Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 1

MSNBC’s documentary, “Hubris: Selling the Iraq War,” based on Michael Isikoff and David Corn’s book of the same name was absolutely worth the watch. Not long enough, I say.

The documentary didn’t produce any revelation regarding the dubious case for the war in Iraq I had not seen previously. This is apparently the case for reading the book, which has many more examples of the lies perpetrated by the Bush administration in the run-up to the war. But the video footage alone easily brought me back to late 2002 and 2003 in the run up to the invasion.

I was glad we were going in. At the time, I was a twenty-something geopolitical analyst and actually conducting interviews with a number of higher-ups in the Iraqi opposition. Those men will spill it to a young, Western girl eager to get a scoop worthy to impress her former Russian military intelligence boss. All of us were anxious to see Saddam get what he had coming.

And He Had It Coming

The first Iraq War was my awakening to the world outside the United States. As a junior high kid living in Houston, my school bus would pass the railroad tracks upon which military equipment, tanks, etc. was shipped out. A good friend’s dad came back and let us all explore his gas mask and other camo gear. Video of scud missiles coated the television. And, while we were told the U.S. was coming to the rescue of an ally, it was clear at the time that our ally’s possession of oil was a major factor in our military participation.

The U.S. forces beat back the Iraqi invaders decisively, but Bush Sr. still lost the election. Americans have a short memory and an economic recession will trump war drums in every voting booth. Still, Saddam was now a figurehead of my youth. History, government, world affairs, international relations, development of civilization easily captured my academic attention. In other words, I was now plugged in, turned on to the goings on of our world.

The Soviet Union had collapsed, and American national politicians are forever in need of an international foe so they can scare up votes, donations, victory. And Saddam Hussein made a much easier political boogie man than North Korea’s Kim Il-Sung, his son Kim Jung-Il afterwards, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, and Iran’s Ayatollah.

It’s his own fault, really. Saddam wasn’t content with his decades-long dictatorship, wealth of palaces, iron grip on power, he also liked to fuck with everyone. If he thought he could get away with expanding the borders of his control, he would have – but a war with Iran and his failure in Kuwait taught him otherwise. So, instead, he spent the latter part his life screwing with global powers. Defying no-fly restrictions, throwing U.N. weapons inspectors out, keeping alive the question of the mortality of U.S. MIA soldier whose fighter had crashed during the war and much more.

And though genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia, as well as the Japanese economic implosion and the emerging Chinese economy, and the creation of the Euro zone demanded U.S. foreign policy precedence, Saddam was always, always on the periphery. Just being a goddamned asshole and doing everything he could to make everyone think he was a much bigger threat to our lives and countries than he actually was.

He was writing his own end long before he actually met it. So, when 2003 came, good. The motherfucker was asking for it.

An Unnecessary War?

The Vietnam War has had little bearing on my direct life. I have no close family who fought in Nam. An amazing history teacher at my high school who had seen the worst of the worst during the war was generous enough to share his history in detail with us; but that was it. The words “unnecessary war” meant nothing to me.

Furthermore, in college, I learned the origins of war. Desire for power is the leading cause for conflict. Whether it’s money, religion, territory, the male hunger for domination lies at the foundation of most hostility between nations, tribes, cultures, states.

An interesting development, however, has emerged in the last century. Democracies tend not to war with each other.

This has become a leading contention in neo-conservative Bush doctrinaire decision-making. Sure, we can spend long hours parsing the daddy issues George W. Bush brought to his administration that made him primed for the intentions of the draft-dodging hawks who surrounded him. But, for the rest of us, an offensive war in Iraq was justified not only because Saddam was a huge dick and would harm the U.S. given the chance, but because democracy in the Middle East meant peace in the Middle East. And the U.S. – under Bush II – could deliver that.

Next Up:

In Truth, Convincing the Public Wasn’t Hard

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 2

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 3

Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 4

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3 Responses to Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 1

  1. Pingback: Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 2 « Sassy Liberal

  2. Pingback: Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 3 « Sassy Liberal

  3. Pingback: Hubris: I Was an American Idiot. Part 4 | Sassy Liberal

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