Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I’ll be a little late for work, but I’m watching the re-run of “Hubris: Selling the Iraq War” on MSNBC.  It’s based on the book by Michael Isikoff and David Corn.

A decade ago, on March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush launched the invasion of Iraq that would lead to a nine-year war resulting in 4,486 dead American troops, 32,226 service members wounded, and over 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians. The tab for the war topped $3 trillion. Bush did succeed in removing Saddam Hussein, but it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction and no significant operational ties between Saddam’s regime and Al Qaeda. That is, the two main assertions used by Bush and his crew to justify the war were not true. Three years after the war began, Michael Isikoff, then an investigative reporter for Newsweek (he’s since moved to NBC News), and I published Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, a behind-the-scenes account of how Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and their lieutenants deployed false claims, iffy intelligence, and unsupported hyperbole to win popular backing for the invasion.

A lot of people knew we were being lied to, that the Bush/Cheney crowd had been looking for any excuse to invade Iraq, including making up bullshit reasons to go to war, and conning journalists and like-minded pundits into buying it.  A lot of us made it clear that we didn’t believe anything they were telling us.  And yet we went anyway.

I’d like to think that it would never happen again.  After all, we got lied into Vietnam, and the wounds are still raw.  But we as a nation have a short term memory when it comes to launching ourselves into the role of the world’s heavily-armed moral leader, and the lesson that we seem to learn is that we never learn the lesson.

The worst part is that no one will ever be held accountable.  That guarantees that it will happen again.  And again.

9 barks and woofs on “Hubris

  1. They certainly lied us into war, and since the attacks of 9/11 were so fresh it was made much easier. They wasted so much in terms of life and treasure, and for what? They were very bad for the country, and we are still recovering.

  2. The worst part is that a substantial portion of the electorate still believes the yarn spun to get us there – and there’s no “librul soshulust media” item gonna make’em think differnt.

    We have always been at war with Eastasia.

  3. George Santayana was right, “Those who forget history, are doomed to repeat it.” And isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over, hoping for different results? So, a big part of our electorate is both forgetful and insane. They’re called Republicans/conservatives.

    • So true. The Friday night before the dogs of war were unleashed, myself, my boss and my partner sat in my living decring that this was wrong and we would all pay for this. So true.

  4. Now can we add Dick Cheney to the list of Americans who are deemed criminals by dint of their “crimes against humanity” by the International Court. Henry Kissinger is another. I suspect Henry has canceled any plans to travel abroad for fear of being arrested, handcuffed and thrown into jail in Belgium. Oh – I do wish.

  5. If only the default position of citizens when the administration starts to make a case for war were “No,” that would go a long way toward correcting this kind of thing. Not that we shouldn’t ever go to war if a convincing case were made, but could we at least be a little more skeptical?

    • What about it? If those who are so obsessed with this sad incident had taken time off from holding a press conference about how the administration was withholding information, and had they attended the private CIA briefings to congressional foreign policy committee members (I mean you, John McCain) where classified information was shared, they might realize they have nothing to talk about. And of course that wouldn’t be as exciting and wouldn’t be a stick they can hit Hillary and/or the administration with. Poor Lindsay Graham would be sucking his thumb.

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