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Hullabaloo


Friday, June 13, 2014

 
The fools who created the mess should be the last ones to speak

by David Atkins

Following up on Tristero's post below about the execrable Judith Miller having the temerity to counsel the nation on Iraq, Paul Waldman is excellent reading also:

But there are few people who understand Iraq less than the Republican politicians and pundits who are being sought out for their comments on the current situation.

As you watch the debate on this issue, you should remind yourself that the most prominent voices being heard are the very ones who brought us the Iraq War in the first place, who promised that everything was simple and the only question was whether we’d be “strong” and “decisive” enough — the same thing they’re saying today. They’re the ones who swore that Saddam was in cahoots with Al Qaeda, that he had a terrifying arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, that the war would be quick, easy and cheap, that since Iraq was a largely secular country we wouldn’t have to worry about sectarian conflict, and that democracy would spread throughout the region in short order, bringing peace and prosperity along with it.

We can start with the man on every TV producer and print reporter’s speed dial, John McCain. McCain does provide something important to journalists: whatever the issue of the moment is, he can be counted on to offer angry, bitter criticism of the Obama administration, giving the “balance” every story needs. The fact that he has never demonstrated the slightest bit of understanding of Iraq is no bar at all to being the most quoted person on the topic.

For context, here’s a nice roundup of some of the things McCain said when he was pushing to invade Iraq in the first place. When asked if Iraqis were going to greet us as liberators, he answered, “Absolutely.” He said, “Post-Saddam Hussein Iraq is going to be paid for by the Iraqis” with their oil wealth (the war ended up costing the American taxpayer upwards of $2 trillion). And my favorite: “There is not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and Shias, so I think they can probably get along.”

The conflict between Sunnis and Shiites is the central dynamic of the Iraq conflict, of course. Yet today, the media once again seek out John McCain’s wisdom and insight on Iraq, which is kind of like saying, “Jeez, it looks like we might be lost — we really need to ask Mr. Magoo for directions.”

...

And the rest of the neocon gang is getting back together. Here’s Lindsey Graham advocating for American airstrikes — and I promise you that if the administration does in fact launch them, Graham will say they weren’t “strong” enough. Here’s Max Boot saying that what we need is just short of another invasion of Iraq: “U.S. military advisers, intelligence personnel, Predators, and Special Operations Forces, along with enhanced military aid, in return for political reforms designed to bring Shiites and Sunnis closer together.” Former Bush administration official and torture advocate Marc Thiessen is appalled that Barack Obama squandered George W. Bush’s glorious Iraq victory.

And Bill Kristol, who may have done more than any single person outside the Bush administration to make the war a reality, and whose predictions and assessments about the war were so spectacularly wrong they constituted their own genre of stupidity? He’ll be on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday, so he can enlighten us about what’s really going on.
There's no reason for any of these people to even be on TV talking about the issue. They understand little and less about Iraq and foreign than almost anyone else in politics.


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