Saturday, March 16, 2013

We will Be Greeted As Liberators

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the United States' devastating war against the Iraqi people.

Today, March 16th, is the ten year anniversary of Dick Cheney's interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press, where, while explaining why the US is going to attack Iraq, Cheney used this colorful description of how it will turn out:
Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. And the president’s made it very clear that our purpose there is, if we are forced to do this, will in fact be to stand up a government that’s representative of the Iraqi people, hopefully democratic due respect for human rights, and it, obviously, involves a major commitment by the United States, but we think it’s a commitment worth making. And we don’t have the option anymore of simply laying back and hoping that events in Iraq will not constitute a threat to the U.S. Clearly, 12 years after the Gulf War, we’re back in a situation where he does constitute a threat. Interview with Vice-President Dick Cheney, NBC, "Meet the Press," Transcript for March 16, 2003
The video of this historic interview cannot be found through any search of YouTube or Google that I can think of. If you find it, please put the link in the comments, or email it to me, and I will be happy to update this post. There is one 30-second piece that quotes the line about being liberators, with background music, I'm not looking for that. I want to watch Cheney make his case.

It is strange and frightening if the keepers of our online media are systematically purging content that makes certain people look bad. This is not nearly as important, but recently Unsuck DC Metro -- one of the coolest sites in the area, by the way -- caught the Washington Post changing the news after a few weeks to cover up Metro's incompetence. They re-wrote their stories so that future searches will not find some important information that makes certain powerful people look like idiots.

On this ten-year anniversary of the worst prediction in modern history, America should be watching the video of Cheney's fear-mongering, and re-watching it. We should be showing it to our kids. Ten years ago our country attacked and and began destroying a country that posed no threat to us; we decimated them for nine years and nobody knows why. Is that the kind of country you want to live in? If not, then we need to learn from our mistakes, and one way we can do that is by reviewing what happened and making sure it doesn't happen again.

I can't believe that nobody has that video example online, maybe it will turn up, but it is very hard to find.

We need to remember Chris Matthews' almost sexual excitement when Bush strode across the deck of the airport carrier in his flight suit (again, see if you can find that one), the steely growl of Cheney as he listed dozens of fictional threats to US security, the propagandistic/cheerleading reporting of the leading newspapers and TV news anchors, the hubris of Congressmen renaming their French fries "freedom fries"-- one thing after another. We have the Internet now, those things should not get away from us.

Our generation needs to be able to recall the epidemic of fear and insane sense of retaliation against some distant strangers who had not had anything to do with what had happened to us. This was only ten years ago, it is not like the War of 1812 here, it was the President preceding the current one. Time is pruning history, and not in a way that inculcates wisdom.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ten years ago our country attacked and and began destroying a country that posed no threat to us; we decimated them for nine years and nobody knows why."

personally, I agree that we should have left after capturing Saddam, indeed, we shouldn't left him in power after the first Gulf War but this remark by Jim is over the top

but we vanquished an extremely evil dictator, established democracy and spent billions to rebuild

we were intially greeted as liberators and public opinion had swing to our favor after the surge

Obama squandered the wrap-up, which was coming to a favorable conclusion at the end of Bush's term

March 16, 2013 6:47 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Jim is absolutely right. The Iraq War, based on a false premise that even Cheney now agrees was inaccurate, destroyed the balance of power between Sadaam's Iraq and the Ayatollahs' Iran. Sadaam kept Iran at bay by fooling them into thinking he possessed WMD; Iran, being afraid of Iraq, was playing a game of not alienating the United States any more than necessary -- and even assisted us in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11, since the Sunni extremists (i.e., Al Qaeda) were their worst enemies. Once, however, we destroyed Sadaam, and made noises that Iran would be next, Iran rationally revived its nuclear program, since without a bomb, it could not scare off what it perceived as the newly-aggressive Americans. So now we have an Iran apparently close to getting the bomb and precipitating nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. Plus, we spent years diverting resources needed to strengthen our country (and perhaps stabilizing Afghanistan (although that might not have been possible in any event -- but now we will never know) in dealing with the chaos we created in Iraq -- which is now run by Shiites who are doing to the Sunnis what the Sunnis had previously done to them -- and both sides hate us. The Surge worked to the extent it gave us the opportunity to withdraw with some degree of dignity -- but staying would have gotten us deeper into the quagmire. So staying longer in Iraq could not have made the situation any better.

As a result, we commemorate the 10th Anniversary of perhaps the greatest self-inflicted blunder in American History.

March 16, 2013 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a clown statement, David. You say "Jim is absolutely right" and make some case that he didn't make.

Jim was saying we "attacked and destroyed a country that posed no threat to us" and he mocked the idea that we liberated them.

When Saddam was taken down by us, there was indeed jubilation in Iraq. And when we captured him, we handed him over to his people and they tried him and executed him and even gagged him in court so they wouldn't have to listen to his ranting. Really doesn't sound like they regretted the U.S. action.

Obviously,in hindsight, there were mistakes made. And, in my opinion, we should never have gotten involved in the first Gulf War. Still, we spent billions trying to rebuild Iraq and the enemies of freedom (and of groups like TTF) did everything they could to thwart that, which was obvious to the Iraq people by the end of Bush's presidency.

Your Kissinger-type analysis of the politics with Iran is ignorant. Saddam was trying to make Iran think he had WMD? He was trying to make the world think that but Iran wouldn't have any trouble believing. He used WMD on Iran. Can't use what you don't have.

And while WMD were used as part of the argument on whether to finish off Saddam, it was not the "premise". The premise for action was that Iraq broke the terms of the peaace treaties he signed at the conclusion of the previous Gulf War and was firing on American planes and ships that were enforcing the treaty.

Thanks for the amusing Soviet-style rewrite of history, David.

What a clown!

Like someone form a Moscow circus.

March 17, 2013 9:31 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

So, where ya been, bad anonymous?

Some debilitating disease or health issues keeping you off the internet?

March 18, 2013 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Eating their own... said...

Last October, just before President Obama won reelection, McCain responded to Colin Powell's endorsement of Pres. Obama, and dropped the F word:

“General Powell, you disappoint us and you have harmed your legacy even further by defending what is clearly the most feckless foreign policy in my lifetime,” McCain said on Brian Kilmeade’s radio program.

… and then John McCain, Iraq War supporter, Iraq War voter-for, let it be known that it was all Colin Powell's fault that we were in Iraq in the first place:

“Colin Powell, interestingly enough, said that Obama got us out of Iraq,” McCain told the National Review. “But it was Colin Powell, with his testimony before the U.N. Security Council, that got us into Iraq.”

According to McCain, the whole thing was Colin Powell's idea. He tricked John McCain, and George Bush, and Dick Cheney, and the entire army of neoconservative dunderheads that thought that we might as well go for two wars instead of one.

March 18, 2013 6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recent estimates find between 110,000-123,000 civilians were killed and millions were displaced from their homes as a result of the war. One report says that there are now 4.5 million orphans in Iraq. Even though the U.S. occupation has now been officially over for more than a year, violence still rages and the death toll continues to mount, as the ethnic and religious rivalries the Bush administration were so ignorant of at the outset of the war fester.

Since the invasion, the freedoms Iraqi women once enjoyed have disappeared. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has not appointed one female to a cabinet post and women are now subject to tribal rule, which has resulted in them fading almost completely from economic life.

Violence against women is rising and the images of a Baghdad full of women without headscarves, driving themselves through the streets or filling college classes, are now distant memories.

The consequences of the Iraq War for the United States can only be hinted at, with numbers like 4,487 Americans killed and 36,395 wounded. Estimates that the war has already cost us $1.7 trillion and could end up destroying more than $6 trillion in taxpayer wealth don’t even begin to describe the damage the Iraq disaster has exacted on the tiny percentage of the American people who actually fought in it.

No wonder Gallup reports: On 10th Anniversary, 53% in U.S. See Iraq War as Mistake

"The March 7-10 results mark the first time Gallup has asked this question since the full withdrawal of American troops in December 2011. Although majorities or near-majorities have viewed the conflict as a mistake continuously since August 2005, the current 53% is down from the high point of 63% in April 2008.

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war. Though the engagement has now come to an end, this seminal event in recent American history still looms large in the national political consciousness. In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama highlighted the end of the war, stating "a decade of war is now ending" and, more recently, Sen. John McCain confronted now-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel as to whether the 2007 Iraq war "surge" was successful.

Americans initially supported the war, with substantial majorities in 2003 saying the U.S. decision to get involved in Iraq was not a mistake. However, attitudes changed relatively quickly, and by the summer of 2004, a majority of Americans called the war a mistake.

Opinions fluctuated somewhat thereafter but, with one exception, since August 2005, a majority has said the war was a mistake each time Gallup has asked the question -- and at several points, more than 60% said so. The last time Gallup asked this question, in August 2010, 55% called the war a mistake.

A majority of Americans also view Vietnam, another major U.S. military engagement of the modern era, as a mistake. The same March survey finds 57% of Americans saying the Vietnam War -- which resulted in the most U.S. casualties of the three recent wars -- was a mistake, but that is down from 69% in November 2000...

Republicans Still Stand Behind Iraq War; Seniors Are Opposed"

March 19, 2013 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

polls are simplistic and don't allow for nuances

as I said, I think we should never have become involved in the first Gulf War

I thought that then and still do

having said that, many other situations cascaded from that event and so it's hard to put it in a tidy box and say, like some ignorant redneck, "are ya fer or agin it?"

try asking the American people this:

"if an evil dictator was torturing and killing his political opponents, if he used WMD on a neighboring country and a minority group in his own country and then starting firing on U.S. military personnel...

should the U.S. take military action?"

you might get a different answer

"So, where ya been, bad anonymous?"

how did nasty pri-randy know I went away?

has "she" been stalking me?

as a matter of fact, I'm opening a new winery this Spring and went to sommelier school in Paris and then backpacking in southern France on the pilgrim road across the Spanish border

I'm deducting the whole thing on my taxes

is this a great country or what?

(hint: it's not what)

March 19, 2013 12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or what:

Iraq War's Missing Prisoners: Families Search For 16,000 Unaccounted Who May Be Held In Secret Prisons

Qawthar Shihab Ahmed fervently hopes her brother, who she said was seized in Baghdad in 2007 by men in police uniforms, is being held in a secret prison -- probably the only hope that he is still alive.

Her brother Arkan is just one of thousands of Iraqis still missing from the past 10 years of conflict. Some were hauled off as relatives watched, while others disappeared in unknown circumstances.

"We hope, oh Lord, God willing, God willing ... he is in the secret prisons," Qawthar said, referring to secret government detention facilities that have been detailed by human rights groups, although authorities have denied their existence.

Arkan has been missing since August 26, 2007, when vehicles carrying men dressed in the blue uniforms of the federal police arrived in the Saba Abkar area of north Baghdad where the family lives, Qawthar and her brother Ahmed said.

Ahmed said the men fired in the air, seized people from a cafe and shops, and beat his father Shihab. Arkan tried to defend Shihab, but both were taken.

Shihab was soon released, but Arkan, a father of two young daughters, has yet to return...

March 19, 2013 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Some nuance for ya said...

'People turned on Christians': Persecuted Iraqi minority reflects on life after Saddam

LONDON -- Rana stepped out of church in Baghdad in December 2006 to find an envelope wedged against her car windshield. Inside was a bullet -- a message that meant she and her family were next on an assassin’s list.

They fled the city the next day, leaving behind a business, a home -- everything.

"I didn't like Saddam Hussein, but he didn't bother the Christians," said Rana, 29, after a church service in London. "He was a dictator. When he went, the gangs came from everywhere."

Rana isn’t alone: Bombings, kidnappings and generalized violence unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that toppled Hussein caused hundreds of thousands of Christians to flee their homeland.

While there is no centralized source of information on the number of Christians who have left Iraq, it is estimated that there were 2 million there in the 1990s. That number has fallen to between 200,000 to 500,000 today, according to church leaders...

March 19, 2013 2:22 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

"as a matter of fact, I'm opening a new winery this Spring and went to sommelier school in Paris and then backpacking in southern France on the pilgrim road across the Spanish border".

Yeah...not believing that.

"how did nasty pri-randy know I went away?

has "she" been stalking me?".

Of course I have. I know who you are, where you live and work and I've been secretly traveling to the States and spending months and thousands of dollars keeping track of you.

March 19, 2013 3:49 PM  
Anonymous Magical History Rewriting Tour Continues said...

On 9/18/02, Rumsfeld told Congress:

"We do know that the Iraqi regime has chemical and biological weapons. His regime has amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons -- including VX, sarin, cyclosarin and mustard gas. ... His regime has amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of biological weapons—including anthrax and botulism toxin, and possibly smallpox."

And on 3/30/03 Rumsfeld said:

"We know where they are [Iraq's weapons of mass destruction]. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."

And then the truth came out on 03/31/2005, President's Commission on WMD:
"We conclude that the Intelligence Community was dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. —Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction"

Now Rummy's trying to sell this boatload of crap, tweeting this lie about "liberating Iraqis":

"10 yrs ago began the long, difficult work of liberating 25 mil Iraqis. All who played a role in history deserve our respect & appreciation." .

March 19, 2013 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Last Letter
A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage....

March 19, 2013 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.

March 19, 2013 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the liberals who keep saying this war was a waste insult those soldiers who sacrificed their lives

the world is no longer threatened by a hegemonastic dictator who was aggressively seeking to expand his territory whenever he got the opportunity, with whatever means necessary

he invaded both Iran and Kuwait, used WMD on Iran and minority groups in Iraq, he kicked out weapon inspectors, violated truce agreements, fired on U.S. military personnel repeatedly, and was trying to make the world believe he had more WMD

a few years before Bush invaded, Clinton carpet-bombed Iraq for four days to eliminate his WMD

Nancy Pelosi, at that time, was saying ridding the world of Saddam and his WMD was a national priority

Clinton's feckless foreign policy left a mess for Bush to clean up

Bush handed Obama a victory to finish up, which Obama squandered

it's history

you can't change it

March 21, 2013 11:26 AM  

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