On the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War, CNN's Christiane Amanpour asked, "How could so many false assertions be taken as fact" in the lead-up to the Iraq War? She wanted to know where the journalists had been. Well, most of the skeptical ones were working for the alternative media. On Democracy Now, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales repeatedly rang the alarm bells. So did our friends at The Nation and Z and In These Times. On talk radio, Randi Rhodes was presciently outspoken, as was Thom Hartmann, who was just getting back in front of a mic.
Here at The Progressive, we began campaigning against the Iraq War more than six months before it began, publishing a cover story in August 2002 entitled "Stop the War Before It Starts," by peace scholar David Cortright. We followed that up with an editorial in October 2002 entitled "No Excuse for War," and we continued with a cover story "Oil Is Our Damnation," by Jeremy Scahill in December 2002. In fact, we ran three more cover stories in the prelude to the war, as well as columns by Molly Ivins and Howard Zinn, who predicted what has now happened.
Yes, there were a few mainstream journalists who got things right, most notably Knight Ridder's Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel, as Amanpour noted. But overwhelmingly, the mainstream corporate media fell down on the job in the worst way.
It has become fashionable for the corporate media and liberal politicians alike to comfort themselves with the claim that "everybody" was snookered. Sorry, not true. Everybody wasn't snookered. We here, way out in Madison, Wisconsin, could figure things out. So could our colleagues in the leftwing media across the country. But those in the power centers somehow could not. They were blinded by their proximity to the decision makers. They were embedded with their sources. They were cowed by the fear of being called "liberal" or "anti-American" or "soft on defense" or "unpatriotic."
There is chutzpah, and then there is chutzpah. In the latter category, I give you Donald Rumsfeld, Bush's Defense Secretary.
You'd have thought, after the disaster he brought us in Iraq, that he'd have the good sense to lie low on this, the tenth anniversary of that debacle.
But no, Rumsfeld took to Twitter, saying: "10 yrs ago began the long, difficult work of liberating 25 mil Iraqis. All who played a role in history deserve our respect & appreciation."
Take a second to marvel at that note of self-congratulation and the demand that we bow before him, a demand that I refuse to go along with, and I hope you refuse, too.
Rumsfeld has the most distorting mirror ever constructed. Maybe that's how he sleeps at night. Otherwise, it's a mystery to me.
What's also a mystery is how Rumsfeld, and George W. Bush, and Dick Cheney have gotten off scot-free. Launching a war of aggression was understood at the Nuremberg Trials to be a war crime. And both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch years ago called for Rumsfeld, Bush, and Cheney to be tried for war crimes for ordering torture.
That's another story you didn't hear about in the corporate media, though it was a cover piece in July 2005 in this magazine.
It shouldn't be too much to expect Rumsfeld, Bush, and Cheney to be tried for their crimes. The fact that it is says a lot about how lawless our nation has become, with the corporate media acting as an accomplice.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story Tsarnaev Brothers and Propaganda of the Deed.
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.