You Told Me you Loved Me, But I Don’t Understand

This seems worthy of making some headlines:

The defector who convinced the White House that Iraq had a secret biological weapons programme has admitted for the first time that he lied about his story, then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war.

Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed Curveball by German and American intelligence officials who dealt with his claims, has told the Guardian that he fabricated tales of mobile bioweapons trucks and clandestine factories in an attempt to bring down the Saddam Hussein regime, from which he had fled in 1995.

“Maybe I was right, maybe I was not right,” he said. “They gave me this chance. I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime. I and my sons are proud of that and we are proud that we were the reason to give Iraq the margin of democracy.”

The admission comes just after the eighth anniversary of Colin Powell’s speech to the United Nations in which the then-US secretary of state relied heavily on lies that Janabi had told the German secret service, the BND. It also follows the release of former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s memoirs, in which he admitted Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction programme.

I will once again take the opportunity to post a link to what I consider the greatest post in the history of blogging, Operation Desert Snipe. I wish I had listened to it then, but in retrospect, it is so powerful.

*** Update ***

Watching the President’s press conference, and I’m finding the press to be aggressive, suspicious, and adversarial. THANK GOODNESS. I find it odd that they’ve chosen now to behave this way, but then again, the village infatuation with pain and entitlement cuts is well known. However, I’m not complaining. This is how they are supposed to behave. I want them to act like this. They aren’t the President’s partner. They aren’t supposed to be all chummy with people in Washington. What I would like is for them to be like this all the time. When Obama has a press conference, go after him. Same with Boehner and the Republicans. Sadly, I imagine this is a one-off.

171 replies
  1. 1
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    He’s proud of the lies, but watched in shock as the war unfolded? I guess I’ll have to read the whole thing to understand that contradiciton.

  2. 2
    Maude says:

    The reason you believed the Bush Administration is that you didn’t think that they would lie about something that serious.
    You don’t think like that and be glad you don’t.
    You aren’t the one at fault or to blame for supporting the war. It was the Bush Administration’s fault and that’s where the blame goes.
    Don’t forget that the media wasn’t out looking around for evidence that Bush was wrong.
    John Kerry believed them and he’s no fool.

  3. 3
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “The margin of democracy” in a depopulated, bombed out shell of a country that is sitting on top of Dick Cheney’s cronies’ oil.

    Right.

  4. 4
    geg6 says:

    A proud liar who was directly responsible for the loss of hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of lives, a civil war, and collapse of the American economy says he watched in shock as the war unfolded?

    Fuck him. Fuck his sons. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

    Cole, I hate to slag on you, but I saw this coming for six months before the shooting began. You are a pretty smart guy. How the hell didn’t you see it? How?

    Edited to add: I’m maybe being too hard on you. You are quite a bit younger than I am and didn’t live through Vietnam and Watergate and are way too young to have understood Iran Contra at the time. Nothing about the lies surprised me because I lived them as an adult.

  5. 5
    Brian H says:

    Bonus points for the Thompson Twins reference.

  6. 6

    Well, better late than never.

    Sadly, it comes too late for those who have died thanks to this.

    Oh, and don’t expect the MSM to really focus on this. They didn’t give two s**ts about the truth back when Bush the Lesser and company started howling about going into Iraq, and they’ve brushed off the various revelations about the truth of the war as if they were just irritating specks of dust.

    But somehow…I wonder when someone is going to start blaming all this on Obama. 8-)

  7. 7
    MeDrewNotYou says:

    The only bright spot of the whole Iraq debacle (at least as far as I can tell) is that the US public is a little gun shy when it comes to wars in the Middle East. It’s still scarily possible we’d bomb the shit out of Iran, but much less likely. You can never underestimate the stupidity of the masses, but I think, barring another 9/11 to blame on the ayatollahs, we’re content to merely talk tough. Of course, I’ll probably be proven wrong when President Thune convinces us that Iran is responsible for the weak economy caused by Republican policy.

    (I guess another bright spot is that Bush’s freedom agenda freed Egypt. The Egyptian people would have never wanted freedom unless they saw how awesome we made Iraq.)

  8. 8
    Emma says:

    geg6: For the same reason that a number of people I respect, including my father, didn’t see it. They didn’t think the government would lie about something so serious as going to war.

    You and me, well, we’re “cynics.”

  9. 9
    liberal says:

    @Marc McKenzie:
    Heh.

    I was just thinking walking into work this morning that in a democracy, as opposed to a police state, the ambit of responsibility and power is greater than just the state itself. So IMHO Judy Miller and Thomas Friedman, among others, are war criminals.

  10. 10
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @MeDrewNotYou:

    (I guess another bright spot is that Bush’s freedom agenda freed Egypt. The Egyptian people would have never wanted freedom unless they saw how awesome we made Iraq.)

    I pray this is snark.

  11. 11
    EconWatcher says:

    Maude:
    “John Kerry believed them and he’s no fool.”

    You had me, then you lost me.

  12. 12
    Cat Lady says:

    Search the term “curveball” on the Pravda on the Potomac’s website and the first two hits are about Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the Phillies. Nothing will come of this since “everyone knows” there wasn’t any WMD, and it’s not news anymore. I will send this story to a friend who keeps insisting that all of the WMD were sent to Syria. What a disgraceful episode that will never have an explanation that will ever make any sense of it.

  13. 13
    aimai says:

    Thanks for the link. I found this point very important in the age of Beck:

    CP could elaborate the damning Bayesian statistics here, but it comes down to a simpler rule of thumb: if a proposition is true and important, it’s highly probable you can prove it without resort to probability theory. A universe of stubborn, contrary facts was screaming for attention, and we turned a deaf ear.

    aimai

  14. 14
    Elvis Elvisberg says:

    “I tell you something when I hear anybody – not just in Iraq but in any war – [is] killed, I am very sad. But give me another solution. Can you give me another solution?

    “Believe me, there was no other way to bring about freedom to Iraq. There were no other possibilities.”

    Good God. I would love to know what Iraqis think about that line of rationale.

    Many Kurds are probably ok with it, but anyone else? We’re talking about well over 100,000 deaths here, maybe a million. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....e_Iraq_War

  15. 15
    cleek says:

    I find it odd that they’ve chosen now to behave this way, but then again, the village infatuation with pain and entitlement cuts is well known

    … as is their love of war.

    nothing attracts readers like the start of a glorious new war.

  16. 16
    geg6 says:

    @Emma:

    Anyone who was sentient and of age who lived through Vietnam, Watergate, and Iran Contra should have seen through this shit in about 3 seconds. And should not be in the least surprised that the government would lie about absolutely anything. Sorry, but willful naivete isn’t an excuse. No one I respect didn’t see this coming a mile away (and my parents were dead, but I’m pretty sure, based on their reactions to Vietnam, that they would have been right there with me). But then, I don’t respect many people.

  17. 17
    MeDrewNotYou says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Sure is. Everything about Bush’s foreign policy pissed me off. Preemptive war the most but democracy from the barrel of a gun in a close second.

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @geg6:

    I’m maybe being too hard on you. You are quite a bit younger than I am and didn’t live through Vietnam and Watergate and are way too young to have understood Iran Contra at the time. Nothing about the lies surprised me because I lived them as an adult.

    This, this, this.

    I was a teenager during Watergate. My mother used to fret that Vietnam would never end, and I’d wind up there. As it turns out, I did join the Army, but as a “Cold Warrior”, along the “Frontiers of Freedom” in Germany, Honduras, and Korea.

    The lies of Vietnam (just check out the current book club assignment, Nixonland, for a virtual smorasgboard of them) were plentiful. We’re doing to our Army in Iraq and Afghanistan what we did to it in Vietnam. Hell, the smart amongst us realized that the Soviets were committing in Afghanistan the same mistake we committed in Vietnam. Now we’re doubling down on both fuckups.

  19. 19
    jrg says:

    @Emma:

    For the same reason that a number of people I respect, including my father, didn’t see it. They didn’t think the government would lie about something so serious as going to war.

    It took me a while to catch on. Part of it was anger over 9/11… But a bigger part of it was that I thought there were disincentives to lying us into war – like, I dunno, GOING TO FUCKING JAIL?

    Clearly, I was wrong. Getting a BJ is apparently a bigger crime than getting hundreds of thousands of people killed for no reason at all. I guess I was naive – I’m much more familiar with how our media and politicians operate now.

  20. 20
    numbskull says:

    For the same reason that a number of people I respect, including my father, didn’t see it. They didn’t think the government would lie about something so serious as going to war.

    I saw through the lies, in part, because I understood what they in fact would NOT do, what they would NOT risk. I had absolutely no doubt that that crowd would happily send others to war over a pack of lies in order to achieve some ulterior goal. The reason I knew with a dead certainty that there were no WMD is that I knew there was no way, no how they would send US troops in the unprepared manner they did if in fact Saddam had deployable WMD. They are happy to risk others’ lives; there is no way they would risk the political fall-out to their careers of getting battalions wiped out due to not having adequate plans and equipment. Nah ga happen.

    They really aren’t that hard to figure out.

  21. 21
    Maude says:

    @EconWatcher:
    Do you remember the stand he took on Vietnam when he came home?
    He has been behind the 8 ball ever since and still hated for what he said when he testified.
    Please don’t insult John Kerry.

  22. 22
    gbear says:

    @MeDrewNotYou:

    It’s still scarily possible we’d bomb the shit out of Iran, but much less likely.

    It’s the difference between President Obama and President McCain. We dodged one seriously large bullet.

  23. 23
    liberal says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Nothing will come of this since “everyone knows” there wasn’t any WMD, and it’s not news anymore.

    That’s only because no one is holding anyone’s feet to the fire.

    Similarly, it’s nothing short of amazing that Greenspan is still invited to give lectures commenting on economics. In a rational universe he would have committed suicide by now.

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    To give you kids some idea of how things have changed, when I was in the ninth grade, I was given as a reading assignment for a social studies class The Pentagon Papers. This was in 1971/72.

    Can you imagine a wikileaks dump being given as a reading assignment now? How the Establishment would howl.

  25. 25
    liberal says:

    @numbskull:

    The reason I knew with a dead certainty that there were no WMD is that I knew there was no way, no how they would send US troops in the unprepared manner they did if in fact Saddam had deployable WMD.

    I think I recall thinking at the time that Saddam might have had real chemical weapons, but that it was no big deal because chemical weapons really aren’t all that effective (pound for pound no more effective than high explosive).

  26. 26
    liberal says:

    @gbear:
    Actually, the much bigger bullet I was concerned with re McCrazy was getting into a shooting war over Georgia with Russia.

  27. 27
    geg6 says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Yep, my parents were making arrangements to send my brothers to Canada should their draft numbers be too low. And my dad was a lifelong Republican (didn’t vote for Nixon and changed registration by the Reagan era), no less. My mother thought Hunter Thompson was being too easy on Nixon. Guess I was brought up by cynics and that inoculated me to anything smacking of “trust” in the government.

  28. 28
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @jrg:

    But a bigger part of it was that I thought there were disincentives to lying us into war – like, I dunno, GOING TO FUCKING JAIL?

    Ford’s preemptive pardon of Nixon set all of this up.

    There are no consequences for telling lies that result in the deaths of countless thousands…both American and Iraqi. None.

    Oh, we hear “thank you for your service”, but you’re on your own, kid, dealing with post traumatic stress syndrome.

  29. 29
    PurpleGirl says:

    @MeDrewNotYou: (I guess another bright spot is that Bush’s freedom agenda freed Egypt. The Egyptian people would have never wanted freedom unless they saw how awesome we made Iraq.)

    I hope this was meant as snark because I wouldn’t say Iraq is awesome. Have we rebuilt the power plants yet? Do the people have power 24/7/365 again? Are women able to hold jobs, attend university, dress in Western style?

  30. 30
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @liberal:

    Oh, we knew Saddam had some real chemical weapons.

    After all, von Rumsfailed had the receipts.

  31. 31
    singfoom says:

    Ah, good old 2003. The Iraq war was a crime. Plain and simple. I knew it was bullshit. All my friends agreed. I marched, I called, I tried to reason with family members.

    95% of the country got a giant red white and blue war boner and nothing we could do or say stopped it.

    The media didn’t cover us protestors, even when we numbered in the hundreds of thousands and or millions on that one giant day when marches were held around the country.

    Every single person involved at any level should be ashamed. I know you guys will kick me around and call me names, but I’m still waiting for prosecution.

    George W. Bush/Dick Cheney/Donald Rumsfeld are war criminals, responsible for 10s of thousands of unecessary deaths.

    I want my rule of law pony now, please.

  32. 32
    gbear says:

    @liberal: Yep. McCain was definitely packing an extended clip.

  33. 33
    Cat Lady says:

    The moral of this story is the total and utter collapse of the main stream media’s ability to commit journalism. I never expected, for one second, for Bush and Cheney to ever act in good faith after 9/11, but the shocking part of the entire pre and post Iraq invasion period was not only the press’s lack of skepticism, but with the exception of McClatchy, the blatant cheerleading and pack sycophancy. I just didn’t see that coming, and that is the hill that this republic died on.

  34. 34
    liberal says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    I agree, but what statutes could be used to actually put people in jail?

    Impeaching Bush would just remove him from office.

    Lies were told in official contexts, and that could result in a prison sentence under 18/1001.

    But in terms of the crime of waging a war of aggression, which IIRC Jackson at the Nazi trials said is the ultimate war crime (because it’s the one from which others flow), the most I can think of is maybe there’s some international treaties we’ve signed that could be put to use. Maybe.

    At this point, the most I’m hoping for is that the war criminals and their enablers burn in hell, with the banksters joining them. And unfortunately I’m an agnostic bordering on atheism.

  35. 35
    Elvis Elvisberg says:

    @geg6:

    Guess I was brought up by cynics and that inoculated me to anything smacking of “trust” in the government.

    Well I am a bit younger, didn’t live through Watergate & Vietnam. I supported the invasion of Iraq in part b/c I thought we’d learned from Vietnam that lying/reckless indifference to the truth in launching an invasion was a very bad thing. That was false. What we actually should have learned was, sometimes the government lies in order to invade places.

  36. 36
    Blue Carolinian says:

    Why do Boomers have to make everything about The Sixties, man?

    Spare me the acid flashbacks. Vietnam analogies really are the Munich of the left.

  37. 37
    liberal says:

    @singfoom:

    95% of the country got a giant red white and blue war boner and nothing we could do or say stopped it.

    It was nowhere near 95%.

  38. 38
    homerhk says:

    Geg6: I think John Cole is a fantastic blogger but I really find it hard to give him a pass on this (sorry John! I know you’re not necessarily in bad company…)

    When W was elected I turned to my wife and said that the world was fucked and that by the end of his presidency there would be another world war. My wife thought I was being too hyperbolic but turns out I wasn’t all that wrong. It’s not just W, actually, because people who know their history know that just about every modern war or war like skirmish since WWII has involved (and often instigated by) the US. It’s not just republicans, look at Clinton, Johnson and even now (btw my favourite Prez) Obama. For people outside the US who are vaguely knowledgeable that is the baseline of expectation from the US. Torture? Horrific but hardly a surprise. Gitmo? ditto. CIA overthrowing regimes and supporting dictators – check. It has been ever thus and it will continue to be ever thus. The shining light in all of this is that it is the US that was involved and not, say, USSR or China (if you want to get a snifter of what I mean, think about how little freedom and how much everyday casual violence abounded in the former soviet republic or other places where USSR was involved – Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, East Berlin etc. – they were all European North Koreas in some way). And, if the US goes away or becomes isolationist etc who will now take over? China who I can guaranteed don’t have the morals of the current (or indeed any) US administration and especially don’t have the freedom of press and freedom of people that would allow for protests about their government’s foreign policy in the same vein as the anti-Vietnam or anti-Iraq protests in the US.

  39. 39
    Steve says:

    Christ… Obama just said that he was encouraged that Republicans want to cut entitlements. He called that “progress”, that they were turning their attention away from merely gutting discretionary spending. Holy hell.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Poopyman says:

    @geg6: I’m with you on your ETA. It just depresses me, because as I get older I see the inevitability of repeating the worst of our history. Multiple times.

  42. 42
    liberal says:

    @Cat Lady:

    The moral of this story is the total and utter collapse of the main stream media’s ability to commit journalism.

    When was it ever any better? The only difference between now and then is now many, many more people are in the know (and not because of the internet; probably because of the 60s, Vietnam, the Nixon debacle, etc, and just a general trend in progress).

    Look at our involvement in Indochina. The latest reasonable date would be early 50s since by 1954 we were spending more on the French war effort than the French were. IIRC you could make the case that our involvement there began in 1946. And there was no large-scale MSM questioning of the war until freakin’ 1968, post-Tet.

  43. 43
    AxelFoley says:

    Watching the President’s press conference, and I’m finding the press to be aggressive, suspicious, and adversarial. THANK GOODNESS. I find it odd that they’ve chosen now to behave this way, but then again, the village infatuation with pain and entitlement cuts is well known. However, I’m not complaining. This is how they are supposed to behave. I want them to act like this. They aren’t the President’s partner. They aren’t supposed to be all chummy with people in Washington. What I would like is for them to be like this all the time. When Obama has a press conference, go after him. Same with Boehner and the Republicans. Sadly, I imagine this is a one-off.

    That’s just it, John. Only one person is “held accountable” in DC and that’s President Obama. No one in the House or Senate, no one on the Supreme Court, just the President.

    Just THIS President.

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Blue Carolinian:

    Because without the 60’s, man, there would be no PornoTube.

    I rest my case.

  45. 45
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @AxelFoley:

    President Obama is held accountable for one reason, and one reason only:

    He might be trying to commit Pigford II fraud.

  46. 46
    singfoom says:

    @liberal:

    True, it wasn’t 95%. You’re absolutely right. It just seemed like 95% when you turned on the TV or listened to the radio. Sure, I’m a liberal and I live in a big liberal city, so I couldn’t find a single person who thought it was a good idea, but the media certainly presented the view that 95% supported it.

    I thought I was doing my civic duty by marching and calling and protesting an unjust war of aggression. But we were maligned and called names at a very high level in the media and by low info morans.

    Such a goddamn tragedy.

  47. 47
    homerhk says:

    Steve,

    It’s amazing to me that some on the left haven’t caught on to Obama’s tactics when he does things like that. It’s a classic arguing strategy – take what your opponent says at face value and use it to undermine their arguments in toto. He’s calling them out for constantly harping about the deficit but only going after discretionary spending. He’s daring them to put forward a sensible plan on entitlements. You also omit that he basically said SS didn’t contribute to the deficit and that there should be discussions about the cuts eg if people suggest cuts to infant milk “I mean is that who we are as people?” – I thought that was a strong line. Also he couples points on entitlement with discussion of “tax reform”.

  48. 48
    Blue Carolinian says:

    Yeah well, if it wasn’t for Gen X you would all be drinking Foldgers for coffee and Coors would be considered a “good” beer.

  49. 49
    liberal says:

    @homerhk:

    The shining light in all of this is that it is the US that was involved and not, say, USSR or China…

    Yeah, I suppose the four million or so Vietnamese whose deaths were the direct or indirect result of our war there are greatful it was us who sent them to their graves and not someone else.

  50. 50
    Cat Lady says:

    @liberal:

    I learned all about Watergate from the WaPo. That was the high water mark for them.

  51. 51
    liberal says:

    @homerhk:

    It’s a classic arguing strategy – take what your opponent says at face value and use it to undermine their arguments in toto.

    Perhaps. It’s also a strategy which means the Overton window shifts to the right much more quickly than if he just came out and said that cutting government spending right now is totally f*cking crazy.

  52. 52
    liberal says:

    @singfoom:
    Yeah, well, see my comment that the people at the top in the media are war criminals, too, IMHO.

  53. 53
    homerhk says:

    liberal – way to take one sentence out of my post out of context. Am I saying that I approve of the US war in Vietnam – absolutely not; it was horrendous. That’s not my point at all. but never mind.

  54. 54
    homerhk says:

    liberal – oh who gives a f**k about the Overton window apart from glenn beck or jane hamsher? I mean really.

  55. 55
    liberal says:

    @Cat Lady:
    Yeah, but as Noam Chomsky points out (correctly IMHO) the MSM was willing to squawk about Watergate, because there other powerful people (the Democrats) were under attack.

    Indochinese, Iraqis, assorted other brown folk, the people targeted by COINTELPRO…not so much.

  56. 56
    Alex S. says:

    Nice update, John. If only the press had been that curious before the Iraq War. I wonder how many pro-war bloggers are going to mention this confession…

  57. 57
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @liberal:

    The utter disregard of the “quaint” Geneva Conventions, which, after all, the US is signatory to, which makes it “Supreme Law of the Land” according to some late 18th century guys in powdered wigs.

    For starters.

  58. 58
    stuckinred says:

    You better stop with the Vietnam, we have some people around here that don’t like it mentioned.

  59. 59
    Blue Carolinian says:

    Ironically, it seems Vietnam wanta to be a US ally now, theyre lobbying for American naval bases.

    I kid you not. It makes the war extra-pointless.

  60. 60
    liberal says:

    @homerhk:
    I give a f*ck. And I don’t read Hamsher, and thought it was an important concept long before I started reading Greenwald.

    You can make this or that excuse for Obama trying to triangulate or whatever label you want to apply to these tactical moves. While that might bring short-term success, the cost is enormous: over the long run, the Democratic Party ends up standing for nothing, and doesn’t defend the ideals and policies it should be defending. Now in that situation I’ll still vote for the Democrat, but the ill-informed middle-of-the-road voter won’t have much incentive to.

  61. 61
    Citizen_X says:

    Can you give me another solution?

    Golly, Mr. Curveball, I don’t know. Maybe you could call, um, FUCKING ANYBODY IN EGYPT???

    Sorry everybody, but seriously, what a douchebag.

  62. 62
    Pangloss says:

    Watching the President’s press conference, and I’m finding the press to be aggressive, suspicious, and adversarial.

    As they should be. When a Black guy walks into the store, you need to follow him around so he doesn’t steal anything.

  63. 63
    liberal says:

    @Blue Carolinian:
    They’ve been interested in US bases for a long time. Even during the war there was some quote from one of the leaders, “better to eat American shit for a few decades than Chinese shit for centuries,” or something to that effect.

    We go on and on—reasonably so—about the impact of the Vietnam war on our young men, but IIRC the “border skirmish” Vietnam had with China a few years after we left cost the Vietnamese more people per capita than the Vietnam War cost us.

  64. 64
    El Cid says:

    I always support going to war based on secret evidence the government tells me it has based on people it won’t name.

    Whether or not they are lying doesn’t matter. They are doing it all for our own good.

    The Founding Fathers wanted it this way.

  65. 65
    Alwhite says:

    What is worse is that none of this was unknowable before the clusterfuck began. There was a well documented report showing the yellow cake story had to be false. There were reports from both the UN and US atomic energy people showing the aluminum tubes were not suitable for enrichment of uranium. There were weapons inspectors in Iraq (Boy Blunder had to warn them to get out before the clusterfuck started) who reported what the previous inspectors had reported: there was no useful WMD and no development going on. They also stated publicly that they were being given unprecedented access and cooperation. The truth of the unmanned drone story was also available.

    And yet these reports got almost no coverage in the US while the lies were trumpeted like the word of God. This was a failure of the American people goaded by an immoral and egotistical administration fully supported by a press core that to this day will not admit any mistake or take any responsibility for the death and destruction they abetted.

  66. 66
    liberal says:

    @Pangloss:
    How much of it is his being black, and how much is it him being a Democrat?

    ISTR that the MSM didn’t exactly fold when confronted with the AWFUL evidence that Clinton had had extramarital sex with a young intern.

  67. 67
    homerhk says:

    liberal – for starters I didn’t say anything about triangulting or making excuses for Obama. As it happens I don’t think that Obama has been triangulating. He has often said – loudly and clearly – that cutting spending endangered the recovery. These saving are mostly in the future when he thinks (hopes) that recovery will have properly taken hold (if it hasn’t the US has more problems than a rightly skewed Overton window). Plus, it’s not for the President to move the Overton window or to even care about it. It’s about the President doing what he/she thinks is best for the country. Obama always said he wasn’t ideological because that leads to dogmaticism. People are I guess just about now finding out that he meant what he said.

  68. 68
    liberal says:

    @stuckinred:
    Too bad for them, I guess.

  69. 69
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Blue Carolinian:

    Hell, Ho Chi Mihn approached the US in the 50’s for aid against the French. He admired Washington. He wanted a united Vietnam to be a US ally, because he had a well founded in history concern with the classic imperialist giant to his north.

  70. 70
    frostys says:

    @Emma: I see I’m not the first to respond to this:

    They didn’t think the government would lie about something so serious as going to war.

    Maybe you have to live through it to believe it. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution was my first wake-up call. I don’t know details, but I’m guessing that Reagan and GHW Bush’s “Splendid Little Wars” in Grenada and Panama were based on lies as well.

  71. 71
    liberal says:

    @homerhk:

    Plus, it’s not for the President to move the Overton window or to even care about it. It’s about the President doing what he/she thinks is best for the country.

    Right. As if ideological battles have nothing to do with what’s best for the country.

    Tell me, are you really this stupid?

  72. 72
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @liberal:

    The combination (Democrat AND Black) converts him from being mere TNT to being an Hbomb.

  73. 73
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @liberal:

    The combination (Democrat AND Black) converts him from being mere TNT to being an Hbomb.

  74. 74
    stuckinred says:

    @Blue Carolinian: Cam Ranh bay is a great deep water port. The Russians moved in when we left and it’s no surprise they’d like to have us back. They called the Russians “Americans with no money”.

  75. 75
    liberal says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    I thought it was 1940s. Geneva was 1954, and by that time we were basically underwriting the French war effort.

  76. 76
    stuckinred says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Where in Korea?

  77. 77
    homerhk says:

    Liberal: I’ll answer that question after I tell you when I stopped beating my wife.

    I actually don’t think that ideological battles have much to do with actually running a country and doing what’s best for it. Every ideology that people have subscribed to has succeeded and failed in some ways. The problem about getting stuck into a particular ideology is that – even if you have some leanings in a particular direction – you sometimes ignore the blindspots. It’s really not that complicated. Take Obama’s message about investing in the future – education, innovation etc. That isn’t an ideological stance – it’s a common sense stance, one that stands to reason.

  78. 78
    stuckinred says:

    @liberal:

    On 2 September 1945, Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the Viet Minh, declared the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam before a crowd of 500,000 in Hanoi.[45] In an overture to the Americans, he began his speech by paraphrasing the United States Declaration of Independence: All men are created equal. The Creator has given us certain inviolable Rights: the right to Life, the right to be Free, and the right to achieve Happiness.[45]

  79. 79
    Rick Taylor says:

    I put this in the wrong thread earlier; I’m belatedly copying it here:

    This is hashing over old old ground, but the reason I was nearly certain the Iraq regime didn’t have any significant weapons of mass destruction was that it was painfully obvious the administration really really really wanted to go to war with them, and was throwing out every justification for it it could. I figured that if there was any concrete evidence of such weapons, the administration wouldn’t have hesitated to publicize it, classified information be damned.

    What really disturbs me though is even after it became clear there were no weapons of mass destruction, that would invaded another country on the basis of a completely specious casus belli, hardly any one cared. Bush was even re-elected. I still find that difficult to let in.

  80. 80
    shecky says:

    Suffice to say, he and our leaders could only lead the horse to water. We drank with gusto.

    Plenty of Americans were itching for a fight, and the White House had a hard on for Saddam even before 9/11. And if we care to remember, there were plenty of credible voices lending much doubt over these claims of WMDs, Saddam’s involvement with AlQaida, or Iraq’s ability to be any serious threat to the US. But to make these points back then was to be branded a treasonous appeaser who hates America.

    I’d love to think we’re smarter now. But I have a feeling when the next big scare comes, the masses will start howling again, ready to strike whatever phantom threat, if our leadership is again so unscrupulous as to point us in such a direction.

  81. 81
    Blue Carolinian says:

    See, this is why people shouldn’t be worried about China. Their strategic position sucks and all their neighbors hate them.

  82. 82
    shecky says:

    I suppose there is some reason to be thankful. Recall, before 9/11, the neocons were not only rattling sabers over Iraq. There was serious talk about bitch slapping China, because, well, I could never really figure out. But lack of provocation never carried weight with the neocons, anyhow. Imagine how that would have turned out.

  83. 83
    Joel says:

    Plenty of Americans were itching for a fight…

    That was my recollection as well. Of course, none of them had any stakes in the battle. Fuck those people.

  84. 84
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @liberal:

    My bad. Yeah, right after the defeat of the Japanese, in the 40’s. Bottom line: Ho wanted to be a US ally. He actually believed in all the “breakup of the colonial empires” stuff that FDR was pushing in the wake of WWII, and thought he’d be a prime example of this. Then the Cold War got going, and suddenly the US was propping up the corrupt European empires as allies against Uncle Joe and his endless hordes.

    @stuckinred:

    Seoul. I was in the 41st Signal Battalion, which had fixed station communications responsibilities from just south of Seoul to the DMZ, so I got to travel around all that area, as I was a staff officer in that unit.

    Although M*A*S*H was filmed in California, the terrain is quite similar to that of the actual area in Korea where it was set. Really quite amazing.

  85. 85
    shortstop says:

    It’s worth noting that Cole is one of about four Republicans in the U.S. who have been able to say, “I was wrong. I was totally, unequivocally wrong, and I deeply regret it.”

    Beyond that, he’s also managed not to get defensive (as far as I know; I miss a lot of threads here) when people have asked him just what the fuck was wrong with him that he could have fallen for this and the other products of the early Bush administration. Nor has he attempted in any way to minimize the hideous consequences of his and others’ support of the war.

    That is not nothing.

  86. 86
    Mike in NC says:

    Watching the President’s press conference, and I’m finding the press to be aggressive, suspicious, and adversarial.

    Chuck Todd & Co. can be expected to start each and every press conference with President Romney like this: “Mr. President, before we begin, may I state just how damn good your hair looks today. Do you have any tips you’d care to share with the American people?”

  87. 87
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @El Cid:

    Ah, the Cid is once again channeling the fucktards of the right with such authenticity as to chill the bones.

    /salute

  88. 88
    ruemara says:

    @geg6:

    I didn’t live through any of that. But I thought this was the stupidest idea I’d ever heard and would lead to failure to prosecute the war in Afghanistan properly. When Bush said we weren’t going to nation build, i couldn’t believe anyone wasn’t grilling him about that statement. We go into a country to depose it’s leader and we’re not indulging in nation building? So what are we doing, retreating afterward and letting whomever whatever take over? That’s brilliant military strategy right there. But I often find I’m too kind in assessing the depth of stupidity that can found in elected offices and electing those morons into office.

  89. 89
    frostys says:

    @Blue Carolinian:

    Yeah well, if it wasn’t for Gen X you would all be drinking Foldgers for coffee and Coors would be considered a “good” beer.

    Many thanks for the alternatives to two beverages best described as “Wet Air”.

  90. 90
    stuckinred says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I was at Camp Hartell, 1/79th Arty 67-68. We were just south of Munsani. The Blue House Raiders came right through us.

  91. 91
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Not to mention “Mr. President, can you get that 737 to taxi off to the right so we can get better camera angle of your profile?”

  92. 92
    PeakVT says:

    Re: Vietnam – America’s Longest War has a nice, concise history of our pre-1964 involvement in the country.

    ETA: Tuchmann’s March of Folly has a section on Vietnam worth reading, too. Also.

  93. 93
    stuckinred says:

    Halberstam, The Coldest Winter:

    In addition, the Kennedy administration had done something extremely dangerous when it increased the larger mission to Vietnam: it corrupted the truth to suit its political needs for short term political profit-in effect buying time to get through the 1964 election. Because in the process it planted the flag even more deeply, it needed even greater results, for appearances were everything, and it needed them faster. But those results were not forthcoming, because the policy never worked. Never. Therefore, to compensate for the failure to produce the desired results in the field, the Kennedy administration soon created something quite extraordinary, a giant lying machine, one based in Washington, with its major affiliate in Saigon, and machine that not only systematically rejected all pessimistic reports from the field, and punished those who tried to tell the truth, but created it’s own illusion of victories and successes, victories and successes that never existed. It was a great exercise in self-deception: what the great lying machine did in that period was delay the arrival of the truth in Washington by some three years, and of course it also began the process of diminishing the credibility of the government of the United States. What was also lost in those three years was the ability to make wiser judgments about whether the commitment worked.. . .

    One day when he came out of an NSC meeting in which they had discussed some disastrous problem handed down by the previous administrations he said, “Oh well, think of what we’ll pass on to the poor fellow who comes after me”.

  94. 94
    freelancer says:

    I love what “In the Loop” did with their own version of Curveball.

    “We just need to refine it a bit.”
    “What do you want to refine?”
    “Just mess it up. Move the paragraphs. Change the name of the main informant.”
    “Well, that’s a complete fabrication!”
    “Changing his name doesn’t matter. Do you think he’s really called Ice Man? Huh? ‘To Mr and Mrs Man, a son… lce.’?”

  95. 95
    Svensker says:

    @shecky:

    Suffice to say, he and our leaders could only lead the horse to water. We drank with gusto

    There were a lot of us who fucking didn’t. Marches and protests were huge, but got almost no coverage from the pro-war press. If you’ll recall, the few anti-war media folks were either fired or marginalized. The question is, why was the press so pro-war?

  96. 96
    Svensker says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Although M*A*S*H was filmed in California, the terrain is quite similar to that of the actual area in Korea where it was set. Really quite amazing.

    Really? Cool! We watch MASH on reruns (a few years ago, it seemed hopelessly hokey and dated, now, not so much) and always laugh at the obviously Calif. backdrop. Guess we’re not so smart after all.

  97. 97

    101st fReichtened Keyboardist, meet your hero!

    Now he can sit back and enjoy blow jobs from every war mongering fReichtard on the planet. (With a Cavuto mark next to Pam Geller.)

  98. 98
  99. 99
    PeakVT says:

    @Svensker: The answer is a combination of ratings/subscriptions/pagehits, identification with the elite, and a disproportionate number of Israel-firsters (e.g., Blitzer, Peretz).

  100. 100
    sukabi says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: now poli sci majors are given “Dirty, Sexy Politics” to read… well at least in Meghan McCain’s mind…

  101. 101
    El Cid says:

    @Blue Carolinian: I’m not a boomer.

    The reason the French/US war on Vietnam is often used for information about US foreign and war policy is that it informs us about that.

    People who think that any reference to the US attack on South Vietnam and its slaughter of Laotians and Cambodians must be avoided unless the parallels be so exact as to be duplicated can shove their head in a toilet. I don’t give the slightest shit.

    It was also the last time (before this Iraq war) that the US not only directly went to war against a comparatively sizable 3rd world nation, but then occupied that nation. It’s also pretty recent on a historical scale because many of the same people involved in that war and/or in the last administration which waged it remain influential to this day.

    If people want to use NATO and Serbia as an example of a relatively medium scale war and occupation, okay, but I don’t see the situation as that similar. Though you can use it clearly as an argument of the motivations and effects of US-directed intervention, as an example of a military action which had its large military component occur quite briefly, and which it’s much easier to argue for a net positive effect on populations involved.

    Afghanistan is very different in many ways, but it is likewise useful to apply Vietnam analogies in that it too is an attempt by the US to bolster an allied and tiny reaching regime while fighting a rural insurgency which is successful in occupying territory.

    Some people think it’s totally inapplicable to draw any lessons from Vietnam to Afghanistan because one was imperialist evil and one was in response to a terrorist attack, but that’s complete nonsense if you’re making sensible comparisons and not suggesting that both represented equal policy motivations for decisionmakers.

    Iraq certainly has lots of useful parallels, but not others. The use of false propaganda to justify a war, even though in the Vietnam case it was less the initiation of a war then a massive escalation to a direct US effort rather than more of a proxy war. For a while there was a significant Iraqi insurgence in Baghdad and Basra, etc., but there was no widely dispersed rural insurgency.

    Plus in the Baghdad case the US could capitalize on the successful completion of Shi’a / Sunni ethnic cleansing of Baghdad neighborhoods and districts and then apply extra force to aid locals in driving out external (“Al Qa’ida”) forces and to clear larger Baghdad areas. And then back up the ethnically cleansed areas by walling off the areas. There wasn’t anything like that in Vietnam, at least, not as far as I’m aware.

    Now, like the use of any other historical event, it can be used as a hazy overgeneralization or illogical bits used as a reference or inaccurate facts and analysis employed.

    Same way people yell about “Weimar Germany” whenever they think about inflation and debt and hyperinflation and have no idea how temporary that hyperinflation was, how comparatively localized its origins were in a French invasion disrupting coal production and distribution.

    Same way WWII is used to suggest that US foreign policy is about liberating people worldwide and defeating evil powers. That only works when it’s applicable to a particular argument — just like parallels drawn from Vietnam.

    All kinds of lessons have been learned from eager US support for and creation of repressive and murderous regimes throughout the 3rd world, or its assaults on democracy viewed as support for democracy. That the US under Reagan happily and enthusiastically backed, protected, funded, and directed literal genocide in Guatemala ought to have taught important lessons, but it doesn’t mean that every bit of US backing of a 3rd world regime is to assist it in genocide. Often it’s more the use of the funding of opposition parties to meddle in elections and/or create disorder so as to undermine an elected government it doesn’t like or prevent one from being elected.

    On the other hand, the most vicious backers of Central American carnage were brought back for the Bush Jr. administration — Elliot Abrams, for example, pulled out all the stops in lying about and pressuring major papers to stop accurately covering El Salvadoran death squad massacres (El Mozote, for example), and then was brought back as a special adviser to Bush Jr. for global democracy efforts.

    You draw a parallel because it suggests a pattern of activity by some particular US institution or foreign policies in general. We lack adequate information on what officials are deciding and on which arguments they are relying, other than that which is available publicly (i.e., PR) and the small pieces available from investigative journalists.

    Sometimes it doesn’t make a lot of sense to try except for doing so among people with intricately detailed knowledge of a particular situation. Events or places which all but a few have the foggiest notion of what you’re talking about at all.

    Trying to make an argument about the devastatingly harmful and ignorant / arrogant decision by the Clinton administration of forcing Haitians to adopt US-exported pigs over their locally adapted ones, or to supply US rice for purchase rather than local production was a pretty tough issue to discuss until Bill Clinton himself admitted being wrong on both. (It was also the typical topic which when this sort of argument was made at the time got you accused of not wanting to help poor Haitians and that you just hated Clinton, but now that it’s all been done, it’s okay to look back and evaluate.)

    You make comparisons when it makes sense for each analogical situation, and you don’t when it doesn’t, and you don’t assume that each works out the same way.

    Or you assume that each particular example of US foreign policy and war-making is completely and utterly different from any other and there are no historical precedents or prior analyses which can tell us anything of insight at all, and we just need to go on what seems to appear at any given time.

    That would be something we’d be unlikely to do in any other subject matter, such as a person’s criminal record or a business’ product development record, or the Republican Party’s preferred policies.

  102. 102
    Geeno says:

    @Svensker:
    Media consolidation under large companies with a vested interest in wars. That’s why.

  103. 103
    Svensker says:

    @stuckinred:

    It tells me I am forbidden from seeing it.

  104. 104
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @MeDrewNotYou: Yeah, I know, the Egyptian protesters are all citing the Iraq war as their main motivation. Aren’t they? Didn’t I hear that on Fux Snooze?

  105. 105
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I think it’s pretty clearly snark, given the rest of his post.

  106. 106
    Blue Carolinian says:

    @El Cid

    I think the Filipino insurrection is a better thing to compare the Iraq War to than Vietnam.

  107. 107
    Joel says:

    @El Cid: Wow, great post, Cid.

  108. 108
    Svensker says:

    @Geeno:

    Media consolidation under large companies with a vested interest in wars.

    What’s a “vested interest in wars”? And why do they have it?

  109. 109
  110. 110
    sukabi says:

    @Svensker: just guessing at Geeno’s intent, but I’d bet that all the large defense contractors (thinking General Electric for example) that own large portions of the media would have an interest in shaping the news to favor pro war policies… after all, they benefit greatly in defense spending when war breaks out…

  111. 111

    @liberal: Acually, liberal–impeachment would not have removed Bush from office. It’s the filing of charges. Only being found guilty in the Senate trial would have resulted in that piece of human waste being removed from office.

    Remember Clinton’s impeachment? He stayed in office after the charges were brought against him, and the Senate trial ended with the GOP losing the chance to remove him.

    I was for Bush being impeached at first, but after thinking it through, I realized that it would not help–and it was not even frickin’ possible. The votes were simply not there. And even if the man had been removed from office via the Senate trial, as you said, he would not have gone to jail.

    Personally, I hope that these sh**tters face justice and jail time….but I’m not holding my breath. A bj in the White House seems to be a more horrific crime against humanity than, say, lying an entire nation into a destructive and unnecessary war.

  112. 112
    Svensker says:

    @sukabi:

    Meh. Maybe. Don’t buy it.

  113. 113
    goblue72 says:

    I knew what was up as soon as the usual nuts on the right (and their fellow travelers like Sully) started talking about casus belli & just war theory – an outlier argument under modern international law generally relegated to the dunce corner of the room. When they started stretching Article 51 of the UN Charter far beyond any existing line of jurisprudence, the gig was up. It was these frakkers were lying sacks of garbage looking to cover their tracks. Worst decision Obama ever made was not prosecuting these war criminals. FSM willing, the Europeans will.

  114. 114
    anothervoice says:

    I too was shocked at how aggressive the reporters were in questioning. I didn’t hear the whole but I did hear the questions before and after Chuck Todd. I tool liked it but, there was something the way Chuck Todd had phrased his question that bothered me; and it took me a little while to figure it out. What seemed like he was saying is that Obama should capitulated to the fiscal commission in every way and that Obama need not think on his own. I think this part is what bothered me and would Chuck ever *dare* question a republican in this way? I don’t think so.

  115. 115
    Ash Can says:

    @El Cid: I agree with Joel; even on the basis of your consistently elevated standard that was outstanding. Thanks for sharing.

  116. 116
    Merkin says:

    @liberal:

    Impeaching Bush would just remove him from office.

    no, impeaching Bush would impeach Bush, convicting him in the Senate would have removed him from office.

  117. 117
    catpal says:

    @jrg:

    Getting a BJ is apparently a bigger crime than getting hundreds of thousands of people killed for no reason at all.

    Yep. The US Corporate Media at its Most Uselessness. Oh, and the Reason for all of those US Servicepersons and Iraqis killed = Billions in Corporate Oil and Defense Contractors like all of the Bush/Cheney and Criminal Friends group.

    so why isn’t Curveball Liar/Criminal in Guantanamo now? That would at least make it a little useful.

  118. 118
    sukabi says:

    @Svensker: what’s not to buy? That corporate entities don’t / won’t do anything to increase their revenue? Or that they wouldn’t / don’t push a point of view that benefits them directly? Or maybe it’s that you don’t think media concentration / consolidation has been detrimental to the free flow of information and ideas.

    I think it’s been pretty clear over the last decade or so that corporate entities will do absolutely anything to increase their profit margins, so why the doubt when it comes to the media empires?

  119. 119
    numbskull says:

    @Blue Carolinian:

    Yeah well, if it wasn’t for Gen X you would all be drinking Foldgers for coffee and Coors would be considered a “good” beer.

    It is to laugh.

  120. 120
    Trevor B says:

    I was in high school nearing draft age when we invaded Iraq, and I remember very clearly having a debate that overtook the class, I argued from the very beginning that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, or else we would have real evidence. If they didn’t believe me, then they should at least admit that Mutually assured destruction would keep iraq from using said weapons, I mean what do we have pea shooters? But in the end I was in the minority in the debate, I did end the debate with a snipe, History will tell us who is correct in this debate. Guess who was right. end rant

  121. 121
    numbskull says:

    @Blue Carolinian:

    See, this is why people shouldn’t be worried about China. Their strategic position sucks and all their neighbors hate them.

    Play a lot of Risk, do ya, binky? Dude, there a puh-lenty of reasons to be worried about China. Go spend some time there. Go do some deals with them.

    It’s edumacational.

  122. 122
    Svensker says:

    @sukabi:

    It’s not that I think that corporations or media conglomerates are good guys. It’s that I believe that, in general, they are conservative in the non-political sense — they don’t want to change the status quo. (Murdoch, I exempt — he seems much like Hearst, and not at all agin ginning up a war for ratings, although I think ideology is at play with him, too.)

    What I’m trying to say is that I think the pro-war media stance was not primarily about “great, this will get our ratings up and ad revenues, too, let’s do it!”

  123. 123
    johnsmith1882 says:

    What a crock of shit. John Cole, you think this is great that the press is adversarial towards Obama? Sure, it would be great if the press did it’s job evenly towards both sides, but it doesn’t. The press kowtowed towards Cheney, Rumsfeld, and W for eight years, and simply repeated what they said as Truth, rather than do any investigation. The press does nothing to dispute the lies from the right Today, including the birtherism, the alleged communism, Death Panels, etc. Obama is a center-right president, but you wouldn’t know that listening to the press today.

    I’m no espionage expert, but I knew the “evidence” the former administration trotted out there was bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. I demonstrated in the streets of Chicago. I told everyone who would listen (nobody) it was all lies. And yet, now, years after everything that came out the former administration’s mouth has been proven to be false, the neocon’s are still considered the “serious people” and lefties like me are too out there to be taken seriously. The press parses every word that comes out Obama’s mouth, searching for lies. A certain “news” organization flat-out makes up lies supposedly coming from Obama. And that gets a “Thank Goodness” from you. Yet, eight years of spurious evidence to wage a war, “deficits don’t matter”, torture, etc, etc, and nobody said a word. Nobody challenged the right. Nobody challenges the right today. The press only challenges the left.

    This story itself is the perfect example. Well, Curveball lied. There’s your scapegoat. Not the people who took the words of One Man and waged a war that has cost this country $1 Trillion and counting. How were we to know that the Bush administration lied about everything? It’s not our fault. We only voted for him. Twice. The second time after knowing full well that they were full of it. He sent us a $300 check in the mail and he’d be a swell guy to have a beer with.

    But now? Challenge every word that comes out Obama’s mouth! The fourth estate! Look at em doing their job. Death Panels? What about em? That’s so last year.

  124. 124
    catclub says:

    @liberal: “said that cutting government spending right now is totally f*cking crazy.”

    I think the GOP plan is to keep spouting absurdities until he explodes. Then pounce on the angry black man.

    I am amazed at how long he has gone without exploding.

  125. 125
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    @liberal:

    Ideology has debatable value to the country. Practical, empirical approaches to problems are far more useful.

  126. 126
    Tone in DC says:

    This Chuck Todd?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiYv0gVlgx0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nqLWm60FwQ

    Todd’s a waste of space. Blitzer is no better.

  127. 127
    schrodinger's cat says:

    During the Bush years the media were nothing more than courtiers at the palace of Versailles

  128. 128
    sukabi says:

    @Svensker: I’m not talking a “let’s pimp this war for ad revenue / ratings” — I personally think that’s a red herring, and an “easy out” for the talking heads that do / did pimp the war… I think it goes much deeper than that…

    adding that the huge corporations that own the media do have their own agendas, and if the main source of their revenue comes from defense contracts, then it stands to reason that nothing would be off the table to increase that revenue flow… after all, it’s not like ;they haven’t resorted to out right fraud on a massive scale to do just that.

  129. 129
    sukabi says:

    @sukabi: adding that defense contractor “misconduct” isn’t something new, and doesn’t exclude our favorite media giants.

  130. 130
    Jody says:

    Late to the game, but OF COURSE the press is being aggressive towards the White House. A Dem’s in office.

    Once a Republican is rightfully placed back in charge, the grownups will once again be in control and the press can get back to the Serious Business of cheerleading the next war.

  131. 131
    stuckinred says:

    @Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony: Yea, that’s it. Quantify everything. spit

  132. 132
    Haiwei says:

    Nobody had ever heard of “WMDs” before this. That suddenly this obfuscating term was everywhere was one clear give away that the Iraq push was more marketing campaign than legitimate security strategy.

  133. 133
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @homerhk:

    “I mean is that who we are as people?”

    Unfortunately the realistic answer is “yes, that is exactly who we are as people. Maybe not individually, but collectively, yes.”

  134. 134
    Jules says:

    @anothervoice:

    I think this part is what bothered me and would Chuck ever dare question a republican white President in this way? I don’t think so.

    FTFY

  135. 135
    licensed to kill time says:

    @El Cid: Yo creo que te amo, El Cid. Holy shit but I love your posts. You deserve front page status.

  136. 136
    MarkJ says:

    @johnsmith1882:
    I was struck by the same thing listening to Steve Inskeep on NPR interview Obama’s budget director this morning. He kept pushing about social security reform and I kept thinking “It’s medicare that’s going into the red, not social security” and you would think an NPR host would know that. He also pushed the line that they should adopt the defecit comission’s plan en toto.

    But no, everyone in the Village knows that something has to be done about social security, even though it is on pretty solid footing. Yet no one talks about bringing down health care costs, or defense spending, which are the big drivers of future deficits – well those and especially tax cuts. Of course we don’t talk about raising taxes on the rich in polite company.

  137. 137
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @stuckinred:

    Therefore, to compensate for the failure to produce the desired results in the field, the Kennedy administration soon created something quite extraordinary, a giant lying machine

    Sadly this is more or less the same strategy that the Western Allies used from 1914-1918 to hold on and then to eventually win the First World War. But it only just barely worked by the narrowest of margins, and that only with US intervention coming in the last year of the war. Without our help they would have been branded both sociopathic liars and losers.

  138. 138
    SRW1 says:

    What I’d like to know is why the ‘curveball’ guy remained on the pay list of the BND for years after his WMD lies were exposed. Which other dirty stuff was he involved in?

  139. 139
    johnsmith1882 says:

    @MarkJ:
    That’s just it, Mark. The political dynamic has shifted so far to the right over the last ten years, that even “liberal” outlets like NPR buy into the “serious people say the middle class has to eat more shit” line. What was moderately republican fifteen years ago is considered so far left today, it’s soshulism. The center today, like this blog, is what was firmly republican not so long ago. Which leaves liberals so far out of the equation, we’re the loons wayy over there out in left field. The problem is, we haven’t shifted left, everything else has shifted right. And we’ve had the unfortunate distinction of being Correct about most things. Yet we’re not to be taken seriously. Leave the conversation to the adults. The same adults who have squeezed the middle class, given the house away to the wealthy and corporations, created this seemingly permanent job/economic situation, got us stuck in two quagmire wars, tortured, are cutting the country’s safety net, etc, etc. You know, the people who f***ed this up in the first place.

  140. 140
    Lol says:

    “Overton window blah blah blah”, just another example

  141. 141
    Captain C says:

    @numbskull:

    The reason I knew with a dead certainty that there were no WMD is that I knew there was no way, no how they would send US troops in the unprepared manner they did if in fact Saddam had deployable WMD.

    Not necessarily. Perhaps I’m too cynical, but I could totally see the Cheney/Rumsfeld Gang using the gassing of American troops as a pretext to nuke the f*ck out of Iraq, and perhaps any of their neighbors who were/are inconsiderate enough to exist over Dick Cheney’s oil. Certainly, that gang has proven that they don’t care at all about the actual welfare of the soldiers, only their utility as Patriotic Props and muscle.

  142. 142
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Without our help they would have been branded both sociopathic liars and losers.

    No, they would have created their own Dolchstoßlegende, as was done in Germany, to dislocate their folly and stupidity onto someone else. Which is what happened in this country after Vietnam. It was those damn hippies, and the soldiers who failed (and were spit on…not in airports, but in VFW and American Legion halls…)

  143. 143
    stuckinred says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Same as it ever was.

  144. 144
    johnsmith1882 says:

    @SRW1:
    Who cares? This Curveball guy is a red herring. The real culprits are the government that used his “evidence” to rattle the sabers of war. “Hey, one guy said that Hussein has WMD. That’s enough for me, let’s start this mother up.” Not to mention the fact that W was looking for an excuse to invade Iraq since September, 12th, and probably before that.

    Have you seen ‘In the Loop’? Like that.

  145. 145
    Mnemosyne says:

    @El Cid:

    It’s also pretty recent on a historical scale because many of the same people involved in that war and/or in the last administration which waged it remain influential to this day.

    This really is the nugget of why comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam are perfectly apt: the same people who were involved in Nixon’s decisions about Vietnam are the ones who took us into Iraq. Cheney and Rumsfeld both worked for Nixon, FFS.

    It’s not like we’re comparing events of 75 years ago to today’s events. We’re pointing out that the very same people who were in the Republican administration during Vietnam put their greasy fingerprints all over Iraq.

  146. 146
    Mnemosyne says:

    I would be happier about the press being adversarial towards Obama if I didn’t know that the reason they’re adversarial is that they want him to kill Social Security and Medicare.

    The press is pushing the bullshit right-wing line that we have to cut cut cut everything in sight and they’re pissed that Obama is saying that’s a bad idea.

  147. 147
    filkertom says:

    Not a one-off. A Dem-off. Same ol’ same ol’. Democrats have to be challenged, Republicans are wise adults, IOKIYAR. Compounded by the fact that the guy’s, y’know, not quite white.

    If a Repub wins in 2012, our alleged press will be right back to kissing his or her ass.

  148. 148
    johnsmith1882 says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Not to mention that these same exact f***ing people were the ones who armed Hussein and bin Laden in the first place, under St. Ronald of Reagan.

  149. 149
    Merkin says:

    @AxelFoley:

    That’s just it, John. Only one person is “held accountable” in DC and that’s President Obama. No one in the House or Senate, no one on the Supreme Court, just the President.

    Of course if he had just used the bully pulpit….amirite?

  150. 150
    Pangloss says:

    @Svensker:

    The question is, why was the press so pro-war?

    NBC is owned by GE, which receives billions of dollars every year in defense contracts.

    Fox News is a rubber stamp for anything the Republicans want.

    ABC (owned by Disney), ClearChannel, CBS, and other media conglomerates all had FCC deregulatory proposals in front of the FCC, which was then controlled 3-2 by Republicans under Chairman Michael Powell, son of the then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.

  151. 151
    Merkin says:

    @anothervoice:

    I too was shocked at how aggressive the reporters were in questioning. I didn’t hear the whole but I did hear the questions before and after Chuck Todd. I tool liked it but, there was something the way Chuck Todd had phrased his question that bothered me; and it took me a little while to figure it out. What seemed like he was saying is that Obama should capitulated to the fiscal commission in every way and that Obama need not think on his own. I think this part is what bothered me and would Chuck ever dare question a republican in this way? I don’t think so.

    But, but, but, I thought if Obama just used the bully pulpit, the press would just have to report what he said. You mean they’re challenging what he said?

    Hoocoodanode

  152. 152
    sharl says:

    @El Cid:

    Magnificent.
    That is all.

  153. 153
    Brachiator says:

    Watching the President’s press conference, and I’m finding the press to be aggressive, suspicious, and adversarial. THANK GOODNESS.

    All this should have a purpose. For these guys, it’s just posturing.

  154. 154
    johnsmith1882 says:

    @Pangloss:
    Exactamundo. The “liberally biased” press is owned by corporate mega-conglomerates, which are, as we all know, oh so liberal.

  155. 155
    Captain C says:

    @sukabi:

    now poli sci majors are given “Dirty, Sexy Politics” to read… well at least in Meghan McCain’s mind…

    That book has the wrong-est cover of any political tome that I’ve ever seen, and the back is worse. Someone needs to photoshop a cigarette into the elephant’s trunk on the back-cover photo of that book.

  156. 156
    JWL says:

    I can recall thee exact moment in the summer of 2002 when I knew the administration intended to unleash war against Iraq. I was listening to a radio report (the gist of which, much less its wording, I forget), and I knew without a shadow of doubt. I understood they were capable of committing any crime; a fact that even today some people have difficulty admitting, even those who know it to be true.

    I believe the dissemination of patent falsehoods intended to steer this nation to war is treason. I believed that then, and I believe it today.

    I was also aware that credulous people would credit their lies as truth.

    But my own credulity was exposed when congress stampeded. I thought it inconceivable that could happen after the debacle of Vietnam.

  157. 157
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    In general terms I think you are correct that every lost war generates a search for domestic enemies to pin the blame on. Having said that, the German dolchstosslegende had unique circumstances in the bizarre and dysfunctional distribution of formal and practical power in Imperial Germany and the dishonest way that the German Supreme Command under Ludendorff’s leadership begged the govt to ask the Allies for an armistice “because the Army needs a breathing space” and then disclaimed responsibility for having done so and changed their tune about whether the war was hopelessly lost, while at the same time helping to bring down both the sitting government and the entire constitutional structure.

    It is difficult to imagine any of the Western Powers losing not only the war but also completely overturning their domestic constitution at the very same time that their military authorities were both shutting down the war effort and passing the blame for doing so on a govt. that didn’t even exist yet.

    I suppose that the French might have tried something like that, but they would have fucked it all up. Only the Germans were simultaneously both efficient enough and crazy enough to pull off a stunt like that.

  158. 158
    Captain C says:

    @El Cid:

    On the other hand, the most vicious backers of Central American carnage were brought back for the Bush Jr. administration—Elliot Abrams, for example, pulled out all the stops in lying about and pressuring major papers to stop accurately covering El Salvadoran death squad massacres (El Mozote, for example), and then was brought back as a special adviser to Bush Jr. for global democracy efforts.

    I always wondered why more people didn’t notice the obvious connection to the Central American death squad policies when John Negroponte was sent to Iraq. Sure enough, soon after he arrived, we started hearing about various Shiite (and other) death squads going after uncooperative Sunnis, just like in El Salvador 20 years before (substituting uncooperative farmers for Sunnis).

  159. 159
    chris says:

    @licensed to kill time:
    THIS. Lots of you guys say interesting things, but I search the thread for El Cid’s comments.

  160. 160
    Cris says:

    @geg6: You are quite a bit younger than I am and didn’t live through Vietnam and Watergate and are way too young to have understood Iran Contra at the time.

    geg, John is the same age as me — we’re both 41. And I’ll just go ahead and speak for John and say this wasn’t about youth. I saw right through the lies, and I was absolutely aghast that Hillary Clinton and John Kerry didn’t (or worse, knew they were lies and went along with them).

    And speaking of Iran-Contra, I was a Reagan Youth, a serious little teen who thought the Gipper was all that and more (I had the official presidential photo taped to my locker door. Really.) And yet, even I could see at the time that selling weapons to the Ayatollah to fund death squads was far from a “neat idea.”

  161. 161
    anothervoice says:

    @merkin

    I have no issue with the press challenging what he said. The way I heard Chuck make the question was that why didn’t Obama just *capitulate* to what the commission said to do. This is where I see a dichotomy in the narrative – on the one hand they say Obama doesn’t lead, but here he decided he liked somethings in the commission but not all; and went with what he thought was best. On the other hand, Obama is now arrogant for not simply following what Chuck thinks he should do.

  162. 162
    Mnemosyne says:

    @anothervoice:

    What seemed like he was saying is that Obama should capitulated to the fiscal commission in every way and that Obama need not think on his own.

    Of course, when people like Todd talk about “the report from the deficit commission,” they’re talking about the Bowles/Simpson PowerPoint presentation that deliberately undermined the commission, and not the actual commission’s actual report.

    They don’t want the proposals of the real commission to go into effect, because they’re stuff like raising the SS tax cap to $250,000. So they deliberately pretend that the PowerPoint presentation was the commission’s report and we should all ignore the real one.

  163. 163
    Gozer says:

    So he’s living in Germany? Why isn’t his fuckin’ ass in Iraq enjoying the fruits of his labor?

  164. 164
    Tev says:

    “This seems worthy of making some headlines”

    It shouldn’t.
    It’s been at least 5 years since the book “Curveball” laid out the clearest explanation ever for why he lied, how he lied, when he lied, to who he lied and the results of those lies.

    “Mike Tyson Admits Punching People For Money”

  165. 165
    Merkin says:

    @anothervoice:

    on the one hand they say Obama doesn’t lead, but here he decided he liked somethings in the commission but not all; and went with what he thought was best. On the other hand, Obama is now arrogant for not simply following what Chuck thinks he should do.

    I think you misunderstand. He doesn’t “lead” because he doesn’t just do what Chuck thinks he should.

  166. 166
    Triassic Sands says:

    If we just keep looking, eventually we will find Saddam’s WMDs.

  167. 167
    pattonbt says:

    I do not believe age had anything to do with supporting/not supporting the Iraq war (or seeing through the BS). I have essentially the exact same background as Cole (minus ever being anything but a pretty liberal person my whole life) and I knew from minute one when Bush got elected the chances of invading Iraq were high. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where Bush was headed and causes for war are always there if you want them (whether they are justifiable or not). I mean Bush hired the entire PNAC team to run his foreign policy side and the only thing they ever consistently stood for was invading Iraq. 9/11 or not, Iraq was going to happen whether the populace wanted it or not. 9/11 just made it easier for people to accept being bent over and powerless (and give them a warhawk chubby).

    Without 9/11 the Iraq war sales job would have just taken more time and more heated drumming of whatever BS threat worked best on that day. No made up excuse would be left unturned and eventually Bush and team would have gotten what they wanted. All Bush and team had to do was keep goading Saddam in some fashion or another and keep moving the goalposts and keep threatening until the story became the lead every night and eventually the US “would tire” of “Saddam’s intransigence” of something or other and the dogs would be let loose. It really was not hard to see.

    I could rant for days on the specifics and my beliefs etc., but thats not for here. Plus, too many people of prestige and power (and rank and file) were invested on the approval side of the war in the beginning they just can not (or refuse to or do not want to) believe they were so fallible that any retrospective review that shows this will be swept quietly under the rug.

    People hate having their noses rubbed into their own shit, especially when it cost so many lives (and our economy) so the best thing for them to do is just say “shit happened” and move along. And to those who think the US learned any lesson from Iraq, think again, ten/twenty years from now we’ll be right back at it again.

  168. 168
    PanurgeATL says:

    @Blue Carolinian:

    Because the reason we’re here as a country is because we didn’t resolve things properly back then. As for GenX, what can you say about a generation even whose COUNTERCULTURE is essentially reactionary?

  169. 169
    Bob says:

    What bugs me is that there’s a prevalent belief that liberals didn’t oppose the war, or opposed it just for hippie reasons or because they thought it was over oil and for some reason, that’s not a rational thought.

    I still remember when Markos Moulitsas got excoriated for calling Blackwater’s Iraq employees mercenaries, and that he had no sympathy for them, but the response ignored the truth that..well….Blackwater ended up being proven to be mercenaries years later.

    Likewise, we all read the Ritter reports, were told that Al Jazeera wasn’t a legit news organization, were told that we were a fifth column, etc. etc., but years later, those who got it wrong have a tendency to rewrite history and claim that liberals didn’t have the right reasons either! (see Megan McArdle’s half-assed iraq apology shit for instance)

  170. 170
    jim says:

    @Maude: Of course John Kerry “is no fool” He married into money where you can pretty much do and say anything your little patronizing heart desires.

  171. 171
    Tev says:

    WTF? Where is the Joe-Wilson-style hero worship for this 2nd guy who pimped in support of the war and then admitted what he knew only after the rest of the world realised there were no WMDs.

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