You know what happened? I was proved fucking right.

Ten years on, you hear a few mea culpas from the people who were wrong, but you don’t hear much from the ones who were right.  It’s almost like we don’t exist.

Many of us were right about Iraq from the get-go.  For that monstrous crime, some of you had your lives threatened, some had your livelihoods or career prospects damaged, some were assaulted, and most were certainly pilloried and abused.  All of us had our patriotism and love of our country attacked.

We were attacked by own government.  It was galling enough to have my honor and patriotism impugned by the white feather brigade, but to have it questioned by erstwhile friends, but to have it questioned by men with whom I’d served?  I know that some of you out there who were right from the beginning on this issue also were questioned by your employers.  I for one am certain that I got a negative NCOER and missed a promotion in the National Guard because of it.  I’m somewhat less certain, but I’m pretty sure my truck was vandalized during a drill weekend in the armory parking lot as well.

Two things have not ever happened to my recollection, and they most likely never will.

The vast majority of the people who attacked us will never say they are sorry.  Whether they, like Dick Cheney, suffer from delusions of adequacy and believe that their behavior was correct, or they just don’t want to get too deep into the self-examination and admission game, they won’t say “I’m sorry I wronged you.”  That would require more than a sense of having been wrong.  It would require a sense of guilt or shame.  That’s not something one finds in abundance in politicians or reporters or other public personages.  Or conservatives as a group, for that matter.

The vast majority of the people who attacked us will never ever ever admit that we were in fact right.  Your blog host is a notable exception on both these fronts.  One guy with whom I served has told me that I was right and he was wrong.  You will not see Phil Donohue, Ashleigh Banfield, or Keith Olbermann back on MSNBC.  You will not see Eric Shinseki held up by Congress for accolades for being right about the number of troops or the time-frame it would take.  See Guilt or Shame, lack of sense of for that.  For most of them, their previous advocacy of the war and their concommittant ugly behavior is well down the memory hole.

192 replies
  1. 1
    Redshirt says:

    Powerful writing Sooner. Thank you. It’s all worth it now, right?

    I like feeling right, in the moment AND in retrospect. Like now.

    Not all of us were brainwashed by 9/11 fever.

  2. 2
    David Koch says:

    Hillary Clinton STILL refuses to admit she was wrong for cheerleading the rape of Iraq.

  3. 3
    ruemara says:

    what ye said

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Leeds man says:

    Different time, different bad guys, but fitting title.

  6. 6
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Being wrong the same way everyone else was wrong, and at the same time, is a way better career move than being right too early, or being right at the right time, or even being right after the fact, but in an unacceptable and provocative way.

    It’s not seemly.

  7. 7
    Maude says:

    There was such hysteria about the war. It was all USA is over all.
    It brought out the barbarians. Bush was adored because he was a man’s man.
    Anyone who spoke against the war was shut up in a hurry.
    What an awful time.

  8. 8
    Schlemizel says:

    Sooner, I am an old man and I am here to tell you it WILL be WORSE. 35 years from today you will be able to read the horseshit from some brain damaged jizz stain explaining how we woulda won in Iraq except the liberals in DC wanted us to lose.

    Then, assuming you are a human with human emotions you will have to actively restrain yourself from chocking the living shit said jizz stain who so richly deserves it while wishing slow, painful deaths on the people who enable him and swift ignored ones on those who believe him.

  9. 9
    Not Sure says:

    I was also right, right along with you. But I kept my head down, got my 20 year letter, and retired in April of 2004. “No, I do not want to do just one more drill next month,” I told the sergeant major. “If I did that, I might get stop-lossed,” I reminded myself. I got out while the getting was good, and just in the (ta-da) nick of time, too, since my unit was in Iraq that summer.

    And no, I don’t regret it for one minute, as much as I enjoyed serving in the Army Reserve. And it was enjoyable, most of the time, when I wasn’t weighing and tape-measuring all the fatasses after morning PT. Yeah, that was one of my jobs. While I didn’t get a negative NCOER (that I was actually given to read, since I was already retired), I also didn’t get the usual Meritorious Service Medal that they give out to just about everybody else who called it a career, regardless of their actual service, meritorious or otherwise. So to the extent that I care about those things, I kinda, sorta feel your pain.

  10. 10
    Hungry Joe says:

    I’ve had people tell me that, well, maybe the war was a mistake and I was right after all, but I was right for all the wrong reasons — believing untrustworthy people like Blix and Ritter, for example — which is actually worse than being wrong, because they were wrong for all the right reasons.

    Since there are, theoretically, an infinite number of universes, there’s bound to be at least one in which that makes sense.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    Yay us.

  12. 12
    Ben Franklin says:

    Sooner; I applaud your courageous push-back. The speechifying by Cheney and Bush indicated there was ‘no doubt’ about WMD, when there was much doubt, in reality.

    But you were in the reserves. Isn’t that correct? Wasn’t there a lot of reservists who were blind-sided by the idea they might actually have to go into combat? Not that that was your protest, but isn’t that a reality?

  13. 13
    Mary G says:

    I didn’t get around to commenting on John’s post, but it is the best “I was wrong” that I’ve seen, not that I’ve seen that many.

    At the time, I was in community college looking to retrain for something instead of applying for Social Security disability. I fell into the journalism class and onto the school paper. I wrote an opinion piece opposing the war and I am very proud of it, if I do say so myself.

    I got one email from a woman my age agreeing with me, and a bunch of crap about how I was a DFH who hated America and wanted the terrorists to win from others.

    I could understand that, because I thought it came from fear after 9/11.

    What I hated worse was the majority opinion, which was “who cares? No one I know is in the military” from almost all of the 19-year-olds around me. Ugh.

  14. 14
    MikeJ says:

    @David Koch:

    Hillary Clinton STILL refuses to admit she was wrong for cheerleading the rape of Iraq.

    That was really the deal breaker for me in ’08. If she does run in ’16, I really want to hear that she’s learned something. I’d still vote for her if she got the nom, but without some sign of understanding I will work as hard as I can against that happening.

  15. 15
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Ben Franklin: I was an Infantryman. Also, I already had my CIB from Panama and had been in the desert for the previous Iraq stint.
    And so while I wasn’t at all surprised that we would go to combat at some point and was better mentally prepared than most guys in the unit, there were a lot of guys who were shocked to actually have to go. And the guys who did everything they could to weasel out of the mission–they were some of the loudest and the proudest of the cheerleaders. Some cliches exist for a reason.

  16. 16
    Anne Laurie says:

    Thank you for writing this, Sooner. And even more important, for being right, and speaking out. After all, most of the (minority) of “us” who were “prematurely anti” Shock’n’Awe (to recycle a phrasing from my parents’ generation) had nothing more at stake than getting yelled at by people who we mostly didn’t care about.

    The vast majority of the people who attacked us will never say they are sorry. Whether they, like Dick Cheney, suffer from delusions of adequacy and believe that their behavior was correct, or they just don’t want to get too deep into the self-examination and admission game, they won’t say “I’m sorry I wronged you.” That would require more than a sense of having been wrong. It would require a sense of guilt or shame. That’s not something one finds in abundance in politicians or reporters or other public personages. Or conservatives as a group, for that matter.

    QFT.

  17. 17
    Soonergrunt says:

    @David Koch: That was the deciding factor for me in voting for Obama in the OK Dem primary. Not that it mattered all that much.

  18. 18
    mellowjohn says:

    one of the best moments of my life was the night – after we watched the movie friendly fire – my mother said “you were right. we were wrong.”
    we’d had major fights about this all thru the viet nam war.

  19. 19
    scav says:

    Ouch, wasn’t exactly prepared for how anger I’d packed away into that song.

  20. 20
    BAtFFP says:

    Thank you. Here in liberal Seattle (a decadent enclave on the coast!) there were the usual ignored protests, marches, etc. At the time I lived down the street from the Asteroid Cafe, which made the No Iraq War signs everyone seemed to have. And yet the local newspapers mocked us (no real surprise there, coming from the Seattle Times) and columnists said that we were naive and the loud people on the national news looked forward to gloating when the war would wrap up in a couple of weeks, we would all get another check from GWB for our success, and libs would be forced to STFU forever.

    I’m sad that I was right about the war. But goddammit, there are few things in life that I have been totally right about. And the Iraq War was one of them.

    ETA: Nobody gave a shit what I thought and I never spoke out where it could have cost me, because I was a student and worked retail for a flamingly liberal independent book store. Thanks to everyone who did.

  21. 21
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Not Sure: “But I kept my head down, got my 20 year letter,”
    You don’t know how many times since then I wished I’d kept my mouth shut. But I just couldn’t do it. To this day I wonder how many other guys agreed with me but were smarter about it.

  22. 22
    elftx says:

    Happy Iraq Day! And just how many days since Mission Accomplished? I too recall those that looked at me funny or turned away or implied my patriotism was a bit skewed, even after pointing out PNAC and how those assholes were following their own god damned book.

    And to think that poor Louie Gohmert in stating we could have won, does not understand the foresight of Cheney or Romney in their patriotic dodge of Vietnam because now you can go to Saigon and tour the tunnels.

  23. 23
    Yutsano says:

    :: applause ::

  24. 24
    double nickel says:

    Tell it to Natalie Maines.

  25. 25
    Baud says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Seconded. I suffered nothing in my personal life;just sadness for the country.

  26. 26
    Sawgrass Stan says:

    Thanks, Sooner. Hell of a post; it had to be a lot harder for you to be right when you were military. Kudos for not backing down.
    Hey, remember when Bill O said if they didn’t find WMD’s in Iraq, he’d never trust the Bushies again?

    That’s OK, Bill doesn’t remember either.

  27. 27
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Anyone who lived here during the insanity of the runup to the Iraq War knows that 1930s Germany was not some never to be repeated fluke.

    The lust for war and monolithic stupidity are fundamental to humankind.

  28. 28
    Tom says:

    Had an argument with a man boobed right winger in my favorite lunch pizza place. It was 2004 and I was talking to an undecided voter about Iraq. No WMD no connection to 9/11 etc,therefore Iraq was a clusterfuck that disqualified the Bushies from a second term.ManBoobs buts in saying only cowards were opposed to going into Iraq. I immediately asked him outside and turned for the door. Got halfway there and turned only to see him rooted in place. Went back and called him out again. He called me an asshole and I told him this asshole will be waiting for your ass outside. I waited 10 minutes just out of sight next to the door hoping he’d come out. Punk sent a guy out to look and never came out. Calmed down,went back to work. Went back next day to apologize to the owners and they said he said to them he thought he should eat his pizza there rather than takeout.The whole place saw his walk of shame to a table.I think I’d still punch him today.Almost as big an asshole as the Keyboard Kommandos.

  29. 29
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @David Koch:

    Hillary Clinton STILL refuses to admit she was wrong for cheerleading the rape of Iraq.

    One of the many reasons I hope she is never president.

  30. 30
    geg6 says:

    And I meant to say, Sooner, that this is maybe the best thing I’ve seen you write here. Really good and really heartfelt.

    You were brave and you sacrificed, even in your dissent. I’m grateful.

  31. 31
    Schlemizel says:

    @elftx:

    43 days

    He gave that speech on May Day, 2003

    Damn, it makes me wish there was a Hell and Boy Blunder would spend eternity selecting pineapples with Hitler

  32. 32
    hitchhiker says:

    Tonight my car radio was tuned to NPR, where I was treated to their giving a few minutes of air time to one of Rumsfeld’s aides. This guy mansplained very clearly that he saw all the same intel as Uncle Don, and it was like 85% certainty that there were WMD.

    Then I remembered why I don’t give a flying fart what they broadcast anymore, and turned the dial just as they were doing the reminder that a spring pledge drive is about to begin.

    Ha ha ha ha.

  33. 33
    JPL says:

    Sooner, Should you really be criticizing the Government while our men are serving honorably overseas and risking their lives?

  34. 34
    jl says:

    I keep forgetting it is the ten year anniversary of that mess. I keep forgetting and don’t have the anger maybe because, living in an liberal part of the country, I was merely ridiculed and patronized. I don’t know anyone who paid a price around here other than being ridiculed and patronized.

    But even in SF Bay, seems like those with my view were in the minority.

    I could not believe the number of people who actively supported the invasion, or were willing to give Dub and his buddies that benefit of the doubt.

    I heard the response “We have to do SOMETHING!” a number of times. I countered with the fact that we had already done SOMETHING rather significant and risky: we invaded Afghanistan. Maybe that was enough on our plate for now, leaving aside the fact that invading Iraq was a dumb move that had nothing to do with 911.

    I read a piece where Wolfowitz said the war ‘spun out of control’. Well, well, dude, several thousand years of human history say that wars tend to do that, much more often than not. A glorious little war, it wasn’t.

    It was a massive blunder and crime. But Very Serious People who share responsibility and complicity in that blunder and crime tell us to be polite.

    Hell with that. We are being polite. Maybe we should show them ‘direct’ and then ‘impolite’ if they don’t understand.

  35. 35
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Schlemizel:

    it makes me wish there was a Hell and Boy Blunder would spend eternity selecting pineapples with Hitler

    Barack Obama has entertained George Bush at the white house. Apparently he does not feel the same way.

  36. 36
    John Cole says:

    The worst thing is I probably would have mocked you and made fun of you.

    I shouldn’t even be allowed to drive a car.

  37. 37
    JPL says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Careful before you make a decision.. i.e. Clinton vs. Cruz Clinton vs. Paul
    Sometimes it is the lesser of two evils. I do wonder why Bill Clinton is getting involved in Kentucky politics though.. just fuck ..

  38. 38

    @Ben Franklin: Reservists have a right to be wrong, nobody is going to hold it against them. It is the politicians and their enablers in the punditry and the press whose wrongness needs to be acknowledged and apologized for.

  39. 39
    JPL says:

    @John Cole: well no shit.. you can’t even walk a dog without breaking something

  40. 40
    Schlemizel says:

    @JPL:

    Please do not respond to Douche & Bag. Allow them to wallow in the shit they smear in the desperate loneliness they deserve.

    They are not interested in debate or conversation. They want only to smear shit all over the site so as to prevent the intelligent and capable people who do meet here for good reasons cannot enjoy the opportunity but are forced to wallow in the shit they smear.

  41. 41
    Mothra1 says:

    A coworker and I were having a friendly lunch with our supervisor. We both believed that there just wasn’t sufficient proof, both felt we were being conned. She and I both told our supervisor how we felt, and she said “We have to-or else just live in fear”. I still didn’t agree, but we dropped it. There wasn’t any way to counter the media narrative.

    Remember the massive protest against the war, and how it was dismissed by the cons who later told us of the might of the powerful Tea Party rallies, attended by a few hundred people?

  42. 42
    jl says:

    @JPL: Cole’s karma might be working in tiny little pieces (for example, his beloved mustard disappears).

    Either Cole is being spared in order to do good works and redeem himself in the future, or it is actually the worst kind of payback that will slowly, by tiny bits, drive him completely mad (or even madder).

  43. 43
    JPL says:

    Let us remember that Lindsay is now calling for troops in Syria.

  44. 44
    Narcissus says:

    @Hungry Joe: Pre-mature anti-fascist.

    I see AL got there first.

    http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/scw/knox.htm

  45. 45
    the Conster says:

    I blame Bush and Cheney, but they were who we – the ones here who didn’t believe a word they said – thought they were. The real failure was our media. We got to vote out the politicians responsible for the Iraq clusterfuck, but how do we get rid of the scum that is our media?

  46. 46
    jl says:

    @Mothra1:

    ” Remember the massive protest against the war, and how it was dismissed by the cons who later told us of the might of the powerful Tea Party rallies, attended by a few hundred people? ”

    Now, that… that I do remember every time I see one of those corporate hacks on TV or read them in the WaPo and other disreputable Very Serious Press.

  47. 47
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Schlemizel:

    lol

  48. 48
    WereBear says:

    Thank you for your service. In whatever capacity.

    Telling the truth is the highest calling, after all.

    Peace & love, out.

  49. 49
    eemom says:

    Someone may have linked this already, but not to be missed:
    Letter to Bush and Cheney from a Dying Veteran

  50. 50
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Schlemizel:

    They are not interested in debate or conversation. They want only to smear shit all over the site so as to prevent the intelligent and capable people who do meet here for good reasons cannot enjoy the opportunity but are forced to wallow in the shit they smear.

    Did I hurt your fee fees at some point, little one?

  51. 51
    Scamp Dog says:

    I was sort-of right. I thought the rationale was bogus, and the war was generally a bad idea, but never bothered to do anything about it. I also had no idea how incompetently the war would be prosecuted. I had no idea it would be run by people who more or less thought “Hey, we just make things go boom, and once we get to Baghdad we’ve won, right?”

    So I’ll give myself a B-, and Soonergrunt gets the A.

  52. 52

    It was like the whole country had an attack of stupid. And Bush and his government by sloganeering got away with a lot. Almost like they used 1984 as a how to manual. Off the top of my head, the stupidest things I heard.

    1. The obviously fraudulent case for the war, which many bought into, unquestioningly.
    2. Fight them there so that we don’t have to fight them here.
    3. Freedom Fries
    4. We will be greeted with flowers.
    5. This war will spread democracy in the Middle East.

  53. 53
    JPL says:

    @Scamp Dog: CNN was on top of all the threats and they showed a drone which looked a lot like model airplanes the boys and I would fly. It was quite comical in a sick sorta way.

  54. 54
    Skepticat says:

    Ten years ago I was living, as I do today, as an ex-pat for half the year. I was besides myself over the US going into Iraq and wrote Bush an email saying “You have made America a rogue country.” It may not be a coincidence that after that my flying commercial, which happily I do infrequently, has been a nightmare. My Bahamian, Canadian, German, Austrian, and South African friends here were very cautious around me until they perceived my fury, at which point they were frank in their dismay–just as they now are very supportive of President Obama’s attitude.

    The Bahamian prime minister made a very Churchillian radio address to the country, and I only wish I could give you an idea of the tone of voice and facial expression of my less-than-worldly young carpenter, who said in a tone of total disgust and disbelief, “Dat Bush, he a natural fool.”

  55. 55
    joel hanes says:

    Don’t be too hard on yourself, Cole.

    Leave that to us.

  56. 56
    jl says:

    @JPL:

    I think the shock of attacks affected people’s judgment.

    I remember stories about the miniature airplane weapons of mass destruction drones, the obviously absurd canvas covered utility truck mobile chem and biological weapons labs, and thought they were so stupid that they must spread doubts about the propaganda.

    I thought the speeches and briefings by Powell and Rummy and Rice were such ridiculous and transparent melange propaganda lies and misdirection, that they would backfire. I was wrong.

    I was in some of the big demonstrations here, and thought that thousands of people out on the streets would do something.

    But seems like more than half the country had lost any sense of judgment.

  57. 57
    JPL says:

    I do think for me, the biggest disappointment was the Washington Post. The new pages had Walter Pincus with actual facts and the opinion pages had bomb, bomb, bomb. The bombs won.
    In a time of war you can’t question the pres unless he’s a black democrat.

  58. 58
    Chris says:

    I for one am certain that I got a negative NCOER and missed a promotion in the National Guard because of it. I’m somewhat less certain, but I’m pretty sure my truck was vandalized during a drill weekend in the armory parking lot as well.

    I was staggered when I first heard it and am so sorry that that happened.

    Like I posted in another thread… a similar thing happened to my grandpa after he went on record saying Vietnam was a “dumb war,” which was more overt and on the public record, but still – it’s not like officers’ activism FOR the war will ever be punished in a similar way. This shit is, apparently, accepted practice. Yech.

  59. 59
    RSR says:

    right for the wrong reasons

    Most of the fifth paragraph applies to Wall St as well, but their warfare is less obvious and more insidious. Still causes millions of casualties.

    I’ve got to say, this is a bitter anniversary. I was a new consumer of blogs and online activism ten years ago, driven to it by the looming war. I needed to find others who opposed the war, and I did.

    I feel bad for those who at that time had, in a manner, some ‘cred’ in the arena. Like our friend and neighbor, Duncan, who most know as Atrios. In the last couple days he wrote how ten years ago his opposition, as strong as it was, had to be anonymous.

    I could go on, but not now.

    Goodnight

  60. 60

    @jl:

    think the shock of attacks affected people’s judgment.

    I think you are right about that.
    Like cats and redirected aggression. Once my big boy cat was being taunted from outside the french window by the neighbor’s cat in the yard. He couldn’t go out and beat the crap out of him so he attacked my sweet innocent orange girl cat instead.

    ETA: So many people just wanted revenge, they wanted to attack someone, anyone, did not matter if they were not directly related to 9/11.

  61. 61
    Suffern ACE says:

    @JPL: god, I hope if we do, Russia comes up with some excuse to shut off our supply line to Afghanistan and Pakistan decides to do the same. I know that would make the war there really expensive. But if our leaders can’t get their heads out their asses and read maps, we might as well go under.

  62. 62
    scav says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: It’s like every morphed into the stupid dumb mean American caricature that I’d never quite believed except as hyperbole and now they’re not only here, they’re the howling baying majority.

  63. 63
    Scamp Dog says:

    I went over to National Review Online to see how they were handling the anniversary…what, something significant happened 10 years ago? Do tell, what?

    There’s a slide show, mostly of our troops in action, with little acknowledgement that things may not have turned out so well. After a dozen photos or so, there was one of a burning Humvee, captioned

    Car bombs and IEDs — “improvised explosive devices” — would come to play a prominent role in insurgent attacks on coalition forces, necessitating new combat tactics and equipment.

    Over at The Corner, the first sign of anything related to the war is well down the page, a post titled “Krauthammer’s Take: Future of Iraq ‘Indeterminate,’ Obama ‘botched it’. It has a clip of a Fox News discussion; I decided not to play it, figuring the post’s title had the money quote. So that’s your conservative movement’s take on things.

  64. 64
    JPL says:

    @jl: Many still think they found weapons of mass destruction.

    But seems like more than half the country had lost any sense of judgment.

    I’m not sure how to convince folks that being an aggressor is not a good thing without mention that godwin thing.

  65. 65
    Yutsano says:

    Am I the only one who noticed Sooner has a TARDIS?

  66. 66
    TriassicSands says:

    It was galling enough to have my honor and patriotism impugned by the white feather brigade,

    Those were and are people whose opinions I simply don’t value. I never cared what they thought of me or my opinion of the wars — I opposed any war begun and waged by GW Bush, a man whose incompetence made him unfit to be a peace time president, and a man I didn’t trust to do anything involving him as commander-in-chief. It simply doesn’t matter when stupid and incompetent people call other people traitors.

    I still believe that there is an excellent chance that historians will identify the two Bush Administrations — eight years of radicalism proving that Republicans can’t govern — as the turning point after which the US never regained its former stature in the world. I won’t live to see it — such a verdict is likely decades away — but I expect it will happen. Bush/Cheney had decadence written all over them.

  67. 67
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Yutsano: The fucking publishing scheduler fucked everything up.*

    *translation–I tried to use the publishing scheduler and I fucked it all up.

  68. 68
    PeakVT says:

    Something else to remember on this 10th anniversary is that the Iraq War was a conflict Bush’s cronies wanted to have since before he took office. 9/11 was used as an excuse.

    And now that I’ve remember that, I need a drink.

  69. 69
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    If you served in Vietnam then you were more likely to know that going into Iraq was insanity. The U.S. seems to regard war in the same way that an addict/alcoholic regards their chosen substance; I know that it’s bad for me and that things went terribly wrong the last time, but this time I’ll get it right.

    We didn’t get it right back when I was serving, we didn’t get it right in Iraq or Afghanistan either. By God we’ll get it right the next time – or the time after that, or the time after that.

  70. 70
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Scamp Dog: what exactly were they expecting? After awhile it became clear that they didn’t care about the future of anything, let alone Iraq. Oh, now that were gone they’re fighting a little again. What’s it to him? Did he think that if everyone was rosy, the next invasion would be easier? Or that the case would be easier to make the next time. I’d like to say that the Iraqis we killed and who killed each other and our soldiers we lost didn’t die for nothing. That they may have saved countless lives of others who we would have thought prudent to occupy. But a lot of our leaders didn’t learn a damn thing.

  71. 71
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Nicely said, Sooner.

    For most of them, their previous advocacy of the war and their concommittant ugly behavior is well down the memory hole.

    I remember. Hell, I remember even for the people who did say they were sorry. Forgiven, but not forgotten in their cases.

  72. 72
    Gary K says:

    On this anniversary, let’s also remember the courageous resignation of Robin Cook. I wish it could have turned the tide.

  73. 73
    nancydarling says:

    I organized an anti-war rally in the lead up to the war. The worst that happened to me was being called a “fucking communist” by someone driving by and a steroid crazed guy who worked in a gym that was on my corner threatened my people. I had people who wouldn’t give me their email because their spouse worked in the defense industry and they feared reprisals if the word got out. Clear Channel radio stations organized a huge one day counter rally. I was interviewed by the local paper and they twisted the things I said.

    I stopped my rally a few days into the war. The 4th man killed, Jose Gutierrez, lived with his adoptive family just a few blocks from my rally and I couldn’t bear to cause them any pain. I joined another rally several miles away.

    Gutierrez was from Central America. He rode the rails across Mexico when he was a young teen and wound up in Torrance, CA. He joined up because he wanted to repay the country he had come to love. I think he was given citizenship posthumously. He wanted to be an architect when his military term was up.

    Vaya con dios, Jose.

  74. 74
    Chris says:

    @JPL:

    Many still think they found weapons of mass destruction.

    I’ve repeated this story before, because it bears repeating; there was a fellow AU student who worked her way through the same international relations and national security studies program as me, graduated with, I think, even better grades than me, and yet, somehow, managed to make it through that entire process without ever discovering that we hadn’t found WMDs in Iraq.

    (Her reaction when I finally broke the news to her in late 2009; “Oh! He must’ve moved them to Syria!”)

    She now works for the Department of Defense.

  75. 75

    I wrote a long reply to jl and WP seems to have eated it.

  76. 76
    Yutsano says:

    @Soonergrunt: I though I was going meschugnah for a second. I am sick but still at work so delusion is possible.

  77. 77
    geg6 says:

    @jl:

    This is why I thank FSM for the blogs. I had driven myself half insane with fury and disgust and it was about that time that I discovered the lefty bloggers. It was such a relief to find that I and my family weren’t the only ones who were in such despair. I’d tried to change peoples’ minds myself and was ridiculed and ignored. I’d marched with thousands of others in Pittsburgh and those who were doing the same all over America and the world and the only attention we got was to be treated as a joke by the media. I was beside myself and found the blogs. They saved, if not my life, my sanity.

  78. 78
    raven says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: I just didn’t know. I didn’t have any problem with anyone who protested but I just wasn’t sure enough to do it myself. I knew that Powell had a peripheral involvement with My Lai but I just couldn’t believe that an infantry commander in Vietnam would stand up there and lie about WMD. I once wanted to be a pacifist but learned I really wasn’t. There’s a lot of “bloodthirsty” thrown around here but, at the time, it seemed like the mushroom cloud wasn’t that far fetched. I was wrong, lot’s of you were right.

  79. 79
    Lord Jesus Perm says:

    +1, Sooner.

    Nothing more need be said, really.

  80. 80
    LeftCoastTom says:

    @MikeJ: This is where I am (and was) as well. Yes, I was also right from the beginning, and looking back I really don’t see why that should have been so difficult. I vividly remember a layover in Paris (flying to Geneva, I was skiing), picking up an International Herald Tribune, reading of Colin Powell’s Yellowcake Bullshit, and instantly coming up with “liar”. It was simply obvious, partly because the Shrubbies were plainly desperate for war with Iraq BEFORE 9/11, and because they were so plainly disappointed when it turned out bin Laden was being sheltered by a different country.

    If it’s Hillary vs. anyone who could possibly get past the Wingnut Primaries, then it’s Hillary by far. If it’s Hillary vs. some marginally reasonable Democrat in a primary, I really want her to say something about why she fucked up so badly and how this would not happen again, which she refused to do in 2008 (and, I really want her to not hire Lanny Davis, Mark Penn, et. al. (at least she didn’t hire Dick Morris in 2008…)).

  81. 81
    MomSense says:

    Anyone else remember that about 5 minutes into the war we were seeing horrific footage of massive bomb blasts in Baghdad and when the networks interrupted the footage they all had specially created theme music with graphics? I don’t know why that would bother me so much but I remember feeling at the time that they probably had meetings and spent money and hired people to come up with those things so eager to associate themselves and market the war. But what if they had actually invested serious energy in investigating the claims. There were some exceptions. Knight Ridder did great reporting. PRIs This American Life did great reporting FFS. The Financial Times of London did a number of stories even interviewing the former CIA interrogator involved in debriefing Saddam Hussein’s son in law. He said that they knew then that there were no WMD. Scott Ritter wrote a book before the war even started debunking the claims about chemical weapons. The “yellow cake” and centrifuge claims were discredited. I was a busy mom in rural Maine with wicked slow internet connection and I knew the WMD claims were bogus. The big media outlets, members of Congress, pundits had no excuse for not knowing.

    Poor Brent Scowcroft wrote a powerful op-ed against the invasion. He was a very close friend to the Bush family and was treated inexcusably.

    The media were happily assisting the Bush administration in feeding us a lot of BS. The sole concern seemed to be profiting off of the war. It was a disgusting spectacle. It is hard to know with any certainty but at least a million Iraqi’s were killed, 5 million displaced, 4,500 US service women and men killed, and it is difficult to even get good numbers on the wounded, the suicides, the PTSD.

    And yes I am still angry about the money spent. Three trillion dollars is a lot of health care and head start and Pell grants and school teachers. The war isn’t over. We haven’t paid for it. The opportunity costs will be with us for generations and most importantly–the victims of that war are still suffering.

  82. 82
    nancydarling says:

    @nancydarling: I should have added that the baser part of me would love to go back to that street corner and hold up a sign saying, “How did the war work out for you, motherfuckers?”

  83. 83
    raven says:

    Hey Sooner, Lang has made the point that the vast majority of combat arms troopers are white and many more support are African American. Is that your experience?

  84. 84
    JasonF says:

    I never suffered any serious repercussions as a result of being opposed to the war, but on the message board where I hung out online in those days, those of us opposed to the war were routinely mocked with the phrase “I need more proof!” every time we spoke up in opposition to the invasion.

  85. 85
    raven says:

    I sent this to Cole but I’m sure he gets too much email

    A Letter to Paul Wolfowitz
    Occasioned by the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war

    By Andrew J. Bacevich

    “To be sure, whatever you might choose to say, you’ll be vilified, as Robert McNamara was vilified when he broke his long silence and admitted that he’d been “wrong, terribly wrong” about Vietnam. But help us learn the lessons of Iraq so that we might extract from it something of value in return for all the sacrifices made there. Forgive me for saying so, but you owe it to your country.”

  86. 86
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    One other thing. The converts on the war and those who changed their minds on other issues are great. There has to be a majority to get things done, but some of us were never on the right, never voted for Republicans, never bought into the Laffer curve, etc. I always find it interesting when I come across the fervent ideological purity of some of the converts. More Catholic than the Pope, they are.

  87. 87
    Soonergrunt says:

    @raven: That has certainly been my experience. The combat service support arms have a higher proportion of minority members mainly for the reason that in minority communities, the military is sold to recruits primarily as a means by which to gain a trade, and the combat arms are sold in more affluent neighborhoods for the adventure and the patriotism. When I was joining the Army, the combat arms were also sold to young men who were college bound and lacked the money, because the combat arms and combat support arms qualified for extra money for college above and beyond the GI Bill. That is no longer the case today, however.

  88. 88
    LeftCoastTom says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Agreed (and, in fact, I was an R voter until 1990 or so). I guess my point above, is I can’t know Hillary Clinton is a convert if she refuses to admit to a fuck-up.

  89. 89
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Soonergrunt: @raven: It was my experience as well.

  90. 90
    Mike in NC says:

    Latest USA Today ran an op-ed by Richard Perle where he basically offered a big middle finger to all the DFHs who opposed the Iraq invasion. Sickening to read, really.

  91. 91
    Schlemizel says:

    I was very wrong about one thing on Iraq. I fully expected our departure from Iraq would be like a bloodier and more disastrous exit from Viet Nam. I thought, once Iran had us fully grasping the tar baby and trapped it would extract a hellacious toll.

    They did do an excellent job of separating the oil fields of the South and the North from Sunni hands while stymieing the national hopes of the Kurds. But they did not extract the amount of blood from the US military I expected.

    Iran is still the big winner, which seemed the obvious outcome to me in 2003 but they could have made us pay a much higher price while they won. On that I was wrong, thank Pasta.

  92. 92
    jl says:

    Funny thing that I noticed was how I got desensitized to going to war so quickly. Too young to remember much about Vietnam, other than I thought being an ‘armyman’ might be cool, and all the dudes in uniform looked cool. I guess Grenada was too small a deal to worry much about.

    Before the Afghanistan invasion I almost felt physically ill. I was ambivalent about the wisdom of the invasion. I thought it might be premature. But I wasn’t implacably opposed to the idea. But I felt sick about what was about to happen.

    For awhile I was hoping against hope that the Iraq invasion was a bluff or a feint by the Bush II administration. Look like we would invade enough to get Hussein to make big concessions and then say “Oh, never mind”. But it wasn’t.

    Before the Iraq invasion, I was like “This sucks. A whole bunch of people are going to get killed and maimed and experience unspeakable suffering. That is too bad.” And that is about it. I was angry about what was going to happen, but not shaken up like I was before the Afghanistan invasion.

  93. 93
    the Conster says:

    Remember “Bring ’em on”? Heckuva job, Bushie.

  94. 94
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Sooner / Cole,
    Thank-you for both of your posts today.
    There is nothing about what happened and the way those of us fought and lost that can prevent such craven stupidity from happening again. That’s the sad truth.

    There are many things we can do going forward which can reduce the probability.

    One is what the two of you are doing here. For this, I am extremely grateful.

    Briefly, my story.

    As a recently separated Vet, I protested the run-up to needless war. Once the insanity started and we slowly and steadily were being proven right, I almost gave up, exasperated.

    In June of 2004 I took the only step I thought I could make and be able to sleep at night. I quit driving.

    I sold the car and began to walk, bike and mass commute wherever I needed to go. I don’t need to explain the logic to you.

    It was hard. It did nothing to stop the insane death spiral we had been cast in to.

    It changed my life. It changes the life of those who know me. Those who agree with me, and those who declared me to be a mooslem loving traitor.

    With small dedicated steps we can each make progress towards the world we want.

    And when, 10 years from now, our actions of 20 years ago are still ignored, and those who victimized us still refuse to see the errors of their ways, the progress we together have made in the interim will have made the world a slightly better place for those we love.

    Peace brothers. It has been and shall always be about peace.

  95. 95
    raven says:

    @Soonergrunt: I wonder if this was not an effort to keep the “optics” of minorities being over-represented in the CA’s. The impact of Project 100,000 in Vietnam resulted in an imbalance because the recruits of that program had trouble qualifying for mos’s other than infantry.

  96. 96
    MomSense says:

    @John Cole:

    Your apology was really important. Few people are honest and strong enough to apologize–to admit they were wrong and take responsibility for it. Thank you.

  97. 97
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I always find it interesting when I come across the fervent ideological purity of some of the converts. More Catholic than the Pope, they are.

    Thank you for articulating for me what annoys me so much about the people who supported the war in 2003 and now claim that I should pay attention to their judgement rather than my own because they had their “come to Jesus” moment when they finally realized they had been wrong. Excuse me, dude, but which one of us was wrong about Iraq and which one was right, again?

  98. 98
    raven says:

    night night

  99. 99
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LeftCoastTom: The war vote was a big factor in my voting for Obama over Clinton in the ’08 primary.

  100. 100
    rb says:

    @Skepticat: I only wish I could give you an idea of the tone of voice and facial expression of my less-than-worldly young carpenter, who said in a tone of total disgust and disbelief, “Dat Bush, he a natural fool.”

    Thank you for the grim humor. I’d forgotten that today was this day, and it’s been getting to me.

  101. 101
    Schlemizel says:

    @JasonF:

    Because I was doing a lot of consulting at the time I thought it was smart to remove my identity from my on line opinions. As a result googling my name turns up work I did for NASA 25 years ago, some paper I wrote in the late 90s and nothing else – I suffered no repercussions either.

    IRL I did suffer a physical assault at a “Support The Troops” rally because I brought a picture of my son in uniform (who was at the time serving in Afghanistan) but stood with the anti-war crowd. The pro-war assholes across the street did not like that and tried to knock me over & tear the picture.

  102. 102
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Not having read the entire thread, I have to say that Olbermann’s departure from MSNBC had not thing one to do with the lead-up to the war in Iraq.

    ETA: The rest of your post is spot on, though. Well said.

  103. 103
    danielx says:

    I got a lot of weird looks from a lot of my friends at the time, because I was certain that all the grounds being cited for invading Iraq were a crock of horseshit, and I was even more certain that anything run by W’s administration would end badly. I got a lot of the “well, he’s an evil dictator” lines, and I’d get a lot of blank stares when I returned that he was no less an evil son of a bitch from 1980 to 1988, when he was supposedly our bulwark against extremism in the Middle East. During which period one of his aircraft put a missile into the USS Stark and killed 37 American sailors, but hey, it was just a mistake among friends, right?

    I told a Republican friend during a drinking session in 2004 that not only had we carried out a war of aggression (a war crime), but it was a war of aggression the aftermath of which was completely unplanned and was incompetently administered. (Jeebus, the Nazis had a plan for the occupied Soviet Union that they executed, never mind that it consisted of looting the place to the ground and shooting everyone they didn’t like.) Oh yes, and since W was putting the whole thing on the national credit card with the Peoples Bank of China, it was going to be financial ruin for the country for which we’d be paying for the next fifty years.

    He gave me the most peculiar look and said something to the effect that he knew I was a liberal, but not that liberal. One of those moments when you think either you’ve gone crazy or the rest of the world has gone crazy and you’re dying to say…this isn’t about being a liberal or a conservative, you shithead!

  104. 104
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @danielx: “It was worse than a crime, it was a blunder.” Said by Talleyrand of the murder of the Duc d’Enghien by Napoleon I.

  105. 105
    priscianus jr says:

    @TriassicSands: GW Bush, a man whose incompetence made him unfit to be a peace time president, and a man I didn’t trust to do anything involving him as commander-in-chief. It simply doesn’t matter when stupid and incompetent people call other people traitors.

    Hey, you can’t talk about GW Bush that way! If you do, the Teatards can call Obama anything they like. I mean, it’s fair, amirite?

  106. 106
    jl says:

    @raven: I don’t know much about the military, but I have spoken with some minority vets who were explicit about free-on-the job training aspect of going into support positions. Get training as a loadmaster or in logistics, then come out and run rings around the civilians in school and on the job market. The people I talked to who were enlisted after 911 and Iraq invasion said they thought they would end up in combat zones (Edit: and probably combat role sometimes) anyway, so go for the job skill you got in support positions.

  107. 107
    danielx says:

    @TriassicSands:

    This. Added to it the likes of Bloody Bill Kristol and the whole neocon brigade who lost their sense of purpose when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and had been seeking a war, anywhere, against anybody, since that time.

    Which they continue to do to this day…

  108. 108
    Chris says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Iran is still the big winner, which seemed the obvious outcome to me in 2003 but they could have made us pay a much higher price while they won

    I was just starting to follow politics at the time, young, dumb, and conservative. (Yes, I supported the war). But the one thing that never made any sense to me, even then, was why the fuck people weren’t reaching out to Iran. I didn’t know the region well, but even I knew that Iran was a blood enemy of both Saddam and the Taliban – and that they weren’t given to the sort of mind-boggling insanity that either of those two were. Forming an alliance of convenience with them against the Tali (as we had with the Soviets against the Axis, and with China against the Soviet Bloc) seemed so obviously the thing to do that even I could see it.

    Months after the invasion, around the same time the skepticism was beginning to set in, I remember putting the question on a conservative blog as to why the hell that detente had never happened. Got a pompous screed from one of the other commentators to the effect that a country like America couldn’t have a relationship with a terrorist state, any more than an honest citizen could have a relationship with a criminal. Again, something that was obvious bullshit even to me at the time – not only can it happen, it’s been the entire basis of U.S. grand strategy for the last century (divide and conquer).

  109. 109
    Schlemizel says:

    I was reading the other John Cole, http://www.juancole.com/ as well as several European news sites before the war. A few American reports contained the same information. The facts were there. The yellow cake story was a lie. There were no drones. The UN investigators were saying they were getting unprecedented cooperation from Iraq and were finding nothing. Curveball was a know liar and possibly (later turned out to be proven) Iranian agent. Boy Blunder ordered the inspectors out of Iraq so that he could begin the killing. Intelligence in the UK were complaining about having known false data forced on them hearing that data presented as if it were theirs.

    Those were all knowable before Boy Blunder ordered the deaths of 10s of thousands of people on a whim. To satisfy his own twisted needs. Those in positions of power that did not know didn’t want to know. The press made it possible. The media ensured that those not in a position would have to go to extra lengths to learn the truth.

    Pineapples should be awaiting the press too for all eternity.

  110. 110
    Soonergrunt says:

    @raven: That may be. I know that the smartest and the dumbest guys I ever met were both Infantrymen.

  111. 111
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chris:

    But the one thing that never made any sense to me, even then, was why the fuck people weren’t reaching out to Iran.

    I’m still pissed off that, in the wake of 9/11, Iran made their first official diplomatic gesture towards the United States since the Revolution by offering their formal condolences, and we threw it back in their faces.

    That’s when I knew the Bush Administration was completely incompetent to run a McDonald’s franchise, much less a superpower.

  112. 112
    geg6 says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Jeezus! WTF is wrong with that asshole who tried to tear up a picture of your son who was actually serving and who assaulted you. I got screamed at and called an awful lot of names (“Fucking Traitor!” seemed to be a favorite, some of which I cannot even type, but no one ever assaulted me.

    What I remember from the anti-war march here in Pittsburgh was how ugly everyone’s face was who was counterprotesting our march. I mean, just so ugly with hate! And how hysterical they seemed. I kept thinking that I’m the one against the war that I couldn’t seem to stop and I’m the powerless person who is being ignored and marginalized and they are angrier and more upset than I am! Like I said above, I’m no young spring chicken and never thought of myself as naive (rather, I thought I was too cynical a person), but I was really taken aback by the hate radiating from those people.

  113. 113
    Soonergrunt says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: true, but we will never see a Liberal of that thunder on TV again. And his constant carping about the war (“day 1,321 since Mission Accomplished…) was part of it, I’m sure.

  114. 114
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    I know that the smartest and the dumbest guys I ever met were both Infantrymen.

    13Bs are similar. If you are going to do four years carrying shells around, you don’t have to be too bright. On the other hand, if you are going to move up, you need to be bright as hell.

  115. 115
    Schlemizel says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Remember, these were the people who CREATED reality. While the rest of the world tried to report on it they made the world in the exact way they thought it should be.

    They had the reverse Midas touch, everything they touched turned to shit.

  116. 116
    amk says:

    Right on, sooner. Well said.

  117. 117
    jamick6000 says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Thank you for writing this, Sooner. And even more important, for being right, and speaking out. After all, most of the (minority) of “us” who were “prematurely anti” Shock’n’Awe (to recycle a phrasing from my parents’ generation) had nothing more at stake than getting yelled at by people who we mostly didn’t care about.

    agreed, also it’s important to say “I was right” to push back against the “nobody could have known” crowd. Also also, Pareene has a piece today on Joe Scarbarough using the who could have known excuse:

    “We could all go back 10 years, and again I am not doing George W. Bush’s bidding here, but wasn’t the preponderance of the intelligence coming from the CIA, coming from our intel community, coming from intel communities across the globe, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,”

  118. 118
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The war vote was a big factor in my voting for Obama over Clinton in the ’08 primary.

    Same here, but it wasn’t just his opposition to the war; it was his damn near prescient prediction on what would happen when we invaded.

    Here is an except from Obama’s 2002 speech at an anti-war rally: Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power…. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

    But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors…and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

    I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.

    I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

    I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars. So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president.

  119. 119
    Soonergrunt says:

    @John Cole: Your apology and taking responsibility for your previous position on the war without sugar coating or excuse-making is what allowed me to say yes to AnneLaurie’s offer to blog here.
    It meant a lot to me. I thought you should know that.

  120. 120
    Yutsano says:

    @Chris: Iran committed the unforgivable sin: it threw America out with no apology. The Ayatollahs had to become evil right away and no recourse would be allowed until they fell. This puts blinders on a lot of American conservatives who consider cooperation with Iran like negotiating with Shaytan. Iran actually put out a few feelers right after 9/11 but Dubya & crew smacked them away. Iran, despite our propaganda, acts quite rationally. They just don’t act in ways that are favourable to US interests.

  121. 121
    Lavocat says:

    Damn straight!

    But here’s the thing. ALL OF US who knew we were dead right back then – and there was a NATION OF US – knew all along we’d be proved right in time, that our cowardly citizens would be proved wrong, and, like true cowards, that they would dodge any and all responsibility for being wrong.

    But there are those even worse than that. There are those craven bastards who would have you believe that they weren’t really for the war despite being avid cheerleaders. Cowards who can’t even come to terms with their cowardice.

    I, too, am proud of John Cole for owning his mistakes. It’s why I keep coming back.

  122. 122
    Gex says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Iran made their first official diplomatic gesture towards the United States since the Revolution by offering their formal condolences, and we threw it back in their faces.

    That enraged me as well.

  123. 123
    jl says:

    @jamick6000:

    “We could all go back 10 years, and again I am not doing George W. Bush’s bidding here, but wasn’t the preponderance of the intelligence coming from the CIA, coming from our intel community, coming from intel communities across the globe, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,”

    Mornin’ Joe is doing some Mornin’ Joe bidding.

    And why is he still peddling the lie about info “coming from intel communities across the globe” It wasn’t. And ordinary lesser people of few means like myself could find out, thanks to internet access to foreign press. Mornin’ Joe could not? Self serving BS from him, as usual.

  124. 124
    Schlemizel says:

    @Yutsano:

    Don’t forget that the bastard the Ayatollahs threw out was put in power by the CIA and British Intel as part of the overthrow of a legally elected government because that legitimate government wanted a higher royalty on oil pumped from its fields. Ike and the Dulles family saw to it we would be hated in the region for generations

  125. 125
    NotMax says:

    Would that I had kept back-ups of the blog was doing at the time before the hosting service went belly-up with no notice.

    Though the readership may have been miniscule, just posting daily (or multiple times per day), laying out the fallacies of the neocons and rah-rah-ers, and why they were fallacious, from a layman’s perspective was a much needed catharthis.

    Those who acknowledge their being galactically in error, I can forgive (but not necessarily excuse). Those who used their positions to orchestrate fear, however, cannot be forgiven their gross and deadly abuse of power and actions, but heartfelt contrition and reasoned admission of the putrid stench of guilt can be accepted.

    Gandhi: “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

    Thomas Szasz: “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive and do not forget.”

    Confucius: “Those who cannot forgive others break the bridge over which they themselves must pass.”

  126. 126
  127. 127
    AndoChronic says:

    Well said Soonergrunt. I also have a well documented history of protesting that nightmare, although, I also have a bunch of medals that PROVE I love my country more than these ass-clowns can ever dream possible. I don’t want their apologies however; I want them to suffer by watching their country continue to fail them, that will hurt them the most.

  128. 128
    Chris says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m still pissed off that, in the wake of 9/11, Iran made their first official diplomatic gesture towards the United States since the Revolution by offering their formal condolences, and we threw it back in their faces.

    Rather more than that (although not until after the Iraq War) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.....2_proposal. They wanted to meet with us and put fucking EVERYTHING on the table – the nuclear program, Hamas, Hezbollah, cooperation against al-Qaeda, the works.

    It would’ve been far and away the best thing to come out of that entire mess. But no. We were all powerful and we didn’t need no steenkin Eye Rainians. So here we are, ten years later.

  129. 129
    Joel (Macho Man Randy Savage) says:

    All this reminiscing reminds me of this NOFX song.

  130. 130
    geg6 says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Yeah, I’m nuts! I don’t think there are gradations of rape and don’t think young children like to be raped. Crazy, huh?

  131. 131
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m still pissed off that, in the wake of 9/11, Iran made their first official diplomatic gesture towards the United States since the Revolution by offering their formal condolences, and we threw it back in their faces.

    And a huge, spontaneous candlelight vigil in the streets of Tehran.

    Rachel closed her show with a smackdown of Rumsfeld, and I thought the same thing I thought when he was on the TDSWJS: IANA psychiatrist, but I’m pretty confident that man is a sociopath. I would not be the least bit surprised to see him on one of the Sunday shows this weekend

  132. 132
    Schlemizel says:

    @geg6:

    Don’t respond to Douche & Bag. They are like a two year old who has discovered it is fun to reach into their diaper & smear the contents around. They particularly like the reaction this gets from the adults present.

    Comments like the one you are responding to are not designed to engage, only to enrage. Their hope is to get attention for themselves and disrupt the conversation,

  133. 133
    Linnaeus says:

    In honor of this post, I’ll raise a glass of wine made by some cheese-eating surrender monkeys from the bottle I just opened.

  134. 134
    kay says:

    Hey sooner, here’s millionaire media personality Joe Scarborough talking about you at the time:

    “These leftist stooges for anti-American causes are always given a free pass. Isn’t it time to make them stand up and be counted for their views?”

    What do you think tough-guy tv host Scarborough meant by “make them”?

    These are the clownish buffoons who sold that war. They just talk. You and I are about as important to them as the person who picks up their dry cleaning.

  135. 135
    Nicole says:

    I love this video. I remember it broke the record for consecutive weeks at #1 on VH-1’s Top 20 Countdown (chosen by viewers). The Dixie Chicks weren’t usual VH-1 fare at that point, and I always assumed it was viewers giving a middle finger to the Bush Administration.

  136. 136
    bluehill says:

    Here’s a clip I found interesting, depressing and scary. It’s Cheney lying about what he said about the links between Al-Qaeda and Hussein. The fact that he does it so easily and that he was in power is frightening.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....0Odd429CsA

  137. 137
    Soonergrunt says:

    @kay: I know.

  138. 138
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Nicole: I still love this song today, and I STILL get tears in my eyes when I play the video.

  139. 139
    Heliopause says:

    We were attacked by own government.

    My condolences. It must be a great comfort to the millions of Iraqis who had relatives murdered in the last two wars and sanctions in between, the thousands of children lying in unspeakable agony in hospitals hoping that someone will either administer powerful drugs or kill them right then and there and put them out of their misery, knowing that you suffered some degree of psychic pain at being lied to.

    As we Americans contemplate the horrific tragedy we suffered ten years ago today, not only being lied to but simultaneously dealing with the psychic agony of our inadequate TV, internet, phone, power, water, sewer, 911, and other services, let’s not forget the terrible toll this has taken on us all.

  140. 140
    Ruckus says:

    @Soonergrunt:
    Too many of us kept our mouths shut other than with our friends with the same views. It probably wouldn’t have made any difference, just like it didn’t for Vietnam but it’s the one thing I can take positive from the entire mess. I learned to shout out loud when something is wrong. It really is the only way, everyone should shout about the stupid decisions of our government. Not part of the solution, part of the problem, that sort of thing.

  141. 141
    fubar says:

    One of the proudest moments I have is my Country (really it was Prime Minister Chretien) deciding not to participate in this war, and articulating the reasons why. I was against the war for many of the reasons others had, but it did not cause any undue pain because of the country I call home. It did cause a little friction as my father flew in the RCAF for 30+ years and was a little gung-ho at first (he later saw the light).

    Thanks to all of you who stood up at the right time south of 49. You validate the esteem to which we hold our neighbour.

  142. 142
    Cassidy says:

    @Heliopause: There’s always one. I could tell you about the one day I spend every year commemorating the death of my friends in Baghdad, but I’m not sure you’d get it.

  143. 143
    kay says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    You know what would be a real mea culpa for the professional war sellers?

    Put on all the people they marginalized and smeared, and let THEM talk.

    Phil Donohue could host Morning Joe and Scarborough could sit there and LISTEN for a change. No more talking from them on this. I can imagine no greater sacrifice for the “opinion leaders” than having to shut up and listen.

  144. 144
    Soonergrunt says:

    @kay: I would take off from work and pay per view to see that.

  145. 145
    El Tiburon says:

    Ten years ago I had pulled the lever for George W. Bush. I was not a Republican but simply a typical, apathetic American when it came to being engaged politically.

    Since I watched Chris Mathews and Bill O’Reilly I figured I was receiving a well-rounded political education.

    So, yeah I believed that invading Iraq was the right thing to do and that it was better to have Bush rather than Gore leading us after 9-11.

    Then, simar to Cole, David Brock and more specifically Glenn Greenwald, I realized how wrong I was and completely duped by our media and politicians. I was never a conservative or a Republican-not even close. Just a political moron.

    Thanks to Al Franken, Air America, David Brock, the birth of the Internet And the countless books and magazines like The Nation, I educated myself to become very political.

    And it is due mainly to the invasion of Iraq. This singular act and resulting idiocy by BushCo motivated me to get at the truth. And the truth set me free.

    This is my 10-year anniversary story.

  146. 146
    El Tiburon says:

    Oh, and great post Soonergrunt.

  147. 147
    Suffern ACE says:

    @kay: The problem with that is that Phil would be the only host on MSNBC. Yeah, there were newspaper writers and analysts. But I can’t remember anyone but Phil actually being available to push back against the runup to the war who had his own TV show. And he was pulled from the air. Yeah, he was replaced by Olbermann, but by that time the war had started.

  148. 148
    scav says:

    @kay:

    But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath
    a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and
    arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join
    together at the latter day and cry all ‘We died at
    such a place;’ some swearing, some crying for a
    surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind
    them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their
    children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die
    well that die in a battle; for how can they
    charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their
    argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it
    will be a black matter for the king that led them to
    it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of
    subjection.

    I never quite found Hal’s response entirely to the point.

  149. 149
    Chris says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Air America? You mean the book, not the movie? I read that a couple years ago and even though my copy had a chunk in the middle missing, it was still an interesting read about that period. The “secret war” part that was going on at the same time the GIs were fighting the official one.

  150. 150
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chris: The liberal talk radio station.

  151. 151
    AndoChronic says:

    Sorry, should have said “those” ass-clowns rather than “these” ass-clowns, not to imply BJ readership, as I think we are amongst the last stand in the civilized United States.

  152. 152
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Chris: He’s talking about the now defunct liberal radio network.

  153. 153
    Tokyokie says:

    Sooner, I remember being at a party the December before the invasion and rebutting (and, in retrospect, refuting) every argument in favor of invading (bin Laden and Hussein not only weren’t cooperating, they were mortal enemies; Hussein likely didn’t have the research/technology infrastructure to have developed nukes or been able to keep his biological weapons current; the amount of poison gas weapons needed to thwart an American-led invasion was so vast it couldn’t possibly be hidden and besides, poison gas weapons are pretty much useless as battlefield weapons because you can’t really aim them and they’re indiscriminate), but I couldn’t sway anybody. My prediction about Iraq falling into sectarian chaos and the U.S. ultimately having to tacitly back one of the those groups in a civil war also proved true.

    And not one of those people has since congratulated me on my prescience. Not that I suffered like you did, other than the heartbreak I felt to see my country engage in war crimes.

  154. 154
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ruckus:

    Too many of us kept our mouths shut other than with our friends with the same views.

    +1 I knew there was something wrong with the decision to go to war, but I can’t prove it today because I didn’t speak up or do anything about my belief. I guess I’m still better than the people who came out for the wrong side, but I’ll never forget that silence is taken as assent.

  155. 155
    Chris says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    @Soonergrunt:

    Ohhh, okay, thanks.

  156. 156
    kc says:

    you don’t hear much from the ones who were right.  It’s almost like we don’t exist

    There weren’t that many of us. It was a strange time.

  157. 157
    El Tiburon says:

    @Chris:
    No the liberal radio network. I listened to Al Fraken religiously. He is mostly responsible for my understanding on how the media lies. His first couple of books were great primers for those of us searching out the truth.

  158. 158
    kay says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Well, Phil Donohue can host, but his guests should be all the liberal critics.

    I picture metal folding chairs for the war salespeople. They’d be sqirming around, miserable, after 5 minutes. They have points to make! Even now!

    If they can’t do it and start their shout-talking, Donohue can turn and say “we had an agreement. No talking from you” :)

  159. 159
    MikeBoyScout says:

    @157 kc: Not wanting to argue, but there were MILLIONS of us.

    Cities jammed in worldwide protest of war in Iraq

    Demonstrators converged near the United Nations to protest the possible war in just one of the more than 600 anti-war rallies around the globe. Organizers estimated the crowd at more than 375,000, but Police Commissioner Ray Kelly estimated turnout at 100,000.

    Besides protests in large cities such as Chicago, Illinois; and Los Angeles, California; rallies were held across the United States in smaller towns such as Gainesville, Georgia; Macomb, Illinois; and Juneau, Alaska, according to the anti-war group United for Peace and Justice

  160. 160

    @kay:

    I picture metal folding chairs for the war salespeople.

    Obviously somebody who hasn’t watched enough pro wrestling or Jerry Springer. I think you’d better put them in chairs that are securely bolted down, and maybe strap them in so they can’t disrupt the thing.

  161. 161
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Donald Rumsfeld tweets. Rob Delaney responds

    Donald Rumsfeld ✔ @ RumsfeldOffice
    10 yrs ago began the long, difficult work of liberating 25 mil Iraqis. All who played a role in history deserve our respect & appreciation.
    rob delaney ✔ @ robdelaney
    .@ RumsfeldOffice Except you & your bosses, you blood-gargling psychopath.

    From Salon

  162. 162
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    another response to Rumsfeld

    Kevin Carson @ KevinCarson1
    .@ RumsfeldOffice There’s a story of the defeated Napoleon, facing the people of Paris, being spat on: “Give me back my son, you bastard!”

  163. 163
    Ruckus says:

    @Roger Moore:
    I understand what Sooner is saying though. I had a semi-public job and was somewhat afraid that speaking out might cost me that. Of course I quit in 2005 anyway.

  164. 164
    Wag says:

    Wow.

    “To talk without thinking is to shoot without aiming.”

    I hated the war from the get go but never listened to the Dixie Chicks before tonight. An amazing video for an excellent song. And the quote above from the video may be my new mantra.

  165. 165
    GxB says:

    Great post Sooner, just a shade surprised no mention of Russ Feingold – pariah then, and now. For all his flaws I’ll still go to the wall with him, and in this stupid state that may very well happen.

  166. 166
    Joel (Macho Man Randy Savage) says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: This song is nothing particularly sophisticated, but it cuts straight to the point. The lyrics were apparently penned by Susan Sontag just before she died.

  167. 167
    ABL says:

    Great post, sooner.

  168. 168
    dance around in your bones says:

    @eemom: Oh jeebus h christ.

    What a letter! Too bad bush/Cheney will prolly never read it. The fuckers.

  169. 169
    Batocchio says:

    I got Iraq right, not that I thought that was hard. Still, some people who supported the war weren’t obnoxious about it (average citizens); they just made the mistake of assuming that their highest officials wouldn’t lie to them about a matter of such grave importance as a war. I know people in that camp who feel bad about allowing themselves to get duped. I’m not going to give them crap; it’s a sobering reminder for all of us, and a good starting point for discussion.

    But for the warmongers, McCarthyites, hippie-punchers and the rest, most of whom have never admitted error, or still insist they were ‘wrong for the right reasons’ while we were ‘right for the wrong reasons’ (such as Richard Cohen – never mind that they could never accurately describe our position) – for all those who were wrong and remain belligerently unreflective – they can burn in Hell. No forgiveness without honesty and repentance.

  170. 170
    kimp says:

    On 9-11, my two sons were 18 and 15. I believed a draft was immediate, and told them that they would have to serve, if called up. Then, that bullshit about Iraq. I said i would drive them to the border myself.

  171. 171
    dance around in your bones says:

    This was a wonderful post soonergrunt. The whole thread makes me depressed though. So many of us knew it was going to be a giant clusterfuck and we couldn’t do a thing about it.

    Despite the millions around the world who protested, despite the millions who recoiled in horror at the thought of going to war against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 (hell, even Afghanistan should have been a go in, get bin Laden, then leave) ….

    Since most of the attackers on 9/11 were Saudi, why the hell didn’t we invade Saudi Arabia?(Not that I’m saying we should have). Oh, no – Arbusto flew all the bin Laden family back home on the very day all air traffic was grounded. The whole thing was insane. From appetizers to cocktails.

  172. 172
    Xenos says:

    I really have to hold this against Hillary and Kerry: as an orthodox liberal non-DFH I knew they where on the committees with access to the intelligence and I trusted them to use their fucking brains. I liked Powell but did not trust him, and could tell that the WH and the pages of the NYT were full of it. But I thought there had to be something if Clinton and Kerry came out in support of the war.

    So this is not an apology from a right-winger but from the stupid credulous tote-bagger dipshit brigade. I did not run around advocating this war but I did nothing to stop it, either, because being a totebagger means being on both sides of the most important issues, because you identify with the people you should not be trusting. It arises from a really fucked up sort of moral vanity that is really inexcusable in this day and age.

    I am sorry for being such a shithead, and I will listen next time.

    And thanks to Dougj for straightening me out!

  173. 173
    Cacti says:

    On this 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, I remember how right I was, and how dangerously unpopular it was to be right when Bushco/Cheney was at its high water mark, and the nation was still terrified from 9/11.

    I only regret that I’ll never have enough middle fingers for all of my friends, family, and acquaintances who called me a Saddam lover and terrorist sympathizer, and told me that I hated America.

    May the blood of all who died in Iraq forever stain the consciences of the rah-rah for war crowd, assuming of course that they even have one.

  174. 174
    Wolfdaughter says:

    Count me among those who were not fooled by the Bush Maladministration. I was reading articles in the foreign press, thanks to Buzz Flash, and read the testimony of Hans Blix, Scott Ritter and others. The allegations from Cheney and Bush etc. just didn’t hold up. On the one hand, they were claiming that Saddam had all these horrible weapons, and on the other hand claiming that the invasion would be a “cakewalk”. So which was true?

    I also knew that the Arabs and others in the Middle East would not be happy and there would be a lot of resistance. I knew this not because I have any special insight into those cultures, but because I knew how I would feel if someone invaded the United States. It’s been many years since I’ve subscribed to the doctrine of American exceptionalism.

    I wrote to all seven of Arizona’s congressmen at the time (yes, all were men). I listed reasons why the Bush allegations weren’t holding up, and what would be the likely outcome if the war took place. I was right on all counts. The only reply I got was from McCain and it was a boilerplate reply which just reiterated all the bullshit points which I had conclusively demonstrated to be false.

    I sometimes get very bitter as I am often right and the established “wisdom” completely wrong. And we DFH’s get no respect which those who were so wrong still have the bully pulpit. AAAAAAAAAARRGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

  175. 175
    Redshirt says:

    That might be the first Dixie Chick song I’ve ever listened to. I liked it alot. Is it representative of their general catalog?

  176. 176
    cckids says:

    @Redshirt: Somewhat, they have another song, called “Truth No. 2” that comes close. I am not generally a country fan, but I do like some of their stuff, even when it is really country, it feels honest, not poppy-country mix stuff like Taylor Swift.

    My spouse really likes them; we saw them live during the tour they were on following their remarks about Bush that got them pilloried here in the US; they were great. When they sang the “Truth” song, they were FIERCE, you could feel the emotion all the way to the nosebleed seats.

    I suck at links, here is a sample lyric:

    You don’t like the sound of the truth
    Coming from my mouth
    You say that I lack the proof
    Well baby that might be so
    I might get to the end of my life
    Find out everyone was lying
    I don’t think that I’m afraid anymore
    Say that I would rather die trying

    Fitting, given the lying-into-Iraq anniversary weare commemorating today.

  177. 177
    reality-based says:

    Oh, God, yes, I remember- I am an occasional guest on a friend’s local radio talk show in San Luis Obispo, CA – representing the DFH viewpoint.

    Time after time, I was screamed at by people telling me that I had no right to doubt Dear Leader Bush, and they were going to report me! – also, the threatening phone calls when I was scheduled to appear in person – I mean, threatening my life! These folks were nuts.

    I kept pointing out that Iraq had no WMD, and This was going to be a huge mess, and there WERE no Al Quada in Iraq (at the time, there sure are now, as a consequence of the invasion) – but what REALLY seemed to make them froth at the mouth were two simple points I made every broadcast I was on.

    1. “I am unalterably opposed to this war. Nevertheless, since Bush seems determined to start it, we have to immediately pass bills in Congress, raising taxes to pay for it. I support such a tax; we should pay for our wars.”

    2. “I am unalterably opposed to this war, But if we are going to do it, Goddamn it, I want a UNIVERSAL DRAFT – NO Deferments – implemented immediately. So the poor guys already in the military wont have to keep serving till its over.” (Some folks are now on their 5th or 6th deployment. )

    Then I would say “If you tell me you fervently support this war – as long as you don’t have to pay for it, and your children aren’t going to have to serve in it – then STFU. ”

    then they would threaten to report me.

    Yeah, I remember. And mostly, it’s sorrow – we did everything we could thing of to stop it, and it didn’t matter a damn.

  178. 178
    R-Jud says:

    @Hill Dweller: I was there to see him deliver that speech. I was only 22 at the time and didn’t really have a cogent worldview, but I thought it was fairly obvious that Bush was pushing for this war, in part, so he could look tougher than his Dad and actually GET Saddam Hussein.

    I had quite a few friends and cousins and colleagues who were enlisted, or were reservists, or who had graduated from the service academies, and I didn’t want them to die and be maimed for junior’s grudge. So I went to the protest. It was all I could do.

    I actually used Obama’s line “I’m not opposed to all wars, I’m opposed to dumb wars,” in a subsequent phone conversation with my older brother, who was pro-war because he had some fucked-up notions of “honor” which he has since grown out of, and because he liked and trusted Colin Powell. He also works for a large defense company and was surrounded by older men who were very pro. We wound up not really speaking for a few years because of it. He apologized shortly before I got married a few years later.

  179. 179
    Tokyokie says:

    @Wolfdaughter: I had a similar experience. Although I worked at a newspaper at the time and we were explicitly barred from participating in political campaigns in order to maintain a facade of impartiality, I was horrified enough by what was happening that I wrote letters to every member of the U.S. Senate. Didn’t hear back from a single one.

  180. 180
    the lost puppy says:

    Still waiting for my fucking apology.

    How is it that a 10th anniversary of the Iraq war is even being acknowledged by the national media? That was unexpected. But I welcome the dialogue as an opportunity to say “Being right doesn’t mean you hate America”

  181. 181
    chopper says:

    everything you say is 100% correct, sooner.

    i was opposed to the war from the start, but from the point of view that the case hadn’t been established. i couldn’t understand the mentality of not letting the inspectors do their actual job, and when bush demanded they leave (and the righties tried to spin it as saddam’s doing) i knew the fix was in.

    i never had to deal with any in-person 101st chairborne shit, mostly online (i lived in a liberal enclave on the coast), and the online shit happens no matter what. however, watching the country for the most part jizz their pants over the prospect of blowing iraq into the stone age with no actual definitive reason absolutely blew my fuckin’ mind.

    it’s still surreal to this day.

  182. 182
    chopper says:

    @reality-based:

    you still in SLO? i’m moving there in a few months.

  183. 183
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Redshirt: I don’t listen to them a lot, but while this song is a one-off about all the hate they got for their anti-war stance, it is in their general style.

  184. 184
    Bob2 says:

    They were wrong, and come up with generalizations and stereotypes and excuses like “oh those hippies who protested and complained it was all about oil” when there were a lot of people that just said “no, none of this fucking makes any sense by the facts, and all the Chalabi nonsense or this guy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curveball_(informant)

    And the saddest thing? WE KNEW ALL OF THIS STUFF BEFORE GOING TO WAR. I’d sit there incredulous that we knew everything was wrong factually and a bunch of asshat politicians claiming they didn’t know because they didn’t spend any time whatsoever looking at existing counterfactuals.

    None of the Valerie Plame shit where it was clear they were attacking sources.

  185. 185
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Shit, I was working for a DoD contractor back then. Everyone knew it was bullshit. Everybody. And everyone was all for it because there was going to be big money to be made.

    Me, I was not all for it. Everybody knew that too. You can’t hide that shit. I remained the lowest paid employee during my entire time there.

    Hilariously enough, turns out this particular contractor was in the wrong field of work. They ended up getting zero war-related contracts.

    This isn’t over. We had barely begun to come to terms with the reality of our failure in Vietnam when we went into Iraq. The nation’s going to be dealing with this for the rest of my life, and I think those of us who were against it will not fare nearly as well as those who were against Vietnam.

    Good writing, Sooner.

  186. 186
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    then they would threaten to report me.

    @reality-based: And yet somehow we’re the Stalinists. The whole “report you for impure thoughts” attitude of these fuckers you can’t even call Nazi; that shit’s straight out of North Korea, communist-era East Germany, or kulak-era Russian revolution.

  187. 187
    aretino says:

    In reference to the title, it is worth pointing out that the source of that quotation, Judith Miller, now holds a position with the “liberal” Council on Foreign Relations think-tank. One more reason to pray for the meteor.

  188. 188
    Soonergrunt says:

    @aretino: I wondered how long that would take.

  189. 189
    aretino says:

    @Soonergrunt: I know, it is such a prime example of how the architects of this debacle failed upwards. Only Paul Wolfowitz’s accession to the World Bank presidency beats it.

  190. 190
    Cain says:

    The reason there wasn’t any war crimes is that there was no draft. If our sons and daughters were conscripted to fight and it turned out to be a lie? The hammer will fall and it will be bloody. There would be no way to contain the anger.

    But this war was all fought by volunteers, and the most these nitwits had to do was put a sticker on their car. That’s about as far as they sacrificed.

    When asked how americans can help the war effort, Bush said to shop. Whee. What a clusterfuck.

    There should be a draft. It will make politicians accountable.

  191. 191
    Beauzeaux says:

    Look, I just got an apology from a relative conceding that I was right about the civil rights movement in the 1960s!! Fifty years later.
    So I guess if you’re VERY patent, you will eventually be vindicated.

  192. 192
    Shaun Morgan says:

    I had many of the same experiences. I still don’t regret standing up at the time and saying what I did.

    I was just glad I was wrong about it spinning off into a 100 year war. 10 years.. not too bad considering.

    I think I will ask for an applogy from my father in law though, he took the whole “free the world from tyranny” slant.. slathering and everything.

    Hopefully we can keep our collective common sense for another 10 or 20 years.

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