Another look at the runup to the Iraq War


by David Safier

This week marks the 10 year anniversary of the War in Iraq. I'm guessing the media commentary we hear will have a "We screwed up" tone this time, unlike during the runup to war when doubters were pushed aside for the front page headlines about WMDs and Saddam's close relationship with Al Qaeda.

Remember the piece of nuclear hardware buried under a rose bush, which was a clear indication that Saddam had buried pieces of his nuclear capabilities in gardens around Iraq? Remember the aluminum tubes that were the wrong diameter to be used in centrifuges that were clear indications Saddam was adding centrifuges so he could build up his nuclear arsenal? Remember how Saddam was planning to attack the U.S. with low-range missiles by shipping them close to our shores and firing them at our coastlines?

Remember how the media reported those "facts" and others with a straight face?

People who made rational statements against the war weren't considered serious because the media refused to take them seriously, not because their arguments weren't sound. The war was a propaganda triumph for the Bush administration and a dark day for the mainstream media. Howard Kurtz admitted as much last week. Even Bush apologist Bob Woodward is issuing an apology of his own. Accoring to Kurtz,

Bob Woodward told me that "we did our job, but we didn't do enough, and I blame myself mightily for not pushing harder." There was a "groupthink" among intelligence officials, he said, and "I think I was part of the groupthink." [boldface added for emphasis]

Paul Krugman writes about how doubters had their voices stifled in the media and wonders if the media has learned anything from the experience. Admitting this is not at the same level, Krugman said the media's constant echoing of the "debt crisis" meme is similar. Ironically, the MSM consensus on the issue was broken by John Boehner who said on ABC's "This Week" that we don't have an immediate debt crisis. Boehner is actually out in front of media reporting on this issue. Reporters and publishers should hang their heads in shame.