By any real standard of international conduct, the American invasion of Iraq was a crime, which the occupation compounded a thousand fold – or should I say 450,000 thousand fold, as that is the latest concensus figure as to how many people died in the post-invasion violence? It is one of the signs of the cretinous influence of the same journalistic clique that got us into the war that the newspapers, when writing about the war, still use “around 100,000 dead” as their standard cliché. Casualties are tedious, but I am sure that an article about 9.11 that understated the number of the dead by about 5 times (dozens of people were killed at the WTC) would receive condemnation from the chorus of the defenders of our grievances. It would be the height of fifth column lefty anti-Americanism, and probably anti-semitic too! No such problems cross the mind when underplaying the Iraqi massacre.
It looks like Maliki’s government is crumbling, and we are going into another stage of the disaster. In this one, too, the US’s heavy hand has played a role. Instead of condemning the totalitarianism in Saudi Arabia for arming and encouraging the rebels in Syria – and in the process exuding its own Islamicists – the US has colluded at it. The Americans did this before in the 1980s, when the CIA and the Reagan administration generously designed a global jihadist network. Great times! This time, the Obama administration – which seeminly can’t shake off Bush’s shadow – is getting its blowback early.
Where, however, will we – we Americans, looking around in our boredom for some rip and rotten piece of instant history to amuse us – get our information about ISIS, the Kurdish forces, the no doubt looming Shi’ite militia response? Unfortunately, the villains in the press the last time – the Dexter FIlkinses, the Jeff Goldbergs, all the previous unindicted co-conspirators with the White House – are still their, still seiving the flow of data, still conveying whispers from the Pentagon, the Weekly Standard keyboard warriors, and all the rest of it. Having learned nothing, they have nothing in their heads to impede the grave nonsense that they will perpetrate in the weeklies and the op ed pages.
My one consolation is that they write for a dying industry. The liberal media was no myth – media was born out of partisanship, not science or the law, not truthseeking that takes place in the lab or the courtroom, and it flourished through its fidelity to its audience. But establishment media has long forgotten its strappy beginnings and rubs elbows with all other establishments – and in so doing has lost its readership and viewership. Nobody grieves that the Washington Post is a charity operation at present, and will no doubt be dumped by Bezos when the time comes.
Partisanship means developing to an acute degree one’s capacity to criticize, to investigate one’s enemies, to expose, to muckrake. But the establishment media of the Bush era was an overpaid, overstuffed lot of “insiders” and they jumped onto the Iraq bandwagon gratefully, wagging their tails, basking in the proximity to the “rebel in chief”, as he was named by one of the sycophants. It is this group that still wails when the US misses a chance for a war, or at least a good stiff bombing campaign. Unfortunately, the mindset is bipartisan – as bipartisan as the mindset that takes “partisan” to be a dirty word.
Iraq could never be won, so it could never be lost. The question really is: who is responsible for a policy spreading death and destruction on a 450,000 casualty scale in the Middle East. The answer is the Americans. I am sure the discussion in the next couple of weeks will be about how Americans can add more bodies to their tally.
This is sad beyond bearing.