Lord Morris, Tony Blair’s former Attorney General says it’s time to stop hiding the truth about why we went to war in Iraq
It’s been almost four and a half years since the inquiry was launched into why we went to war in Iraq. And it has been two years since Sir John Chilcot was due to deliver the results. But so far we’ve heard nothing from this £7.5 million investigation.
Just last week Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Coalition government hinted that former Prime Minister Tony Blair had been delaying its publication. Lord Morris, the former Labour MP and Attorney General who served in the Blair’s Government from 1997-1999, is calling for its immediate publication.
Of course, there are lies coming from both sides. This has virtually always been the case during wartime, whether it’s actual physical war or psychological like the media war that we’re currently experiencing. While here in the West we’ve have heard plenty about the manipulative ways of Russia Today, the pictures below from Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times are a fine example of how the propaganda machine in the West operates.
There has also been a lot more Neo-Cons on U.S. news channels than usual in recent weeks and months. Often they’ve been touted as ‘Russia experts’. Here’s Leon Aron from the American Enterprise Institute on CNN as just one recent example.
No wonder the credibility of the media is shrinking all the time. How can we take them seriously when they pump out such utter rubbish like the double page spread below and run to war mongering Neo-Cons for ‘expert’ opinions. It would be hilarious if the situation wasn’t potentially so dangerous with these maniacs stoking the fire of war.
Hat tip to Media Lens for posting this on their Facebook page.
In 2003 writer Eli Lake declared that the neoconservatives were the “most influential wing in the current administration,” and that those empowered neoconservatives were chiefly responsible for the expedited time table to launch what would become the disastrous Iraq War. A war that would, among other things, bring Barack Obama to power as the American public near-universally rejected not just the blunders and false promises that sold the war, but the ideology underpinning it. Americans no longer saw trying to bring “democracy” by the barrel of a gun to every corner of the world as a good idea, let alone a duty worth killing and dying for.
Despite the public rejection of neoconservatism, the ideology continues to permeate throughout Washington policy circles. The results of national elections and the blood of thousands of American soldiers, sailors, and marines can not wipe away the sepsis. But why?
Nearly 200 University of Minnesota professors have joined the controversy over a scheduled speech on Thursday by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, saying in a public letter that they don’t think the Humphrey School lecture series is an appropriate forum for her talk. The speech at the university’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs is part of the Distinguished Carlson Lecture Series, which, this year, focuses on civil rights.
Students and others have been protesting the appearance of Rice, who was involved in many of the Bush administration’s controversial human-rights decisions before and during the Iraq War, on such issues as prisoner renditions, torture, the detention of militants at Guantanamo Bay, and others. The professors signing the letter say they support Rice’s right to free speech, and would like to hear her talk about her foreign-policy decisions and experiences, but they don’t feel the civil-rights lecture series is the right time or place.
Errol Morris’s new documentary about Donald Rumsfeld, The Unknown Known, is not as valuable as his last piece The Fog of War, a similarly styled conversation with another former Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. The fault is not Morris’s, but Rumsfeld’s.
In The Fog of War, McNamara is guilt-ridden and reflective about his involvement in the Vietnam War and war in general. He makes damning confessions, saying the U.S. committed war crimes in WWII and talking openly about the false justifications for the Johnson administration’s escalation in Vietnam. He questions war, nationalism, the elite zeitgeist that drove the U.S. into the Vietnam calamity.
The big story out of Silicon Valley on Wednesday was that Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, was joining the board of popular cloud storage company Dropbox.
Tucked away near the end of a Businessweek article on the startup is news of Rice taking a fourth seat on the board:
The former secretary of state’s consulting firm, RiceHadleyGates, has been advising the startup on management issues for the last year. Now she’ll help the company think about such matters as international expansion and privacy, an issue that dogs every cloud company in the age of Edward Snowden and the NSA.
You know, privacy and the NSA. The same NSA that, as Ars Technica points out,Rice herself authorized to wiretap UN officials and other domestic targets without warrants. She definitely seems like the right person to help craft Dropbox’s privacy policies.
‘Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris joins us to talk about his new film, “The Unknown Known,” based on 33 hours of interviews with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The title refers to an infamous press briefing in 2002 when Rumsfeld faced questions from reporters about the lack of evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. “The Unknown Known” is Morris’ 10th documentary feature. He won a Best Documentary Oscar for his film “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara.” His other films include “Standard Operating Procedure,” about alleged U.S. torture of terror suspects in Abu Ghraib prison, and “The Thin Blue Line,” about the wrongful conviction of Randall Adams for the murder of a Dallas policeman. The release of “The Unknown Known” comes in a month marking 11 years since the U.S. invaded Iraq, leaving an estimated half a million Iraqis dead, along with at least 4,400 American troops.’ (Democracy Now!)
‘Abby Martin covers what Dick Cheney has been up to since leaving office and features an interview with comedian and host of the Moment of Clarity web series, Lee Camp, discussing a few of the more ridiculous stories in the news, including Bush’s exhibit of paintings, low wages for congressmen and the universities teaching students how to lobby congress.’ (Breaking the Set)
- Exhibit of Bush’s paintings opens
- In Private Speech, Dick Cheney Talks Bombing Iran and GOP Donors Applaud
- Students protest ‘war criminal’ Cheney at American University
- Cheney On Torture: ‘If I Would Have To Do It All Over Again, I Would’
- Report: Halliburton Subsidiary Received $39.5 Billion For Iraqi War Alone
Mother Jones has published another secretly recorded speech at a private Republican event. Rather than Mitt Romney’s embarrassing “47 percent” line, this one has former Vice President Dick Cheney lamenting the U.S.’s lack of control over the Middle East, NSA hate, and the danger of “the increasing strain of isolationism” in the GOP.
The private event was the much talked about Las Vegas meet-up of “the Republican Jewish Coalition” held at billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s hotel, “where several possible 2016 contenders, including ex-Governor Jeb Bush and current Governors Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and John Kasich, showed up to kiss the ring of the casino magnate, who’s looking to bankroll a viable Republican presidential candidate,”Mother Jones writes.
There is a lot worth addressing in Cheney’s speech (the dark joke about bombing Iran and the delusional defense of the NSA come to mind), but I wanted to just highlight his remarks on the Middle East and the alleged isolationism running through the GOP.
…For Russia and its hampered farming economy, it’s another in a long string of losses to U.S. encroachment — from NATO expansion into Eastern Europe to U.S. military presence to its south and onto a major shale gas development deal recently signed by Chevron in Ukraine.
So, why was Big Ag so bullish on Ukraine, even in the face of so much uncertainty and the predictable reaction by Russia?
The answer is that the seeds of Ukraine’s turn from Russia have been sown for the last two decades by the persistent Cold War alliance between corporations and foreign policy. It’s a version of the “Deep State” that is usually associated with the oil and defense industries, but also exists in America’s other heavily subsidized industry — agriculture.
Morgan Williams is at the nexus of Big Ag’s alliance with U.S. foreign policy. To wit, SigmaBleyzer touts Mr. Williams’ work with “various agencies of the U.S. government, members of Congress, congressional committees, the Embassy of Ukraine to the U.S., international financial institutions, think tanks and other organizations on U.S.-Ukraine business, trade, investment and economic development issues.”
As President of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, Williams has access to Council cohort — David Kramer, President of Freedom House. Officially a non-governmental organization, it has been linked with overt and covert “democracy” efforts in places where the door isn’t open to American interests — a.k.a. U.S. corporations.
Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy and National Democratic Institute helped fund and support the Ukrainian “Orange Revolution” in 2004. Freedom House is funded directly by the U.S. Government, the National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Department of State.
David Kramer is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and, according to his Freedom House bio page, formerly a “Senior Fellow at the Project for the New American Century.”
It’s hardly controversial to suggest that the mainstream media’s performance in the lead-up to the Iraq War was a disaster. In retrospect, many journalists and pundits wish they had been more skeptical of the White House’s claims about Iraq, particularly its allegations about weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, though, media apologists suggest that the press could not have done much better, since “everyone” was in agreement on the intelligence regarding Iraq’s weapons threat. This was never the case. Critical journalists and analysts raised serious questions at the time about what the White House was saying. Often, however, their warnings were ignored by the bulk of the corporate press.
This timeline is an attempt to recall some of the worst moments in journalism, from the fall of 2002 and into the early weeks of the Iraq War. It is not an exhaustive catalog, but a useful reference point for understanding the media’s performance. The timeline also points to missed opportunities, when courageous journalists—working inside the mainstream and the alternative media—uncovered stories that should have made the front pages of daily newspapers, or provided fodder for TV talk shows. By reading mainstream media critically and tuning into the alternative press, citizens can see that the notion that “everyone” was wrong about Iraq was—and is—just another deception.
‘Abby Martin calls out the Foreign Policy Initiative or FPI, a DC neocon think tank that rose out of the ashes of PNAC. Abby discusses the real motivation behind their recent attacks against the credibility of Breaking the Set; advocating for a revival of the Cold War.’ (Breaking the Set)
Bill Kristol is not shy about his fetish for war. His latest piece at the neoconservative Weekly Standard borders on self-parody in the way that it openly longs for a return to a time when Americans were eager to send the U.S. military off on unnecessary, imperialistic adventures….
People like Kristol are so blinded by ideology that they breach the etiquette which calls on elite commentators to camouflage their enthusiasm for war with superficial appeals to peace. He loves death and destruction and wars of choice and he doesn’t care who knows it! He is way out of the closet. That he can explicitly call for Americans to be “awakened and rallied” for new wars and not be embarrassed by the Hitler-esque tone of such despicable cravings is an indication of how lacking in self-awareness he is. His foreign policy beliefs are the kind that are not susceptible to reasoning or disconfirming evidence. His worship for the warfare state is religious in its persuasion.
Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the 2003 Iraq War – yet to this day, few media reflections on the conflict accurately explore the extent to which opening up Persian Gulf energy resources to the world economy was a prime driver behind the Anglo-American invasion. The overwhelming narrative has been one of incompetence and failure in an otherwise noble, if ill-conceived and badly managed endeavour to free Iraqis from tyranny. To be sure, the conduct of the war was indeed replete with incompetence at a colossal scale – but this doesn’t erase the very real mendacity of the cold, strategic logic that motivated the war’s US and British planners in the first place.
According to the infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC) document endorsed by senior Bush administration officials as far back as 1997, “While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification” for the US “to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security,” “the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” So Saddam’s WMD was not really the issue – and neither was Saddam himself.
Are Americans today war-weary? Sure. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been frustrating and tiring. Are Americans today unusually war-weary? No. They were wearier after the much larger and even more frustrating conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. And even though the two world wars of the last century had more satisfactory outcomes, their magnitude was such that they couldn’t help but induce a significant sense of war-weariness. And history shows that they did.
So American war-weariness isn’t new. Using it as an excuse to avoid maintaining our defenses or shouldering our responsibilities isn’t new, either. But that doesn’t make it admirable.
…Behind the coverage of Wahl’s dramatic protest, a cadre of neoconservatives was celebrating a public relations coup. Desperate to revive the Cold War, head off further cuts to the defense budget, and restore the legitimacy they lost in the ruins of Iraq, the tight-knit group of neoconservative writers and stewards had opened up a new PR front through Wahl’s resignation. And they succeeded with no shortage of help from an ossified media establishment struggling to maintain credibility in an increasingly anarchic online news environment. With isolated skeptics branded as useful idiots for Putin, the scene has been kept clean of neoconservative fingerprints, obscuring their interest in Wahl’s resignation and the broader push to deepen tensions with Russia.
Through interviews with six current RT employees—all Americans with no particular affection for Russian President Vladimir Putin or his policies—and an investigation into the political forces managing the spectacle, a story has emerged that stands in stark contrast to the one advanced by Wahl, her supporters, and the mainstream American press. It is the story, according to former colleagues, of an apolitical, deeply disgruntled employee seeking an exit strategy from a job where, sources say, she was disciplined for unprofessional behavior and had been demoted. Wahl did not return several voice and text messages sent to her cell phone. At the center of the intrigue is a young neoconservative writer and activist who helped craft Wahl’s strategy and exploit her resignation to propel the agenda of a powerful pro-war lobby in Washington.
The Rutgers University Faculty Council has approved a resolution calling upon the university’s Board of Governors to rescind its invitation to Condoleezza Rice to speak at commencement. It was just last month when the board unanimously picked Rice to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and serve as its principal commencement speaker for the upcoming graduation ceremonies. Rice, who was George W. Bush’s second Secretary of State, will also be paid $35,000 for her efforts.
But the faculty council’s resolution has thrown a sizable wrench into the university’s graduation gears, plans and festivities. It has reminded us all of Rice’s distasteful war record, including her misleading of the public about the ill-advised and costly Iraq war. Recall her dire warnings against Saddam Hussein’s soon-to-come “mushroom cloud” which would destroy us all? “Condoleezza Rice … played a prominent role in (the Bush) administration’s effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction,” according to the resolution. And she “at the very least condoned the Bush administration’s policy of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ such as water boarding,” the resolution read.
The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade of fighting, according to a new study by a Harvard researcher. Washington increased military benefits in late 2001 as the nation went to war, seeking to quickly bolster its talent pool and expand its ranks. Those decisions and the protracted nation-building efforts launched in both countries will generate expenses for years to come, Linda J. Bilmes, a public policy professor, wrote in the report that was released Thursday.
“As a consequence of these wartime spending choices, the United States will face constraints in funding investments in personnel and diplomacy, research and development and new military initiatives,”the report says. “The legacy of decisions taken during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will dominate future federal budgets for decades to come.” Bilmes said the United States has spent almost $2 trillion already for the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those costs, she said, are only a fraction of the ultimate price tag. The biggest ongoing expense will be providing medical care and disability benefits to veterans of the two conflicts.
As the Dalai Lama entered the room at the American Enterprise Institute, where he’d been invited to discuss the idea of “moral markets,” the crowd stood and kept still, in reverential silence. Then, though, everyone he passed began to laugh. Not at the idea that unencumbered enterprise might be the path to peace, but because His Holiness is the Melissa McCarthy of religious leaders: You look at him and can’t help it, before he even opens his mouth, and no matter what he says when he does. “We’re here,’’ said Arthur C. Brooks, the president of the conservative think tank, “to talk about what matters to us the most.” And although “as an economist it hurts me to tell you, money’s not on the list.’’
The presence of a self-described socialist and “simple Buddhist monk” as an honored guest of the enthusiastic capitalists here — Grover Norquist was in the audience, jokingly wondering if he’d worn the right thing, and real estate developer Harlan Crow was in the front row — suggested that even if it is on the list, we know it shouldn’t be near the top. That’s why, as Brooks said, “the system we believe is most able” to make success most widely available “is under question today. Have we become too materialistic? Do we need to reorder our priorities?”
Editor’s Note: John Bolton we all remember is a big neocon warmonger, and Oliver North served under Daddy Bush and Ronald Reagan, famous for being involved in Iran-Contra among other things. James M. Dubik is a former commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq and the NATO Training Mission-Iraq, is a senior fellow a senior fellow the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). The ISW is a think tank founded by Kimberly Kagan, who is married to Frederick Kagan, a resident scholar at the neocon American Enterprise Institute. Frederick Kagan is the brother of Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century. Robert Kagan is married to Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the State Department, and is a member of the influential Aspen Strategy Group, an organization chaired by Brent Scowcroft and staffed with Bush era neocons like Richard Armitage and Eliot Cohen. The Aspen Group is funded by the usual collection of multi-national corporations and organisations like the Ford Foundation. Same as it ever was.
First some history…
Cheney’s daughter, Liz, is running for Republican Senate primary in Wyoming, a typically conservative state requiring a senator with suitably conservative views.
The other Cheney daughter, Mary, is a married lesbian with two children.
Liz said: “I love Mary very much, I love her family very much. This is just an issue on which we disagree”
Contents of key conversations between Tony Blair and a bellicose George W Bush, who declares he is ready to “kick ass”, are thought to be among documents relating to the Iraq war that the government is withholding from publication.
It emerged this week that the Cabinet Office is resisting requests from the Iraq inquiry, the body set up to draw lessons from the conflict, for “more than 130 records of conversations” between Blair, his successor, Gordon Brown, and Bush to be made public. In a letter to David Cameron, published on the inquiry’s website, the committee’s chairman, Sir John Chilcot, disclosed that “25 notes from Mr Blair to President Bush” and “some 200 cabinet-level discussions” were also being withheld.
The standoff between the inquiry and Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, has been going on for five months and has meant that the “Maxwellisation process”, in which politicians and officials are warned that they will be criticised in the report, is on hold.
As a result, a date for the final publication of the report has yet to be agreed, more than four years after the inquiry started.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney said on Monday that what the United States gained as a result of the war in Iraq was that Iraq now does not have weapons of mass destruction.
While professing that he’s not trying to blame Cheney or President Bush for doing anything wrong by invading Iraq, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly wondered what the U.S. got out of the whole thing. “They finger pointed you and Bush and I don’t want to do that,” O’Reilly said, “But we spent a $1 trillion on this with a lot of pain and suffering on the American military. What did we get out of it? Beside Saddam being out of there?”
While Cheney meandered for a few minutes, he finally settled on the main prize: an Iraq without weapons of mass destruction.