The MSNBC documentary called Hubris: Selling the Iraq War exposes how the Bush administration essentially convinced the American people that we needed to invade Iraq in 2003. This documentary, as narrated by Rachel Maddow, was taken from the best-selling book of the same name written by Michael Isikoff, NBC News National Investigative Correspondent, and co-authored with David Corn, also a MSNBC contributor and the Washington Bureau Chief of Mother Jones.
This blog is taken from The Joan Jerkovich Show radio transcript and edited for easier reading.
Link to declassified documents with a bullet point that says “Start a War?” (A Must See!) and link to the show Podcast or iTunes @ http://joanjerkovich.com/
This film was sobering. I would have to say it was difficult to watch and difficult to assimilate because the facts that were talked about in this documentary are based on unclassified documents of what was happening within the Bush administration as we led up to the war in Iraq.
If you follow my show, it seems like not too long ago, I made the comment that every war starts with propaganda. The war against Iraq was, at least, “sold” to the American people by the most powerful men in US politics at the time. This is an unusual war for the United States because it was a war of aggressive offense, not a defensive war effort, that had always historically been the path of the United States. This war was sold to the American people as a what-if, or it might happen, or we never know, or we have to be protecting ourselves. Not a true clear threat that was fully supported by (military) intelligence. In fact, one could say that this war was actually initiated with faulty intelligence, that we all know eventually proved that there were no weapons of mass destruction. We all know that now.
So, did these political architects of war know that the intelligence they were hanging their hats on was flawed, or let’s say incomplete, or maybe just inept? Or, were their decisions to pummel the American citizens with their “stink bombs” of propaganda…and I actually called them “stink bombs” because as you listen further to my opinion piece, you may actually feel the need to put on the boots that you go out to the pigpen with, to slop the hogs, because I promise you…you’ll be verbally walking through a knee-deep pile of manure.
Did these elected officials intentionally manipulate the facts that drove us into war? If so, should they be tried for war crimes, or crimes against humanity as some have suggested? Do they owe the 4,400 American families who lost loved ones an apology? That’s not to mention the tens of thousands who were injured in this war or the 100,000+ Iraqi citizens who were also killed? But, no, there have been no apologies…and I doubt that there will be.
Who am I talking about here? Who was, so to speak, exposed in this documentary? According to Michael Isikoff, they were then-President George W. Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
So put on those hog slopping boots because here we go, here’s what happened…
This political power pack had Iraq on their radar for years. They were intent on taking Saddam Hussein down and were, according to this documentary, just looking for that excuse with which they could sell their plan to the American public. And when did they find it? They found it with the 9/11 attacks.
It has been well documented that the day after the 9/11 attacks President George W. Bush went to the White House Situation Room and ordered the counter-terrorism director, Richard Clark, to look into an Iraq connection to the attacks. As Clark said in a later interview in 2004 on the Chris Matthews (MSNBC) Hardball Show, he said, (to the President) “What I said, Mr. President, we will do that of course, but we’ve done it before, and rather recently, and the answer has always been no, and it’s likely to be no this time.” He went on to say that President Bush didn’t like that answer and, “he got mad”.
Declassified meeting notes from the afternoon of 9/11showed that Donald Rumsfeld was tasking a top aide to find the best information fast, good enough to hit Saddam Hussein. He even asked the aide to get evidence from Paul Wolfowitz.
Now, Wolfowitz is mentioned quite prominently in this film. It talks about how he had on his personal enemy list for two decades Saddam Hussein. Even Donald Rumsfeld, in a later interview said, that he was the first person to mention looking for an Iraq connection to 9/11 at Camp David.
The film showed Mark Rossini, former terrorism task force, “We all looked at each other like, what are they talking about? Who the hell…Saddam Hussein…Bin Laden hates him…he’s a heretic…there’s no connection between Hussein and Al Qaeda…”
Frequently, throughout this film, the intelligence operatives were aghast at what was going on…
So, the word went out to all the intelligence services, the CIA, the FBI, they were all put to task to find the connection between Al Qaeda in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hussein.
Weapons inspectors were sent to search for weapons of mass destruction. Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq survey group said, “This just went on for years and at a certain point, unbeknownst to the weapons inspectors, or anyone else except Iraq, it turns out that we pretty much accounted for the full system, but we didn’t actually know that at the time”.
Regardless of the sketchy intelligence, the Bush-Cheney propaganda machine to go into war against Iraq began. In January 2002, in Bush’s State of the Union address, he made the famous statement that said “States like these and their terrorist allies, constitute an Axis of Evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world” his “Axis of Evil” comment cued those on the inside that the Bush administration was pushing to invade Iraq.
There is a declassified memo from November 2001 that reveals that Donald Rumsfeld met, as early as then, with CentCom Cmdr. Tommy Franks to review plans for what he called the “decapitation” of the Iraqi government. They wanted to discuss ideas on how to start a war…and I want you to go to my website www.joanjerkovich.com and see those actual documents. Those declassified documents, because when you look at it and see that actual bullet point that says: Start a War? Then the next one was one suggestion on how actually to create this, or have this happen, was again bullet pointed, and it says: Dispute over WMD (weapons of mass destruction) inspections? Visually seeing that is sobering.
As Paul Pillar, CIA National Intelligence Council said, “9/11 made it politically possible, for the first time, to persuade the American people to break a US tradition of not launching offensive wars”.
I want to leave with this one final comment from Lawrence Wilkerson, Chief of Staff to Colin Powell at the time, where he said, “George W. Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney would have gone to war with Iraq, and gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, even if there wasn’t any intelligence at all”.
Listen next week to Part 2 of my commentary on the documentary, Hubris: Selling the Iraq War. I’m going to talk about the intelligence that prompted these officials to act. Then, in Part 3, I hope to get into some of the “why”. Why did this happen, how did this happen, and how can we protect our country from this happening again in the future?