Part-3 of Playthell’s series on Iraq
by Playthell Benjamin
The scathing editorial criticizing President Obama’s foreign policy on the editorial page of the June 18, edition of the Wall Street Journal, “The Collapsing Obama Doctrine,” written by Dirty Dick Cheney and his pugnacious nauseating daughter Lying Lizzy, is a brazen misrepresentation of history that assumes its readers are stupid. Alas, this latest condescension should come as no surprise to those who have been paying attention to Republican strategy. As Ihave often noted in the past, the Republican Party or GOP – Grand Obstructionist Party – calculates the ignorance and historical amnesia of the American public into its formula for victory at the polls.
This is because in order to win elections one must first win the public debate, which is increasingly conducted through short messages and power packed slogans carefully crafted by professional advertising people – and the Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated that they are willing to jettison facts in favor of self-serving fictions. These are electronic messages, beamed into the minds of millions on FOX “News” and the verbal arsonists on WABC AM – White Apartheid Broadcast Cabal – the epicenter of the broadcast sector of a right-wing media complex in which the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal are the preeminent print outlet.
Published by that politically backward, far right, racist Australian media mogul Rupert Murdock, whose mass media outlets have played a major role in the success of right-wing politicians in the US, Australia and England, the WSJ editorial page is the perfect podium for Dirty Dick and Daughter aka “Dangerous and Deceitful,” to launch their bogus attack on President Obama. Hence the Cheney Duo’s latest screed should be regarded as nothing more than a self-serving attempt by Dirty Dick and his daughter to regain his place as a credible analyst of foreign affairs, in the hope of influencing the direction of American foreign policy by making us forget the scurrilous role he played as the chief architect of the misguided criminal invasion of Iraq.
“Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,” They write. “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.” The sheer audacity of the Cheneys almost takes one’s breath away.
What President Obama promised the American people was that he would end American involvement in the decade old war which Dirty Dick convinced a clueless George Bush to launch. He kept that promise. What we are witnessing now is the result of the miscalculations of Cheney and the Neo-Con Cabal from the Project For a New American Century – a foreign policy think tank founded by he, Donald Rumsfeld and that little chatty pugnacious nerd Bill Kristol – that convinced a clueless George Bush to invade Iraq based on a pack of carefully calculated lies! (For a detailed analysis of how this happened see: “How the Iraq War was Hatched in a Think Tank” on this blog.)
As always, the Republicans are allergic to history; hence they wish to begin their analysis with present moment. That’s why they never learn from history and continue to repeat its mistakes. After recounting an odyssey through an Arab world that is plagued with war and rumors of war, in which he quotes unnamed Arab officials lamenting President Obama’s lack of action against the militant Islamist Jihadist that are threatening their existence, Dirty Dick tells us the following:
“When Mr. Obama and his team came into office in 2009, al Qaeda in Iraq had been largely defeated, thanks primarily to the heroic efforts of U.S. armed forces during the surge. Mr. Obama had only to negotiate an agreement to leave behind some residual American forces, training and intelligence capabilities to help secure the peace. Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.”
I cannot recall a more blatant, shameless, attempt to rewrite the facts of history as an astonished world watches. Let me remind Dirty Dick and his fellow reactionary revisionist of some incontestable facts that nullifies their attempt to substitute propaganda for history. When they announced their plans for “regime change” in Iraq based on manufactured “evidence” about Saddam Hussein’s collaboration with Al Qaeda and the stockpiling of “weapons of mass destruction” with which he intended to arm Al Qaeda for future attacks on America – a totally bogus claim which nobody who was knowledgeable about modern Arab politics believed – I wrote a scathing rebuttal of their position, see: “The Prophetic Commentary on Iraq.”
The Arab league warned that a US invasion of Iraq would “Open the gates of hell!” Subsequent events have proved them, and the most vocal opponents of the war such as yours truly to be right, and everything the Bushmen, led by Dirty Dick and Devious Don Rumsfeld, said about the rationale and consequences of the Iraq invasion has been proven tragically wrong…everything! We were also told before the invasion that the war would be short, would easily pay for itself with Iraqi oil revenues, and that the Iraqis would welcome the American invaders as “liberators.”
High on hubris after the massive bombing – labeled “Shock and Awe” – that preceded the ground invasion of Iraq, there were no limits to the delusions of grandeur entertained by the Bushmen and their supporters in the corporate media. Hence when George W. Bush swooped from the sky onto the deck of the massive aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in a S-3B Viking fighter jet, jauntily deplaned decked out in fighter pilot’s gear, posed under a giant banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” and announced “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended….In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed,” to whoops and hollers from the swabbies, virtually no one doubted it.
This was especially true of the “watchdogs” in the press that had supported the invasion despite the skepticism of scholars, and the protests of millions of anti-war demonstrators in the US and abroad. Consider the remarks of Chris Matthews, the “hard-nosed” reporter and proud Democrat who hosts MSNBC’s nightly program “Hardball.”
In a bipartisan patriotic love fest among American Exceptionalists Matthews says to the right wing verbal arsonist Ann Coulter “The president’s performance tonight, redolent of the best of Reagan — what do you think?” To wit Ms. Coulter gushes “It’s stunning. It’s amazing. I think it’s huge. I mean, he’s landing on a boat at 150 miles per hour. It’s tremendous. It’s hard to imagine any Democrat being able to do that. And it doesn’t matter if Democrats try to ridicule it. It’s stunning, and it speaks for itself.”
The Great Pretender! Bush in Flight Suit Faking the heroism of his Daddy in World War II.
Real Deal: George H. W. Bush at 19 Years Old. The Youngest fighter Pilot in the American Military
Unable to contain his excitement at The Great Pretender’s tough guy act, Matthews gushes like a little kid discussing a cowboy movie. “He looks for real. What is it about the commander in chief role, the hat that he does wear, that makes him — I mean, he seems like — he didn’t fight in a war, but he looks like he does.” Brian Williams, presently the anchorman on NBC Evening News, but was anchoring “The News with Brian Williams” on the cable channel CNBC at the time, opined that very evening “And two immutable truths about the president that the Democrats can’t change: He’s a youthful guy. He looked terrific and full of energy in a flight suit. He is a former pilot, so it’s not a foreign artform to him. Not all presidents could have pulled this scene off today.”
Since I have always regarded Brian as nothing more than an air head with a pretty face who has been trained to read the news effectively – assets better suited to actors than serious journalists – I am not surprised at his empty headed prattle. But Matthews broke my heart; alas I expected more from him. After all, it was widely known that Bush had used his father’s connections to get himself assigned to the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, and when the U.S. Air Force experienced a shortage of pilots for the plane Bush was trained to fly and they asked for volunteers he failed to step up!
This is the story that brought the downfall of Dan Rather, CBS Evening News anchorman and heir to Walter Cronkite, whom polls had shown was “the most trusted man in America” during his tenure. How could these crack “newsmen” not know anything about these allegations? In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack the blood lust for revenge was so rampant, especially among white guys, that they lost any semblance of objectivity. That’s why we must be wary of calls for American military intervention in the current Iraqi crisis; we must not go down the wrong road again…we simply can’t afford it in blood or treasure. The price will prove far too high.
When the mainstream media fails to review government justifications for military interventions in foreign countries we end up with debacles that confuse the public, and demoralize voters. It leads some to conclude that the government is composed of corrupt liars and just tune out of the political process. This is the affect that the Iraq war had on many Americans when they finally learned the truth; which is than none of the reasons the Bush Administration gave for starting this 10 year war proved true.
Dirty Dick and Livid Lizzie claim that “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.” However we don’t have to look far in order to disprove this claim. The sole charge that the Cheneys level at President Obama is that he said the war would be over by a given date, and that he said Al Qaeda had been decimated. And he points to the ISIS insurgency as evidence of how wrong President Obama is. But even if Dirty Dick is right, and he is not, it would be picayune stuff compared to the blunders of the Bush administration.
Let us begin with the fact that the most devastating attack by a foreign power on American soil since the War of 1812 was the 9/11 attack. It is a matter of record that the Bush Administration had been given repeated warning that Osama bin Laden was preparing such an attack, and they did absolutely nothing to prevent it. Instead they dismissed such warnings as bogus, despite the fact that they were coming from the FBI and the CIA independently.
World Trade Center Aflame. The Worse National Security Failure in US History!
Dr. Condoleezza Rice dismissed the Al Qaeda threat with the observation that no camel driver in the desert could pull off such an attack, and went on about the business of building support for construction of a “star wars” anti-ballistic missile system –something the Republicans like Dirty Dick and Big Mac are trying to resurrect. The acting Director of the FBI says when he tried to present evidence to Attorney General Ashcroft that such a plot was real, he poo pooed his warnings. At the time, Ashcroft was too busy with the critical work of covering up the naked breast on the statues of Lady Justice perched in the Justice Department!
On the day the attack occurred the Bush Administration, despite several warnings, were totally unprepared. In fact Dr. Rice, Bush’s National Security Advisor was scheduled to give an important address on the urgent need to build the anti-ballistic missile system, a reckless move that would have violated long standing treaties between the US and Russia, sparking a new nuclear arms race. So they slept on the fact that the energized Jihadist movement and not a dismantled Soviet Union was the urgent threat to US national security. President Bush, and his know-it-all Vice President Dirty Dick, completely failed to understand this. And it led to the greatest national security failure in US history!
That initial failure was followed by a series of colossal blunders by the Bush Administration that led directly to the ISIL insurgency we are facing now. To put it succinctly, the Bush Administration originally told the American public that “regime change” in Iraq was imperative, in order to effectively fight the terrorist threat from Al Qaeda because Saddam had given them aid and comfort in his country and thus had conspired with them in the 9/11 attack.
Furthermore since Saddam had amassed stockpiles of “weapons of mass destruction” i.e. nuclear and chemical weapons, he had to be removed because if he remained in power we would soon see a “nuclear cloud” over America. This became the main talking point of the Bush Administration as they all repeated the scenario ad nauseum – it’s all on video tape hence it cannot be denied! They even manufactured bogus evidence and sent a duped Secretary of State Colin Powell before the UN to present it; an act he now regards as the worst incident of his long public career in the military and government.
All these claims have proven to be totally false. Peter Borger – CNN’s National Security Analyst, expert reporter on the Middle East, and author of the authoritative book, “The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda – has written an illuminating report reviewing the record of the Bush Administration in Iraq. Mr. Borger points out that after carefully examining 34 million pages of records from the Saddam Hussein government, our Defense Intelligence Agency failed to find a single shred of evidence of collaboration between Saddam and Osama bin Laden. And the Pentagon fared no better after its investigation of 600,000 official documents and thousands of hours of taped conversations of Saddam and high officials in the Iraqi government. Not a stitch of evidence could be found to corroborate the Bush Administration’s narrative about Iraqi/al Qaeda collaboration.
After studying the results of all these investigations, Borger tells us: “The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded in 2008, as every other investigation had before, that there was no “cooperative relationship” between Hussein and al Qaeda. The committee also found that “most of the contacts cited between Iraq and al Qaeda before the war by the intelligence community and policy makers have been determined not to have occurred.” Hence the evidence is indisputable that the Bush Administration, led by Dirty Dick Cheney and Devious Don Rumsfeld, attacked an unoffending nation, embroiling this nation in the longest war in our history based on a damned lie!
And that is not the dirtiest of their deeds: They knew it was a lie all along. For a full explanation and evidence for this claim read my essay “How the Iraq War Was Hatched in a Think Tank.” The analysis in this essay will demonstrate that one need not resort to implausible paranoid theories about the Bush Administration ordering the 9/11 attack, a claim whose obscenity is surpassed only by it absurdity. In order to understand why the Bushmen would lie about Iraqi culpability in the 9/11 attack, one need only examine the agenda of the Project For a New American Century, the foreign policy think tank founded by Dick and Don, from which many critical functionaries in the Bush Administration’s National Security Team.
A hotbed of Neo-Con ideologues and policy wonks, these PNAC zealots took over American foreign policy after 9/11 and saw their opportunity to take Saddam out – something they had been trying to accomplish ever since the “Desert Storm” invasion under George the Ist. Dick and Don tried their best to persuade George H.W. Bush to overthrow Saddam after expelling Iraqi forces from Kuwait, but he heeded the wise counsel of General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who warned him of the hazards of such a move by citing the Pottery Barn Rule: “You Break it/You own it!”
General Colin Powell: Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff.
George the First decided to listen to the General who had just led a stunning defeat of Saddam’s army, and rounded on “The Crazies,” which was his secret name for Cheney and Rumsfeld. But George the First was much smarter than Junior. He really was a fighter pilot – a courageous one too – and he was the former Director of the CIA, so he was unimpressed with the neo-con dunderheads who beguiled his son into invading Iraq. If the poot-butt pretender had sought advice from dad he would have avoided committing the greatest blunder in US diplomatic history!
Alas, it seems Junior was so interested in removing himself from his father’s shadow and show he was finally his own man he feel prey to the machinations of “The Crazies.” I advance this as speculation only, but I have yet to hear a better explanation. The argument that he overthrew Saddam because the Iraqi leader had once attempted to assassinate his dad is spurious at best, for I can find no evidence to support that claim. However one can find abundant evidence for my claim in the essay cited above.
Since Dirty Dick has a record of telling blatant lies it should surprise no one that he has resorted to lies in an attempt to obfuscate his, and his callous goofy daughter’s, role in the present disastrous Sunni Jihadist insurgency in Iraq, which threatens to topple the American backed Shiite government headed by Al Maliqui. Witness their pitiful attempt to revise the historical facts.
“When Mr. Obama and his team came into office in 2009, writes the Cheney’s, “al Qaeda in Iraq had been largely defeated, thanks primarily to the heroic efforts of U.S. armed forces during the surge. Mr. Obama had only to negotiate an agreement to leave behind some residual American forces, training and intelligence capabilities to help secure the peace. Instead, he abandoned Iraq and we are watching American defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.”
This is hogwash! To begin with not only was Al Qaeda alive and well in Iraq, the Bushmen were unable to find Osama bin Laden – i.e. Osama been Forgotten – during two terms in office. In fact, Osama was comfortably ensconced in Pakistan, posting video tapes mocking the Bushmen’s efforts to find him! Bush himself says in a video-taped interview that he was no longer even thinking about bin Laden, let alone trying to find and capture him. That task had to await the arrival of Barack Obama into the Oval Office. Chilly B. went gangsta and took Osama out!
But Cheney is engaged in a transparent smokescreen here, his ultimate objective is to obfuscate the fact that it was the ill-conceived actions of the Bush Administration that brought al Qaeda into Iraq in the first place: before the invasion there were no al Qaeda cells in Iraq and no violent sectarian conflict. Mr. Borger explains just how it happened:
“Instead of interrupting a budding relationship between Hussein and al Qaeda,” the Iraq War precipitated the arrival of al Qaeda into Iraq. Although the Bush administration tended to gloss over the fact, al Qaeda only formally established itself in Iraq a year and a half after the U.S. invasion. On October 17, 2004, its brutal leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi issued an online statement pledging allegiance to Osama bin Laden. Zarqawi’s pledge was fulsome: “By God, O sheikh of the Mujahideen, if you bid us plunge into the ocean, we would follow you. If you ordered it so, we would obey.”
Zarqawi’s special demonic genius was to launch Iraq down the road to civil war. In early 2004, the U.S. military intercepted a letter from Zarqawi to bin Laden in which he proposed provoking a civil war between Sunnis and Shia. Zarqawi’s strategy was to hit the Shia so they would in turn strike the Sunnis, so precipitating a vicious circle of violence in which al Qaeda would be cast as the protector of the Sunnis against the wrath of the Shia. It was a strategy that worked all too well, provoking first sectarian conflict in Iraq and later civil war.”
That’s how Iraq got in the murderous mess it is in as I write. No amount of hysterical deceptive prattle attempting to blame President Obama can change these facts. In the next installment on the Iraqi crisis I will discuss what the President should do next, casting a critical eye toward the recommendations of Dirty Dick, his daughter, and assorted Republican chicken hawks and pugnacious dunderheads.
Double Click to See Paul O’Neil tell real story
Former Bush Cabinet tells how the decision was made to invade Iraq
Click to see ABC Report on Iraq
Benjamin is a veteran political journalist out of Harlem NY. His essays can be read on his blog site Commentaries on the Times.