Monday, November 7, 2011

Iraq Revisited

Of all the deplorable things that the Right has done, none has been more loathsome and damaging than its incessant attempt to rewrite history.  Throughout most of 2009 and 2010 Republicans desperately tried to convince the public that the Great Depression was brought about, not by a lack of government regulation and intervention, but by a plethora of wasteful and meddlesome government spending that prevented the private sector from doing what it does best: create jobs.  Only the advent of World War II got us out of the depths of that depression.  It mattered not that not a single economist has gone on record to validate such hogwash, just saying it made it so, as far as the GOP was concerned.  I don’t suppose it would do any good to remind conservatives that the build up to that War, whether they want to admit it or not, counts as government spending, meddlesome or otherwise.

It was the same with the causes of the 2008 recession.  Forget all you’ve heard about derivatives and sub-prime mortgages, according to conservatives, the real culprits were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac forcing all those helpless bankers to loan money to poor black people who knew they couldn’t afford a mortgage in the first place.  Not doing it for you?  Well then how about all that nasty debt due to wasteful government spending?  How about a combination of both?  Facts?  Why concern yourself with such trivial things as facts when it’s so much easier to pull nonsense out of your ass and peddle it as truth?

Well, as strange as it might sound to those of us who actually bother to fact-check such stupidity before falling for it, the electorate bought in lock, stock and barrel.  Whether out of sheer frustration, a lack of commons sense, or a combination of the two, a majority of people polled now believe that the Great Recession of 2008 was due in large part to excessive government spending and needless regulation of an industry that was running just fine without a hitch.  Go figure.

And now comes the greatest obscenity of all: the Iraq War.  With this monstrosity of an endeavor now coming to a long overdo end, the final price tag has far exceeded the trillion-dollar mark, and that’s not counting the impact it had on the economy.  In fact, according to Joseph Stiglitz, the total cost for both the Afghan and Iraqi Wars is over $3 trillion.  Granting that our involvement in Afghanistan was just, given the 9/11 attacks, that still leaves the sixty-four thousand dollar question: why did we get involved in Iraq?  If you thought the Right’s explanation of the causes of the Great Depression and Great Recession creative, you won’t believe what they have to say for themselves regarding Iraq.

The reason for our involvement comes down to one word: hindsight.  Bet you thought it was going to be something radical like temporary insanity brought about, no doubt, by Cold-War withdrawal.  But, no, hindsight is what they’re going with.

For those of you who don’t feel like consulting your on-line dictionary, hindsight is defined as the ability to understand, after something has happened, what should have been done or what caused the event.  So when Republicans use the word hindsight to defend the Iraq War, what they are really saying is that had they known the reality of the situation – in other words had the true facts of the matter been available to them – naturally they wouldn’t have gotten involved in such a costly endeavor.

To which I say, Bullshit!

There is no hindsight regarding Iraq, for the very simple reason that the Bush Administration knew full well that the “intelligence” they had “gathered” was suspect at best and flat out fraudulent at worst.  There were no weapons of mass destruction and they knew as much.  There was never going to be a mushroom cloud over a populated city because the terrorists who attacked us were not in Iraq.  The lone reason for invading that country had nothing to do with how evil Saddam Hussein was – and for the record he was a bad guy – or whether he had any involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks – he didn’t.  It was about the oil that Iraq possessed, pure and simple.  9/11 was an excuse for overthrowing a legitimate and sovereign government in the name of the almighty dollar.  If hindsight comes into play at all it has more to do with the fact that the Bush Administration grossly underestimated the resources it needed for securing the country’s borders not to mention its inept occupation of that country in the aftermath of the military victory, which led to the chaos that continues to mar its badly fractured political system, and which has now embolden its neighbor and chief exporter of terror: Iran.  Some mission accomplished!

But to suggest with a straight face that saddling the U.S. taxpayer with a $1 trillion plus dollar debt for an unjust, illegal and unnecessary war has anything to do with hindsight is the grossest form of obscenity that can be perpetrated on the general public, and for the mainstream press, which was derelict in its duty in ’02 and ‘03 during the buildup to that War, to now even permit it to be spoken aloud without challenging it does violence, once again, to the journalistic integrity they purport to have. 

Well, unlike the economic fairytales that have gained traction over the last couple of years, thankfully the majority of the American public isn’t swallowing this whopper of a lie.  The hindsight justification is falling flat on its face and, no matter how hard the Right tries to spin it, there appear to be few takers.

It just goes to prove what Lincoln used to say: “You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”  Or, as another, less popular Republican President once said, “Fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again.”

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