I know we've been "free" of the New York. And how exciting that the new fall TV season is just days away!War for two weeks now and our minds have turned to the new football season and Fashion Week in
But before we get too far away from something we would all just like to forget, will you please allow me to just say something plain and blunt and necessary:
We invaded Iraq because most Americans -- including good liberals like Al Franken, Nicholas Kristof & Bill Keller of the New York Times, David Remnick of the New Yorker, the editors of the Atlantic and the New Republic, Harvey Weinstein, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and John Kerry -- wanted to.
Of course the actual blame for the war goes to Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz because they ordered the "precision" bombing, the invasion, the occupation, and the theft of our national treasury. I have no doubt that history will record that they committed the undisputed Crime of the (young) Century.
But how did they get away with it, considering they'd lost the presidential election by 543,895 votes? They also knew that the majority of the country probably wouldn't back them in such a war (a Newsweek poll in October 2002 showed 61% thought it was "very important" for Bush to get formal approval from the United Nations for war -- but that never happened). So how did they pull it off?
They did it by getting liberal voices to support their war. They did it by creating the look of bipartisanship. And they convinced other countries' leaders like Tony Blair to get on board and make it look like it wasn't just our intelligence agencies cooking the evidence.
But most importantly, they made this war (and its public support) happen because Bush & Co. had brilliantly conned the New York Times into running a bunch of phony front-page stories about how Saddam Hussein had all these "weapons of mass destruction." The administration gleefully fed this false information not to Fox News or the Washington Times. They gave it to America's leading liberal newspaper. They must have had a laugh riot each morning when they'd pick up the New York Times and read the nearly word-for-word scenarios and talking points that they had concocted in the Vice President's office.
I blame the New York Times more for this war than Bush. I expected Bush and Cheney to try and get away with what they did. But the Times -- and the rest of the press -- was supposed to STOP them by doing their job: Be a relentless watchdog of government and business -- and then inform the public so we can take action.
Instead, the New York Times gave the Bush administration the cover they needed. They could -- and did -- say, 'Hey, look, even the Times says Saddam has WMD!'
With this groundwork laid, the Bush crowd ended up convincing a whopping 70% of the public to support the war -- a public that had given him less than 48% of its vote in 2000.
Early liberal support for this war was the key ingredient in selling it to a majority of the public. I realize this is something that no one in the media -- nor most of us -- really wants to discuss. Who among us wants to feel the pain of having to remember that liberals, by joining with Bush, made this war happen?
Please, before our collective memory fades, I just want us to be honest with ourselves and present an unsanitized version of how they pulled off this war. I can guarantee you the revisionists will make sure the real truth will not enter the history books.
Children born when the war began started second grade this month.
Kids who were eleven in 2003 are now old enough to join up and get killed in Iraq in a "non-combat capacity."
They'll never understand how we got here if we don't.