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The Real Iraq War Test

Peter Beinart makes [1] an argument very similar to the one I made yesterday [2]:

By claiming that the United States was right to invade Iraq given what its leaders thought they knew at the time, Rubio and his fellow GOP candidates are making George W. Bush’s radical departure from past American practice the new normal. They are enshrining the idea that the correct response to potential nuclear (and perhaps even chemical and biological) proliferation is preventive war. And, not coincidentally, they are doing so while trying to scuttle President Obama’s efforts to strike a diplomatic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program.

The chances of another Bush winning the presidency may be going down. But in foreign-policy terms, it hardly matters. The toxic spirit of the last Bush presidency still thoroughly infects today’s GOP.

As many others have observed, the idea that the U.S. was somehow forced by the evidence to launch the invasion of Iraq is a shameful lie. The truth is that the administration chose to start the war in 2003, and it had decided to start that war months before it began. It used the shoddy evidence regarding WMDs to push the case for invasion, but the main argument for invading was based in a delusion that an Iraqi “threat” that the U.S. had lived with for years was now suddenly intolerable and had to be eliminated immediately. The madness driving the argument for “preventive” war was the belief that if the U.S. did not strike at Iraq first that Iraq would sooner or later strike the U.S. This was a truly crazy and unfounded thing to believe, but most of our elected representatives claimed to believe it.

The lie that it was not their choice was one that the Bush administration told as it worked to sell the war. I suppose no one likes to admit to starting an unnecessary war, and so Bush made it seem as if the decision to go to war was being forced upon him by Iraqi “non-compliance.” The important point here is that many governments–allied and non-allied alike–agreed with the U.S. that Iraq still retained some of its weapons programs, but they nonetheless refused to endorse the illegal, unjustified, and indefensible invasion that was to follow. War supporters would very much like the political decision that they own to be turned into a technical problem for which they bear no responsibility. If the intelligence was “bad,” they think this offers them an excuse for plunging ahead with an outrageous and criminal attack on another country, but it changes nothing. While the war was undoubtedly a grave error, the Iraq war was far worse than a mistake. It was a strategic blunder of the highest order, an unjust war, and an egregious violation of international law. Anyone that can’t at least acknowledge that the U.S. was wrong to attack Iraq shouldn’t be taken seriously as a presidential candidate, and frankly shouldn’t be heeded on any important foreign policy issue.

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32 Comments To "The Real Iraq War Test"

#1 Comment By EliteCommInc. On May 19, 2015 @ 12:25 am

Excuse me while I sing an old tune.

You cannot take the invasion of Oraq out of the context of 9/11.

And while a significant number of democrats may have bvoted in opposition, more than enough voted for inconjunction with the advocacy of the same.

And the public support was majority in favor, initially. I am not sure that a wne at the sight of body bags counts for much, other than a failure to comprehend usually wars will include some loss on our part.

#2 Comment By a spencer On May 19, 2015 @ 12:39 am

the idea that the U.S. was somehow forced by the evidence to launch the invasion of Iraq is a shameful lie.

This will be written as history in the future.

Who stands athwart history?

#3 Comment By Junior On May 19, 2015 @ 1:13 am

“The truth is that the administration chose to start the war in 2003, and it had decided to start that war months before it began.”

I think the truth is that the war had been on the agenda since at least 1998 under Clinton. The “Interventionist-Liberals” AND the Neo-cons should be held accountable for the travesty that is Iraq and the Middle East. Granted the Neo-cons without a doubt hold a bigger portion of the blame, nevertheless, both.

I read a comment on another site that was from a Veteran that expressed it far better than I can, and I feel it applies to a discussion of the bad intelligence mentioned in this article so I’ll re-post it. I think he’s a bit harsh but I COMPLETELY understand the reason for his frustration. I don’t know what the protocol is and so I’ll leave out his last name out of respect for him. Jason wrote:

“Bush used the same intelligence that Clinton used to begin withdrawing inspectors and bombing Iraq in 1998. Look it up. These idiot leftists who go around complaining that Americans don’t know enough about the outside world and then they don’t know that we bombed Iraq in 1998 are ignorant parasites.

As a veteran, I did not support the war, but I am not so utterly stupid that I think that Bush started this war out of the blue or on a whim, or because he is some kind of “cowboy”. The entire wall street machine was behind this war, and only an idiot would deny that. Anyone who is still spreading that imbecilic lie that Bush “hijacked the country” has betrayed our troops. You don’t want to expose the larger war agenda that Bush, Clinton and Obama are all a part of but you still want political brownie points for standing up against Bush and pretending that you were opposed to the mission our troops were on. Iraq was one battle in an ongoing war to change the middle-east. Hillary and Obama showed they are fighting the exact same war by invading Libya and funneling arms to keep the fighting going in Syria and Yemen.
There is nothing more disgusting than a democrat who only acts shocked at war and murder when it benefits them in the polls.”

#4 Comment By Pro Rata On May 19, 2015 @ 2:09 am

In a sense, they’re lying us into war again. By refusing to confront the truth, recant, and apologize for the ensuing disaster, they give the original lies new and sinister life.

However, I suspect that we pay far too much attention to the figureheads in these campaigns and far too little to their “foreign policy advisors”. I’m not persuaded that the candidates themselves would knowingly damage themselves this way, or even that they studied and digested the facts and drawn their own conclusions. I take quite a few of them for fools, dupes, or corrupted. But the untraceable whispers of a shifty little advisor with an alien agenda are a different matter. A fool loaded up with poisonous BS by such advisors is capable of anything, as the G W Bush presidency proved.

#5 Comment By Irony Abounds On May 19, 2015 @ 2:14 am

After listening to Marc Thiessen (an utterly and completely repellant human being) on Megan Kelly tonight I felt as though I needed a ten hour shower. He and Ms. Kelly were beating war drums louder than I thought was humanly possible, and anyone who had woken up from a coma and tuned in would have thought ISIS had taken over Virginia and was knocking on the door of DC. Thiessen played the “flawed intelligence” card that is the hallmark of the war criminals from the Bush Administration and now the robotic chant of the 2016 Republican contenders. It is truly frightening that there is a cable news channel dedicated to the proposition that we must have more and more war as soon as possible. I’d like to think the American public is smarter than that, but I’m afraid we’re going to be bullied into yet another bloody conflict that will be followed by another protracted, expensive and soul draining occupation.

#6 Comment By Irony Abounds On May 19, 2015 @ 2:15 am

Errr, repellant should have been repugnant. Or despicable. Take your pick.

#7 Comment By Uncle Billy On May 19, 2015 @ 8:30 am

The W Bush Administration wanted to invade Iraq, install a puppet government and make it our base of operations for the Persian Gulf region. The whole WMD was bunk, manufactured to justify their adventure in regime change.

The US military is very good at destroying other conventional armies, but not so good at nation building. Iraq descended into sectarian chaos and we had no Plan B to deal with it. Petraeus, through sheer force of arms was able to hold down the violence for a while, but since we left, Iraq had descended into more sectarian violence and chaos. The Sunnis and Shiites are killing each other, backed by the Saudis and Iranians.

Iraq was worse than a “mistake.” It was a terrible idea, with poor planning, and carried out badly. After everything that has happened, it is revolting that the neocons still cannot tell the truth.

Now, those same neocons are beating the war drums for Iran. They never learn.

#8 Comment By JR On May 19, 2015 @ 8:47 am

Another thing they took advantage of was conflating nuclear WMD (which no one believed they had), with local WMD (Gas), which they may have had but would not have justified the war.

I was totally against the war as I remembered the very sound reasons Dick Cheney gave in 1994! [3]

To the extent the intelligence was “Cherry-picked,” we are not dealing with a “mistake,” but epic treason.

#9 Comment By CharleyCarp On May 19, 2015 @ 9:49 am

I think it’s really important to distinguish between the state of the intelligence in October 2002, when Congress voted to authorize force (ostensibly to strengthen the hand of the President in trying to get robust UN inspections; while also being a play for the midterms) and the state of the intelligence after the UN inspections in March 2003 — when a blind man could see that the intelligence was deeply flawed, when our serious allies [Canada! France!] and millions in the streets were saying it wasn’t enough, but the US administration decided to invade anyway.

Advocates of the ‘bad intelligence’ lie always want to merge the time periods, and ignore what became obvious to everyone through the course of February 2003.

When Cheney was on TV in March saying, pre-war, there was stuff and he knew where it was, he was flat out lying. They had two reasons for this: (1) they thought the war would be easy, in which case ‘the world is better off without Saddam’ would be compelling, no matter what lies had been told and (2) backing down and letting Saddam laugh at them was truly unacceptable. They’d have had to admit that GWB, not Saddam, was the aggressive liar, the sanctions regime would have collapsed entirely — despite what they were claiming at the time, the collapse wasn’t going to come on its own, but because the US had overplayed its hand.

This latter point is one of the real problems with the way the thing was handled domestically. They couldn’t admit that they’d played the 2002 midterms — not losing seats in a midterm is a really big deal, nor that all their critics on the intelligence as of October 2002 had been right. They’d painted themselves into a corner and had to hope against hope that it would all work out.

This is what makes the reckoning so hard. They weren’t just morally and philosophically wrong about preventive war, they were factually wrong about the predicates for such a war and knew it. Everyone involved, including pundits who supported it, should be driven from public life. But that can’t happen.

#10 Comment By Hersh On May 19, 2015 @ 9:54 am

Junior is right about the Clintons wanting to attack and invade Iraq (beyond their continued bombing Iraq throughout the 90’s). General Zinni said they kept trying to put together a plan but were always dissuaded because everyone knew what would happen. Exactly what did happen.

9/11 was the excuse for doing what “they” wanted to do for a dozen years.

Its all about money. [4] That’s a guy who made so much money producing body armor for Bush’s wars that he spent $10 million on his daughter’s bat mitzvah.

It must be a factor in this new phenomenon of “dynasties” on each of the 2 parties. Wall Street et al find it much easier to buy a family to do their bidding than figure out who to back or spread the money around. Lay all the money on Jeb and Hillary and you can’t lose either way it goes.

Thank goodness for Citizens United. Never thought I’d see it that way but the only thing that’s stopping Jeb from running everyone else out of the primaries with his money take is the Citizens United decision that allows billionaires to back candidates as much as they want so a half dozen or more GOP candidates can stay in.

#11 Comment By Jay C On May 19, 2015 @ 10:37 am

The madness driving the argument for “preventive” war was the belief that if the U.S. did not strike at Iraq first that Iraq would sooner or later strike the U.S….”

Well, as EliteComminc. pointed out in the top comment (and as few others have, oddly), the Bush Administration made that very point one of the pillars of their “rationale” for the Iraq war. I read a poll online of relatively recent vintage that said that something like 40% of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein was “somehow” “involved” in the 9/11/01 attacks. Of course, this was BS on a par with “nuclear programs” or “bioweapon trucks of death”, but as a propaganda tactic it worked like a charm.

#12 Comment By Mike Alexander On May 19, 2015 @ 11:07 am

Uncle Billy says: The W Bush Administration wanted to invade Iraq, install a puppet government and make it our base of operations for the Persian Gulf region.

I’m afraid uncle was wrong. Although I am a liberal I supported the war in Iraq *because* I thought its purpose was the depose Saddam and replace him with someone more to our liking (i.e. somebody who was not into randomly invading his neighbors). I thought that the WMD things was simply a pretest and figured everybody knew that (they just couldn’t admit it because its not PC). I never thought the war was about democracy-building because conservatives are not into nation building.

I believed the timetable for invasion had been advanced by 911. OBL gave 3 pretexts in his declaration of war against us (1)troops in Saudi Arabia, (2) Iraqi embargo (3) America’s support of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

I figured get rid of Saddam, replace him with a senior Baathist figure, make a big payment as “reparations” for the invasion, and get the hell out. Basically a bigger version of what we did with Noreiga. With any luck the new guy would be able to maintain control over the government, with all that American cash to grease palms, and with the end of the embargo the Iraqi economy would take off and the people might warm to the new guy. We could withdraw form the entire Mideast and restore the pre-Gulf War status quo, in which a powerful Iraq served as a bulwark against Iran (i.e. continue the policy Reagan had constructed).

When Garner was sent home and that Bremer came in I realized I was wrong and vehemently against the war. I marveled at the stupidity when the press started calling Bremer a flipping Proconsul, and Bremer disbanded the army.

I realized then that the Republicans in power were nucking futs. And nothing that the GOP has done since that has disabused me of that notion.

I used to be a realist in foreign policy and moderately liberal on domestic issues. I occasionally voted Republican, if I thought the Democratic candidate has issues. After 2003 I became a toaster Democrat. I won’t vote for a Republican even if his opponent were a toaster, or other small appliance. It’s not that the Dems are attractive, but that I see the GOP as dangerously unbalanced. They hold too many opinions about concrete issues of consequence that are wildly off-base and if implemented will harm a lot of people, first and foremost war and peace.

So now I am essentially a pacifist, completely against all intervention and would like the war department (like the Manor farm, that was its original and true name) to shrink to 1% of GDP as in the days before we were an empire.

#13 Comment By loic On May 19, 2015 @ 12:30 pm

“we are confronted by political myths of the most astonishing kind and by documents often fraught with a downright magical intensity. They…naturally have an esoteric character…the Leviathan represents ‘the cattle upon a thousand hills’…namely the heathen. World history begins as a battle amongst the heathen…[they] stand by and watch how people of the world kill one another. This ritual slaughter is for them lawful…and therefore eat the flesh of the slaughtered peoples and are sustained by it.”–Carl Schmitt

Description, proscription, prescription?–All, potentially and empirically. And for this reason it is both the very opposite and simultaneously a near synonym (as is the tribunal’s statement itself) of the Nuremberg tribunal’s decry of aggressive war as the supreme international crime, containing within it the accumulated evil of the whole of the crimes of war. The two, chronologically, restate the vision of divide et impera on a vast geopolitical scale for which, as praxis, the Nazis were convicted, but which today in the Middle East and other significant areas of the world is being to the letter (“the accumulated evil of tbe whole”) and the “spirit,” as well as the destructive scale of the physics, faithfully reproduced again.

#14 Comment By CaseyL On May 19, 2015 @ 12:43 pm

Attempts to make the Clinton Administration as culpable as the Bush Administration in mounting a catastrophic war in Iraq are baffling to me.

The Clinton Administration may have *wanted* to go to war against Saddam Hussein, but the fact is that they looked at the information and scenarios, concluded the war would be a catastrophe and therefore didn’t go forward.

The Bush Administration ignored the information, concocted its own fanciful scenarios, and charged forward into a criminal, ruinous, sickening failure.

#15 Comment By sock puppet factor On May 19, 2015 @ 1:22 pm

These candidates are in great part proxies. They aren’t their own men. They regurgitate what they’re told by handlers and advisors, or in some cases what they’re paid to say by donors (e.g. Rubio or Cotton).

As tempting and convenient as it is to construe their words as their own thoughts, it’s important to remember that they often aren’t, as becomes apparent when they face a tough, thorough interviewer – or even a softball interviewer who gets lucky.

#16 Comment By Antony On May 19, 2015 @ 1:41 pm

Junior:
“There is nothing more disgusting than a democrat who only acts shocked at war and murder when it benefits them in the polls.”

We opposed the war at the time. We paid the political price in 2002 and 2004 electorally, and personally in many of our relationships. War fools did not. We didn’t jump on any bandwagon. Your outrage is phony, not ours.

#17 Comment By jamie On May 19, 2015 @ 2:41 pm

We opposed the war at the time. We paid the political price in 2002 and 2004 electorally, and personally in many of our relationships.

A lot of Democrats did. Many in office did not; the main reason we find ourselves debating the intelligence is because most centrist and conventional Democrats don’t want to take preventative war against a nuclear-armed nation off the table. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry may have made a mistake in 2003 that they’ve apologized for, but neither of them are willing to say that such a vote is a mistake in the case the intelligence was accurate.

And really neither is Barack Obama, his opposition to the war was based, we remind ourselves, on the proposition that it was a “dumb war.” Thus we’ve had 8 years of supposedly smart ones. I guess it’s been better on the balance, he’s certainly been the best of bad alternatives, but it remains that no president, even the supposedly wild-eyed America-hater B. Hussein Obama, is willing to disclaim America’s privilege to wage aggressive war in whatever case it finds expedient.

#18 Comment By jamie On May 19, 2015 @ 2:42 pm

…is willing to disclaim America’s privilege to wage aggressive war in whatever case She finds expedient.

#19 Comment By DP On May 19, 2015 @ 2:56 pm

We’re now at the point where one of our political parties is pretty much willfully refusing to face the reality of Iraq. As a result, they are becoming a defacto party of warmongers. (I suppose the best hope is that they are simply too shallow and feckless to understand what they are really proposing. That, alas, is the greatest risk as well.

#20 Comment By balconesfault On May 19, 2015 @ 3:16 pm

@CaseyL Attempts to make the Clinton Administration as culpable as the Bush Administration in mounting a catastrophic war in Iraq are baffling to me.

Yesterday I heard Rush going on for a long time trying to sell what Junior was selling his comment up above – that everything Clinton said in 1998 was still relevant in 2003, that Bush’s invasion was somehow just a continum of the foreign policy agenda structured under the Clinton years.

The Clinton Administration may have *wanted* to go to war against Saddam Hussein, but the fact is that they looked at the information and scenarios, concluded the war would be a catastrophe and therefore didn’t go forward.

I’m not sure that they even wanted to go to war. I know that they perceived a threat, particularly when Saddam broke off cooperation wtih inspectors, and they wanted to put pressure on Iraq to stop their development of chemical and biological weapons.

And truth is, there is a lot of evidence that the 1998 Desert Fox bombings not only destroyed many facilities that were working on chem/biological agents … but that in combination with sanctions the operation convinced Saddam that it would be completely non-productive to try to re-create the programs that had been destroyed.

Which is of course why we found nothing after the invasion, except for some old degrading traces of agents stockpiled in desert bunkers.

I’m not going to defend the legality or morality of Clinton’s strikes – but at least the evidence is that they worked, without the US having to try to go in and take over the country.

Bush’s war was immoral, illegal, and also – a massive disaster that the US will be paying for for decades. I know that Limbaugh and his ilk would like to disguise that fact … but there it is. The brilliant, moderate-conservative pragmatist Clinton was far superior to the clueless, far right ideologue Bush. Case closed.

#21 Comment By Bad Influence On May 19, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

It’s important to recognize the role of the Israel example here. Many recent “developments”, if that’s the right word for them, in American policy are consciously modeled on Israeli practices that Americans have regarded as immoral, barbaric, or plain evil.

This certainly applies to preventive war, which we used to associate invidiously with Hitler, but then positively with brave little Israel’s “preventive” strikes on its neighbors. Torture and confiscations and military reprisals against civilian populations are other obvious examples … I remember my flesh creeping and blood boiling watching Hollywood movies where these themes were acted out, typically by Nazi villains and their good-guy Resistance fighter or innocent villager victims.

How far we have come, eh?

#22 Comment By Antony On May 19, 2015 @ 3:45 pm

Junior:
If the war propaganda machine at the time had made such a fine distinction between Democrats who did and didn’t vote for Operation Iraqi Goatscrew, there’d be a lot more senior Democrats in Congress right now. Nope, being a donkey was enough to get branded a traitor.

Now it’s all gone south for most of a decade, and we’re back to “but it was bipartisan!” And I just have to laugh.

#23 Comment By Ken Hoop On May 19, 2015 @ 3:53 pm

To say that other countries might have been fooled by faulty US intelligence claims (manipulated, cherrypicked) and hence believed Saddam might still have had some WMDS, however, isn’t saying much.

#24 Comment By Myron Hudson On May 19, 2015 @ 3:54 pm

Elite Comm, I must disagree. It was perfectly obvious to anyone paying attention that the ad hoc war committee of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle and Feith were cherry-picking discredited intelligence items and presenting them out of context.

During the run-up to the war about half of our population were unbelievers but lacked a voice or presence outside of outlets like TAC. There were major protests in almost every state. We were vilified and shouted down, or ignored.

And outside of our country there were no suckers at all, only some enablers and profiteers whose price was met. France’s price, a share of the reconstruction work for ELF, was not met. Blair’s price, a formal declaration that the official US policy re Israel and Palestine is a two-state solution, was met.

9/11 was the event which the neocons exploited and they had significant help from the press in this regard. But we were mis-led, no doubt. When the WMD failed to materialize, Wolfowitz owned that the WMD argument was the most useful in selling the war… shortly before disappearing from mainstream coverage for an extended time.

DL is right: the war was an egregious blunder with enormous negative consequences still unfolding. Any candidate who cannot acknowledge this does not deserve to lead.

#25 Comment By cfountain72 On May 19, 2015 @ 4:57 pm

If the intelligence was determined to be faulty, why did no heads roll? Surely if I initiated a war that was based on bad intel, the responsible parties would be hard-pressed to find work even delivering pizzas.

Oh, wait. They knew it was faulty, so the intel came from people who were doing their jobs correctly? And the group was led by the faux patriot Dick Cheney? Now it makes sense.

Peace be with you.

#26 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On May 19, 2015 @ 6:28 pm

The “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” got it right. Garçon, des pommes frites, s’il vous plâit.

#27 Comment By Essayist-Lawyer On May 19, 2015 @ 7:13 pm

Just for the record, the claim is false that at the time of the war all mainstream opinion was in favor and opposition was completely out of bounds. And I don’t count TAC as the time as “mainstream.” To the extent that it existed at the time, it was Pat Buchanan’s magazine, i.e., not mainstream.

But a large minority of public opinion was opposed. The vote for the war in Congress was lopsided, but nothing like the near-unanimity of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. My favorite columnists at the time were Mollie Ivings and Georgie Ann Geyer, both mainstream, and both opposed. The mainstream voices were there if you were looking for them.

#28 Comment By Junior On May 19, 2015 @ 9:13 pm

“There is nothing more disgusting than a democrat who only acts shocked at war and murder when it benefits them in the polls.”

If you would like to see an example of this please click on the link below which shows the leading Democratic candidate Hillary being ABSOLUTELY JUBILANT after learning about Gaddafi’s murder. She cackles, “We came, we saw, he died” while clapping her hands like a child at Christmas. You can be SURE that she is going to run on a “Peacenik” campaign ONLY because it benefits her in the polls. Disgusting hypocrite.
[5]

@Antony

“We opposed the war at the time. We paid the political price in 2002 and 2004 electorally, and personally in many of our relationships. War fools did not. We didn’t jump on any bandwagon. Your outrage is phony, not ours.”

So where was this flood of Democratic leaders who expressed that they were opposed to the war that you speak of? Because I certainly didn’t see or hear from them until AFTER the public opinion shifted. They all(few exceptions) jumped on the war-fool-bandwagon with the Neo-cons. As I said before the Neo-cons without a doubt hold a bigger portion of the blame, but just because the Democrats say “Oh we’re sorry, we shouldn’t have gone along with it” does NOT exonerate them from culpability in the disaster. We should ALL be outraged.

The point is that there is a war agenda that BOTH party’s have been carrying out. Don’t get caught up in this partisan “WE’RE the good guys and so THEY’RE the bad guys” mentality. Question it all, ESPECIALLY when it’s the one’s that you think are the good guys.

#29 Comment By Junior On May 19, 2015 @ 11:03 pm

@CaseyL & balconesfault

“The Clinton Administration may have *wanted* to go to war against Saddam Hussein, but the fact is that they looked at the information and scenarios, concluded the war would be a catastrophe and therefore didn’t go forward.”

The FACT is that Clinton DID go forward to war with Iraq by bombing them. It can be sugarcoated in many ways but it is still a FACT.

“I’m not sure that they even wanted to go to war. I know that they perceived a threat, particularly when Saddam broke off cooperation wtih inspectors, and they wanted to put pressure on Iraq to stop their development of chemical and biological weapons.”

Try replacing the word “they” with the word “Bush” every time you see it in the above quote. For example: I’m not sure that “Bush” even wanted to… PLEASE try it. What you will find when you replace the words is the twisted reasoning that the Neo-cons use to justify Bush’s war. If that doesn’t disturb you into questioning your minimalizing of Clinton’s actions, then I don’t know what will.

It seems to me that you are both admitting that Bush’s invasion WAS just “a continum of the foreign policy agenda structured under the Clinton years.” The only difference was in the way it was carried out.

After the way that Clinton sold us down the river with NAFTA, I think that it is a mistake to just assume that Clinton didn’t send troops in because he “concluded that it would be a catastrophe” or that he didn’t “even want to go to war.” He DID go to war and he showed with NAFTA that he’s not averse to carrying out an American catastrophe at the behest of corporate puppetmasters. I think the ONLY reason he didn’t send in troops was because he didn’t have the political capital to do it. A Democratic President that is at warring with his Congress doesn’t have the pull to get them to go along with it. If you need proof of this just look at Obama trying to get Congress to go along with an invasion of Syria.

I stated it before in the above post to Antony but I feel that it applies again and is important enough that it bears repeating: The point is that there is a war agenda that BOTH party’s have been carrying out. Don’t get caught up in this partisan “WE’RE the good guys and so THEY’RE the bad guys” mentality. Question it all, ESPECIALLY when it’s the one’s that you think are the good guys.

#30 Comment By balconesfault On May 20, 2015 @ 10:02 am

@Junior Try replacing the word “they” with the word “Bush” every time you see it in the above quote. For example: I’m not sure that “Bush” even wanted to… PLEASE try it. What you will find when you replace the words is the twisted reasoning that the Neo-cons use to justify Bush’s war. If that doesn’t disturb you into questioning your minimalizing of Clinton’s actions, then I don’t know what will.

No – because you are completely ignoring, for whatever motivations, a primary reason the neocons wanted not only to eliminate Saddam’s WMD capacity, but to occupy Iraq.

Because the neocons wanted US military bases in Iraq, the neocons wanted a stepping stone pathway from Iraq to Syria to Iran, and the neocons wanted to gut the Baathist government which ran a socialist country and set up a corporate wonderland which would prove that free-market values and elimination of government controls could uplift any country into an economic bonanza.

I do not minimalize Clinton’s actions – but let’s face it, Clinton’s actions didn’t put us on the hook for trillions of dollars, and it left the government of Iraq intact to deal with the internal threats that we’ve been having to spend the last 12 years dealing with. If you can’t see the difference in motivations, and in outcomes, then you’re a pretty poor observer of the situation.

Yes, Obama and the Dems have been far more interventionist than I would want. But they are also far far less dangerous than the GOP these days.

#31 Comment By Junior On May 20, 2015 @ 7:09 pm

@balconesfault

I agree that the democrats are “far far less dangerous than the GOP these days.” ABSOLUTELY. They are definitely the better choice when choosing the lesser of two evils.
But, it’s still of TWO evils. 😉

#32 Comment By Tzx4 On May 21, 2015 @ 7:57 pm

In the eighties at my job, an extremely friendly older woman from Germany often visited the station I worked at.
When I got the feeling that there was some trust and openness between us, I asked her what it was like living in Germany in the 30’s and 40’s. I was unprepared for her reply. She got rather wild eyed and quite agitated and only blurted out three words twice. “We were brainwashed, we were brainwashed!!!”. End of discussion of topic. Thinking over her reaction, I was disbelieving of what she said, and chalked it up to her expressing a form of denial, after all, how could one live there in that time and not see what was transpiring? I largely forgot about this conversation for about twenty years. Then 2002-03 rolled around, and what she said in the 80’s echoed loudly and clearly. I got it. Large sectors of our society were literally brainwashed by fear mongering, anger mongering TV, terrorist color alerts, discernible lies, and mass group think. I tried to make some counter points to some colleagues and friends, and they were literally incapable of comprehending what I was saying. The years 2002-03 gave me insight to how societies are led astray by power mongers at the top. It happened right here in this “exceptional, indispensable” nation. It was frightening, and still is because those PNAC power and fear mongers have somehow survived intact and have not changed, and they command some powerful infotainment and propaganda channels.