Biden’s and the shadow of Iraq scenario to confront Russia and China
On the anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, which was based on pretexts that haven’t yet been proven true, and for which the United States has mobilized huge military and media resources with no apparent futility, observers believe that President Joe Biden’s administration may repeat this scenario in the context of its rivalry current with both Russia and China.
American researchers Patrick Fok and AJ Manuzzi say, in a report published by the National Interest magazine, that next March 19 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.
Many of the accomplices in the bloodshed, the researchers add, are already trying to rewrite history.
From the comfort of the American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson Institute, and more, senior officials in the administration of former President George W. Bush embellished their utterances through the mainstream media about how they could not foresee that their project would fail, or that it was not a failure at all.
The researchers believe that despite all the attention these efforts have received to review the legacy of the war, they pale in comparison to the careful and concerted efforts to shape the perceptions of the American people that occurred before the war.
The Iraq war mania could happen again, and if we don’t learn from it, a repeat of the frantic atmosphere of 2002-2003 could bring America into crisis with nuclear powers such as Russia and China.
A decade of violence paved the way for the invasion, and in the aftermath of the heavy bombing of Iraq’s civilian infrastructure in the 1991 war, US policy toward Iraq in the 1990s focused on harsh punishments that overwhelmed the Iraqi people, and throughout the decade, the threat of American firepower loomed large with ongoing combat operations such as no-fly zones and Operation Desert Fox (1998).
Thousands of miles away from the situation in Iraq, the American people were immersed in a narrative entertained by the war’s twenty-four-hour coverage of the 1991 Gulf War.
Media baron Rupert Murdoch funded Bill Kristol, the neoconservative official under both Presidents Ronald Reagan, and George Bush, founding the Weekly Standard in 1995.
This magazine provided a loud public voice for the political movement to invade Iraq.
Under Kristol’s leadership, the Weekly Standard published cover stories such as “Saddam Must Go: A How-To Guide” in 1997 and articles such as “Saddam’s Impending Victory” in 1998, all comparing the isolated Iraqi regime to Hitler’s Third Reich.
All this well-coordinated political pressure led to the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998, which announced the final US intention to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
The catalyst for the invasion was the attack on September 11, 2001.
And while George W. Bush was formally focused on fighting al Qaeda directly through the Global War on Terror and the subsequent overthrow of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, by September 14, just three days after the attack, It was reported that Bush spoke of hitting Iraq.
The facts didn’t support a link between the 9/11 terrorist attack and Iraq.
Yet the federal government, with its monopoly on sensitive military intelligence, worked relentlessly to fabricate new facts.
Undersecretary of Defense for Political Affairs Douglas Feith’s Office of Special Plans promoted an effort to collect and disseminate intelligence purporting to link Saddam to al Qaeda, earning him the nickname “architect of the Iraq war,” and the administration tasked the beloved TV face of the Gulf War, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, with calling for an invasion at the United Nations.
The mainstream media was pleased with this direct course of action in the aftermath of 9/11.
Max Boot, a neoconservative, wrote an article in the Weekly Standard titled “The Case for American Empire,” in which he compared American interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan to the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.
Reports from the New York Times relied heavily on the inaccurate testimonies of Iraqi exiles who strongly supported regime change.
The Washington Post editorial board wrote an article titled “Irrefutable,” referring to the administration’s allegations about the Iraq axis, al Qaeda, and Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
Former Bush speechwriter David Frum called right-wing opponents of the war “unpatriotic conservatives” in an article for National Review.
All opposition to the war was systematically marginalized.
With print media coverage, talk show hosts filled the airwaves pressing for the invasion of Iraq and its subsequent defense.
The founding fathers of the Iraq effort, such as Kristol and Stephen Hayes, have appeared frequently on channels such as Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, even MTV.
The Media was looking for neoconservative critics and Bush administration officials.
Powerful Democrats and pundits of center-left public figures also share complicity in the push for war.
Left-wing media organizations such as The New Republic supported the invasion.
Ahmed Chalabi’s ally, Entifada Qanbar, appeared on National Public Radio “NPR” and with Oprah Winfrey.
Then Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden brushed off fellow Democrats’ concerns about the war.
MSNBC anchor Phil Donahue was fired over concerns about his resistance to the war, as the network geared up for 24/7 coverage of the war.
Contemporary media continues to count on the Iraq War cheerleaders as respected voices in US foreign policy, and uses many of the same propositions that so conspicuously failed two decades ago.
Anne Applebaum describes anything short of regime change in a nuclear-armed Russia as appeasement, and those who led us into conflict in 2003 over non-existent weapons of mass destruction are now lecturing a more wary public that if they fear nuclear war with Russia, they make excuses for Vladimir Putin.
Perhaps the most dangerous source of opinion formation is China.
Eminent intellectuals and elected officials are trying to define war with China over Taiwan as an inevitability and obligation.
But more Americans are expected to die each day in the first three weeks of the war in Taiwan than in any previous war except World War II.
This figure is optimistic even given that it assumes that the war will not go nuclear.
These bleak prospects require a more sober discussion than they did before Iraq.
Twenty years after Biden’s role in the Iraqi myth, his team presented his own “axis of evil”, in an existential struggle between democracies and authoritarian regimes, and the dangerous truth is that these frantic narratives can make democracies act like authoritarian regimes by stifling open debate that helps democracies avoid disaster.
The researchers believe that with the rise of a new generation, a generation that doesn’t remember racing to war in Iraq, we must not forget the madness that preceded this fatal mistake.
It has happened before, and it could happen again.