Set the Iraq Record Straight

As we settle into collective amnesia over Iraq, the Brits actually are holding a public inquiry into how they got themselves into that misbegotten adventure. In today’s news we learn from Sir Christopher Meyer, former ambassador to Washington, that at least some people in the British government had realized before the invasion they had no solid proof of weapons of mass destruction hidden in Iraq.

The UN weapons inspectors were not given time to finish their jobs, Sir Christopher said. This was no secret. Blix’s briefing to the UN Security Council in February 2003 basically said, Ladies and gentlemen, we’re inspecting up a storm, but we haven’t found WMDs. We need more time to know what’s going on. The Bush Administration’s response, even before that report, was to undermine Blix.

The problem, Sir Christopher said, essentially is that the Bush and Blair administrations had gotten themselves so solidly committed to war that when evidence for a cause didn’t turn up, they had to fabricate one.

Sir Christopher Meyer said the “unforgiving nature” of the build-up after American forces had been told to prepare for war meant that “we found ourselves scrabbling for the smoking gun”. … Asked about Tony Blair’s meeting with Bush at Crawford, Texas, in April 2002, where, some observers believe, the decision to go to war was made, Meyer said: “To this day I’m not entirely clear what degree of convergence was signed in blood at the Texas range.”

Again, this is not news to most of us who followed events closely at the time. However, it’s important to rub the nation’s nose in the truth about how we got into Iraq. If you young folks will indulge me, let me draw your attention to the aftermath of Vietnam.

With Vietnam, once the Paris peace accords were signed in 1973 the American public didn’t want to hear about Vietnam. Attention was paid to the fall of Saigon in 1975, of course, but that was an exception. Once the U.S. was out of Vietnam, few people wanted to talk about it or think about it. We were tired of it.

This was understandable, but the problem with not talking about it is that there was no processing of what had happened. Everyone’s opinions, impressions, and knowledge of the war remained frozen in place as they were in 1973. And the problem with that came to light during the Bush II Administration. People talked about the “lessons of Vietnam,” and it became apparent that entirely different sets of lessons had been learned.

For some of us, the lesson of Vietnam was that you don’t commit to a foreign war on trumped-up reasons, and without clear (and essential!) goals and an exit strategy.

For others, the lesson of Vietnam was that it’s wrong to dissent against war because it will lead to defeat. Therefore, war dissenters have to be shut up and the military effort supported without question.

The latter position, of course, is held by the same people who whine incessantly that liberals want to take away their “freedoms.” But I digress.

I realize the Obama Administration probably figures it can’t afford to stir up more hard feelings on the Right by making them admit they screwed up while he’s trying to push through health care reform and other vital issues. But I don’t see what difference it would make. The people who would be worked up into a snit over facing facts about Iraq are the same ones fighting the Administration already. How crazier can they get? What trouble could they possibly stir up that they aren’t stirring up?

In a just world, Bush, Cheney, Rove et al. would be too ashamed to be seen in public, if not serving time. We cannot sweep this under the memory rug, or else in a few years the Next Generation of evildoers will be staging a comeback. And that comeback will be built on the uncorrected lies of the Bush Administration.

9 thoughts on “Set the Iraq Record Straight

  1. Right you are Barbara ( and a belated happy turkey day!)
    After watching this whole obscene mess evolve, from the fictious WMD’s, Powell’s BARE FACED LIES in front of the U.N., the slaughter (s) in Fallouja, torture, loss of American solders, busting the bank with war costs, etc, ad nauseum, Bush and his crew of killer clowns have moved on to retirements or positions in acadamia instead of prison. Un stinking real.
    Perhaps Vince Buliosi can throw enough shit against the wall to nail at least some of the criminals, but reality is that Exxon/Mobile is now in the oil fields of Iraq, and the mission is now indeed accomplished. They won , Maha.
    The Texas oil mafia got what they wanted, the anti war folks got punked, and the beat goes on in Afghanistan and beyond.
    This is the way things work, the powerful do what they want, the weak do what they must. I don’t see any change in the way things work coming any time soon.
    The show trial for KSM will most likely not happen for fear of “discovery”, this is what politicians on both sides fear, the perps fear what might happen to them, and the opposition is fearful they might have to do something that would be against “the troops”. It’s a bull shit ugly world, and we have put up with it for far too long.

  2. In my mind the central lesson to be learned from Iraq or Vietnam is that we are collectively, as a nation, a stupid lot, and that critical thinking is a distant stranger to the American mentality.

  3. We all knew we were lied into war. We all knew, eventually, that the liers would go free.
    But we were the traitors. Why? Because we didn’t follow like lemming’s off the neo-con cliff. We were treated like treasonous worms who were undermining America, when it was, in fact, the other way around.
    So now, Cheney and his hidious daughter, opine about what to do. He, in the background, she, on any network that will have her on, which is pretty much every one.
    And still, the beat goes on… And the likelihood is that Obama will, following the military-industrial script written in FDR’s last days, commit to more troops in a failed land war in Asia in Afghanistan.
    We never learn. We vote for change, but the monied interests make our contributions to policians look like small change. We hope that the small amount we give to campaigns can alter the future, while the wealthy individuals and corporations insure the status quo by contributing millions of dollars to each of our pennies.
    We will now follow the great westen tradition of of spending blood and treasure on an unwinnable occupation (land war) in Afghanistan. On Tuesday, if Obama does, indeed, agree to send in more troops, you can play “Tap’s” to America’s empire.
    May our children and grandchildern forgive us. We will have sacrificed their furture on a useless enterprise that sucks money out of health care that could revive the economy and give some hope to their lives.
    I will be critisized for this, but I don’t think the death of the American Empire is a bad thing at all. It could have turned out positively if we had focused on the best of our progressive ideas as we left the world stage that we presented when we entered it. Unfortunately, we won’t have any money left to improve the lives of those of us left behind. We have dug our own grave and built our own coffin. But we’ve left our children, grand and great-grandchilren to pay the bill for our funeral. That is a sin. It is a mortal sin. I just hope that the lesson other democracies learn from our suicide is immortal.
    But it won’t be. There will always be those who bring on their own demise in the name of pride, power, greed and rightiousness. The Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese, the Dutch, the Spanish, the English, and now the Americans should be a lesson. And still, human nature may well determine that we never learn. Hell, WE didn’t. Why should anyone in the future? Hopefully, they’ll be smarter…

  4. Thomas Jefferson said “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just”. In more modern language, this isn’t going to end well for the USA.

  5. The warmongers always say that just one more war will end war forever – just a few more deaths and the killing will end. They are always wrong. Wars solve nothing and only plant the seeds of the next conflict.

  6. Thomas Jefferson said “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just”.

    …and was immeidately shouted down by his contemporaries as “thy dirty fucking hippie traitor who hates America”.

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