Implications of a Pointless War
(AntiWar.com) -- by Robert Koehler --
What does it mean that the New York Times, upon the occasion of President Obama’s announced drawdown of forces in Iraq last week, called our seven and a half years of invasion and occupation of the country "a pointless war"?
The editorial proceeded to do what Obama himself seemed to be under enormous political pressure to avoid: It skewered his predecessor, mildly perhaps, but repeatedly throughout the 645-word editorial: "the war made America less safe," "it is important not to forget how much damage Mr. Bush caused by misleading Americans," etc. The editorial even acknowledged an Iraqi death toll: "at least 100,000."
Why am I underwhelmed — disturbed, even — by this evidence of mainstream disavowal of the disastrous war that had such overwhelming support at its bloody, shock-and-awe onset? While Obama said it was time to "turn the page" on Iraq, the Times and the constituency it represents apparently feel compelled to wad it up as well and toss it into the dustbin of history. And thus, even though 50,000 U.S. troops, a.k.a., "advisers," remain in the shattered country and our commitment there, let alone our responsibility, is far from over, the Iraq war has officially become a consensus mistake, right alongside Vietnam.
Considering that I agree with the editorial, I marvel at how agitated it makes me. Maybe what troubles me is the unappreciated enormity of the phrase "pointless war" and the easy, consequence-free blame for it assigned to George Bush and his inner circle. Between the lines, I feel the rush to move on, to learn nothing, to throw berms around the insidious spread of responsibility (my God, what if it reaches us?). Better to cut our losses than to cut the Defense budget.
But this was $3 trillion worth of pointless war, which left in its wake a wrecked and polluted country with millions of displaced people, soaring cancer and birth defect rates, "at least" 100,000 dead Iraqis and by some measures more than a million. If we’re actually at the point of acknowledging that the war was a "mistake," that all this carnage, all this wasted blood and treasure, were "pointless," isn’t an accounting of some sort required — a pause in governmental operations, a national soul-searching, an inquiry? How in God’s name does the largest military machine in human history get mobilized into a pointless war?
And beyond that, where does our atonement lie? If we have just waged a war of pointless aggression and in the process killed between 100,000 and a million people, who are we? Are we capable of doing it again? Somehow, laying the whole blame on one lying president, who managed to deceive an entire industry of investigative journalists and an innocent, trusting public, doesn’t wash.
Indeed, if that’s the explanation, I would call it criminal naïveté on the part of every facet of American society, beginning with the media, that let itself be suckered into supporting, and continuing to support, a pointless war. And I don’t see anything much changing, despite our dishonorable drawdown in Iraq. We still have implicit faith in the military as the protectors of our safety and look toward the next war being shopped around and focus-grouped with a helpless credulity that would give P.T. Barnum pause...MORE...LINK
Chris Moore comments:
"It is important not to forget how much damage Mr. Bush caused by misleading Americans," says the New York Times. Agreed. But the New York Times itself was a party to the entire "lie Americans into war" enterprise via Iraq WMD-myth propagator Judith Miller (among many others). From Wikipedia:
Miller was criticized for her reporting on whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. On September 7, 2002, Miller and fellow New York Times reporter Michael R. Gordon reported the interception of metal tubes bound for Iraq. Her front-page story quoted unnamed "American officials" and "American intelligence experts" who said the tubes were intended to be used to enrich nuclear material, and cited unnamed "Bush administration officials" who claimed that in recent months, Iraq "stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb".Judith Miller is a Jewish Zionist, and so are large factions of The New York Times, including reporting, editorial, and ownership.
Miller added that "Mr. Hussein's dogged insistence on pursuing his nuclear ambitions, along with what defectors described in interviews as Iraq's push to improve and expand Baghdad's chemical and biological arsenals, have brought Iraq and the United States to the brink of war."
Although Miller conceded that some intelligence experts found the information on Iraq's weapons programs "spotty", she didn't report specific and detailed objections, including a report filed with the US government more than a year before Miller's article appeared by retired Oak Ridge National Laboratory physicist, Houston G. Wood III, who concluded that the tubes were not meant for centrifuges.
Shortly after Miller's article was published, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld all appeared on television and pointed to Miller's story as a contributory motive for going to war. Miller said of the controversy, "[M]y job isn't to assess the government's information and be an independent intelligence analyst myself. My job is to tell readers of The New York Times what the government thought about Iraq's arsenal." Some have criticized this position, believing that a crucial function of a journalist is independently to assess information, to question sources, and to analyze information before reporting it.
Miller would later claim, based only on second-hand statements from the military unit she was embedded with, that WMDs had been found in Iraq. This again was widely repeated in the press. "Well, I think they found something more than a smoking gun", Miller said on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. "What they've found is a silver bullet in the form of a person, an Iraqi individual, a scientist, as we've called him, who really worked on the programs, who knows them firsthand, and who has led MET Alpha people to some pretty startling conclusions." This turned out to be false.
On May 26, 2004, a week after the U.S. government apparently severed ties with Ahmed Chalabi, a Times editorial acknowledged that some of that newspaper's coverage in the run-up to the war had relied too heavily on Chalabi and other Iraqi exiles bent on regime change. It also regretted that "information that was controversial [was] allowed to stand unchallenged". While the editorial rejected "blame on individual reporters", others noted that ten of the twelve flawed stories discussed had been written or co-written by Miller.
And speaking of Jewish Zionism, what about Israel's role in lying America into the Iraq war? From The Israel Lobby by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt:
“On 16 August 2002, 11 days before Dick Cheney kicked off the campaign for war with a hardline speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Washington Post reported that ‘Israel is urging US officials not to delay a military strike against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.’ By this point, according to Sharon, strategic co-ordination between Israel and the US had reached ‘unprecedented dimensions’, and Israeli intelligence officials had given Washington a variety of alarming reports about Iraq’s WMD programmes. As one retired Israeli general later put it, ‘Israeli intelligence was a full partner to the picture presented by American and British intelligence regarding Iraq’s non-conventional capabilities.’It’s simply no longer believable for the corrupt elites, who all serve the same thieving, murderous, statist Leviathan and its Zionist Moloch, to claim they’re on opposite teams. They’ve all been cheating and swindling Americans for decades, and getting away with it by pointing fingers at the “opposition,” which in truth is comprised of confederates and teammates.
“Israeli leaders were deeply distressed when Bush decided to seek Security Council authorisation for war, and even more worried when Saddam agreed to let UN inspectors back in. ‘The campaign against Saddam Hussein is a must,’ Shimon Peres told reporters in September 2002. ‘Inspections and inspectors are good for decent people, but dishonest people can overcome easily inspections and inspectors.’
“At the same time, Ehud Barak wrote a New York Times op-ed warning that ‘the greatest risk now lies in inaction.’ His predecessor as prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, published a similar piece in the Wall Street Journal, entitled: ‘The Case for Toppling Saddam’. ‘Today nothing less than dismantling his regime will do,’ he declared. ‘I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of Israelis in supporting a pre-emptive strike against Saddam’s regime.’ Or as Ha’aretz reported in February 2003, ‘the military and political leadership yearns for war in Iraq.’
“As Netanyahu suggested, however, the desire for war was not confined to Israel’s leaders. Apart from Kuwait, which Saddam invaded in 1990, Israel was the only country in the world where both politicians and public favoured war. As the journalist Gideon Levy observed at the time, ‘Israel is the only country in the West whose leaders support the war unreservedly and where no alternative opinion is voiced.’ In fact, Israelis were so gung-ho that their allies in America told them to damp down their rhetoric, or it would look as if the war would be fought on Israel’s behalf."
American democracy is a smoke and mirrors illusion, and the Iraq war scam was merely yet another symptom of a depraved ruling class at war with the people it professes to “represent."