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The Right Was Wrong On Iraq. So Why Are They Still Being Taken Seriously?

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Message Randolph Holhut

    DUMMERSTON, Vt. — It still amazes me that newspapers still publish pieces by William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, David Brooks and Thomas Friedman.

    It still amazes me that people such as Fred Barnes, Rich Lowry, Michael Barone, the Kagan brothers, Dick Morris and Joe Klein still get taken seriously as pundits.

    It still amazes me that people still think David Broder is relevant, that Joe Lieberman is still a Democrat or that we're winning the war in Iraq.

    It amazes me because the right-wing pundits who have been wrong every step of the way for the last five years still have steady gigs. The people who didn't drink the conservative Kool-Aid are still on the outside looking in.

    I'm fairly low on the media food chain and was not privy to the high-level discussions going on in Washington back in 2002, when the Bush administration starting ginning up support for an invasion of Iraq.

    Despite my absence from the official circles, I knew that Iraq did not have chemical, nuclear or biological weapons — and if there still were some chemical weapons hanging around, they were not in a usable form.

    I knew that after more than a decade of economic sanctions and periodic bombing by U.S. and U.K. warplanes, Iraq was not a threat to its neighbors, let alone the United States.

    I knew that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and had no relationship with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.

    I knew that, aside from trying to seize control of Iraq's oil reserves, there was no reason whatsoever to invade Iraq.

    I knew that, far from stabilizing the Middle East, a U.S. invasion of Iraq would be a disaster on every level.

    How did I know this? Because I was reading The Nation and The Progressive instead of The Weekly Standard or National Review. I was reading Truthout and Common Dreams on-line instead of Town Hall or WorldNetDaily. I was listening to the BBC or Democracy Now! instead of watching Fox News or CNN.

    My editorial voice in 2002 and 2003 didn't carry as far as those of Molly Ivins, Paul Krugman, Amy Goodman, Howard Zinn, Robert Fisk, James Carroll or John Pilger. I wrote off their reporting and others in an effort to add my voice to the anti-war chorus and to support their work.

    Yes, we were outnumbered and outshouted by the right-wingers. We were called traitors and un-American. In the glow of victory after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, the right-wingers gloated and gleefully attacked all of us who were "wrong" about the war.

    Except that we weren't.

    Everything we knew and said before the invasion, came to pass. No "weapons of mass destruction" were found. U.S. soldiers were not greeted as liberators by wildly cheering throngs of Iraqis. The occupation turned out to be longer and deadlier than the invasion. Iraq became a new training ground for terrorists. The Middle East is more unstable than ever before.

    Our reward for being right is continued obscurity. The left is still marginalized and still outshouted by the right in the media. We're still considered kooks by the so-called "respectable" people in the media.

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Randolph T. Holhut has been a journalist in New England for more than 25 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at randyholhut@yahoo.com.
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