." (Christopher Hitchens, in a 1/28/03 debate-- cited in the Observer, 3/30/03)
"I will bet you the best dinner in the gaslight district of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week. Are you willing to take that wager?" (Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, 1/29/03)
"It won't take weeks. You know that, professor. Our military machine will crush Iraq in a matter of days and there's no question that it will." (Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, 2/10/03)
"There's no way. There's absolutely no way. They may bomb for a matter of weeks, try to soften them up as they did in Afghanistan. But once the United States and Britain unleash, it's maybe hours. They're going to fold like that." (Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, 2/10/03)
"He [Saddam Hussein] actually thought that he could stop us and win the debate worldwide. But he didn't--he didn't bargain on a two- or three week war. I actually thought it would be less than two weeks." (NBC reporter Fred Francis, Chris Matthews Show, 4/13/03)
"Speaking to the U.N. Security Council last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell made so strong a case that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is in material breach of U.N. resolutions that only the duped, the dumb and the desperate could ignore it." (Cal Thomas, syndicated column, 2/12/03)
"Saddam could decide to take Baghdad with him. One Arab intelligence officer interviewed by Newsweek spoke of 'the green mushroom' over Baghdad--the modern-day caliph bidding a grotesque bio-chem farewell to the land of the living alongside thousands of his subjects as well as his enemies. Saddam wants to be remembered. He has the means and the demonic imagination. It is up to U.S. armed forces to stop him before he can achieve notoriety for all time." (Newsweek, 3/17/03)
"Chris, more than anything else, real vindication for the administration. One, credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Two, you know what? There were a lot of terrorists here, really bad guys. I saw them." (MSNBC reporter Bob Arnot, 4/9/03)
"Even in the flush of triumph, doubts will be raised. Where are the supplies of germs and poison gas and plans for nukes to justify pre-emption? (Freed scientists will lead us to caches no inspectors could find.) What about remaining danger from Baathist torturers and war criminals forming pockets of resistance and plotting vengeance? (Their death wish is our command.)" (New York Times' William Safire, 4/10/03)
"We're all neo-cons now." (MSNBC's Chris Matthews, 4/9/03)
So what has the MSM learned from the lessons of the last six years? Not much, apparently:
A new Iraq is emerging from five years of American invasion and occupation, and at first glance it looks distressingly like the old Iraq: Its people are still bound by the barbed wire of suspicion and hatred as much as by any sense of common purpose and history.
But the new Iraq is clearly a nation in ways that the old Iraq -- long considered by experts as an artificial creation that would fly apart under the pressure of outside intervention -- was not. It did not fly apart and has in fact undergone significant, positive mutations as a result of a soon-to-subside U.S. presence. - Jim Hoagland, the Washington Post, February 8, 2009
Now, if an unwarranted invasion of a much smaller country that detours a wounded and anxious superpower away from its nascent war on terror, knocks out its infrastructure by killing local industry and farming, forcing democratic elections less than two years later amid sectarian violence and poverty doesn't somehow bespeak of "an artificial creation that would fly apart under the pressure of outside intervention", then I don't know what does.
To say that Iraq is "a good example" for other nations dying to be invaded under false pretenses to emulate is to say that America was a safe, stable, enviable example of democracy as Washington, DC burned under the onslaught of the British of the War of 1812, an invasion that saw the burning of the White House (forcing President James Madison to flee the Capitol) and the burning of the Library of Congress. Relatively speaking, that, too, was better than living under the yoke of a despotic tyrant 35 years before.
Always lost on everyone from top to bottom, including the "liberal" media, is that the war was based on a greasy pack of lies that had been knocked down like so many flaming, one-legged straw men, lies that were no longer supported by the administration that had launched those lies. Lies that, once the contractors were sleek and bloated and the damage done, the profits reaped and Iraq raped of all but its oil, were so bereft of political currency that people like Cheney went on TV and said, even if they knew Iraq had no WMD's, we still would've invaded.
Oh, but whole neighborhoods aren't being slaughtered, anymore, through ethnic cleansing. We're bribing Sunni warlords into not killing us, anymore, so the surge is working, working, comrades! All you dissident liberals line up here for "re-education."
It's like a burglar boasting that he straightened the pictures along your stairway wall after looting your silverware drawer and wall safe, killing the head of the family, raping the matriarch, selling the children into slavery then torching the place on the way out.
Even this article by Steven Lee Meyers of the NY Times soft-pedals the inherent problems in Iraq based largely on the "peaceful" elections late last month that were peaceful only when 140,000 US troops put their lives on the line to ensure that peace. Then as now, we were treated to a cornucopia of purple fingers and smiling Iraqis, except this time around the purple fingers were played down.
Hardly a word about torture, contractor corruption or any other counterpoint of substance in the immediate wake of the most miserably failed and murderously incompetent, furtive, coldblooded and dishonest jackals in the galactic history of carbon-based life forms. To fall into line with this thinking again, and assuming that momentary, transient caution equals informed, fair and balanced journalism, is to begin to burnish a legacy for Bush that he himself couldn't begin to burnish.
If journalism is history's first draft, then we are not rewriting that first draft as much as we're fashioning a final draft of it. We're whiteboarding history that ought not be forgotten, we're piling cities of dishonesty atop the crumbling ruins of what little of the truth that was told.
Iraq was invaded on false pretenses that were revealed years ago. The WMD's, the 9/11-Saddam connection, the al Qaeda-Iraq connection. It was all a lie. How is this even worthy of debate? Even if the lies were insupportable 6 years ago, they would've invaded, anyway. But we did support them. Our media supported them. And they're supporting them still.