In the USA...United Surveillance AmericaTop US military official: not enough intelligence to launch Iraq air strikes
Martin Dempsey indicates reluctance to re-enter Iraq in assessment that US would have trouble attacking Isis from the air
Spencer Ackerman in Washington
theguardian.com, Thursday 19 June 2014 01.27 BST
As Baghdad awaits Barack Obama's decision on air strikes against the jihadist army conquering much of Iraq, the senior US military officer suggested that the US still lacks sufficient intelligence to take action.
Army general Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told a Senate panel on Wednesday that "until we can clarify this intelligence picture" the US would have difficulty knowing who it would be attacking from the air, indicating military as well as political reluctance to any return to the skies above Iraq.
"It's not as easy as looking at an iPhone video of a convoy and then striking it," Dempsey told a Senate appropriations subcommittee as he and defense secretary Chuck Hagel focused far more on the limits of what the US can accomplish in Iraq than the possibilities. Both sounded far less urgent than Iraqi leaders.
Dempsey, who once commanded the training of the Iraqi military and police, cited the case of an Iraqi army facility in Mosul falling first to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) and then to the Kurdish peshmerga quasi-army within a 36-hour timeframe, raising doubts about the ability of the US air force or navy aviators to sufficiently know who they would be striking by the time of their arrival.
The murky picture, exacerbated by the relative paucity of US intelligence sources on the ground in Iraq, comes despite Dempsey's description of the US moving what he described as "a great deal of manned and unmanned ISR to gain clarity", using a military term for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance planes and other tools.
But Dempsey confirmed for the first time that Iraq had indeed sent the US requests for air power to stanch the advance of Isis, which has taken several cities over the past week throughout Sunni Iraq.
"We have a request from the Iraqi government for air power," Dempsey told senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina.
Reuters reported that US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Iraq's request had included a call for drone strikes and increased surveillance by US drones, which have been flying over Iraq for some time. The Pentagon has said it stepped up surveillance, intelligence and reconnaissance efforts, at Baghdad's request.
The formal air power request complicates Obama's decision-making. While Obama administration officials have spent the past three days emphasizing what they are calling a comprehensive consideration of aid for the Iraq crisis – broader, they say, than a military strike – the request places Obama in the position of potentially rebuking a partner, however much a frustrating one, in a moment of extreme need.
Yet Dempsey and Hagel excoriated the government of Nouri al-Maliki during the Senate hearing, at times sounding like it was more to blame than Isis for Iraq's imperiled future.
Both lowered expectations about what benefits US can actually bring to Iraq, and sharply rebuked suggestions that the US is responsible for the crisis. Neither even remotely endorsed returning to military action in Iraq, from the air or otherwise, a significant omission from two of Obama's most important defense officials.
Asked if the consideration of a military response comes too late to stop Isis, Dempsey said: "It's only late if you suggest we could have stopped it. … There is very little that could have been done to overcome the degree to which the government of Iraq has failed its people. That is what has caused this problem."
Dempsey, saying he was speaking as an Iraq veteran, expressed "bitter disappointment" with what he called a failed Iraqi government.
Hagel, reiterating a theme of his perspective on foreign affairs both as a senator and at the Pentagon, repeatedly emphasized that the US "can't dictate outcomes. It's up to the Iraqi people." Both he and Dempsey acknowledged that there was a possibility that Afghanistan could follow Iraq into chaos after the US leaves in 2016, but downplayed the possibility.
Admonishing Senator Graham, a longtime opponent of the 2011 military pullout compelled by the Iraqi government, Hagel replied: "We didn't lose anything. It wasn't the United States that lost anything. … We have done everything we could to help them, but it's up to the Iraqis."
It was a theme repeatead at the White House later, where spokesman Jay Carney said Maliki had not done enough "to govern inclusively and that has contributed to the situation and the crisis that we have today in Iraq."
He stopped short of calling for Maliki - in power for eight years and the effective winner of a parliamentary election two months ago - to resign. Asked if Maliki should step down, Carney told reporters: "That's not, obviously, for us to decide."
Speaking in the Senate, Republican hawk John McCain called for the use of American air power, but also urged Obama to "make it make very clear to Maliki that his time is up." The Obama administration has not openly sought Maliki's departure, but has shown signs of frustration with him.
Obama briefed congressional leaders later on Wednesday. Speaking afterwards, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said the White House meeting had been "very informative" but said Obama did not specify an action plans, focusing instead on his perspective of what was happening Iraq.
Various and conflicting reports ahead of the White House meeting indicated a lack of clarity around the scope, mission and timing about potential air strikes, some citing the difficulties indicated by Dempsey about clear targeting. Veterans of air campaigns told the Guardian that time is unlikely to yield clarity as Isis intermingles with civilians in Iraqi cities, raising questions about what the US can accomplish.
Dempsey, who favored a residual US force in Iraq in 2011, told the Senate hearing that Isis had "aspirations to attack western interests" and said "not at this time but over time" the group could threaten the US homeland.
*************Dick Cheney Rewrites History And Blames Iraq Violence On Obama In Disgusting Op-Ed
By: Justin Baragona
Wednesday, June, 18th, 2014, 11:00 am
I think we all knew this was coming. Since the flare up of sectarian violence in Iraq, the cheerleaders and architects of the War in Iraq have taken to the airwaves and opinion pages to criticize President Obama over his decision to withdraw all troops from Iraq in 2011. (Never mind that the withdrawal agreement was signed by President Bush before Obama ever took office.) Over the past few days, we’ve seen neocon hawks such as Bill Kristol, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolton step to the podium to attack the current administration for its handling of Iraq. Needless to say, they’ve all blithely dismissed their own roles in selling a disastrous war whose only outcome appeared to be chaos and disorder of the kind we are seeing.
However, the one person we hadn’t heard from yet was former Vice President Dick Cheney, the chief architect and liar when it came to the Iraq War. The wait is now over, as Cheney, along with his daughter Liz, penned an unbelievable piece of retcon tripe for the Wall Street Journal where they claimed that Obama lost the war that was already won, while at the same time positioning Dick Cheney as a hero. It is hard to imagine that one would have the audacity to write something like this, considering his own role in selling a lie and reassuring the American people that the war would only last a few weeks, yet here we are.
Right away, the Cheneys set the tone, claiming that President Obama is never right and that he is completely ineffective as a leader:
Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many. Too many times to count, Mr. Obama has told us he is “ending” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—as though wishing made it so. His rhetoric has now come crashing into reality. Watching the black-clad ISIS jihadists take territory once secured by American blood is final proof, if any were needed, that America’s enemies are not “decimated.” They are emboldened and on the march.
Of course, per Dick Cheney, he is seen as a respected statesman in Iraq, and people keep asking him why the President abandoned the Iraqi people rather than keep a ‘residual force’ in the country forever. The obvious inference here is that the Iraqi people see Cheney as a ‘liberator’ and that the President wasted all the goodwill that the United States built up with a nearly decade-long war.
On a trip to the Middle East this spring, we heard a constant refrain in capitals from the Persian Gulf to Israel, “Can you please explain what your president is doing?” “Why is he walking away?” “Why is he so blithely sacrificing the hard fought gains you secured in Iraq?” “Why is he abandoning your friends?” “Why is he doing deals with your enemies?”
In one Arab capital, a senior official pulled out a map of Syria and Iraq. Drawing an arc with his finger from Raqqa province in northern Syria to Anbar province in western Iraq, he said, “They will control this territory. Al Qaeda is building safe havens and training camps here. Don’t the Americans care?”
Just in case the point hadn’t been hammered home enough that Obama doesn’t care about Iraq or take his job as President seriously, the Cheneys toss in some 8th-grade level insults (my guess is this was Liz’s contribution to the article.)
Our president doesn’t seem to. Iraq is at risk of falling to a radical Islamic terror group and Mr. Obama is talking climate change. Terrorists take control of more territory and resources than ever before in history, and he goes golfing. He seems blithely unaware, or indifferent to the fact, that a resurgent al Qaeda presents a clear and present danger to the United States of America.
Gotta get a dig at climate change in there. Good job!
Thankfully, this display of hubris mixed with a complete lack of self-awareness shaken with a dose of heartlessness and poured into a glass of douchebaggery was not lost on others Wednesday morning. Once the Cheneys objectionable and off-putting op-ed hit the stands and net, the attacks came from all sides.
Not The Onion: Dick Cheney op ed’s subhed: “Rarely has a prez been so wrong about so much at expense of so many” http://t.co/ySKED48dNw
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) June 18, 2014
Um, why is anyone listening to Dick Cheney on ANYTHING?! #Obama #Iraq #p2 pic.twitter.com/nMozh0qKk7
— Eric Wolfson (@EricWolfson) June 18, 2014
dick cheney, who helped to kill nearly 5,000 americans, lectures obama on patriotism. have a seat, monster.
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) June 18, 2014
IDK Dick Cheney being wrong about a country having WMDS at cost of $1 trillion & 1000s of troops lives is hard to top pic.twitter.com/acbxRE9Ben
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) June 18, 2014
Glad to see Dick Cheney collaborating with his daughter because if there’s one thing the warmongering industry benefits from is nepotism.
— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) June 18, 2014
“I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.” Dick Cheney, 7/20/05
— Kaili Joy Gray (@KailiJoy) June 18, 2014
“I think it will go relatively quickly. Weeks rather than months.” Dick Cheney, 3/16/03
— Kaili Joy Gray (@KailiJoy) June 18, 2014
Like I said when Bill Kristol got smacked down by John Heliemann for suggesting that we need to send tens of thousands of troops into Iraq for an indefinite period of time — if you were one of the ones responsible for getting the US into war, then you kindly need to sit down and stay quiet. You aren’t allowed to speak on this subject. Everything going on right now is the direct result of your actions and words. At this point, you need to be happy that you aren’t being tried as a war criminal and sentenced to death due to the destruction and decades of chaos you’ve brought forth. Just go away, never to be heard from again.
***************Fox’s Megyn Kelly tells Dick Cheney, history ‘has proven you got it wrong’
By Tom Boggioni
Thursday, June 19, 2014 1:33 EDT
With his daughter Liz sitting dutifully beside him, former Vice President Dick Cheney spoke with Fox News personality Megyn Kelly on Tuesday night, who confronted him over his complaints about the current administration’s efforts in Iraq, pointing out, “Time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir.”
Referencing an editorial written by Cheney and his daughter that appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Kelly began by quoting a blog post by Paul Waldman in the Washington Post.
Waldman wrote: “There is not a single person in America — not Bill Kristol, not Paul Wolfowitz, not Don Rumsfeld, no pundit, not even President Bush himself — who has been more wrong and more shamelessly dishonest on the topic of Iraq than Dick Cheney.”
Pointing out that Waldman suggests that Cheney is responsible for the mess in Iraq, Kelly invited the former VP to defend himself.
“Well, obviously, I disagree. I think we went into Iraq for very good reasons,” Cheney responded. “I think when we left office we had a situation in Iraq that was very positive, we made major progress as a result of a decision President Bush made to go with a surge in ’07 and ’08.”
Quoting from the Cheney’s Wall Street Journal op-ed, Kelly read, “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,” before adding, “Time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir.”
Kelly proceeded to list off a collection of quotes from Cheney claiming Saddam Hussein had WMD’s, stating that America would be greeted as liberators, saying the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes. She then asked, “Now, with almost a trillion dollars spent there, with almost 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?’
“No, I just fundamentally disagree, Reagan — I mean Megyn, ” Cheney responded. “You have to go back and look at the track record. We inherited a situation where there was no doubt in anybody’s mind about the extent of Saddam’s involvement in weapons of mass destruction.”
History later showed that Dick Cheney’s people worked in concert with Iraq dissident Ahmed Chalabi to place false information about WMD’s with the New York Times’ Judith Miller whose stories were cited by Cheney as outside evidence of WMD development.
Later in the interview Kelly asked the Cheneys if they thought President Obama was “dangerous.”
Liz Cheney enthusiastically jumped in.
“Yes, I’ll answer that one, Megyn. I think there is no question, I think that he is, uh, unique, in terms of a president who is sitting in the Oval Office, who has made made very clear that his desire is to weaken the nation, ” she said. “And, whether you say it’s his intent or naivete, you can now look at the results of the policies of the last six years.”
**************Rachel Maddow: Dick and Liz Cheney descend into self-parody with ‘obnoxious’ Iraq advice
By David Ferguson
Thursday, June 19, 2014 8:46 EDT
On Wednesday night, Rachel Maddow slammed the Wall Street Journal op-ed piece by former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz that appeared in Wednesday’s paper. In it, the Cheneys argued that President Barack Obama’s incompetence has bungled the fragile peace won by U.S. forces in Iraq.
The column appeared on the same day that the Cheneys announced their Alliance for a Strong America, a conservative pressure group designed to amplify the hard right perspective on foreign policy and “educate about and advocate for the policies needed to restore American power and pre-eminence.”
Maddow began by highlighting Liz Cheney’s “weird” and wildly unsuccessful campaign for U.S. Senate.
“Liz Cheney has been living in the Washington, D.C. area for many, many, many years, but last year, unexpectedly,” Maddow explained, “she moved back to Wyoming. She made claims that she’d actually been living there all along.”
Liz Cheney intended to unseat popular, long-serving Sen. Mike Enzi (R) by attacking him from the right. Wyoming voters were skeptical, and the Cheney campaign died an early death when the vice president’s daughter failed to make a dent in the polls.
“So, Liz Cheney’s last foray into politics, indeed, the last foray of any Cheney family member into political effort was basically a short-lived comedy of errors masquerading as a Wyoming senate race,” said Maddow.
Then came Wednesday’s announcement and op-ed column and the launch of the Alliance for a Strong America website, which, Maddow noted, has a definitely amateur-hour, “slap-dash” feel to it, with its spelling errors and clip art graphics.
Much of the world is “convulsing,” Maddow said, to see the same old Iraq War architects and Bush administration shills being trotted out as experts on Middle East policy. To see the Cheneys holding themselves up as avatars of a new policy rises to the level of self-parody.
“Who listens to this stuff?” she asked. “On the outside, it’s ridiculous, right? Seeing Dick Cheney in a cowboy hat and Liz Cheney at their misspelled website, telling us that they know what to do in Iraq. It’s like watching a particularly humorless, ham-handed left-wing parody in a student theater production at Hemp State in 2004.”
“I mean, nobody would accuse the Cheney family of something this on-the-nose, this brazenly obnoxious,” she said, “unless they did it themselves. And they did it themselves, there they are, it’s crazy. From the outside, it’s laugh-out-loud territory. But from the inside, does it work?” Will conservatives inside their media bubble swallow it?
That, Maddow said, remains to be seen.
**************Why don’t you shut the hell up, Dick Cheney
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 13:41 EDT
It should probably come as no surprise that, on the heels of virtually every major media institution handing over precious airtime to the criminally stupid and incompetent folks who shoved the Iraq war down America’s throat after they were found to have been asleep at the wheel prior to 9/11, that someone would roll away the stone keeping Dick Cheney in his crypt so he could plague the country with his presence once again.
We had already heard from comb-sucking Paul Wolfowitz who suddenly became bashful about being referred to as the ‘architect’ of a misguided excursion that destroyed a country. There was Paul Bremer who decided back in the day to sack the entire Iraqi army, making them free agents with guns and training in a world without jobs. Or electricity. Or running water.
That certainly worked out well.
Politico went so far as to track down and ask for the sage words of Doug Feith; a man General Tommy Franks once called “the dumbest fucking guy on the planet,” and is not to be confused with Jim Hoft who is the “stupidest man on the Internet.”
Of course, no debate about doing something profoundly stupid and ill-conceived and totally at odds with reality in the Middle East would be complete without hearing from the one guy who has been wrong about everything every time for forever: Bill Kristol.
Which brings us back to Dick Cheney, Vice President who was the United States from 2001 to 2009, and perennial Halliburton Employee of the Year from 2002 on, probably to infinity.
The man who who once had this conversation on TV in 2003:
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.
MR. RUSSERT: If your analysis is not correct and we’re not treated as liberators but as conquerors and the Iraqis begin to resist particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly and bloody battle with significant American casualties?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I don’t think it’s unlikely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators. I’ve talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. The president and I have met with various groups and individuals, people who’ve devoted their lives from the outside to try and change things inside of Iraq.
The read we get on the people of Iraq is there’s no question but what they want to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.
With the help of his daughter — failed candidate for office and both Daddy’s Little Deferment and the amanuensis known as Princess Snarlyface — Liz Cheney, Dick penned a screed for the Wall Street Journal about the current conditions in Iraq, and in it he wants everyone to know that …
Nope. I’m not going to tell you, because it doesn’t matter.
Outside of a tearful televised apology followed by ritual seppuku (pay per-view!), no one ever needs to hear a thing that Dick Cheney has to say again.
Fuck that guy.
Following his term as Secretary of Defense — that same period when he thought invading Iraq was a bad idea — Dick Cheney took over as CEO of government contractor Halliburton; a company that made him a very wealthy man despite the fact that he wasn’t very good at it. To repay them, and possibly make amends for his boneheaded stewardship, Cheny helped orchestrate the biggest boondoggle since the Vietnam War. Halliburton reaped billions while an estimated half million Iraqis perished and close to 4,500 Americans died.
Between the dead and the wounded, that’s enough blood to float a battleship.
While we don’t need to hear from Dick Cheney ever again, it wouldn’t hurt for Dick Cheney to hear from this Dick Cheney:
Dude, money changed you.
And we’re all still paying for it.
**************The Neocon Iraqi Lie the Mainstream Media Won’t Let Die
By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson
Thursday, June, 19th, 2014, 7:04 am
Iraq is in bad shape, being torn apart by sectarian violence, and it is going to get worse before it gets better – if it ever gets better. The sad truth – because we as a nation are culpable – is that there is nothing the United States can do now can make it better. The sad truth is that Iraq is in the shape it is today in because of what America has already done.
How, we must ask ourselves now, is how will doing again what we did before undo what we did before?
President George W. Bush’s criminal invasion in 2003 threw Iraq into chaos and his administration had no clear plans beyond toppling Saddam Hussein – unless you count plundering the country for all it was worth. That mission was accomplished very well.
We did not win there; indeed, we were lucky to get out after a decade of senseless fighting. Our purpose was ignoble from the beginning and the memory of the Iraq War does America no honor. And the Neocons want to go back and do it again- forever, if necessary.
Pat Robertson, in blaming President Bush for Iraq the other day, has shown himself to be more intelligent (or at least more honest) than,
Karl Rove, who in 2011 claimed it wasn’t Bush who wanted to invade Iraq, that Congress pushed him into it;
or Dick Cheney, who just the other day blamed Obama for misdeeds he knows perfectly well attach themselves to the administration of which he was a part;
or Donald Rumsfeld, who has tried to glorify Bush’s misdeeds;
or William Kristol, who blamed Obama for Bush’s signed agreement to pull out of Iraq.
Because somehow, in the Neocon mind, invading Iraq wasn’t the problem; leaving Iraq was.
Robertson, on the other hand, was correct in pointing out that George W. Bush is alone responsible for the current condition of Iraq. It doesn’t matter if Bush was a puppet or a puppet master. It was his watch and he was commander-in-chief.
Robertson gave it to Bush with both metaphorical barrels. Monday, on the 700 Club, Robertson said, “it was a great mistake to go in there.”
To sell the American people on Weapons of Mass Destruction, it was a lot of nonsense and we were sold a bill of goods.
We should have never gone into that country. As bad as Saddam Hussein was, he held those warring factions in check and he contained those radical Islamists.
Don’t be too quick to give Pat a pat on the back, however. Robertson is being less than forthcoming about his own support for Bush during the war. As Media Matters reports,
“On the December 7  edition of Christian Broadcasting Network’s The 700 Club, host Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America, said Democratic criticism of the Iraq war ‘amounts to treason’ and that ‘carping criticism … just doesn’t cut it’”:
ROBERTSON: We’ve won the war already, and for the Democrats to say we can’t win it — what kind of a statement is that? And furthermore, one of the fundamental principles we have in America is that the president is the commander in chief of the armed forces and attempts to undermine the commander in chief during time of war amounts to treason. I know we have an opportunity to express our points of view, but there is a time when we’re engaged in a combat situation that carping criticism against the commander in chief just doesn’t cut it. And I think that yes, we have freedom of speech — of course we do — but this has gone over the top and I think the Republicans are — well, they’ve taken advantage.
I guess the truth cuts it though, doesn’t it Pat, not that you’ll apologize now.
Then there is Glenn Beck of all people, who, if he did not exactly apologize, admitted those treasonous liberals were right all along.
Tuesday on his radio show, Beck said, “From the beginning, most people on the left were against going into Iraq. I wasn’t…. Liberals, you were right. We shouldn’t have.”
You have to look long and hard to find other conservatives who will even admit George W. Bush existed, let alone started the Iraq War – and on pretexts as flimsy as Hitler used to invade Poland in 1939.
Beck went on to say,
Not one more life. Not one more life. Not one more dollar, not one more airplane, not one more bullet, not one more Marine, not one more arm or leg or eye. Not one more. This must end now. Now can’t we come together on that?
The facts are clear and they are beyond dispute, though not beyond the inevitable Republican obfuscation and dishonesty.
Coalition forces invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003. This was the grotesquely-named Operation Iraqi Freedom (timeline here), grotesque because what it was in reality was “Operation Neocons Get Rich Quick.”
Bush said at the time that “”helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country will require our sustained commitment” but the only sustained commitment made was to plunder the Iraqi people.
President-George-W.-Bush-Mission-AccomplishedOf course, then on May 1, 2003, he announced “Mission Accomplished,” which fails to explain the events of the past 11 years. In fact, the mission was so not accomplished that seven years later, in September 2010, it became Operation New Dawn.
Most particularly Bush’s alleged success in Iraq fails to explain the recent upswing in violence and the rise of Hussein loyalists and ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. There is a dispute over acronym (see here) but no dispute at all that ISIS/ISIL is the worst thing to happen to Iraq since George W. Bush and his Neocon carpetbagging friends.
Those responsible are undeniably and unarguably war criminals according to International law the United States once supported. And they want to go back to Iraq, and the media is more than willing to entertain their views on the bizarre premise that people who have shown they don’t know how to do something are the people to ask for advice.
As Justin Baragona wrote here Tuesday – and this will sound familiar to you since we did this already in 2003:
Basically, Kristol wants a bunch of US troops to go into Iraq to get into the middle of a civil war with no clear enemy or directive. In other words, create a bigger mess than it already is, and leave American blood on Iraqi soil.
And it worked so well last time! Ten years of war, without Obama’s 2008 win, could as easily have been 20. For Neocons – and for the mainstream media – it is 2003 all over again. No clear enemy. No clear directive.
Harry Reid says that all we need to hear from Dick Cheney is an apology for Iraq. That goes also for George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of their Neocon friends, and it goes double for the mainstream media, which has with malice aforethought perpetuated their lies for the past decade and is more than eager to do so again.
******************The Media Embarrasses Itself by Treating the Lying Bush Bumblers Like Iraq War Experts
Wednesday, June, 18th, 2014, 9:58 am
Human beings’ progress and development throughout history owes a great deal to the intrinsic ability of pattern recognition. One of the benefits of pattern recognition is either recognizing one’s own disastrous actions, or seeing behaviors in other beings that produce catastrophic results to avoid repeating those behaviors as a means of self-preservation and likely success at surviving. The idea of human beings making choices they know are guaranteed to end in catastrophic failure is not only risking extermination, it is the mark of stupidity. The infamous Einstein quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results” has never been more prescient than in describing the state of the conservative movement and American mainstream media.
There is no accounting for the insanity of the conservative movement in deliberately repeating past mistakes, except, possibly, the conservative lunacy of never wavering no matter how often the position ends in failure. However, mainstream media has no excuse for repeating gross errors if for no other reason than the historical record they had a hand in documenting in great detail. Still, America’s mainstream media is as apt to repeat failures as conservatives likely due to the symbiotic relationship between corporate media and the conservative movement.
The insanity of mainstream media outlets was on grand display and obvious to any human being with a pulse on Sunday when “Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked one of the architects of the Iraq War what America should do “as a policy matter” to deal with the deteriorating situation in Iraq. Gregory’s question informs the brilliance of America’s mainstream media; ask Wolfowitz, one of the chief visionaries and supporters of the 2003 invasion of Iraq what action America should take to ameliorate the current civil war in Iraq that Wolfowitz and company had a major hand in creating.
It is not as if everything Wolfowitz and other Bush-era neocons purported about invading a stable, sovereign nation that had nothing to do with the terror attacks on 9/11 was completely wrong; including the crippling cost of the war in money and lives as well as the “guaranteed” presence of WMD. The abomination of Gregory’s query to neocon Wolfowitz is not that he did not know precisely what the neocon would say, because he did. Last March in an interview Wolfowitz argued that regardless the neocons got everything wrong about Iraq, including the lies pushed by the Bush administration that Saddam was developing weapons of mass destruction, he said that if Iraq did not have WMD in 2003, it “might” have got them later. He said, “We would very likely either have had to go through this whole scenario all over but probably with higher costs for having delayed, or we’d be in a situation today where not only Iran was edging towards nuclear weapons but so was Iraq and also Libya.”
Broadcast media is not alone in its insanity to give Bush’s gang of Iraq War instigators a forum and standing as credible voices on what America’s involvement in Iraq’s civil war should be. On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal set aside space for an opinion piece by L. Paul Bremer, Bush’s special envoy to Iraq, who disbanded the Iraqi Army and set the stage for the insurgency that is driving the civil war today. Bremer did precisely as every Bush neocon did leading up to the 2003 invasion and argued that America has no choice but to become militarily involved in the civil war neocons created in 2003. The theme of Bremer’s commentary was that sending in the military was the only American option.
Bremer said, “Of course Americans are reluctant to re-engage in Iraq. Yet it is President Obama’s unhappy duty to educate them about the risks to our interests posed by the unfolding drama in Iraq.” Americans were already “educated” once about the neocons need to engage in a war in Iraq and it is stunning Bremer is insane enough to make the same argument in the Wall Street Journal with an article titled “Only America Can Prevent a Disaster in Iraq.” Bremer, like the rest of Bush neocons know full well that it was their lust for war with Iraq that created the disaster in Iraq in 2003 that continues unabated today.
Bremer has been joined by William Kristol of the Weekly Standard who criticized President Obama over the weekend for “our ridiculous and total withdrawal from Iraq in 2011” despite it was his neocon cohort George W. Bush that negotiated America’s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011. Kristol, a warmonger who never served in the military has spent the past few days calling for sending American soldiers to fight against and protect both insurgent Sunnis and Iraqi Shias to “stabilize” conditions in Iraq.
In April 2003, Kristol declared, like George W. Bush, that “the battles of Afghanistan and Iraq have been won decisively and honorably,” but he wants Americans to win decisively again despite the neocons Iraq war droned on for 8 long years and Americans are still fighting in Afghanistan. Kristol said “Now is not the time to re-litigate either the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 or the decision to withdraw from it in 2011. The crisis is urgent, and it would be useful to focus on a path ahead rather than indulge in recriminations.” Kristol also graced MSNBC yesterday where he argued, again, that America must send troops to get in the middle of Iraq’s civil war.
One expects, on one hand, for neocons to push for another American war in Iraq, and the other, to avoid appearing in the media for fear of reminding Americans they are solely responsible not only for the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds-of-thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, but the current civil war their invasion created. However, it is the media outlets who invite the warmongers as Iraq War experts to repeat the same arguments for going to war in Iraq again that is despicable. It is imperative to remember that the mainstream media contributed to the neocons push for war in Iraq prior to the 2003 American invasion and yet despite the catastrophic results they are repeating the same behavior again. The mainstream media is as culpable for pushing the invasion and 8-year occupation of Iraq in 2003 as the Bush neocons, and by giving the same warmongers a venue to push for another war is beyond irresponsible.
American mainstream media began its rapid descent into incompetence during the lead-up to the war in Iraq, and it should be treated like a pariah now for providing the same venue for neocons to hawk for war. It is bad enough the corporate media is a forum for the conservative mendacity machine, but to repeat the same errors of giving the exact same Bush neocons a venue to push for war in Iraq again is not just insane, it is what Americans have come to expect from the corporate-controlled mainstream media; irresponsible activism in pursuit of giving conservatives the only voice in 24-hour news cycles.