Fifteen years ago our neocon-foreign-policy elite sold us a war based on fraudulent intelligence. They acquired much of this intelligence through torture. Saddam Hussein was accused of having weapons of mass destruction. He had none. Iraq was illegally attacked and invaded regardless on the basis of a pack of lies. Now US oil companies have what they coveted all along. It wasn’t a mistake or blunder. It was a war crime.
We should never forget this.
The US architects of war were hardly subtle about their plans. In September of 2002, White House chief of staff Andrew Card explained why the Bush administration didn’t make the case for the second Gulf War during the summer. ”From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”
Not when Americans are still at the beach, or busy barbecuing in the backyard. No, any advertising campaign for a new product would be much more effective once Americans were back to work or school and paying attention to the idiot box.
Indeed, the big advertising campaign would commence in ernest in the autumn of 2002, with Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld all making appearances on TV through the winter. Colin Powell made his infamous case in front of the UN in early February of 2003, and the rest of the administration made a big push on TV during sweeps week. Bombs started falling on Iraq starting March 20, 2003.
Jeffrey St. Clair, describes how Bush and his neocon minions closed the sale. “Facts were never important to the Bush team. They were disposable nuggets that could be discarded at will and replaced by whatever new rationale that played favorably with their polls and focus groups. The war was about weapons of mass destruction one week, al-Qaeda the next. When neither allegation could be substantiated on the ground, the fall back position became the mass graves (many from the Iran/Iraq war where the U.S.A. backed Iraq) proving that Saddam was an evil thug who deserved to be toppled. The motto of the Bush PR machine was: Move on. Don’t explain. Say anything to conceal the perfidy behind the real motives for war. Never look back. Accuse the questioners of harboring unpatriotic sensibilities. Eventually, even the cagey Wolfowitz admitted that the official case for war was made mainly to make the invasion palatable, not to justify it.”
I still marvel at the propaganda operation that was waged on the American people. At the time I was already up to speed on the alternative reality presented through the Internet, and remember being mystified that anyone could believe the blatant pro-war propaganda.
However, I underestimated the power of the corporate media.
Too many Americans believed the narrative about Saddam as an aggressor–brandishing WMD and palling around with Al Qaeda. The lies that were fed to the them were built on gullible, easily manipulated public opinion fanned by emotive outbursts from politicians and the media.
In the build-up to war with Iraq a decade and a half ago, there were those of us who pushed back on the politicized intelligence that the Bush administration was using to convince the American people of the need to go to war, but for the most part, the media and political establishment parroted these claims. Dissent was ruthlessly suppressed as the Dixie Chicks learned the hard way. It was a shameful period in our history.
Observing the way that liberals have lost their mind over Russia-gate, a similar pro-war ad campaign, it’s apparent that little has been learned. Right now, the neocons, who still control US foreign policy are busy demonizing Russia, and using the same playbook to sell the coming conflict to the American people.
As you might have noticed, the neocons still have tender plans for the Middle-East. Right now, they are hard at work drumming up support for an attack on Iran. Recently, South Carolina Senator, Lindsey Graham wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, where he laid out the case for war with Iran as if the invasion of Iraq never happened and America, in its role as the benevolent policeman walking the beat, has simply been negligent in its efforts to protect the region from the malign Persian influence. In an up-is-down kind of logic, Graham blames Iran, rather than the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, for the ongoing disaster in the region.
However, the invasion of Iraq was the chief cause of the ongoing turmoil in the Middle-East, opening up “the gates of hell”. We can see the smoking ruins, the ongoing violence, the mass displacement and the deaths that have resulted from the invasion of Iraq. The accumulated evil of the invasion and destruction of Iraq is difficult to fully comprehend.
But rather than leading to substantive changes or reversals in U.S. policies, it’s like the invasion of Iraq never happened. The same cast of neocon-foreign-policy elite are busy plotting further conflicts, having easily overwhelmed Trump’s campaign promises of a non-interventionist foreign policy.
And, why not?
The most enduring legacies of the 2003 invasion of Iraq was that no one has been held accountable. Bush, and the members of his administration rode into the sunset. Mission Accomplished.
There has also been zero accountability for the corporate media stars who cheered on the invasion. In fact, as I’ve noted, being pro-war is great for your career, while being anti-war is guaranteed to deep-six your future in the corporate media.
It’s readily apparent that war is simply another product to sell.
And, business is good.