Samir’s Selection 02/18/2016 (a.m.)

  • The US primarily invaded Iraq not because of lies or because of bad intelligence, though both featured. In fact, it invaded because of an ideology.

    A movement of high-minded ideologues had, throughout the 1990s, become obsessed with deposing Saddam Hussein. When they assumed positions of power under Bush in 2001, they did not seek to trick America into that war, but rather tricked themselves. In 9/11, and in fragments of intelligence that more objective minds would have rejected, they could see only validation for their abstract and untested theories about the world — theories whose inevitable and obvious conclusion was an American invasion of Iraq.

    This is perhaps not as satisfying as the “Bush lied, people died” bumper sticker history that has since taken hold on much of the left and elements of the Tea Party right. Nor is it as convenient as the Republican establishment’s polite fiction that Bush was misled by “faulty intelligence.”

    If the problem were merely that Bush lied, then the solution would be straightforward: Check the administration’s facts. But how do you fact-check an ideology, particularly when that ideology is partially concealed from the public view? How do you guard against that ideology, which still dominates much of the GOP, and some of whose ideas are shared by more hawkish Democrats, from leading us astray again?

    tags: Iraq USpolitics neoconservative GeorgeWBush DickCheney DonaldRumsfeld PaulWolfowitz ideology obsession propaganda deception fraud 9_11 MiddleEast destruction casestudy selfdelusion

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