Tag Archives: Iraq War

Russia-Ukraine War: George Bush’s Admission of His Crimes in Iraq Was No ‘Gaffe’, by Jonathan Cook

Why is Bush’s invasion of Iraq a gaffe and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a war crime? From Jonathan Cook at antiwar.com:

The former president’s confusion over the invasions of Iraq and Ukraine should lead to western soul-searching, not mirth

It was apparently a “gaffe” of the kind we had forgotten since George W Bush stepped down from the US presidency in early 2009. During a speech in Dallas last week, he momentarily confused Russian President Vladimir Putin’s current war of aggression against Ukraine and his own war of aggression against Iraq in 2003.

Bush observed that a lack of checks and balances in Russia had allowed “one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq… I mean, Ukraine. Iraq too. Anyway… I’m 75.”

It sounded like another “Bushism” – a verbal slip-up – for which the 43rd president was famous. Just like the time he boasted that people “misunderestimated” him, or when he warned that America’s enemies “never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people – and neither do we”.

Maybe that explains why his audience laughed. Or maybe not, given how uncomfortable the laughter sounded.

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Bush is Biden is Bush, by Matt Taibbi

Bush and Biden are almost identical ideological twins. From Matt Taibbi at taibbi.substack.com:

George W. Bush returns to the news with a tad too much honesty, lifting a veil on Washington’s dirtiest open secret: the Biden Democrats have become the Bush Republicans

George W. Bush returned to the news last week. The man who once said, “Our enemies… never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we,” coughed up a gem of accidental truth about Ukraine. In the midst of blasting Vladimir Putin for suppressing dissent, he said:

The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean, of Ukraine.

Iraq too. Anyway. (laughs)

Although Bush in recent years has been regularly tongue-bathed by blue-party acolytes for speaking against Trump, with Katie Hill once going so far as to admit to tears as she pondered “how much better we’d all feel if Bush were president today,” press priests from CNN to NBC to The Guardian last week tossed him back overboard over his Ukraine miss. Stephen Colbert even “waxed nostalgic,” remembering the time before his current apple-polishing period, when he was an actual satirist under Bush: “I made so much fun of him, and he gave me so many reasons to do that.”

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“The Invasion Of Iraq… I Mean Of Ukraine” – George W. Bush Makes Mother Of All Gaffes, by Tyler Durden

Talk about a Freudian slip. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

In the most amazing and well-timed Freudian slip we’ve ever seen, former President George W. Bush denounced the “wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq” during an event in Dallas on Wednesday.

“The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq,” Bush said, before quickly catching himself, shaking his head to then say: “I mean, of Ukraine.”

A clip of the moment exploded, going viral around the world immediately after it hit the web, also being featured and commented on in major outlets from Reuters to Mideast-based Al Jazeera.

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Putin Is a War Criminal – and So Was Madeleine Albright, by Jonathan Cook

If you’re okay with half a million kids dead on your watch, that definitely makes you some sort of criminal. Here’s a fitting obituary for Madeleine Albright, from Jonathan Cook at antiwar.com:

The media’s propaganda role could not be starker: it has whitewashed US war crimes promoted and defended by the late US diplomat that overshadow even Putin’s

Obituaries of Madeleine Albright, the first woman to be appointed US secretary of state, in 1997 by President Bill Clinton, could not have been more gushing.

With the news of her death aged 84, western politicians and media united in lauding her as “a trailblazer,” “a champion of democracy” and “a force for freedom.” Hillary Clinton observed of Albright: “So many people around the world are alive and living better lives because of her service.”

In one sweep, Clinton’s comment erased from the historical record the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children that, even Albright once conceded, were killed by policies she helped enact and promote.

Media tributes exhibited little interest in those deaths either. Journalists praised her instead for reinvigorating NATO’s role as the world’s policeman in Kosovo in 1999 after the fall of the Soviet Union, and for enforcing punishing sanctions through the 1990s on the regime of Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein.

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Iraq War Lesson: the seduction may be sweet but the hangover is hell, by Peter Van Buren

As the U.S. has repeatedly demonstrated, it’s a lot easier to invade a country than it is to get out. From Peter Van Buren at responsiblestatecraft.org:

As with Iraq, there seems to be a coordinated mainstream media effort to drag America into a new war. Don’t let them.

Tomorrow is the 19th anniversary of Iraq War 2.0 — the one we fought over Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. What have we learned over the almost two decades since?

While the actual Gotterdammerung for the new order took place just six months ago in Afghanistan as the last American troops clambered aboard their transports — with Washington seeming to abandon American citizens, a multi-million dollar embassy, and the Afghan people to their fates. The Afghan War did not begin under false pretenses as much as it began under no pretenses. Americans in 2001 would have supported carpet bombing Santa’s Workshop. Never mind we had been attacked by mostly Saudi operators, the blood letting would start in rural Afghanistan and the goal was some gumbo of revenge, stress relief, hunting down bin Laden in the wrong country, and maybe nation building, it didn’t matter.

But for  Iraq, there had to be a seduction. There was no reason to invade it, so one had to be created. The Bush administration tried the generic “Saddam is pure evil” approach, a fixture of every recent American conflict. He gassed his own people, so it went (also tried later in Syria with Assad.) Also, Saddam was looking to move on NATO ally Turkey (substitute Poland in 2022.) But none of these stuck with the American public, so a narrative was cut from whole cloth: Saddam had weapons of mass destruction — WMDs, chemical and biological, soon enough nuclear. He was a madman who Had. To. Be. Stopped.

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The System Isn’t There To Protect Us From Criminals, It’s To Protect Criminals From Us, by Caitlin Johnstone

Caitlin Johnstone doesn’t go all gooey on people when they die, turning demons into angels. From Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

Iraq war architect Donald Rumsfeld has died. Not in a prison cell in The Hague, not murdered by bombs or bullets, but peacefully in his home, surrounded by loved ones, a week and a half shy of his 89th birthday.

The imperial media are giving their fallen master a king’s tribute, with headlines describing the psychopathic war criminal as “a cunning leader“, “a man of honor and conviction“, or simply as “Former defense secretary at helm of Iraq, Afghanistan wars“.

The cancerous Washington Post, who just the other day mocked the life of the late antiwar hero Mike Gravel with an obituary branding him the “gadfly senator from Alaska with flair for the theatrical,” describes the child killer Rumsfeld as the “influential but controversial Bush defense secretary” in its headline about his death. 

The New York Times wasn’t much better. Take the headline “Mike Gravel, Unconventional Two-Term Alaska Senator, Dies at 91 — He made headlines by fighting for an oil pipeline and reading the Pentagon Papers aloud. After 25 years of obscurity, he re-emerged with a quixotic presidential campaign.” Compare this to the headline “Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Secretary During Iraq War, Is Dead at 88 — Mr. Rumsfeld, who served four presidents, oversaw a war that many said should never have been fought. But he said the removal of Saddam Hussein had ‘created a more stable and secure world.’”

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Rachel Maddow is Bill O’Reilly, by Matt Taibbi

Egos and paychecks as big as Maddow’s and O’Reilly’s means never having to admit you were wrong. From Matt Taibbi at taibbi.substack.com:

After hyping a fake story for a year, cable’s leading anchor doesn’t blink and moves on to the next fable

If you’d told me back in 2005, when I first met Rachel Maddow, that the lightning-quick, ultra-smooth broadcaster would someday supplant Bill O’Reilly as the #1 name in cable news, I wouldn’t have been surprised, at all. But I’d have been shocked if you told me she got to the top by being Bill O’Reilly.

With Maddow in the lead role, MSNBC has become Fox, but somehow more craven, jingoistic, and shameless. If you don’t believe it, compare their narratives side by side, and see if you can spot a real difference between Bush-era Fox and Maddow’s MNSBC broadcasts from this past week.

On February 16, 2001, six months before 9/11, O’Reilly said on Fox, “You know, I don’t take Saddam Hussein all that seriously anymore, as far as a world threat.” He added, “Maybe I’m wrong and naive here. Should we be very frightened of this guy?”

Within two years, O’Reilly reversed course. He launched himself into an incredible 16-year run as the #1-rated star on cable by playing Madame DeFarge for the Bush/Cheney War on Terror. His show became a nighty fireside chat in which citizens tuned in to fulminate over stories of Saddam’s boundless evil, denounce traitorous unbelievers, and engage in McCarthyite interrogations of the insufficiently patriotic.

He moved the factual record by himself. On December 6, 2002, he told his audience: “I can’t, in good conscience, tell the American people that I know for sure that [Saddam] has smallpox or anthrax or he’s got nuclear or chemical and that he is ready to use that.”

But two months later, on February 17, 2003,* he was saying, “According to the U.N., he’s got anthrax, VX gas, ricin, and on and on.” Two weeks after that, as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting noted, O’Reilly was saying things like, “This guy we know has anthrax and VX and all this stuff.”

He furthermore announced that “Once the war against Saddam Hussein begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if you can’t do that, just shut up,” adding that “Americans, and indeed our allies, who actively work against our military once the war is underway will be considered enemies of the state by me.”

By the runup to the invasion, O’Reilly was berating anyone who even tried to suggest the WMD case was not airtight, or had the temerity to suggest that Saddam Hussein was not the equal of Hitler. “Whoa, whoa. It’s not Hitler?” he snapped in one broadcast. “What’s the difference?”

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Thoughts On The Iraq Invasion, by Caitlin Johnstone

Nothing rewards failure quite like politics, and in the US, nothing rewards failure quite like spectacular and deadly errors in foreign and military policy. Witness Iraq. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

It has now been eighteen years since the Iraq invasion, and I’m still not done raging about it. Nobody should be.

The reason it’s so important to stay enraged about Iraq is because it’s never been addressed or rectified in any real way whatsoever. All the corrupt mechanisms which led to the invasion are still in place and its consequences remain. It isn’t something that happened in the past.

The Iraq invasion feels kind of like if your dad had stood up at the dinner table, cut off your sister’s head in front of everyone, gone right back to eating and never suffered any consequences, and everyone just kind of forgot about it and carried on life like it never happened. The US-centralized empire is full of willful amnesiacs pretending they don’t remember Iraq because it’s currently politically convenient, and we must not let them do this. 

No institutional changes were made to ensure that the evils of the Iraq invasion wouldn’t be repeated. It’s one of those big, glaring problems people just decided to pretend is resolved, like racism

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No Matter the Liberal Metric Chosen, the Bush/Cheney Administration Was Far Worse Than Trump. By Glenn Greenwald

Bush and Cheney were criminals, Trump is not. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

Fantasies of a Trump-led fascist coup have redounded to the benefit of many — especially those responsible for abuses far worse than those of the current president.

President Bush and Former American Vice President Dick Cheney in the Presidential Limousine. Image courtesy George W Bush/National Archives (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).

That the liberal belief in and fear of a Trump-led fascist dictatorship and violent coup is actually a fantasy — a longing, a desire, a craving — has long been obvious.

The Democrats’ own actions proved that they never believed their own melodramatic and self-glorifying rhetoric about Trump as The New Hitler — from their leaders joining with the GOP to increase The Fascist Dictator’s domestic spying powers and military spending to their (correct) belief that the way to oust The Neo-Nazi Tyrant was through a peaceful and lawfully conducted democratic election in which vote totals and, if necessary, duly constituted courts would determine the next president.

The motives for concocting this Wagnerian fantasy about coups, dictatorship, concentration camps and civil war are numerous. Politics is boring, and your life unspectacular, if it’s dedicated to a goal as banal and uninspiring as empowering a septuagenarian career-politician — the centrist-authoritarian author of the 1994 Crime Bill, the credit card industry’s most loyal servant, and key Iraq War advocate — along with his tough-on-crime prosecutor-running-mate who always seems as if she just left a meeting of the Aetna Board of Directors where massive hikes in deductibles were approved.

Glory is available only if one can convincingly herald oneself as a front-line warrior risking it all to courageously battle unprecedented evil and a Nazi-like menace. But working to do nothing more than elect Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and the rest of the painfully ordinary and mediocre corporatist and imperialist Democratic Party politicians through a standard American election? There’s no glory residing in that, no courage needed for it, to put it mildly.

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Every Presidential Election Since The Iraq War Has Featured Candidates Who Supported It, by Caitlin Johnstone

The Iraq War was truly a bipartisan clusterf*ck, supported by an overwhelming consensus of the high and the mighty. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The most powerful government on earth has still yet to have a single presidential election that doesn’t feature a prominent candidate who supported one of the most evil things that government has ever done.

The United States has done many, many profoundly evil things throughout its history, but the 2003 invasion of Iraq is surely in the top ten. It killed over a million human beings, destabilized an entire region, led to the rise of ISIS and Al Nusra and facilitated a rush of new Middle Eastern interventionism, all to no benefit for the American people whatsoever, and it is utterly unforgivable.

Yet there have been no consequences for it. No real changes of any kind were made to American military, governmental, political or media institutions to ensure that a similar atrocity never happens again, because the drivers of US foreign policy had every intention of doing it again. There weren’t even any real political consequences for it, as evidenced by the fact that politicians who supported it have been ascending to Democratic and Republican presidential nominee status ever since.

This is insane. The fact that every electoral contest for commander in chief of the most powerful military in the history of civilization has featured at least one candidate who supported one of the most evil things ever done in the blood-soaked history of their nation is too insane to really put into words. And it says so much about the state of the US political system today.

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