It’s hard to believe that eleven dreadful years have passed since the Iraq War was launched before a credulous public, partly because of old age and partly because not a one of its invariably ardent advocates has suffered any professional opprobrium; and worse, many are still treated as what we laughably call “National Security Experts.”
I remember with stark vividness the toxic climate of the time; TV “journalists” were trying on their combat gear, Democratic politicians were capitulating to the Bush Administration left and right, and anyone who made a peep to point out the emperor’s unsightly nakedness was pilloried as a traitor. Good times.
What makes this dark anniversary so particularly infuriating today, though, is that although the war is now universally accepted to have been a disastrous mistake, and lost, to boot, the media simply can’t wait for the next one, wherever. And the politicians who brought us the infamous AUMF, well, they include the current Vice President and the presumed Democratic nominee for 2016.
Thus, a war that should have destroyed the careers of everyone associated with it, in a just world has, if anything, not cost them any credibility at all. Worse, the few people who publicly (and correctly) opposed the war lost jobs, elections, and acceptability in Serious Circles. The very idea of opposing war has been dressed up in tie-dye and love beads and burnt in effigy. Sort of like opposition to anything else the warmonger class fancies at any particular moment.
Things that were anathema a dozen years ago have been tarted up as “realism” in the face of ever-shifting “threats,” helped along by oozing propaganda like “24,” and now we have one political party openly advocating for torture, mass surveillance and extrajudicial murder, and another that accepts them as regrettable but necessary. Both agree that such things are none of the public’s business.
Although no one disputes that nothing was gained from the war, no one wants to talk about what was lost, and inevitably, truth was the first casualty. It wasn’t just the “embedded” reporters; simple truth became unmentionable, to be replaced by more comfortable lies. Sadly, all these years later, those who saw through the lies back then have been pushed out of any discussion of why and how this war business opened a can of worms that can never be resealed.