by Ted Rall
July 17, 2007
On Iraq, the right was wrong. It’s a slam dunk. So why do the wrong righties keep raking in big media cash? And why aren’t lefties taking a victory lap?
It’s a Back to the Future moment: back in 2002, polls found most Americans opposed to war with Iraq at roughly the same two-to-one ration as they do now. What changed Americans’ minds between 2002 and 2003, supplemented by Bush Administration lies about fictional WMDs and liberation flowers, were millions of words published in major national magazines and regurgitated on television news programs by serious-looking, soft-spoken men boasting impressive journalistic and academic credentials. Pretend experts wove fantastic tales of wonderful geopolitical benefits that would derive from taking out Saddam. Invading Iraq was going to democratize the Middle East, force the Palestinians to sign a peace deal with Israel, and bring Elvis back to life.
Fareed Zakaria used his column at Newsweek to promote the now-discredited neoconservative democratization-via-regime-change thesis. William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and another neocon, sang the same bellicose tune at Time. David Brooks and Thomas Friedman beat the war drum for the influential opinion page of The New York Times. Then, against the evidence and common sense, they declared Mission Accomplished.
“The only people who think this wasn’t a victory,” wrote Time’s Charles Krauthammer after the fall of Baghdad and the toppling of Saddam’s statue, “are Upper West Side liberals, and a few people here in Washington.” Like the phony Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman stories, the statue story was fake. We “Upper West Side liberals” were right. But no one cares.