[Marxism] Disciples of Distrust - Trump and the lies of the Iraq War - Garry Wills

Dennis Brasky dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Sun Nov 6 21:27:13 MST 2016

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What has caused this bitter disillusion? It is the burrowing and
undermining infection of the Iraq war—the longest in our history, one that
keeps upsetting order abroad and at home. The war’s many costs—not just in
lives and money but in psychic and political damage—remain only
half-visible in America, as hidden as the returning coffins that could not
be photographed for years. One way to gauge the damage is to look at it in
a smaller mirror. What the war did to Great Britain is more visible because
it has been better exposed in government investigations—the Hutton Report
(2004), the Butler Review (2004), the Chilcot Inquiry (2016). These have
made the once-popular Tony Blair an object of intense loathing. To get his
country into the Iraq war, Blair jiggered the intelligence, lied to his own
party, ignored sound advice, and put his manhood into a blind trust with
George W. Bush.

Blair’s actions made Bishop Desmond Tutu refuse to attend an international
conference because he would have to sit with Blair. Tutu wrote that Blair
should, along with Bush, be tried for international crimes at The Hague.
Geoffrey Wheatcroft says
 of Blair’s dishonesty and incompetence: “It is not fanciful to see the
Brexit vote, the disruption of the Labour Party, and the rise of Donald
Trump…[as] part of the revulsion across the Western world against  elites
and establishments that were so discredited by Iraq.”

If that was true of a minor player in the war like Britain, what should we
think of the Bush team that invented the war, sold it as a “cakewalk,” and
hid the ugliness of it—the spying on American citizens, the secret torture
sites spread around the world? Torture occurs in all wars; but Bush is the
first president (he may not be the last) who adopted an official rationale
and defense for torture. This alone, apart from all his other war measures,
would make him our worst president ever. To gauge our descent into
distrust, we should measure it against the giddy assent we gave to the war
at its start. Congress voted for it, the press supported it (Judith Miller
treating *The New York Times* as a branch of the Pentagon), symbols
celebrated it—the toppled Saddam statue, the dramatic landing on the
“Mission Accomplished” aircraft carrier, the purple fingers of free
election. The current distrust grew out of a realization that all these
things were phony. Why should we trust the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, the
press, the president, the experts, the elites? They were all in on the huge
scam that was going to spread democracy through the Middle East, and just
ignited wilder fires of terrorism there and elsewhere.

Barack Obama promised to lift the country out of this muck. He said that
Iraq was the wrong war. We should have stayed with the Afghan war, which
was the right war. But then he re-entered Afghanistan, making the right war
the new wrong war—and we have been floundering in both wars for all his
years as president. Both wars are still there for him to hand on to his
successor. Obama hid for years the extent of his assassinations by drone.
No wonder he did not want anyone accountable for the vast torture programs
of the Bush-Cheney years.

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