Category Archives: Iraq War

Jeb Bush: Pro-Iraq War Since 1997

Of course Jeb Bush would have invaded Iraq.

Am I the only one who remembers PNAC? Jeb Bush was one of the original signers of PNAC’s Statement of Principals back in 1997, which declared:

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

• we need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

In 1998, these are the geniuses who sent this now-infamous letter to President Clinton advocating regime change in Iraq. They were convinced, as early as January 1998 (in truth, well before), that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs and would destabilize the Middle East and the West’s access to its precious oil reserves unless he were removed from power. They wrote:

The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.

We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration’s attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam’s regime from power.

This was five years before our invasion of Iraq. They were focused like a laser on one thing and one thing only. The idea that “all of the intelligence agencies got it wrong” is such laughable bullshit. The entire Neocon-chickenhawk foreign policy apparatus behind George W. Bush had an agenda they’d been pushing for years, and that apparatus included his brother, Jeb. There was no “oops, we were given the wrong intel.” It was, “we’ve had this plan in the works for years and now we finally get to implement it!” Any “intel” that was used was cherry-picked to pre-select that which agreed with their agenda so they could justify their actions to the rest of the world.

So please, news media. Stop pretending Jeb just “flubbed a question.” You guys are getting it wrong because once again you’re just focused on the campaign, instead of being focused on the policy. The policy Jeb Bush has always advocated is hard-core Neocon hawkishness, and that is what failed us in Iraq. Not some cherry-picked intelligence.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Iraq War, media

The Market Has Spoken

I do not for the life of me understand why cable news outfits (cough*cough*MSNBC*cough*cough) continue to bring Ken Pollack on to discuss Iraq. Do they not understand what fools this makes them?

Pollack, of course, famously wrote the 2002 book, The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq:

Examining all sides of the debate and bringing a keen eye to the military and geopolitical forces at work, Pollack ultimately comes to this controversial conclusion: through our own mistakes, the perfidy of others, and Saddam’s cunning, the United States is left with few good policy options regarding Iraq. Increasingly, the option that makes the most sense is for the United States to launch a full-scale invasion, eradicate Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, and rebuild Iraq as a prosperous and stable society—for the good of the United States, the Iraqi people, and the entire region.

Hmm, yes, that went well, didn’t it. BTW, you can buy the book on Amazon now for a whopping 0.01:

pollack2

The market has spoken.

4 Comments

Filed under Iraq War, media, MSNBC

Zombie WMDs

[UPDATE]:

And on NPR this evening, I heard national political correspondent Mara Liasson refer to Syria’s Bashir as “Saddam.” NPR is really harshing my post-vacation mellow.

————————————–

In the car this morning I caught about 10 minutes of On Point’s discussion of Syria. It’s a call-in show and if you were listening you heard an Ohio Teanut phone in to ramble something bizarre about “Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood” and advising John McCain to talk to Sarah Palin. But the kicker was when he said, I shit you not,

“Those Iraq WMD’s? Looks like they ended up in Syria.”

You gotta give ’em credit: there’s no true believer like a conservative true believer.

This idea that Saddam’s WMDs ended up in Syria has cropped up occasionally on wingnut websites over the past 10 years. It’s one of those zombie lies that just won’t die. I figured it was only a matter of time before some Breit Bulb suggested maybe there’s a connection between Iraq and Syria, and it looks like the chain e-mail FWDs have begun.

Iraq’s WMDs did not end up in Syria. It’s been debunked aplenty, but officially by the Iraq Survey Group. But the Breitbarts and Freepers have kept the myth alive because they need it to be true. Desperately and pathetically, they need to believe Saddam Hussein had WMD. It’s crucial to their entire worldview to believe our intelligence wasn’t faulty (or our Administration didn’t lie us into war). If the WMD thing is false, it all unravels — every bit of it. It is the worst institutional failure conceivable. That the mighty U.S. intelligence apparatus we’re always told rules the world like a master puppeteer is not just incompetent but irresponsible? Even dangerous? Not possible. We’re the good guys! We’re AMERICA, man! We’re Big Daddy and Big Daddy is not incompetent.

I get the need to hold onto this thing, I really do. So much of the conservative worldview has to be taken on faith anyway — evolution is false, peace through war, tax cuts create budget surpluses, feminism killed the American family. At least if the WMDs had been found there could be one tangible thing they could hold on to proving their worldview correct.

Now even a Republican Congress Critter is bringing this zombie lie back to life:

WASHINGTON — Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) said on Thursday that he is against military intervention in Syria, even though his “gut feeling” is that the Syrian government now possesses chemical weapons that came from fallen Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain.

“The theory then and the evidence was that Iraq was an enemy of the United States and had direct plans in either support of al Qaeda and/or with other weapons that we found out weren’t there — which I still think they were moved to Syria,” said Terry. “And it wouldn’t surprise me if some of the chemical weapons that have been used by Syria actually came from Iraq.”

There is no evidence that Hussein sent weapons of mass destruction to Syria. When Becka asked whether Terry’s claim about the transfer of weapons was based on information he had received as a member of Congress, Terry replied, “Gut feeling. Yeah, I have not had any classified briefing, but all we know that Iraq had … chemical and biological weapons and then they weren’t there. … It wasn’t that the U.S. was guessing; that was something that they had actually declared. But they went someplace.”

Hilarious. Rep. Terry has been in Congress since 1999, and was a gung-ho supporter of the Iraq invasion. Now he says he doesn’t support military intervention in Syria. Why, Rep. Terry? If having WMD was good enough to take out Saddam, why not Assad? Don’t bothering answering that one. We all know the difference: only Republican presidents are given their pet wars!

By the way, that On Point radio show I was telling you about? The Teanut caller’s comments about WMD and “Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood” were both completely ignored by Tom Ashbrook and the rest of the panel. Instead, they addressed the guy’s belief that President Obama wants to pass all responsibility/blame related to Syria onto the Republicans. Which is a heads-we-win-tails-you-lose proposition, since certain Tea Party Republicans have been yammering for President Obama to bring any action on Syria before the U.S. Congress for a full debate.

I guess it makes sense to ignore the truly nutty stuff on the air, but seriously: when even a member of Congress starts bringing back the Zombie WMD lie? Maybe y’all need to start paying attention to it. “We’re going to have to leave it there” on WMDs is kinda how we got into this mess in the first place, isn’t it?

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Filed under Iraq War, Media, NPR, WMD

Oh, That Pesky National Debt!

Yes, Republicans, DO tell me about your concern for the national debt. I’m all ears:

US’s $60bn Iraq rebuilding effort ‘achieved little’

The US rebuilding effort in Iraq achieved little despite $60bn (£40bn) spent since the 2003 invasion, a US auditor for reconstruction has said.

In his final report, the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction estimated the US wasted at least $8bn.

Stuart Bowen put the “limited positive effects” down to corruption, poor security and insufficient consultation with Iraqi authorities.

The eight-year war in Iraq cost the US about $800bn and nearly 5,000 lives.

This is what happens when you elect people who don’t believe in government’s ability to do anything right. For example:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told Mr Bowen there had been “misspending” of US money.

The US-funded rebuilding programme “could have brought great change in Iraq” but fell short, he said.

Osama al-Nujaifi, speaker of the Iraqi parliament and the country’s top Sunni Muslim official, said rebuilding projects “had unfavourable outcomes in general.”

And Kurdish official Qubad Talabani told auditors: “You think if you throw money at a problem, you can fix it. It was just not strategic thinking.”

Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate’s foreign relations committee, said the report’s findings were “appalling” and that lessons must be learnt to avoid repeating mistakes in Afghanistan.

Yes, Sen. Corker. The lesson I’ve learned is to never, ever, ever, ever vote someone into government when the key plank in their party’s platform is that government is the problem. This outcome was entirely predictable.

Also, it appears the BBC has fallen into the U.S. media’s habit of only quoting Republicans. I’d like to know what the top Democrat on the committee thought. We are, after all, in charge of the Senate. Anyone?

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Filed under Iraq War

War Crimes

[UPDATE]:

Salon.com has more….

—————————————

I know, I know … the Bush Administration’s war crimes are so passe. Who cares! Get over it, hippie! So, just as Curveball’s latest confession that he completely fabricated the Saddam Hussein-WMD story has caused nary a ripple in the U.S. media’s constant election coverage, I’m sure the largely-unredacted release of Philip Zelikow’s 2006 torture memo won’t register, either. Zelikow was a senior advisor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and a strong critic of the Bush Administration’s authorization of torture. You can read his full memo warning that the use of torture is illegal here.

From the story:

Zelikow wrote that a law passed that year by Congress, restricting interrogation techniques, meant the “situation has now changed.” Both legally and as a matter of policy, he advised, administration officials were endangering both CIA interrogators and the reputation of the United States by engaging in extreme interrogations — even those that stop short of torture.

“We are unaware of any precedent in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or any subsequent conflict for authorized, systematic interrogation practices similar to those in question here,” Zelikow wrote, “even where the prisoners were presumed to be unlawful combatants.”

Other “advanced governments that face potentially catastrophic terrorist dangers” have “abandoned several of the techniques in question here,” Zelikow’s memo writes. The State Department blacked out a section of text that apparently listed those governments.

“Coercive” interrogation methods “least likely to be sustained” by judges were “the waterboard, walling, dousing, stress positions, and cramped confinement,” Zelikow advised, “especially [when] viewed cumulatively.” (Most CIA torture regimens made use of multiple torture techniques.) “Those most likely to be sustained are the basic detention conditions and, in context, the corrective techniques, such as slaps.”

The Obama Administration doesn’t get a pass on any of this, either, coming to the same conclusion as the Bush Administration regarding torture. I find this interesting:

Zelikow’s warnings about the legal dangers of torture went unheeded — not just by the Bush administration, which ignored them, but, ironically, by the Obama administration, which effectively refuted them. In June, the Justice Department concluded an extensive inquiry into CIA torture by dropping potential charges against agency interrogators in 99 out of 101 cases of detainee abuse. That inquiry did not examine criminal complicity for senior Bush administration officials who designed the torture regimen and ordered agency interrogators to implement it.

“I don’t know why Mr. Durham came to the conclusions he did,” Zelikow says, referring to the Justice Department special prosecutor for the CIA torture inquiry, John Durham. “I’m not impugning them, I just literally don’t know why, because he never published any details about either the factual analysis or legal analysis that led to those conclusions.”

Here’s a wild-haired tinfoil hat conspiracy theory for you: I have a friend who is convinced that the Obama Administration cut a deal with the Republican Party. The deal was that the GOP would not field any viable presidential candidate in 2012. In return, the Obama Administration wouldn’t prosecute any Bush Administration officials over the faulty intelligence that led to the Iraq War, their use of torture against detainees, etc.

Sounds crazy, I know — especially when you remember that Mitt Romney could easily win in November, what with all of the voter intimidation tactics, the river of money buying this election, the shaky economy, etc. But it’s an interesting theory.

The Bush Administration set the bar to a new low regarding human rights. This is a legacy we’ll be living with for a long, long time. I think this is one of those things they’ll be making movies about in 50 years, the way we look back with horror on the McCarthy hearings. The fact that no one seems interested in even discussing it right now strikes me as a collective admission of guilt by the American people. We know we were wrong, let’s just sweep it all under the rug. No need to worry our beautiful minds about it … yet.

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Filed under Bush Administration, Condolezza Rice, Iraq War, torture

Last U.S. Troops Have Just Left Iraq

This just in: the last U.S. convoy has just crossed the border into Kuwait:

KHABARI CROSSING, Kuwait — The U.S. military says the last American troops have left Iraq as the nearly nine-year war ends.

The final convoy rolled across the border into neighboring Kuwait as day broke on Sunday. Soldiers whooped, bumped fists and embraced each other in a burst of joy and relief.

I know, I know. We leave behind a giant military base “embassy”; Blackwater has just changed its name for a second time in the hopes we’d all lose track of who they really are so they can snatch up some big, fat private security contracts. I know it’s not really “over” — we never leave anywhere, do we? We’re still in Japan and Germany and Korea, for crying out loud. I mean, I guess we don’t have a base in Grenada, do we? So maybe we left one place. Heh.

But technically it’s finally over.

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Filed under Iraq War

Occupy Nashville Confronts Rumsfeld At Fundraiser

I don’t think Donald Rumsfeld will be too eager to visit Nashville any time soon, after some Occupy Nashville protesters gained access to a private Heritage Foundation fundraiser here last night and hurled charges of “torturer” and “war criminal” at him.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Security had to escort four Occupy Nashville protesters out of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s fundraiser at the Downtown Hilton on Thursday night.

The four protesters were given tickets and snuck into the $125 per plate fundraiser.

Video sent to us by an attendee, Gretch Steubbel, showed Rumsfeld speaking. Moments after he got on stage, a woman stood up and called him a war criminal. In the photos, she was escorted out of the ballroom at the downtown Hilton.

Three other people from Occupy Nashville got up to speak. After they were kicked out, they uploaded a video to YouTube.

“When I came our time, I got up, I pointed at him, and I said ‘Donald Rumsfeld, you are a war criminal, and you lied to the world’,” the woman said.

They were given tickets to the event by a Vietnam War veteran, which is just so telling. Does the Heritage Foundation assume all veterans support the war machine? Who knows. Video here:

Back in September I saw some amazing video of Dick Cheney’s “welcome” in Vancouver, B.C. Washington and the elites need to remember, we haven’t forgotten the utter lack of accountability over the Iraq War, too. While the conversation has turned to economic inequality and wage stagnation and the need for the wealthy 1% to pay their fair share, we’re still waiting for some accountability on this disaster, too. And this is something that lands squarely in the Democrats’ lap, because when they took power in 2006, they did absolutely nothing in this regard.

A lot of people raked in tons of money off the blood and torture that is our Iraq military misadventure. That just turns my stomach. Hey, Heritage Foundation: if this is the “heritage” you’re so proud of — war profiteering, torture, lies and fearmongering that forced the nation into a needless war so ExxonMobil can grab Iraq’s oil — then I have nothing but contempt for you.

We’re still pissed. I’m still pissed. We want some accountability. Not just on the financial meltdown, but on the Bush Administration’s biggest mistake. How come no one is in jail? How come Rumsfeld and Cheney can walk around raking in money off of book deals and make speeches at conservative fundraisers, as if they didn’t have blood on their hands?

Nothing illustrates the power of the plutcorats more than this.

[UPDATE]:

The comments on the video’s YouTube page are a window into the dark soul of the Freeperati. Some examples:

Too bad security didn’t shoot them in the head.
jasonc32amg 38 minutes ago

Can’t imagine why anyone would call conservatives violent! And here’s this one:

Well, here’s a list of their top supporters. Yep, I’d say communists and socialists.

Communist Party USA
The American Nazi Party
Revolutionary Communist Party
Black Panthers
Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan
CAIR
qpwillie 35 minutes ago 2

Hmmm, wanna provide any evidence of that, Sherlock? I guess the answer is no, since there was no link to accompany these allegations. Of course, the Occupy movement is a diverse, unorganized, non-authoritarian, grassroots movement. Unlike the Tea Party, which wouldn’t exist without money from various foundations associated with Koch Industries, and constant promotion from Fox News, Occupy represents a diverse set of interests coalesced around the main idea that the majority will no longer be ignored by those who hold all of the power and influence in our country (and in our world). And speaking of the Tea Party, whatever happened to them? Hmm.

Here’s my favorite:

You guys seem a bit extreme. Rumsfeld a War Criminal?

Really? Do you remember 9/11?

How about 3K of our own people that died that day? & thousands more that were injured/currently w/ serious health problems.

Maybe you folks would get alittle more accomplished & people would take you seriously, if you didn’t act like little immature kids outside of a HOTEL chanting like a crazy cult–you realize this was late for some people? My family HAD TO listen to your crazy ass mob chants from outside.

utoobonutoob 1 hour ago

Poor, poor baby. Amazing to me that there are still people out there who believe Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11. Must be a Fox News watcher. As they say, the more you watch, the less you know.

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Filed under Donald Rumsfeld, Iraq War, Nashville protest

Told Ya So

It’s not like we didn’t already know the Iraq War was all for oil or anything, and it’s not like we haven’t seen every other rationale go up in smoke (Saddam’s WMDs, al-Qaeda, “let’s fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here, yada yada). So this post won’t be a shocker to anyone. But hey, wouldn’t it be funny if we could find out what really happened in Dick Cheney’s energy task force meetings?

Well, thank God the Brits can point us in the right direction:

Five months before the March 2003 invasion, Baroness Symons, then the Trade Minister, told BP that the Government believed British energy firms should be given a share of Iraq’s enormous oil and gas reserves as a reward for Tony Blair’s military commitment to US plans for regime change.

The papers show that Lady Symons agreed to lobby the Bush administration on BP’s behalf because the oil giant feared it was being “locked out” of deals that Washington was quietly striking with US, French and Russian governments and their energy firms.

Minutes of a meeting with BP, Shell and BG (formerly British Gas) on 31 October 2002 read: “Baroness Symons agreed that it would be difficult to justify British companies losing out in Iraq in that way if the UK had itself been a conspicuous supporter of the US government throughout the crisis.”

The minister then promised to “report back to the companies before Christmas” on her lobbying efforts.

The Foreign Office invited BP in on 6 November 2002 to talk about opportunities in Iraq “post regime change”. Its minutes state: “Iraq is the big oil prospect. BP is desperate to get in there and anxious that political deals should not deny them the opportunity.”

After another meeting, this one in October 2002, the Foreign Office’s Middle East director at the time, Edward Chaplin, noted: “Shell and BP could not afford not to have a stake in [Iraq] for the sake of their long-term future… We were determined to get a fair slice of the action for UK companies in a post-Saddam Iraq.”

Whereas BP was insisting in public that it had “no strategic interest” in Iraq, in private it told the Foreign Office that Iraq was “more important than anything we’ve seen for a long time”.

BP was concerned that if Washington allowed TotalFinaElf’s existing contact with Saddam Hussein to stand after the invasion it would make the French conglomerate the world’s leading oil company. BP told the Government it was willing to take “big risks” to get a share of the Iraqi reserves, the second largest in the world.

Over 1,000 documents were obtained under Freedom of Information over five years by the oil campaigner Greg Muttitt. They reveal that at least five meetings were held between civil servants, ministers and BP and Shell in late 2002.

The 20-year contracts signed in the wake of the invasion were the largest in the history of the oil industry. They covered half of Iraq’s reserves – 60 billion barrels of oil, bought up by companies such as BP and CNPC (China National Petroleum Company), whose joint consortium alone stands to make £403m ($658m) profit per year from the Rumaila field in southern Iraq.

You know, if this shit went on in the UK you can be damned sure it happened here in the United States.

Isn’t it peachy to know that well before the invasion of Iraq on the pretense of finding “weapons of mass destruction” and under the threat of “smoking guns becoming mushroom clouds,” behind the scenes oil companies were already divvying up the booty?

One, two, three, four, what the hell are we fighting for?

Oh yeah, and why do we still have tens of thousands of troops over there? Anyone?

And can you believe that no one has yet gone to jail for this? Thousands of American soldiers dead or maimed or mentally shattered, our budget sent into debt for a war that was never paid for, tens of thousands of Iraqi civillians dead or living as refugees, all for western greed.

And no one is in jail.

Yeah sure, they hate us for our freedoms. Right.

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Filed under Big Oil, BP, Iraq War

>The Wingnut Welfare Gravy Train Rolls On

>Judith Miller, once of the lofty New York Times, is now a correspondent for … wait for it … Newsmax. You know, the conservative rag peddling black helicopter conspiracy theories funded by Richard Mellon Scaife. It’s only slightly more credible than WingNut Daily — but not much.

This news has prompted me to wonder what happened to the rest of the Iraq War boosters.

• Dick Cheney and Halliburton narrowly skirted bribery charges in Nigeria by forking over a cool $250 million the day before Christmas:

Meanwhile, the Nigerians still wanted a pound of flesh, and because it appears to be easy for a multibillion-dollar energy company like Halliburton to throw money at problems, that’s what they seem to have done. Halliburton and KBR will pay $32.5 million to the Nigerian government and $2.5 million to the Nigerian lawyers, and release some frozen assets in a Swiss bank account to the Africans. Total payout: about $250 million.

In return, Cheney, Halliburton, and KBR can walk away from the situation, and the Nigerians get even more than the original $180 million from the former vice president’s company.

Remember: Halliburton and KBR already pled guilty to those $180 million bribery charges in a U.S. court. I’m trying to wrap my head around the idea that someone is able to avoid jail time for bribing Nigerian officials with $180 million by …. paying Nigerian officials $250 million. Oh well, nothing to see here, move along folks ….

• Donald Rumsfeld is doing the rubber chicken circuit/book tour that is part of the Wingnut Wurlitzer. He (or, more likely, his publicist) has been teasing his pending memoir with coy Tweets which the neocons at the Wall Street Journal have been eating up like ice cream. When the book comes out it will be promoted heavily at conservative media outlets like, well, Newsmax, which frequently offers subscribers tomes such as this one at steep discounts. Neat how that works.

• John Bolton returned to his office at the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative think tank, and in that capacity is spouting his nonsense on the Wingnut Wurlitzer. Serving just 16 months as United Nations ambassador — too crazy even for Republicans like George Voinovich and John McCain, his nomination was filibustered and he was a recess appointment — it seems the conservative media has found Bolton a useful stick to poke at the Obama Administration. His frequent criticism of things like the START treaty and defense spending cuts are dutifully reported across the Fox landscape. Falling upwards, indeed.

• The disgraced/disbarred Scooter Libby appears to have disappeared into a black hole, though with the new Valerie Plame flick soon to hit theaters, I’m sure someone will drag him out of his undisclosed location. The Wingnut Wurlitzer is always looking for fresh meat.

• Paul Wolfowitz always creeped me out. The whole comb-licking thing just made we want to throw up in my mouth. Forced to resign from the World Bank in 2007 after some serious ethics breaches were discovered, he has also joined his buddy John Bolton at the American Enterprise Institute as a “visiting scholar,” where at least one observer noted his lack of productivity. In his position he pens the occasional op-ed for papers like the London Times and Wall Street Journal, all part of the glorious Bush Administration Whitewash Campaign designed to protect the legacy of the most disastrous Administration in this country’s recent history.

If you’re detecting a pattern here, well, join the club. Conservatives through their “non-partisan (wink wink) think tanks” and established media outfits like Fox News and Newsmax are able to get their message out across the world. This is the Wingnut Welfare Gravy Train, where no fail is too big, no embarrassment too great, no policy too disastrous to keep the conservative family from closing ranks and enveloping their failed leaders in a warm, fuzzy embrace.

You can always go home again, if you’re a neocon wingnut (Scooter Libby being the sole exception). The American Enterprise Institute will give you a home and get your op-eds published in the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, London Times, New York Times, not to mention conservative outfits like the Weekly Standard. Your memoirs will be published and your name will be in the Rolodex of every Fox News booker. Your appearances on Hannity (and even the occasional network bobblehead show) are a given. This is how the legacy is protected, even promoted.

The right-wing has this established, well-funded infrastructure which assures the continued influence of people who by all rights should have been tossed away when they were discredited. I mean, you started a fucking war based on lies, misinformation, faulty intelligence. You were colossally wrong and people died and the national treasury was raided. We have spent and will spend trillions of dollars on your fuck-up. Some folks think you should be in jail; at the very least you should be kicked out of the club. But that’s not how it works in Wingnuttia.

Meanwhile, we’ve kicked Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod off Liberal Mountain for … well, what, exactly? If these folks were conservatives their calendars would be full of speaking engagements, television appearances, and their op-eds would be in every influential newspaper in the English-speaking world. They’d be working on their memoirs and they’d have regular features in The New Republic and The Atlantic. But Google “Van Jones” and all you get are attacks from conservative blogs like Hot Air.

There simply is nothing comparable on the left to the Wingnut Wurlitzer. I don’t know why that is, except perhaps the perpetual myth about “liberal media” and so forth. I think this more than anything is the biggest challenge the left faces moving forward. And while I’m not the first to observe this, I can’t for the life of me understand why no one has done anything about it. You can’t win the argument if you can’t even get your message out.

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Filed under conservatives, Iraq War, media, right wing

>Mistakes Were Made

>Remember when the Bush Administration fired Lawrence Lindsey for estimating the cost of regime change in Iraq at $200 billion? Ha ha that was so funny.

Today Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard’s Linda Blimes had to revise their $3 trillion war estimate. Upwards:

But today, as the United States ends combat in Iraq, it appears that our $3 trillion estimate (which accounted for both government expenses and the war’s broader impact on the U.S. economy) was, if anything, too low. For example, the cost of diagnosing, treating and compensating disabled veterans has proved higher than we expected.

Moreover, two years on, it has become clear to us that our estimate did not capture what may have been the conflict’s most sobering expenses: those in the category of “might have beens,” or what economists call opportunity costs. For instance, many have wondered aloud whether, absent the Iraq invasion, we would still be stuck in Afghanistan. And this is not the only “what if” worth contemplating. We might also ask: If not for the war in Iraq, would oil prices have risen so rapidly? Would the federal debt be so high? Would the economic crisis have been so severe?

The answer to all four of these questions is probably no. The central lesson of economics is that resources — including both money and attention — are scarce. What was devoted to one theater, Iraq, was not available elsewhere.

The rest of the piece is equally depressing.

When you think of all the things that could have been done with that money — healthcare, teachers hired, environmental restoration, infrastructure rebuilding, job training, scientific research, unemployment extensions — all the stuff the Republicans are yammering about how we don’t have money to do these things and the free hand of the market should pay for them anyway! while wringing their hands over making our grandchildren pay for the stimulus! when in fact not one of those assholes said anything about our grandchildren paying for this stupid, useless war except CLAP LOUDER. It just turns my stomach, it really does.

But the worst part is that no one went to jail for this. No one’s career was destroyed for this mistake. Hell, there are rumors that John Bolton might run for president. People got rich off the taxpayer teat — people like Erik Prince, such a nice Christian fellow — and where is the call for accountability? *Crickets*

I simply don’t understand why the nation is not rising up over the biggest national blunder in our history. We’ll quite literally be paying for this mistake for a generation, on so many levels. And it’s like the entire country is happily choosing to move along, think happy thoughts now, er, maybe not happy thoughts since we’re all so depressingly broke but here’s a great idea, let’s blame the black man in the White House for all of our problems instead of having a come to Jesus moment about our national shame. How’s that working for everybody?

I still cannot believe that we invaded a country for no reason and no one has paid for it. The biggest mistake of the Obama Administration was not devoting a little time and energy to a war inquiry like what they’re doing in the UK right now, or a truth and reconciliation commission like they did in South Africa. To borrow President Obama’s favorite phrase: make no mistake. The physical and psychic wounds of this colossal error run very, very deep. And by not channeling the grief and anger where it belongs, without giving us a chance for national healing, Obama has just heaped a whole bunch of grief and anger on himself.

And I have a special word to our glorious mainstream media. You folks so eager to cover every gathering of Teanuts who seem oh so worried about the national debt, not a one of them ever asks where Dick Armey was when our $3 trillion war was drummed up (originally opposing the war, Armey voted in favor of war authorization after Dick Cheney made him wet his pants.) Our prestigious national news media, so busy picking apart every little thing President Obama does, like what condiments he puts on his burgers and what beverages he drinks — yet they can’t be bothered to ask how or why the last administration was allowed to bankrupt the nation and slaughter thousands of innocents.

Guess they’re too busy washing the blood off of their hands.

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Filed under Iraq War, media, rants