Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ten years after

Nope. Still not over it.

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction."

-- Dick Cheney, 9/8/02

"Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

-- George W. Bush, 10/7/02

"We will win this conflict. We will win it easily."

-- John McCain, 1/22/03

My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence."

-- Colin Powell at the UN, 2/5/03

"[T]he area in the south and the west and the north that coalition forces control is substantial. It happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."

-- Donald Rumsfeld, 3/30/03

"There's a certain amount of pop psychology in America that the Shia can't get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There's almost no evidence of that at all."

-- Bill Kristol, 4/1/03

"Who said war never solved anything?"

-- Brendan Miniter, The Wall Street Journal, 4/8/03

"The only people who think this wasn't a victory are Upper Westside liberals."

-- Charles Krauthammer, 4/19/03

TED KOPPEL: "[Y]ou’re not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is going to be done for $1.7 billion?"
ANDREW NATSIOS (Agency for International Development): "Well, in terms of the American taxpayer's contribution, I do. This is it for the U.S."

-- Nightline, 4/23/03

"(Liberals) can't deny that President Bush has won his two wars, and won them resoundingly."

-- Paul Mirengoff at Powerline, 4/26/03

"The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics' complaints."

-- Tony Snow (later Bush's press secretary) on Fox News, 4/27/03

Five years later:

As the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq neared, Vice President Cheney flew unannounced into Baghdad on Monday and declared the U.S. effort to install democracy and stabilize Iraq a "successful endeavor" that has been "well worth the effort." … The vice president used the opportunity to reassert that there was "a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda" before the U.S. invasion, despite reports that have found no operational ties between the two.
And five years ago today:
Cheney: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.
Martha Raddatz: Two thirds of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.
Cheney: So?
Martha Raddatz: So? You don’t care what the American people think?
Cheney: No.

Here also...

The History of the Friedman Unit

(Below from 5/18/06)

For weeks now, liberal bloggers have proposed a new measurement to mark the mildly optimistic, if farfetched, pronouncements on Iraq coming from many pundits, Republicans, and White House spokesmen: the 'Friedman Unit' or ‘F.U.’ It equals six months, and is named after famed New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a longtime supporter of the war who, for nearly three years, has repeatedly declared that things would likely turn around there if we just give it another six months.

The full listing of Friedman Unit pronouncements.

Bush Lowballed the Cost of the Iraq War by $6 Trillion



What We Did to Iraq

The US public was always carefully protected by its media from full knowledge of what the US government did to Iraq. The networks had a rule of never showing blood. They almost never showed wounded Iraqis with bloody bandages. Of course, they never showed dismemberment (bodies blown up, unlike in Hollywood movies, don’t just pile up whole). Since Arabic satellite TV showed such images every day, the Arab world and the US saw two different wars on their screens. US media almost never interviewed Iraqi politicians (magazine shows like 60 Minutes very occasionally took up that task). Frequently, Pentagon talking points were swallowed whole. Propaganda about ‘al-Qaeda’ and Zarqawi being responsible for “80%” of the violence was used to hide from Americans that there were both Sunni and Shiite resistance movements against American occupation, and that they were Iraqis and widespread. 


The US created a power vacuum and exercised a pro-Shiite favoritism in Iraq that fostered a Sunni-Shiite civil war. At its height in 2006-2007, as many as 3,000 Iraqis were being killed a month by militias. Many showed signs of acid or drilling or electrical torture. The Baghdad police had to establish a corpse patrol in the morning to collect the cadavers. How many Iraqis died as a result of the US invasion and occupation will never be known with any precision, but I think 200,000 would be the lower minimum. Since three to four times as many people are typically wounded as killed in conflict situations, that would suggest that as many as one million Iraqis were killed or wounded, some 4% of the population.

The US rounded up some 25,000 Iraqis at the height of the conflict, and their Shiite Iraqi government allies held another 25,000. The vast majority were Sunni Arabs. This 50,000 were in a vast gulag at any one time, but tens of thousands circulated through this system. Many were arbitrarily arrested, for simply being young men in the general vicinity of a bombing or other guerrilla activity. Very large numbers were tortured.

US troops sometimes committed excesses. One national guard unit was known for laying down suppressive fire whenever a bomb went off in their vicinity. This tactic ensured that they killed Iraqi pedestrians after a market bombing. US troops sometimes shot drivers who did not know English and could not understand commands to slow down at checkpoints. How widespread actual atrocities were is always difficult to gauge in the fog of war.

Do you feel safer?

Update: The Last Letter, by Tomas Young.

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.  

[...]

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

1 comment:

Katy Anders said...

It's unbelievable.

If it was a plot for a fictional movie or book, you wouldn't believe it.

Our civilian leadership - all of whom were fresh out of the oil and gas or the defense contractor industries - gleefully ran us into a foreign policy disaster using fake info.

It destroyed our status as a nation.

No one has been punished.

Well, I mean EVERY American - first and foremost those poor kids fighting - have been punished. But not the war criminals.

End of an empire and maybe that's a good thing.