Lie by Lie
May 15, 2019 6:12 AM   Subscribe

Lie by Lie: A Timeline of How We Got Into Iraq. From a 2011 issue of Mother Jones.
posted by Greg Nog (34 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
For more information on previous lies about oil, big finance, and relentless American aggression it's good to review the push by our leaders into the Spanish-American war at the end of the century before. Here Howard Zinn details the constant need to invade somewhere at the end of the 19th century.
posted by Harry Caul at 6:25 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


I'd extend the timeline back at least to 1980 and the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War, in which the United States, while not supplying arms to Iraq, did provide Hussein with a lot of "dual use" technology, i.e. materials that could be used to produce things such as chemical agents. Note who's shaking hands with Saddam.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:34 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


And now we seem to be on the path to war with Iran, orchestrated by the same people (e.g., Bolton) who helped us get into Iraq. Good times.
posted by Sangermaine at 6:44 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I just can't believe it's all going to happen again.
posted by great_radio at 6:53 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=nVxY

^ monthly real (2012-dollars) per-capita "defense" expenditure
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 6:56 AM on May 15


"Can't impeach me now, we are in a war. Just look at those lying Democrats. Weak, failing party. Iran wants this war not us."

Cleaned up version of expected tweet in the next month, maybe?
posted by Ignorantsavage at 7:14 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]


Jeez, John Yoo now is a prof at UC Berkeley (!) and writes anti-Trump OpEds instead of pro-torture memos...
posted by The Toad at 7:20 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Cleaned up version of expected tweet in the next month, maybe?

Seems like it. The US is pulling-out all non-essential workers from Iraq now, due to supposed Iranian activity. And, we've sent carrier groups to the area. The drumbeats are extremely loud. I bet Bolton can barely conceal his glee.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:21 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, at the Washington Post

"These kinds of deployments are invariably lengthy and frustrating. Think of our Indian Wars, which lasted roughly 300 years (circa 1600-1890), or the British deployment on the North West Frontier (today’s Pakistan-Afghanistan border), which lasted 100 years (1840s-1940s). U.S. troops are not undertaking a conventional combat assignment. They are policing the frontiers of the Pax Americana."

(This was in January. Of this year)
posted by Reyturner at 7:22 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I bet Bolton can barely conceal his glee.
The message of the Trump presidency is you don't need to conceal your glee anymore.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:23 AM on May 15 [11 favorites]


I just can't believe it's all going to happen again.

I've noticed on imgur (not a particularly feminist site shall we say) that memes about women in Iran casting off hijab- or images of women who had acid thrown in their faces because they refused to wear hijab are showing up on the front page more and more. Some of the comments are connecting the propaganda dots though. (Some comments are saying the zionists have infiltrated imgur because of course, imgur is terrible.) But it's interesting to see the CIA at work on social media.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:34 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]


Serious question: do people think that the media blitz for Iraq would work today, given how much more access people have to information? The article says:

But let us not forget that [blame] lies, inescapably, with we the American people, who, in our fear and rage over the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, allowed ourselves to be suckered into the most audacious bait and switch of all time.

This ignores the massive protests, but it also ignores the fact that a lot of people literally did not have any other information besides what was being fed to us by the dominant media outlets of the time.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:55 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


How We Got Into Iraq.

To quote Hemingway's Mike Campbell, "Gradually and then suddenly."

(My guess is that the current criminals aren't even going to try to sell a war the way Bush, et al., did. We'll just wake up one morning and discover that they've bombed something.)
posted by octobersurprise at 8:09 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


The US is pulling-out all non-essential workers from Iraq now, due to supposed Iranian activity.

As if it wasn't obvious enough that this is just another step in Bolton's playbook and not remotely related to anything Iranians are doing, they pulled this exact same stunt in Venezuela a few months ago.
posted by Copronymus at 8:10 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Anybody remember that billmon post that was just quotes from W administration officials showing the lead up to war? Feels like that should make the rounds again.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:12 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


But it's interesting to see the CIA at work on social media.

Do you remember that "counter-terrorism center" in Riyadh where Trump touched the orb, full of desks with web browsers?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:22 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, I hardly remember billmon. Hard to keep the red haze from descending when I think about all the wingnut shitbirds that are still hatemongering when the likes of billmon aren't around.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:23 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Serious question: do people think that the media blitz for Iraq would work today, given how much more access people have to information?

Serious answer: Not only will it work today, it will work better. You don't even have to pretend to be honest anymore. It literally doesn't matter if what you said today is shown to be false tomorrow, or even an hour later. Trump & Co. can just say whatever they want, which will be repeated and spread by the conservative media machine of Fox News and people online, and dismiss anyone or anything countering it as liberal lies. Trump could announce today that we're going to war with Iran because he thinks they're bad people and, without any effort on his part, 1/3 of the country would cheer him and another 20-30% would reluctantly go along with them.

The idea that if only people knew, if only they had more information, they'd see the truth and do the right thing is one of the most pernicious lies of the Internet Age and belief in this is one reason the left in the US keeps getting its ass kicked.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:23 AM on May 15 [19 favorites]


Bolton's fucking obsessed! Evil scumsucking repugnican mofo! Some more reading for you.
posted by mareli at 8:25 AM on May 15


This ignores the massive protests, but it also ignores the fact that a lot of people literally did not have any other information besides what was being fed to us by the dominant media outlets of the time.

This is both true and not true. At the time, I worked as a journalist, and was genuinely confused by the professed lack of information both among the general public and among decision makers. It seemed a lot like willfull ignorance to me. Hans Blix appeared regularly on mainstream media, and there were plenty of people out there reminding us that it made no sense at all to connect Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, including the French government. A lot of people I argued with just kept saying, well if there aren't any WMDs, then we still need to invade Iraq because #1: Saddam Hussein is a mean guy and #2: USA! USA! If you aren't with us, you are against us, boo, Freedom Fries.
This was when I learnt that Senior Policy Makers and Experienced Foreign Correspondents are oftenmost just White Men Winging It because it works just fine for them.
posted by mumimor at 8:29 AM on May 15 [15 favorites]


I just can't believe it's all going to happen again.
Well, its not happening again, it's still happening, America is always at war, it's what we do.
posted by Harry Caul at 8:32 AM on May 15


Yeah, having been at the protests at the time, I pretty firmly believe it was willful ignorance, more than deception. Maybe with a good sized portion of people trusting the old white dudes who knew about this sort of thing from the cold war, and overlooking the shoddiness of the evidence on the expectation that there was really bad secret stuff that couldn't be revealed. I mean, if Colin Powell is on board, there's gotta be some substance there, right????
posted by kaibutsu at 8:37 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


The idea that if only people knew, if only they had more information, they'd see the truth and do the right thing is one of the most pernicious lies of the Internet Age and belief in this is one reason the left in the US keeps getting its ass kicked.

The left is...doing a lot better now than it was in 2001, though, isn't it?

I see your point about the right not caring any more about public opinion. My question is more, I guess, whether or not public opinion is actually much more skeptical and opposition more formed and serious than it was. Even if public opinion and skepticism/opposition are blatantly ignored.

Anyway thanks for your answer, it is interesting to think about.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:47 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I'd like to extend the timeline to 1932: Chaco War.
posted by clavdivs at 8:51 AM on May 15




Yeah, having been at the protests at the time, I pretty firmly believe it was willful ignorance, more than deception.

Polls in Canada at the time showed that public opinion was pretty against joining the war in Iraq, and in fact we didn't join it. We didn't have any additional intel that the US didn't have, we just weren't looking for a country to invade and so were able to see that the evidence wasn't there. I think both the willful ignorance and deception were necessary for the invasion to happen. The American people were lied to by their leaders but they were also looking for any excuse to invade Iraq.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:48 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Robbyrobs posted the OpEd. Thanks to them I found the article I wanted to post.

I remember reading the article this was based on in Security Affairs.

Here it is.

Especially this part in the conclusion.

"If, however, the war was fought to assert American hegemony, as I argue, then there is no obvious boogeyman to blame for the war. Consider that in the 2000 election, Al Gore’s campaign was more aggressive than Bush’s on foreign policy, especially in asserting American responsibility to lead. Since Gore was one of the leading hawks on Iraq within the Clinton administration and his positions on Saddam and WMD were remarkably close to those of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, and Bush post-9/11 (Frank P. Harvey, Explaining the Iraq War: Counterfactual Theory, Logic and Evidence (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), it is more than conceivable that, under pressure from a Republican Congress, he would have charted a similar course to Bush. Irrespective of one’s judgment of this counterfactual of a Gore presidency, it bears remembering that there were no significant partisan splits on the advisability of the Iraq war. Democrats in Congress, including party stalwarts such as John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and John Edwards all voted for the decision to give Bush authorization to start a war, while supposedly liberal newspapers such as the New York Times and Washington Post editorialized in favor of it. Primacy, or the idea of forthright American leadership in a dangerous world, was not an ideology restricted to the Republican party or neoconservatives in 2001–2003."

This aspect has never been contradicted by the behaviour of the Security Apparatus of the US in the 15 years since the Iraq War Part II. I don't believe that anything or anyone can stop that same apparatus to go into another Land War in Asia if they want to.
posted by indianbadger1 at 11:25 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


This aspect has never been contradicted by the behaviour of the Security Apparatus of the US in the 15 years since the Iraq War Part II. I don't believe that anything or anyone can stop that same apparatus to go into another Land War in Asia if they want to.

Yes but, as I've mentioned over in a catch-all thread, there's the detail of having only unreliable allies this time. If the Trump administration wants a war, they will have to manage without the air bases in Germany and Turkey. And even though they have their bases in Afghanistan and Iraq, the locals there will be strongly opposed to an Iran war, and fights may flare up again (and these bases are dependent on services from Germany and Turkey). KSA and the Gulf States will maybe provide bases, but they are very vulnerable states where opposition to Americans is already huge and also countries with very small populations. Israel is a friendly ally, but it's a country the size of New Jersey, and struggling with its own issues.

The Bush administration was able to persuade some allies to participate in the Iraq scandal. That is shameful, and probably a direct cause of a lot of problems in those countries to this day. But as Bush himself said, Fool me once, shame on...shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.
posted by mumimor at 11:43 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


> Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

Baghdad Year Zero has been my go to answer.
posted by CheapB at 12:09 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


> A lot of people I argued with just kept saying, well if there aren't any WMDs, then we still need to invade Iraq because #1: Saddam Hussein is a mean guy and #2: USA! USA! If you aren't with us, you are against us, boo, Freedom Fries.

I worked in a large office and literally had an Evangelical on one side of me and a British long haired 'hippie' on the other side of me both repeating:

"Do you want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud?!?!?!"

Fear's a helluva drug.
posted by CheapB at 12:36 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


I was looking for this thread. Couldn't believe this topic hadn't been posted on the blue; looks like I'd just missed seeing it.

It's interesting how other countries just aren't buying this. UK and the EU don't want any part of this. None of the international sources I've read want to touch this topic. 'Luckily' Trump and his cronies are trying to pull this off while the UK is deeply embroiled in their own problems; and they hate him over here anyhow. Even if this works on the American populace, it will not work on the rest of the world. We've hemorrhaged so much social capital since Iraq, that it wouldn't have worked with a 'normal' president. Trump's dull, clumsy attempts won't win any allies except for a few Iranian dissident expat groups and maybe... Israel and Saudi Arabia?

I won't link to RT or Sputnik, but I was curious about how they were covering this. They're all over the narrative about the US faking/inflating the sabotage of the Saudi Tankers. I do not condone conspiracy theories, but I can't shake the feeling that those attacks feel... off. More than a few dubious Russian outlets are comparing the sabotage to the Gulf of Tonkin incident. (Not endorsing these sources, was just checking counter narratives.)

It is disgusting how blatant and lazy this setup is. I'm not sympathetic to the Iranian regime, but this inevitable, slow build up is repugnant.

My main question is, would the military support the deployment of 120,000 troops? Can we even do this anymore? I have no idea what our capabilities are, but I doubt the military is as fresh as it was post 9/11.
posted by Telf at 1:45 PM on May 15


"The Bush administration was able to persuade some allies to participate in the Iraq scandal."

Ah, yes... Who could forget Poland?
posted by kaibutsu at 3:56 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I can say a lot of things about the president of USA, but he's not really a hawk. He does like to talk tough and toss off random threats, but he always forgets what he says and doesn't follow up on it.

There's a word to describe Bolton, which is: "Piss-Hawk". He's kinda like a chicken-hawk, but also smells like piss.
posted by ovvl at 9:15 PM on May 15




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