The Not-So-Winding Road from Iraq to Ukraine

Yves here. Yours truly was in Sydney in the runup to the Iraq war, where surveys showed 94% opposed to the coming conflict, a level of unanimity unheard of in polling. Yet Australia joined the coalition of the willing, with the unhappiness over that action playing out in media coverage of how badly Iraqis were suffering, via the looting of hospitals, which the occupying forces did nothing to prevent, very intermittent electricity (2-4 hours a day) and the exodus of the middle class and the educated.

This article highlights a key point of that history I had missed. Many countries in the Global South supported the US even if they didn’t supply troops. That plus in many cases geographic proximity made them much closer observers of that war than American were, who got their information from a press that had swallowed the “WMD in Iraq” lie. In the rest of the world, the media and commentators pointed out that UN weapons inspector Hans Blix was already in Iraq and as of early March had already gone through 75% of the sites in order of priority. If Saddam had anything, he had to be moving it around on trucks. Why not let Blix finish the job?

But the US had already committed via prepositioning troops and weapons. It would be too costly to keep them in the area if they missed the spring invasion window to wait until the fall. So evidence be damned.

Rather than paying attention to the impact of the conflict on Iraqis, the US press and pundits promoted jingoism, including an early use of cancel culture in calling for boycotts of French restaurants to punish the French for France having led a group in the UN Security Council to try to set parameters on using force. I was shocked to find that supposedly sophisticated and independent minded (and largely Democrat) New Yorkers fell in line, putting quite a few eateries out of business.

By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies, the authors of War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict, published by OR Books in November 2022. Medea Benjamin is the cofounder of CODEPINK for Peace, and the author of several books, including Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nicolas J. S. Davies is an independent journalist, a researcher with CODEPINK and the author of Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.

March 19th marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq. This seminal event in the short history of the 21st century not only continues to plague Iraqi society to this day, but it also looms large over the current crisis in Ukraine, making it impossible for most of the Global South to see the war in Ukraine through the same prism as U.S. and Western politicians.

While the U.S. was able to strong-arm 49 countries, including many in the Global South, to join its “coalition of the willing” to support invading the sovereign nation of Iraq, only the U.K., Australia, Denmark and Poland actually contributed troops to the invasion force, and the past 20 years of disastrous interventions have taught many nations not to hitch their wagons to the faltering U.S. empire.

Today, nations in the Global South have overwhelmingly refused U.S. entreaties to send weapons to Ukraine and are reluctant to comply with Western sanctions on Russia. Instead, they are urgently calling for diplomacy to end the war before it escalates into a full-scale conflict between Russia and the United States, with the existential danger of a world-ending nuclear war.

The architects of the U.S. invasion of Iraq were the neoconservative founders of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), who believed that the United States could use the unchallenged military superiority that it achieved at the end of the Cold War to perpetuate American global power into the 21st century.

The invasion of Iraq would demonstrate U.S. “full spectrum dominance” to the world, based on what the late Senator Edward Kennedy condemned as “a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other country can or should accept.”

Kennedy was right, and the neocons were utterly wrong. U.S. military aggression succeeded in overthrowing Saddam Hussein, but it failed to impose a stable new order, leaving only chaos, death and violence in its wake. The same was true of U.S. interventions in Afghanistan, Libya and other countries.

For the rest of the world, the peaceful economic rise of China and the Global South has created an alternative path for economic development that is replacing the U.S. neocolonial model. While the United States has squandered its unipolar moment on trillion-dollar military spending, illegal wars and militarism, other countries are quietly building a more peaceful, multipolar world.

And yet, ironically, there is one country where the neocons’ “regime-change” strategy succeeded, and where they doggedly cling to power: the United States itself. Even as most of the world recoiled in horror at the results of U.S. aggression, the neocons consolidated their control over U.S. foreign policy, infecting and poisoning Democratic and Republican administrations alike with their exceptionalist snake oil.

Corporate politicians and media like to airbrush out the neocons’ takeover and continuing domination of U.S. foreign policy, but the neocons are hidden in plain sight in the upper echelons of the U.S. State Department, the National Security Council, the White House, Congress and influential corporate-funded think tanks.

PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and was a key supporter of Hillary Clinton. President Biden appointed Kagan’s wife, Victoria Nuland, a former foreign policy adviser to Dick Cheney, as his Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the fourth most senior position in the State Department. That was after she played the lead U.S. role in the 2014 coup in Ukraine, which caused its national disintegration, the return of Crimea to Russia and a civil war in Donbas that killed at least 14,000 people.

Nuland’s nominal boss, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, was the staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2002, during its debates over the impending U.S. assault on Iraq. Blinken helped the committee chairman, Senator Joe Biden, choreograph hearings that guaranteed the committee’s support for the war, excluding any witnesses who did not fully support the neocons’ war plan.

It is not clear who is really calling the foreign policy shots in Biden’s administration as it barrels toward World War III with Russia and provokes conflict with China, riding roughshod over Biden’s campaign promise to “elevate diplomacy as the primary tool of our global engagement.” Nuland appears to have influence far beyond her rank in the shaping of U.S. (and thus Ukrainian) war policy.

What is clear is that most of the world has seen through the lies and hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy, and that the United States is finally reaping the result of its actions in the refusal of the Global South to keep dancing to the tune of the American pied piper.

At the UN General Assembly in September 2022, the leaders of 66 countries, representing a majority of the world’s population, pleaded for diplomacy and peace in Ukraine. And yet Western leaders still ignore their pleas, claiming a monopoly on moral leadership that they decisively lost on March 19, 2003, when the United States and the United Kingdom tore up the UN Charter and invaded Iraq.

In a panel discussion on “Defending the UN Charter and the Rules-Based International Order” at the recent Munich Security Conference, three of the panelists–from Brazil, Colombia and Namibia–explicitly rejected Western demands for their countries to break off relations with Russia, and instead spoke out for peace in Ukraine.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira called on all the warring parties to “build the possibility of a solution. We cannot keep on talking only of war.” Vice President Francia Márquez of Colombia elaborated, “We don’t want to go on discussing who will be the winner or the loser of a war. We are all losers and, in the end, it is humankind that loses everything.”

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila of Namibia summed up the views of Global South leaders and their people: “Our focus is on solving the problem…not on shifting blame,” she said. “We are promoting a peaceful resolution of that conflict, so that the entire world and all the resources of the world can be focused on improving the conditions of people around the world instead of being spent on acquiring weapons, killing people, and actually creating hostilities.”

So how do the American neocons and their European vassals respond to these eminently sensible and very popular leaders from the Global South? In a frightening, warlike speech, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told the Munich conference that the way for the West to “rebuild trust and cooperation with many in the so-called Global South” is to “debunk… this false narrative… of a double standard.”

But the double standard between the West’s responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and decades of Western aggression is not a false narrative. In previous articles, we have documented how the United States and its allies dropped more than 337,000 bombs and missiles on other countries between 2001 and 2020. That is an average of 46 per day, day in day out, for 20 years.

The U.S. record easily matches, or arguably far outstrips, the illegality and brutality of Russia’s crimes in Ukraine. Yet the U.S. never faces economic sanctions from the global community. It has never been forced to pay war reparations to its victims. It supplies weapons to the aggressors instead of to the victims of aggression in Palestine, Yemen and elsewhere. And U.S. leaders–including Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden—have never been prosecuted for the international crime of aggression, war crimes or crimes against humanity.

As we mark the 20th anniversary of the devastating Iraq invasion, let us join with Global South leaders and the majority of our neighbors around the world, not only in calling for immediate peace negotiations to end the brutal Ukraine war, but also in building a genuine rules-based international order, where the same rules—and the same consequences and punishments for breaking those rules—apply to all nations, including our own.


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  1. digi_owl

    Ah yes, “freedom fries”.

    I keep feeling i lost a decade somewhere when i think back to those years.

    1. ambrit

      I’m with you with a similar feeling. I feel that we lost Mr. Franklin’s “Republic.”

    2. Questa Nota

      First hearing about Freedom Fries back in the day was nauseating. It smacked of the pathetic jingoism and No-Nothingism in which so many in DC specialize. They spout off what they think will sell for the news cycle and stir up emotions in that Crowded Theater, and then demand money to show that, this time, they are really serious, really.

      1. some guy

        To me it also smacked of an earlier round of carefully engineered jingoism and Know-Nothingism cynically crafted by an earlier War Monger President, Woodrow Wilson, as he connived to maneuver America into World War One. One of the expressions of Wilson’s jingoistic Know-Nothingism propaganda machine was the renaming of sauerkraut as ” liberty cabbage”.

        Liberty cabbage. Freedom fries.

    3. Michael Fiorillo

      Ever notice how #McResistance types are largely incapable of discussing things like the Patriot Act?

      They can’t, because to do so undermines their Trump Is Hitler narrative, an itch they love to rub raw, and which hurts so good. Tell these people that Democrats voted to renew the Patriot Act for Hitler to govern under, then watch their vocal cords contract and hearts race before they banish it from their minds. There’s a total inability to accept facts that in any way might be construed as helping Orange Man, to the point of self-caricature.

  2. Jams O'Donnell

    Great article. Well said, Yves. We need to keep reminding ourselves and hopefully others who’s awareness might not be so focussed, about the criminal war in Iraq

  3. taber

    The problem with Americans is that they think that there was a time when the USA wasn’t an abusive murderous nation. It was built on the blood of the American natives, who they all but wiped out, the blood of slaves, the blood of Spanish and Mexican citizens, the blood of Filipinos, the blood of the Caribbean Islanders
    After 1945, the US turned its attention to global wars in Korea, Vietnam, SE Asia, Latin America, S America, supporting European racist colonialism
    There never was a ‘Mr Franklin’s Republic’ that was not the Republic of violence

    1. John R Moffett

      Don’t forget that the whole time, the “newspapers” were owned by the imperialists who constantly drummed up public support to wipe out Native Americans and to pursue endless foreign wars. It would not have been possible if consent had not been manufactured and foisted on the public. And here we are today with the worst possible “news media” you could ever imagine. Hard to believe it could get any worse than the Hurst newspapers of olden days, but it did. Until something is done about the Corporate Owned News (CON), we will never have peace.

    2. Carolinian

      And of course violence played no role in those peaceful hunter/gatherer societies that were destroyed.

      It’s not that you are wrong but that you think all this is uniquely American. It’s merely the flip side of American exceptionalism where the country is depicted as exceptionally bad. We are a country like any other where the vast majority of people are just trying to live their lives. Behavior is a lot more about circumstances than The Devil.

      1. pretzelattack

        But the country is exceptionally bad on foreign policy. i don’t think it is uniquely bad, among empires that aspire to or succeed in dominating most of the world, but that is an exceptional group to start with. It causes an exceptional amount of damage. It pays little for causing that damage, and profits immensely.

        I don’t see the relevance of the relative levels of violence in Iraq or Libya or Afghanistan, or any of the other societies and countries the US has attacked–none of them then and none of them now are a threat to the US. The vast majority of countries in the world today are just trying to live their lives and deal with their own concerns, and if they have disputes that lead to armed conflicts, it is with neighboring countries. The US has disputes with other countries all over the world, and it has more power than any other country to resolve those disputes in its own favor by military force, or economic blackmail. and even when it fails, it leaves behind a trail of broken lives and broken countries.
        I don’t know what it says about the character of Americans that we accept all this with so little resistance . We’ve been subjected to an unrelenting onslaught of propaganda, after all, designed to appeal to our jingoism and our flattering view of our country and ourselves. A lot of us slurp it up and cry for more.

        1. hk

          The two sides go hand in hand’. If you believe you are doing ultimate good, you think you can do a few minor wrongs and they don’t matter much. If you believe your morality to be absolute, no atrocity is big enough to counterbalance that. David/Aurelien’s latest substance post goes into how Schmitt made an argument along this line a while ago.

      2. eg

        Setting aside for the moment whether or not America’s imperial actions have been worse than most or not, it has unquestionably been conducted with unparalleled mendacity and sanctimony — THAT is the true American exceptionalism …

        1. hk

          And utter conviction in their own righteousness by many of the perpetrators. That to me is the scariest part. We’d like to believe that they are all in it for money for whatever. I think most are not–they really believe in this stuff.

    3. Kouros

      One of the main reasons for the American Revolution was the reluctance nay, unwillingness of the British Crown to engage in constant warfare with the natives so that the colonists can take their land. Basically the colonists were protesting that they were taxed but the Crown refused to spend that money to fight the natives…

    4. some guy

      Indeed, we became a perfect expression of everything Europe and the European founders and settlers stood for at the time.

  4. The Rev Kev

    In her latest post, Caitlin Johnstone went absolute feral at these very same neocons who are still being published, still given column space to spout this garbage and have never suffered any consequences for all the mistakes that they deliberately made-

    I sometimes think that what we need is some sort of relational database and enter all the names of these neocons in it. Find out how they came together in government posts, think tanks, family relationships and find out who financed them, what boards they sit on together, how they helped each other’s careers, etc. I think that that would be a worthwhile project and maybe a subject for a thesis one day.

    1. pjay

      Yes, I think this is an absolute “existential” issue. For me, this is the key passage in Benjamin and Davies’ essay:

      “… there is one country where the neocons’ “regime-change” strategy succeeded, and where they doggedly cling to power: the United States itself. Even as most of the world recoiled in horror at the results of U.S. aggression, the neocons consolidated their control over U.S. foreign policy, infecting and poisoning Democratic and Republican administrations alike with their exceptionalist snake oil.”

      “Corporate politicians and media like to airbrush out the neocons’ takeover and continuing domination of U.S. foreign policy, but the neocons are hidden in plain sight in the upper echelons of the U.S. State Department, the National Security Council, the White House, Congress and influential corporate-funded think tanks.”

      The degree to which this group of psychopaths has taken over foreign policy within both parties, the permanent state bureaucracy, and the media is striking and disturbing. And the same seems to have happened among US “allies” as well, as Caitlin’s last several pieces on Australia emphasize. This “long-march through the institutions” by the neocons has not been secret; it is well-documented. But it is imperative to trace exactly how and why this was allowed to happen. I do not think calling this an “existential” question is an exaggeration.

      1. Kouros

        It is likely a deep relation with high finance and wall street.

        Wall Street people were instrumental in creating the CIA, at least according to all the work done by Cynthia Chung, and she seems quite a serious researcher.

        But nowadays that is not enough, so the entirety of foreign policy and Pentagon needs to be subdued. Department of State has long fallen and Pentagon is the last redoubt. And it is the last stronghold because it is where the reality pushes back very hard.

        The fact is, ultimately, Pentagon can exercise a coup and blow Wall Street to smithereens, as well as CIA, and the State Department…

      2. rob

        on the list has to be the council on foreign relations. since the 1920’s they have had the biggest share of “who’s in charge” / persons filling the seats /levers of power in the us congress/executive branch/supreme court, media, wall st, etc… the actual connection of families to wall st banks to the ones who created the UN,were at bretton woods,ran the us after the post wwii period up thru the “w” bush years..
        How do serious people not think the “groupthink” we see doesn’t come from “the group” so many belong to?, is beyond me.
        Nevermind conspiracy, it was set up as an association of helpers, and that is what it has done for 100 years.
        Just because the “birchers” were led to the misconception… (by the senior Koch;who was forced out of the US by the standard oil gang(rockefellers,bakers,pratts,buckley’s(yes james bakers family, george pratt shulz’s family, william f buckley’s family, etc) to the soviet union where he helped build the oil industry in baku for stalin, only yo come back to the us and create a dynasty for his kids, the “koch bros”… which has taken the playbook of the establishment, to create their own “faction” of it)…that ONLY the council was the the source of american establishment.
        It is just one group. And they have friends with deep pockets… and the ability to create credentials for those with like minds….. how are these facts not worthy of historical exploration? I don’t know.
        to dismiss their proximity to “the scum who rule the world”, seems like a mistake of logic.

        The council has a membrship roster at , to see who is currently “blessed” with “gravitas”

  5. Stephen

    I agree. Great article.

    People forget so quickly and fail to put current events into context.

    That makes it so easy to pump up false propaganda narratives of good versus evil and to create imaginary or overstated threats.

    As the article says, a shocking element is how the people who created earlier failed policies simply return to do the same again. Zero accountability.

  6. Steve Moran

    On tracking the Neocons: because Yves recommended this book here at NC, I looked up a copy of anthropologist Janine R. Wedel’s “Shadow Elite” (2009). At the time of publication, because Obama had just been elected, what Wedel calls “the Neocon Core” (Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith) SEEMED to be out of power.

    Wedel uses the US Neocons as an example of the “flex networks,” working inside and outside of governments, that are an unfortunate feature of contemporary life. She has the goods on these people: all the charts and histories on the Neocons that any of us could require.

    One of the characteristics of these new networks, Wedel writes, is “truthiness.” In interviews which Wedel cites, the Neocons make plain that they do NOT feel bound by any obligation to truth, the law, or ordinary morality.

    Their justification is that their actions, and Machiavellian methods, are designed to prevent “another Holocaust.”

    Is there a problem here? In the 1980s, I was privileged to know the late South African poet, activist, and thinker Denis Brutus, who had been imprisoned with Mandela.

    I remember him saying to me once on a walk, in whatever conversational context:

    “There have been . . . MANY holocausts.”

    1. digi_owl

      You remind me that Adam Curtis tied Wolfowitz to Leo Strauss, who in turn advocated something akin to a noble lie as best i recall.

  7. Glossolalia

    My favorite way of demonstrating the absurd double standard is asking why American and British athletes were allowed to compete in tournaments for the 15+ years that they invaded, bombed, and occupied Iraq.

  8. John Wright

    Re: “that had swallowed the “WMD in Iraq” lie”

    At the time I wondered why even if Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” that justified taking military action against Iraq

    Many countries have (nuclear) WMDs such as USA, France, Russia, Israel, India, :Pakistan..

    Those who focus on the “No WMD’s were found in Iraq” imply that if WMD’s were subsequently found, the USA’s military operation would have been justified.

    In my view, whether Iraq had WMD’s or not, the USA was not justified in the action.

    Furthermore, the world should have called for large USA reparations to the Iraq citizenry in the aftermath.

    Instead the USA official Paul Wolfowitz maintained that Iraq could pay for its own reconstruction out of its oil wealth.

  9. Taufiq Al-Thawry

    Having joined 2 months prior to 9/11, I was a young US Army soldier, studying Arabic at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA during the entire run-up and then shock and awe campaign. I watched this opening salvo with an Iraqi professor on Al-Jazeeea and have always wondered what was going on in his mind, watching the destruction of his home while training young Americans who would almost certainly be there before he ever returned, if he returned at all.

    It surprises many that the opinions of soldiers leading up to the war was incredibly varied… My estimation was 1/3 was for, 1/3 against, and 1/3 didn’t give a damn. I was firmly in the against and we had many spirited, often drunken debates on the issue that was certain to determine the next significant chunk of our lives.

    However, almost immediately upon the falling of the bombs and invasion, I seemingly stood exclusively alone. This persisted until the war started taking a toll on the society’s, and very much the military’s, psyche. Abu Ghraib, and especially the horrors of Fallujah, brought many more soldiers into my camp.

    I came two weeks away from escaping the army without deploying – but my interrogation unit came up on orders for a mission at the Joint Defense Interrogation Center (JDIC) at Camp Cropper, nestled in the beast of Camp Victory at the Baghdad Airport. It was the re-branded re-located version of Abu-Ghraib – a prison of roughly 1k Iraqis, considered to have potential exploitable intelligence value before their final destination at the much larger Camp Bucca prison.

    Of the entirety of the 100 or so interrogators lower enlisted (E-6 and below) I deployed with, not one of them was infused with patriotic fervor of the movies. While few had the overt, outspoken anti-war mentality of myself, most thought it was just a dumb thing we had to do and live through to get awards, gain a “patch” and climb the ranks before getting out and grabbing a high-paid contractor job. True banality of evil stuff

    Once I separated (incidentally March 19, 2009 – 8 yrs after the war kick-off watch party), I studied sociology with a very specific research question in mind… WTF just happened the last 8 yrs of my life. As soon as I encountered “The Communist Manifesto”, I saw laid out in a brief, “demonic,” 150+ yr-old document the most succinct answer to my question. I was immediately a Marxist and now a communist – filled with revolutionary love and optimism for the internationally exploited, messy, toiling classes. This is far removed from the cynicism and nihilism I previously embodied while a soldier which I still see in the vast majority of the fellow vets of my generation.

    This March 19th could have been any number of triggers for me, but being an active revolutionary communist is the best mental health there is – a focus on uprooting the system bestows the greatest suffering upon my brothers and sisters across the globe to satisfy the sociopathic wealth and power obsession of the very few.

    The working class of the global south, while far from perfect, has much of this worked out. It is the task of myself and my comrades to beat back the cynicism and nihilism of the imperialist west and bring about the understanding that a better future is both possible and necessary.

    Sorry, not sorry, for the indulgence, but thank you for posting and/or reading.

    1. Doug

      I am not able to add to what you have said or to substantially respond, but thank you for your story and the sincerity of your response to what you experienced and learned. I’m sorry there haven’t been other responses but it seems afternoon posts often get missed. Keep up the good work.

    2. Keith Newman

      @Taufiq Al-Thawry
      Very interesting comment. Thx.
      Speaking of the 150+ year old Communist Manifesto still being current, which it is because we still live in the same economic system, you might try reading Eric Hobsbawm’s series of four books starting with The Age of Revolution: 1789- 1848. My mother gave me that book 35 years ago but I only read it three months ago. I should have read it then but better late than never I suppose.
      I’ve almost finished the second book now -The Age of Capital:1848-1875.
      If you want to understand how and why capitalism developed beginning in the early 19th century, continuing until today, these books are brilliant. And very readable.

  10. jrkrideau

    Many countries in the Global South supported the US even if they didn’t supply troops. +

    I wonder if this was not support as much as it was, “The US is going to get really nasty if we don’t go along with this meaningless statement. We, certainly, are not participating.”

    I get the same feeling when a lot of nations condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine and blithely go on trading with Russia.

    1. hk

      Exactly. On the one hand, very few small countries like the idea of seeing a larger, more powerful country looking to settle issues with a neighbor by force of arms as a matter of principle, regardless of the underlying reasons–after all, politicized morality motivates all sides of a conflict (Very few people choose war believing that they are doing moral wrong). But they don’t share the apparent outrage and indignation of the West–certainly not enough to disrupt their routine. I think this was probably the attitude of most of the public’s even in the West: no one cares enough about the background–resort to violence seems wrong, though, regardless of the reasons. But, it sure seems like a dispute between neighbors that got out of hand and it’s not my business as long as it doesn’t affect our lives. But how much hardship will they put up now that they are seeing the war’s costs?

  11. Sue inSoCal

    As usual, Yves comment is worth its weight in the proverbial. There are names here that I’ve forgotten— or blocked. (Hans Blix! Forgot! Wolfowitz licking a comb or some such awful thing! Blocked!)
    There is no shame. American exceptionalism is arms production.

  12. everydayjoe

    During the 2000-2005 years I used to work as an engineer in a plant in the mid west that made all the board games (monopoly, scrabble ) for hasbro. One of the card games that we made was a deck of jokers- all the senators and congressmen/women who opposed the Iraq war along with popular media figures. It was a hot seling item! sadly. Biden if I recall voted for the invasion.

    1. elkern

      Yes, both Biden & HRC voted for the invasion of Iraq. Obama didn’t, and that was an important part of why/how he beat HRC in the 2008 Primaries and became President. Sadly, by appointing HRC as Sec State, he opened the door to the NeoCons completing their takeover of US Foreign Policy.

  13. Francesco

    “Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.”
    — Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

  14. rob

    the real thing is that there is so much more to the story.

    as someone who NEVER believed the lies being told in real time about the WMD( which it may have even been media benjiman who said at the time” we know they had WMD’s because we kept the reciepts”.. meaning the ones they had , came from us…back when rumsfeld(cfr member) brought money to saddam in 84′ along with the green light to get WMD’s/biological;…that all the justifications that he was a threat never made any sense. He was the “leader in hell”, why would he have jeopardized that.
    The lies steamrolled over the truth.
    9/11 was an inside job.
    Back then people who saw the towers come down could tell for themselves the buildings were blown up. Real buildings don’t just fall down in a symmetrical footprint)
    and now after 20 years and the university of alaska @ fairbanks and prof. john hulsey and his team did a four year examination with the testing facility large enough to actually prove building no 7 was demolished with explosives/ really proving the NIST conspiracy theory is impossible,implausibe.

    People wake up.
    the fbi and others knew an attack was coming… and only insiders could have planted the explosives necessary, and then NOT have a real investigation….
    9/11/2001…. was the coup. it was the end and it was the beginning. and here we are….. and all those idiots who run our world…. are only concerned with control…(money is just a means to an end). And they really want to rule the world…. so it seems.
    It is their “virtual reality”.
    so the shenanigan’s that led to the 2008 crash, and the “economic” warfare against the population of the globe, since then, and all the war’s,coups,invasions,….. are all really just made up by a rogue factor in our societies.
    and they are getting away with it as we speak.

  15. elkern

    IMO, there are two glaring omissions in both the Medea Benjamon piece and in Yves’ intro: Israel, and Syria.

    Israeli interests were a key factor leading to the US invasion of Iraq. Several leading NeoCons who wrote the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) blueprint for the invasion were also involved in the 1996 [Israeli] “Clean Break” paper which preceded it (Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David & Meyrav Wurmser, etc). Sure, the Bush/Cheney faction of the GOP was hoping to take control of Iraq’s fossil fuel reserves, but the Democrats wouldn’t have let them get away with it without the influence of the Israel Lobby.

    Most US media supported the invasion by repeating the Bush Admin’s lies while downplaying or ignoring dissenting voices (and mass protests). Some ascribe this to their Corporatist leanings (and ownership), but that has never seemed like a strong explanation to me. Sure, Oil Corps loved it, but they were all in bed with the GOP. Were US Corporate interests *all* stupid enough to believe that Iraq – and the rest of the Middle East – would magically morph into safe, happy, productive vassals?

    The years since the invasion have proven that fantasy to be ridiculous, but those same media organizations continue to promote the people & policies which primed Americans for the invasion. Pundits who supported the invasion have thrived (some have apologized, none have really explained); the few pundits who resisted have been buried (some literally). US Press treated John Bolton as a Voice of Reason” when Trump appointed him, and supported other Bush Admin alumnae as they have wormed their way into positions of power under Democratic Admins.

    In parallel to this, US media treated Russia as a potential ally (/vassal) as late as 2012, when they laughed along with Obama as he ridiculed Mitt Romney for calling Russia (rather than Al Qaida) as the #1 threat to World Peace ( /US hegemony). Putin’s conservative social politics (remember Pussy Riot?) were disparaged, but that controversy just pushed US social conservatives towards their bromance with Putin.

    That started to change in 2014, after Russia didn’t just go along with the [US-led] Maidan Coup (the Wiki page for this is titled “Revolution of Dignity”!), annexing (“invading”) Crimea and supporting separatists (“terrorists”) in the Donbas. US media started to frame Putin as an autocrat misguidedly resisting “Freedom”.

    But that all swung into high gear after Putin sent troops, planes, and equipment to Syria, effectively saving Assad and Syria from the fate which befell Saddam Hussein and Iraq after the US invasion. The connection: the Clean Break paper, which advocated attacks on Syria to reduce it’s ability to support Lebanese resistance to Israeli incursions and influence.

    Since then, Russia – and specifically Putin – have been constantly portrayed in US media as our #1 enemy.

    The problem with my analysis is that it can be dismissed as “anti-Semitic”, because of the [unstated] implication that US media organizations are controlled/dominated by pro-Israeli people, presumably Jewish people. (Right-wing evangelicals consistently support Israeli militarism for their own weird (or corrupt) reasons, but they don’t have much influence in US media – even FOX). Claims of anti-Semitism have taken on a new dimension since the rise of the nazi-adjacent MAGAts; anybody who questions the MSM demonization of Putin & Russia gets painted as a Trumpist (I’m not).

    I suspect that this – fear of being branded anti-Semitic – is at least part of the reason that Medea and Yves both avoided any mention of Syria as an important step in the evolution of US Foreign Policy between the invasion of Iraq and military support for Ukraine.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Your chronology with Russia is incorrect and you give no reason as to why Iraq is of strategic interest to Israel. Instead your argument is basically, “Jews are big forces in the neocon movement.” On its face, your position is anti-Semitic due to lack of substantiation. The most plausible reason for US interest in Iraq is that at the time, it had the second largest proven oil reserves in the world, and like Saudi Arabia, light sweet crude, well suited to feeding America’s hunger for gasoline.

      The US has been gunning for Putin ever since he blocked the effort by Khodorkovsky to transfer a substantial portion of his interest in Yukos to US interests as a scheme to evade taxes. That would have set a precedent for looting other Russian energy assets. The US also fomented the Chechen War, which had it been successful would have paved the way for balkanization of Russia. In 2008, pressed by the US and over the objections of Germany and France, NATO said that Ukraine and Georgia were candidates for membership. That was another shot at Russia.

      I could go on…

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