Iraq: Great Progress, More to Come
It's easy to lose perspective when we see how things have turned out in Iraq. Sometimes it helps to take a moment from the intense self-criticism, and appreciate how far we've come:
Only a few short years ago, anyone who expressed doubts about the Iraq plan and the Bush Doctrine of Preemptive Strikes was attacked as a terrorist-appeasing traitor. To suggest that Iraq might not be a wise move, was met with smug overwhelming Right Wing wrath. Their army of radio talk show hosts and newspaper columnists - including our own Lars Larson and David Reinhard - were on a mission to help sell the Iraq War to the American People, and it was mission accomplished.
The White House used them to harness the emotions of 9/11, and to beat down any dissent. There was no real debate. The Bush White House ran all three branches of government so there was no need for debate. All that was needed was a powerful marketing blitz and the armchair soldiers of the Right were only too happy to jump in.
Protesters of the war were treated as enemy sympathizers by an arrogant media lynch mob. If a columnist such as myself wrote a couple of columns suggesting Iraq would be a Vietnam-style disaster - just prior to the Invasion of Iraq - then they lost their column. It was that simple.
David Reinhard kept his column, of course. He sucked up to the powers-that-be from positions Monica never even thought of, and it worked. Let's start there as a sign of the progress we've made. In today's Oregonian Dave calls those who opposed the war "honorable." Anyone remember any editorials in the newspapers just prior to the invasion of Iraq calling the opposition "honorable"? My, how polite we've become. Losing Congress sure makes people act nicer, doesn't it?
Of course, back then, things were different. The New York Times was actively rubber-stamping phony stories out of Dick Cheney's office without a hint of actual journalistic scrutiny. Our corporate media was reduced to a PR firm with Karl Rove in charge. Ironically, the Portland Tribune is one of the only right-wing owned newspapers in America that got it right. I did a good job for them, even if it cost me mine. It hurt for a while but now it's one of the 2 or 3 things I'm most proud of in my whole life.
So where's the progress? See, back then, the word "mistake" was never uttered by our President. He did not do mistakes. That was later adjusted to some new spin by the usual suspects. They tried to convince the American Public that lots of great things were happening in Iraq, but the darned media was emphasizing the bad stuff - the mistakes - way too much.
Now of course, things are so bad, the White House talks about mistakes like they're bragging: "See, we get it! We're not stupid! This is unacceptable!!!!" Of course, the spin part is that the mistakes are why the Iraq Plan did not go excellently. They still haven't made the final admission - that the whole damn thing was a mistake, that the Doctrine of Preemptive Strikes was a mistake, and that President Bush himself was a mistake.
So what do I think is the progress yet to come? Right now we are in the pre-Invasion days as far as criminality is concerned. The Giant Corporate Media structure that helped market this thing, is still silent on the legal issues. I believe in a few years, what happened with the subject of mistakes will happen with crimes. Eventually, the topic of criminality will break through the loathsome spin of the water-carrying clowns like David Reinhard and Lars Larson.
We will begin to discuss the numerous crimes of the Bush administration, and possibly even do something about them. If I wrote a column about this subject today for the Portland Tribune - about the many criminal acts the Bush administration has done from the torture to the fraudulent handling of intelligence to market this war - I'm sure I'd be let go again. Fortunately for me, I've landed in the blog world where a person's opinion can be expressed without the stifling corporate filters of the modern media.
Still, I believe in a few years, they'll get around to this subject as well. They'll look at the speech that President Bush gave the other night and call it what it really was: Criminal Negligence. They'll look at the Invasion of Iraq for the naked aggression it obviously was, especially given that the announced reasons for doing it were all wrong. In short, they'll begin discussing the many crimes of President Bush.
That's what lies ahead, but let's celebrate the progress we have made so far. It is now safe to talk about mistakes in Iraq. Even the Right Wing shills can discuss them because President Bush has done so. It is safe for them to talk. They can assume the new position and continue to suck.
It's a little funny really - Iraq is going so poorly, that President Bush had to acknowledge the mistakes or sound like a complete lunatic. That's real progress. That means there's less pretending going on.
I'm looking forward to the time when we can talk openly about the many crimes this man has done. We need to discuss his assault on our privacy and the Constitution. Then we can stop pretending this was all legal in the truest sense of our national ideals. That's the progress we still need to make.
When I pick up the Sunday Oregonian and there's an editorial about what a war criminal President Bush was, I'll know that we're almost back, especially if David Reinhard calls that assessment an "honorable position."
For now we should acknowledge how far we've come back. We no longer have to talk about President Bush's wretched plan with patriotic fervor and praise - that part is over. We've made great progress on Iraq, but we have a lot more to do. We've still got to address the illegalities of this craven group of power-hungry losers. Only then can we fully restore the promise of America.