A new mythology is arising about Iraq, that an intricate web of lies from Bush and Cheney duped a credulous public into supporting the preemptive attack. Mother Jones has a good chronology in the latest edition.
Yes, there were lies. The mythology, however, is that intelligent people didn't know what was happening. Most of the people reading this right now knew.
If you think back, it was not the lies themselves, but a campaign of hysteria and character assassination and jingoism surrounding the few pallid lies that forced the door open for Bush's invasion. We were rolled by a Karl Rove media campaign.
Many, many knew the drumbeat of lies was fabricated. If you recall those days, and you had any sense, you remember objecting and protesting, and you remember it was like shouting into a hurricane and having your voice swept away. Europe, out of the reach of the propaganda machine, knew. Many here knew with certainty and put up their "Attack Iraq? NO!" and "No Iraq War" signs.
Those signs are still up. We knew the American onslaught had to be pushed in over the tops of the weapons inspectors, not because an attack by Saddam was imminent, but because a clean report from the inspectors was imminent.
It was, in fact, the need for an overt campaign for the war that most betrayed its illegitimacy. A preemptive strike halfway around the world -- If you don't like it, you are unAmerican or a sissy or stupid. And look, here's Colin Powell at the UN with his dog and pony show.
There is no good war, but the only legitimate wars are those we are dragged into, wars as a last resort. If you need a parade to get people out for a war, it is not going to turn out well.
The mythology that nobody knew what was going on because of Bush lies may give a couple of dozen Democratic senators some cover, but it masks things more troubling.
One, the Rove campaign/propaganda machine is still in place and still armed with the same weapons of hysteria, character attack, and jingoism, the methods and means of turning a few lies into a tide of public opinion.
It will be rolled out soon in support of the Republican Congress, timed to reach its crescendo the first week of November. We will need to take the opportunity of this campaign to expose the dirty business.
Two, the Bush goal was reached. We are stuck in Iraq. The only way out is through. This does not mean abandoning the soldiers to their role as ducks in a shooting gallery. It means getting them into defensible locations, and giving them missions that have clear definition and a prospect of success.
It means getting the corporate vultures like Halliburton out of there and getting the country rebuilt. To my mind, it means partitioning the country into areas which can be policed and protected by the indiginous populations.
Three, the lies and the media campaign and the process of enforcing this blunder, with its underlying policy of American World Dominance, have FEMA-ized the State Department and the military. The competent people who objected have been shown the door, quit in disgust, or have muffled their competence in order to keep their jobs. The ideologically driven boobs are left in the offices, pushing the same buttons and getting the same bloody, bogus results.
The whole mess has left us a dozen times less secure than before the attack.