As the Neocons regroup for another offensive disguised as a "surge", let us go back to early 2003 and see what some of these very same people were saying shortly after the invasion of Iraq. In their own words they label themselves as fools devoid of any credibility. Who could possibly still believe that these individuals have even the faintest grip on reality much less the ability to offer any positive solution to the current fiasco in Iraq? It would all be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic...
Let’s start with that hallmark of journalism, the Washington Times and its Editor-In-Chief in full bloom on the paper’s editorial page:
"The president is an optimist, as all presidents must be, and the warmth, humility and good humor he demonstrated last night from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, declaring the war in Iraq all but over, was impressive. George W. is a man who lends other men stout heart, and brave and courageous men follow such a president cheerfully. The photographs of the president, surrounded by his fellow fighter pilots aboard the Abe Lincoln, tell us everything about what the men who won the war in Iraq think about their commander in chief."
Wesley Pruden, Editorin-Chief Washington Times May 2, 2003
Little did they know that George W. would be leading them to the hottest part of hell. Ah, but it wasn’t just some doctrinaire propagandist in the pay of a billionaire leader of a fanatic religious cult. This dementia was propagated by some of the country’s most respected newspapers:
"Before the war even began, the critics were predicting that Iraq was going to be the Bay of Pigs (plus "Desert One, Beirut and Somalia," said the ever-hyperbolic Chris Matthews). A week into the war, we were told Iraq was Vietnam. Now, after the war, they’re telling us that Iraq is Iran — that Iraq’s Shiite majority will turn it into another intolerant Islamic republic.The critics were wrong every time. They are wrong again."
-Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, May 2, 2003
Repeat after me: Charles Krauthammer is insane. Even more unhinged is the newspaper that employs him. The New York Post dispensed a sort of cut-rate, Wal-Mart version of the same pap:
"Is this expensive? Yes. Is it necessary? He says it is, and the question is, how can a serious person disagree with him?
Did the administration suggest before the war that the cost would be much lower? Yes. Did the administration figure on five months of guerrilla attacks after the liberation of Iraq? No.
Is the president showing himself capable of learning on the job? Yes, very much so.
"Two years ago, I told the Congress and the country that the War on Terror would be a lengthy war, a different kind of war, fought on many fronts in many places," the president said. "Iraq is now the central front. Enemies of freedom are making a desperate stand there - and there they must be defeated."
The president has once again, as he did last year when he first began the run up to the war on Iraq, thrown down the gauntlet to his adversaries both here and abroad: The way to peace in Iraq is the American way; there is no other.
And our failure means the restoration of tyranny and the emboldening of terrorists.
In short: You are either with us, or with the terrorists.
Your move, Gov. Dean.
You’re not playing Candyland any longer against Dennis Kucinich and the other Democratic dwarves. This is a serious game of chess. And Dubya is pretty damn good at it." -John Podhoretz, New York Post, September 8, 2003
Hey, John, Dennis Kucinich is still a member of Congress which is more than we can say for the likes of Tom DeLay, George Allen, Conrad Burns, Mark Foley and Rick Pombo. I guess Howard Dean is a pretty good chess player after all. Onward to one of the right wing’s deep thinkers:
"We look forward to the liberation of our own country and others from the threat of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, and to the liberation of the Iraqi people from a brutal and sadistic tyrant."
-Bill Kristol, Washington Post, March 18, 2003 quoting Kristol’s previous editorial in the Weekly Standard.
Hey Bill, or "William" when he is involved in high level White House policy discussions which only serve to underline the depth of the current administration’s depravity, I think the previous statement makes you oh-for-two in a really fundamental way. Let’s move on to a private suite, deep in the bowels of some Vegas megacasino as another of the right wing’s stalwarts discourses in between his fifth bacon cheeseburger and another hundred thousand dollar marker:
"It is not President Bush who woke up one day to discover that Hussein was making and harvesting weapons of mass destruction. Yet it is Bush who is blamed for doing something about it. Hussein may be mad, but he is not a scientist. He does not collect chemical and biological weapons for mere pleasure and intrigue. Just ask the survivors of Halabja. So when Hussein acts, it will be Bush and America who are blamed for inaction, for appeasement. We will be liable for such blame because we are the only ones who can do something about it."
-William Bennett, "Why We Must Fight.", National Review, 3/11/2003
Why "We" must fight!? We, Kimo Sabe?! Bill Bennett, whose toughest battle has probably been with the buffet table at the Mirage has the balls to talk about "Why We Must Fight." Is there any limit to the arrogance of this bloated corporate shill? That reminds me:
"And I said on my program, if — if the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it’s clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again. All right? But I’m giving my government the benefit of the doubt." Bill O’Reilly, Good Morning America, March 19, 2003
Still waiting for that apology, which will be accepted only if it occurs with O’Reilly standing in a shower, sporting a suit of falafels and monogrammed luffahs. Let’s get back to that genius Billy Kristol:
"There’s been a certain amount of pop sociology in America, that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There’s almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq’s always been very secular."
–William Kristol, interview with Terry Gross, NPR, April 1, 2003
John Kerry was skewered over an awkward joke that most folks privately would admit was the truth. Howard Dean was the butt of a video clip that was endlessly replayed and turned out to be a clever audio manipulation. Bill Kristol utters one of the stupidest and frankly just plain wrong political assessments of the past fifty years and he still is considered credible in the eyes of the mainstream media and even scarier, in the White House. Next stop the "Twilight Zone"
"The invasion of Iraq has gone fabulously well, exceeding everyone’s expectations. Certainly exceeding the doomsday scenarios of liberals. The Bush-haters’ pre-war predictions hundreds of thousands dead, chemical attacks on our troops, retaliatory terrorist attacks in the United States, an invasion by Turkey, oil facilities in flames and apocalyptic environmental consequences have proven to be about as accurate as Bill Clinton’s "legally accurate" statements about Monica Lewinsky.
Inasmuch as they can’t cite any actual failures in Iraq, liberals busy themselves by claiming the administration somehow "misled" them about the war."
-Ann Coulter, Townhall.com, June 3, 2004
Yes, this is more than a year later then most of these other quotes but Ann has always had a problem with keeping up with reality. This next one is a two-fer. In 2002, Kenneth Adelman continued the drumbeat for an Iraqi invasion with this pronouncement:
"Two knowledgeable Brookings Institution analysts, Philip H. Gordon and Michael E. O’Hanlon, concluded that the United States would "almost surely" need "at least 100,000 to 200,000″ ground forces [op-ed, Dec. 26, 2001]. Worse: "Historical precedents from Panama to Somalia to the Arab-Israeli wars suggest that . . . the United States could lose thousands of troops in the process."..."I believe demolishing Hussein’s military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. Let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) It was a cakewalk last time; (2) they’ve become much weaker; (3) we’ve become much stronger; and (4) now we’re playing for keeps." ..."Measured by any cost-benefit analysis, such an operation would constitute the greatest victory in America’s war on terrorism."Kenneth Adelman, Washington Post, February 13,2002
For his next trick, shortly after the surrender of Baghdad, Adelman penned this wonderful bit of narcissism:
"Predicting that the next war in Iraq would be a "cw" — for my sake, now think "crushing win" — my early 2002 article established the baseline: "It was a cakewalk last time," during the first Gulf War. Granted, I’m an incurable optimist, but even I could never have envisioned the coalition controlling the enemy capital within three weeks — less than half the time, with less than half the U.S. casualties, of the first Gulf War. And with none of the above disasters happening......But now is an occasion for pride, and for thanks to our fighting men and women and those leading them. My confidence 14 months ago sprang from having worked for Don Rumsfeld three times — knowing he would fashion a most creative and detailed war plan — and from knowing Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz well for many years......Last, and another oversight, was how a totalitarian regime could so pulverize its people and military as to intimidate them, at least for a time, out of celebrating even their own liberation.
But at least now we know."
Kenneth Adelman, Washington Post, April 10, 2003
Ken is kind of like that Olympic skater who has a good first part of a final routine and gets overconfident thinking about the Gold. Disaster strikes with a terrible fall, except with this performance Adelman falls about sixteen times. No medal for you Ken, especially from the Iraqi judge.
Things have gotten so bad that broadcast sycophants have done a complete about face. With Keith O winning new audiences in search of reality, folks like Joe Scarborough have really changed their tune. Unfortunately for Joe we have the historical record:
"Do you all remember Scott Ritter, you know, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector who played chief stooge for Saddam Hussein? Well, Mr. Ritter actually told a French radio network that — quote, ‘The United States is going to leave Baghdad with its tail between its legs, defeated.’ Sorry, Scott. I think you’ve been chasing the wrong tail, again.
Joe Scarborough, MSNBC, April 10, 2003
This guy has a lot of nerve but at least he has the excuse of being a republican shill. What was Chris Matthews’ excuse? :
"We’re proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who’s physical, who’s not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who’s president. Women like a guy who’s president. Check it out. The women like this war.
Chris Matthews, MSNBC, May 1, 2003
Say what you want though, Matthews has done a total 180 and really backed away from this kind of thing. Now if he would stop singing the praises of people like Jim Talent I might even consider him back on the road to real recovery. Granted, he’s a far cry from some of the more sinister elements of the Rovian propaganda ministry:
"I suggested that a "cultural war crimes tribunal" be convened, at which people from academia, the media, government and the clergy who were wrong in their assessment of communism would be forced to confront their mistakes. While not wishing to deprive anyone of his or her right to be wrong, it wouldn’t hurt for these people to be held accountable. That advice was not taken but today we are presented with another opportunity in the form of scores of false media prophets who predicted disaster should the U.S. military confront and seek to oust the murderous regime of Saddam Hussein. The purpose of a cultural war crimes tribunal would be to remind the public of journalism’s many mistakes, as well as the errors of certain politicians and retired generals, and allow it to properly judge their words the next time they feel the urge to prophesy."
Cal Thomas, April 15, 2003, Townhall.com
After the tribunal deals with "certain politicians and retired generals", if there is any justice Cal will be one of the next dragged in front of just such a proceding. And right along with him one of the really outrageous example’s of Old Journalism’s most egregiously pompous and incompetent frauds:
"The "real reason" for this war, which was never stated, was that after 9/11 America needed to hit someone in the Arab-Muslim world. Afghanistan wasn’t enough because a terrorism bubble had built up over there — a bubble that posed a real threat to the open societies of the West and needed to be punctured.
The only way to puncture that bubble was for American soldiers, men and women, to go into the heart of the Arab-Muslim world, house to house, and make clear that we are ready to kill, and to die, to prevent our open society from being undermined by this terrorism bubble. Smashing Saudi Arabia or Syria would have been fine. But we hit Saddam for one simple reason: because we could, and because he deserved it and because he was right in the heart of that world. And don’t believe the nonsense that this had no effect. Every neighboring government — and 98 percent of terrorism is about what governments let happen — got the message. If you talk to U.S. soldiers in Iraq they will tell you this is what the war was about."
Thomas Friedman, New York Times, June 4, 2003
By June of 2003, even Friedman had figured out that the whole WMD argument was toast. Can you imagine this turgid creature, sitting in the comfort of his 10,000 square foot Northern Virginia home provided by his billionaire heiress wife, concocting statements like "Smashing Saudi Arabia or Syria would have been fine." And this psychotic rambling published in the pages of the New York Times?
They should develop a special award for Friedman for the opposite of competent journalism. Call it the Anti-Pulitzer. Have a dinner where he could be presented this accolade by a former recipient, Judith Miller. Then let C-Span televise it at four thirty in the morning. Better yet, show it to the prisoners at Gitmo. They’ll beg for mercy and finally give up vital kernels of information needed to pursue the War on Terror.
And yet the drone continues, the same cast of characters keeps spewing the same analysis but suddenly it seems like a tree crashing in an empty wood or the sound of one hand clapping.