Wednesday, September 01, 2010

His new talent





Last night, US President Barack Obama hogged US air waves to spew a bunch of pretty lies, just pretty lies. He hailed Iraq as a success -- somehow forgetting that we have a measure for Iraq success. The White House proposed it at the end of 2006 and Congress signed off on it (and Barack was in the Senate at that time). They're called benchmarks. And Iraq's government or 'government' was supposed to meet those benchmarks to qualify for further funding. Not meet by the end of time, mind you, they were supposed to meet them ALL within 12 months. They never, ever did. Iraq is not a success and all the gas baggery in the world attempting to spin for Barack somehow forgot that the White House proposed a series of benchmarks, the Congress endorsed them and Nouri al-Maliki agreed ot them but they never got met. That would mean: Failure.
Today on the first hour of The Diane Rehm Show (NPR), Diane explored the Iraq War with her guests Phyllis Bennis (IPS), Rajiv Chandrasekaran (Washington Post, author of Imperial Life In The Emerald City), and retired Gen James Dubik. And, FYI, Diane has a new book that was just released today Life With Maxie -- Maxie is her chichuahua and the book's being called a must for dog and pet lovers.
Phyllis Bennis: I think the reality is that getting our troops out is only step one. It's not step last of the obligations that we have to the people of Iraq. Most of us that have been against this war since before it was waged believe that getting the troops out now -- whether it was, we've said now seven years ago, we say now today -- is the first step. Before that we can't make good on the obligations of real reparations, real reconstruction. What we're doing instead, I'm afraid, Diane, is we're moving -- the transition is not from US control to Iraqi control but rather from Pentagon control to State Dept control. We're militarizing diplomacy by sending in -- now it would be armored cars or armored personnel carriers, planes, surveillance drones, a 7,000 armed contractor team of what I would consider mercenaries that will not be under the Pentagon's control so they will legally be able to stay even after the official pullout time because they won't be under the control of the Dept of Defense -- the only part that's identified in that agreement. So this is not good enough in terms of the moves that we need towards a real end to our military engagement.
The entire hour was worth listening to and we'll note other parts throughout the snapshot. But last night, Mr. Pretty Lies decided to share more of the same with the American people in a prime time address. With the world? No, Mr. Pretty Lies was happy to talk about 'sacrifice' but somehow the 'sacrifice' never really included the Iraqi people or, for that matter, the battered and bruised US Constitution which was violated by both the Bush administration and the Barack administration to start and continue the ongoing and illegal war on Iraq.
There is no legal recognition of pre-emptive wars of aggression. There never has been and, hopefully, there never will be. One of the most infamous wars is WWII and Adolf Hitler wages a war of aggression. Germany was not attacked. Germany made the decision to go to war. It was an illegal move on the part of Germany. By the same context, the US-led invasion was illegal.
The Iraq Inquiry has yet to issue any findings but testimonies have demonstrated that Tony Blair (then-Prime Minister of England when the war began) had already been advised that the war would be illegal without authorization from the United Nations. The UN resolution that passed was to allow inspectors into Iraq (to search for those mythical Weapons of Mass Destruction) . As one legal adviser serving under Blair after another has testified, that resolution did not 'okay' a war and, to be legal, a second resolution was needed. Blair was repeatedly informed of that. Even while being informed of that, he told Bully Boy Bush that whatever he (Bush) decided, England would go along.
The US did not want a second resolution and, based on British testimony, it appears that they did not want to go back for a second resolution because they feared that they might be hemmed in or constrained by a second resolution -- that conditions and qualifiers might be added. (Appears? The Inquiry's public testimony has largely come from the British -- plus Hans Blix)
The three 'biggies' for starting the illegal war were: US White House occupant Bully Boy Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard -- Howard, of course, is forever treated as the third wheel and forgotten.
The United Nations authorized inspectors to enter Iraq and search for Weapons of Mass Destruction. They found none. As noted during Hans Blix's ridiculous testimony to the Inquiry, Blair, Bush or Howard could claim Blix as the reason for their war of aggression. Blix repeatedly hedged in his reports, repeatedly painted things as more dire than they actually were and should be remembered as one of the War Hawks. But the three can't hide behind Blix because they all lied in their own countries. And, here, we'll do like history and just forget John Howard.
Tony Blair and his Cabinet lied to the citizens of the United Kingdom to sell the illegal war. They falsely asserted that the UK could be attacked by Iraq with WMD within 45 minutes. It was a lie. As has been demonstrated in public testimony to the Inquiry, it was a lie Blair knew to be a lie before it was ever repeated. Bush lied so much that it would be impossible to chart every one of them -- even with a series of Venn diagrams.
He lied by inference -- repeatedly linking 9-11 to Iraq when there was no connection between the two -- and he lied outright. On the latter, there was the "mushroom cloud" nonsense where he would attempt to scare the American public. At one point, he would warn of Iraq attempting to purchase "yellow cake uranium" which was a lie -- a known lie. Former US Ambassador Joe Wilson would be tasked with visiting Niger to determine whether the rumors were true or false. Wilson would report to the government that the rumors were false. As the lie was repeated and repeated by Bush and his administration, Wilson would begin to push back and, after the illegal war had started, pen the New York Times column "What I Didn't Find In Africa." As retaliation for documenting that the illegal war was built on lies, the administration would go after Wilson and target his wife Valerie Plame -- Plame was then an undercover agent for the CIA. Plame's cover would be blown by the administration. Scooter Libby would eventually get to know a federal prison very well as a result of his role in the outing of Plame.
Bush lied and people died. That was one of many slogans throughout the ongoing and illegal war. Bush did lie. He also lied to Congress. Colin Powell lied to the United Nations (Powell would infamously tell Barbara Walters in 2006 that his testimony to the United Nations was a ''blot'' on his record while lying that he didn't realize he was lying -- Powell's handmaiden Lawrence Wilkerson is a professional liar but he's become a MSNBC hero because he lies that Powell is innocent -- the record demonstrates otherwise -- and puts all blame on Bush). Bush lied, Dick Cheney lied, Collie lied (Cheney taunted that Collie needed to get down in the mud with the rest of them and that his approval rating was high enough that he could afford to), they all lied.
In the midst of their lies, in the fall of 2002, the administration forced a vote in Congress. What was being voted for is in dispute for some. What's not in dispute is that the vote was pushed by the administration ahead of the 2002 mid-term elections because -- having falsely linked Iraq and 9-11 and having created the 'terrorism' scare with never ending 'chatter' in the media -- the administration could use a no-vote in an attempt to paint opponents as 'weak on terror.' Elizabeth Edwards has always maintained that then-Senator John Edwards voted for the authorization believing that a second one would be needed. She maintained that, for example, to Ruth Conniff on the pages of The Progressive. (Matthew Rothschild's called out that assertion in his note to the readers in that issue.) Then-Senator Hillary Clinton has also stated that she believed the vote would still require the Bush administration to come back before Congress should the US go to war. Not-in-the-Senate Barack Obama gave a whiny and petulant speech about 'dumb wars' and wars and he wasn't opposed to all wars but he was opposed to this one -- at that time. By the 2004 DNC convention in Boston, he would be telling the New York Times that, had he been in the US Senate in 2002, he would have voted FOR the authorization. Elected to the US Senate in the fall of 2004, he would go on to repeatedly vote FOR the illegal war by repeatedly voting TO fund the war. Somehow that didn't matter to his press whores on the left and 'left' who would help create the fairytale (Bill Clinton called it correctly) that Barack was anti-war and had always opposed the Iraq War.
Lies were needed to sell the war, lies were needed to continue it. Judith Miller was a star reporter for the New York Times before the war began. She'd worked her way up to that post having previously worked for NPR, The Progressive and other outlets. Her pre-war reporting was little more than stenography which helped sell the wars. Miller, however, did not lie. She was a bad reporter. But if she'd lied, she wouldn't have disgraced herself in Iraq as she commandeered a US military unit and basically led them on search missions for WMD. Miller betrayed her profession but there's nothing to indicate that she also lied. (She appears to have foolishly believed every false claim used to sell the Iraq War.) Miller became the poster child of the illegal war (and would lose her job at the New York Times for that and other reasons -- so kicked to the curb was she that Maureen Dowd was allowed to mock Miller on the pages of the paper). But Miller was far from the only propagandist in the press corps who helped sell the illegal war. The others largely kept their heads down -- including the one who co-wrote the October 1, 2001 front-page New York Times article which first falsely linked 9-11 and Iraq and claimed that Saddam Hussein, then leader of Iraq, had terrorist training facilities where hijackers were trained (9-11 is September 11, 2011, when US planes were hijacked and two flown into the World Trade Centers, one crashed into the Pentagon and one crashed in a Pennsylvania field). It helped to have a penis. If you were a man, you didn't get called out.
This was best demonstrated when Miller was no longer a front-pager but the New York Times Go-Go Boyz in The Green Zone were. Their lies continued the Iraq War. But other than Danny Schechter, Molly Bingham, Thomas E. Ricks and the writers for WSWS, few bothered to call out the Dexy Gordons and John Burns. Dexy let the military proof his copy -- which is why it was how many days old when it hit the paper? But type up what the military wants and you too can win awards the way Dexy did. It was their lies that prolonged the illegal war most of all. Things were awful in Iraq but they didn't tell you that. In 2006, on campus speaking engagements, Dexy would suddenly want to share the things they didn't put in during real time and seemed to think that a campus qualified for a confessional and he was somehow absolved. Had they not been creating waves of Operation Happy Talk, the American public might have caught on a lot sooner to just how bad things were. There are the lies that start wars, there are the lies that continue them.
One of the biggest lies Barack conveyed last night was that the Iraq War was over. It is not over. Making that very clear is this from Elisabeth Bumiller (New York Times):

(One soldier did ask if the end of combat operations meant the end of extra combat pay. Mr. Gates said that as far as he was concerned, combat pay still applied in Iraq, where troops are still being killed by homemade bombs, sniper fire and mortar attacks.)

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Command of the 'ended' war handed over"
"Swanson truth tells, Nichols spins madly"
"Funny Lady"
"Barry & Sherry"
"Fruits and vegetables"
"tony blair, the aging drama queen"
"Online shopping until midnight"
"Barack goes down on Bush"
"Calling it quits with AOL"
"Mission Fail "
"Barack the Fraud and Putz"
"Barry's got a crush"

No comments: