Hubris... Still No Accountability-- Forget Bush And Cheney, What About Steny Hoyer And Steve Israel?
Rachel Maddow's presentation of Hubris lived up to the promise. Maddow explained why the film is so important in her introduction when she pointed out how LBJ hoodwinked Congress into going to war against Vietnam. 40 years later it happened again. In the clip above, Bush and Cheney are shown still refusing to admit they were wrong or even to apologize to the families of thousands of Americans and Iraqis whose lives their perfidy destroyed. I was touched that the one person who was truly remorseful, Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican from North Carolina, a Republican who has, since then, been one of Congress' most independent voices on either side of the aisle. Walter Jones voted for that war because he was duped by his president. What about the 81 Democrats-- a minority among Democrats in Congress but without whose support there would have been no war-- who voted for it? Hubris doesn't deal with them.
Did they vote for the war because they were too stupid and incompetent to know they were being duped? Or were they in on the scam? In either case, shouldn't they be held to account by the voters? They haven't been. Instead, Iraq War-mongers like Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Steve Israel (D-NY) and Joe Crowley (D-NY) have climbed the ladder of party leadership and now run the congressional Democrats. What a disgusting, repulsive political party! Will we ever hear an apology from Steny Hoyer or Steve Israel? Sure we will-- the same day we hear one from John McCain or Dick Cheney. Our political elites failed us. David Swanson agrees that Hubris could have gone a lot further.
As our government was making a fraudulent case to attack Iraq in 2002-2003, the MSNBC television network was doing everything it could to help, including booting Phil Donahue and Jeff Cohen off the air. The Donahue Show was deemed likely to be insufficiently war-boosting and was thus removed 10 years ago next week, and 10 days after the largest antiwar (or anything else) demonstrations in the history of the world, as a preemptive strike against the voices of honest peaceful people.Monday we looked at the list of some of today's DC powerbrokers-- like the aforementioned Hoyer, Israel and Crowley-- who backed Bush's unprovoked attack on Iraq, either because they were too stupid to see through the tissue of lies or because they were in on the con. They're nearly as responsible as Bush and Cheney for the deaths and destruction and for the three trillion dollars in tax payer money wasted. The implication, of course, is that they shouldn't be in Congress today. I'd also like to reiterate that the majority of Democrats in the House voted against the war, including, to name a few who are often in the news these days, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jim Clyburn (D-SC), John Conyers (D-MI), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Jim Moran (D-VA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Hilda Solis (D-CA), Mark Udall (D-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Maxine Waters (D-CA).
From there, MSNBC proceeded to support the war with mild critiques around the edges, and to white-out the idea of impeachment or accountability.
But now MSNBC has seen its way clear to airing a documentary about the fraudulent case it assisted in, a documentary titled Hubris. This short film (which aired between 9 and 10 p.m. ET Monday night, but with roughly half of those minutes occupied by commercials) pointed out the role of the New York Times in defrauding the public, but not MSNBC's role.
Yet, my primary response to that is joy rather than disgust. It is now cool to acknowledge war lies. Truth-tellers, including truth-tellers rarely presented with a corporate microphone, made that happen.
...[U]sing Maddow as the presenter and narrator of a film about Republican war lies during a period of unacknowledged Democratic war lies unavoidably gives the thing a partisan slant. Watching Hubris, I was reminded of something that Michael Moore tweeted last Friday: "Senate Repubs: U started 2 illegal wars that broke the treasury & sacrificed the lives of thousands of our troops & countless civilians."
Of course, the Senate that gave us the two wars in question was in reality controlled by Democrats, and the war lies were pushed hard by Senators Kerry, Clinton, and their comrades. Hubris touches on this reality but not with sufficient clarity for most viewers-- I suspect-- to pick up on it.
...The Hubris version of Colin Powell's lies at the United Nations is misleadingly undertold. Powell was not a victim. He "knowingly lied."
The same goes for Bush, Cheney, and gang. According to Hubris it may have just been incompetence or hubris. It wasn't. Not only does overwhelming evidence show us that Bush knew his claims about WMDs to be false, but the former president has shown us that he considers the question of truth or falsehood to be laughably irrelevant. When Diane Sawyer asked Bush why he had claimed with such certainty that there were so many weapons in Iraq, he replied: "What’s the difference? The possibility that [Saddam] could acquire weapons, If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger."
What's the difference? In a society based on the rule of law, the difference would be a criminal prosecution. MSNBC and Hubris steer us away from any ideas of accountability. And no connection is drawn to current war lies about Iran or other nations.
But the production of programs like this one that prolong Americans' awareness of the lies that destroyed Iraq are the best hope Iran has right now. MSNBC should be contacted and applauded for airing this and urged to follow up on it.
Many of these Democrats have also climbed the leadership ladder. Nancy, even if someone hemmed in by war-mongers and corporate whores Hoyer, Israel and Crowley, is the House's top dog and half a dozen are now in the Senate. Clyburn is also in the top rung of House leadership and Becerra may be one of the only hopes for a post-Pelosi progressive Democratic House leadership. Meanwhile of the 6 Republicans who voted NO that day, 5 (including Ron Paul) are no longer in public service and only one is still in the House, libertarian Jimmy Duncan (R-TN), still a backbencher after 25 years in Congress... although he is co-chairman of the Congressional Friends of Scotland Caucus.
Bush and Cheney got a lot of the appearance of public momentum and support for their evil little project from the most simple-minded and easy to manipulate dullards in the population: evangelicals. According the Max Bumenthal's reporting in Republican Gomorrah, the regime had a strategy for mobilizing the religionists on the far right.
When Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the White House deployed [convicted criminal Chuck] Colson to market the war to fellow evangelicals in the context of St. Augustine's Just War doctrine-- a dubious exercise considering Augustine's explicit rejection of preemptive, unilateral warfare. Meanwhile, the popular televangelist and former Southern Baptist Convention president Charles Stanley warned, in a February 2003, sermon, that those who opposed or disobeyed the U.S. government in its drive to war "will receive condemnation upon themselves" from God.
...Evangelicals rallied to Bush's side with unmatched fervor, supporting the invasion and its eventually discredited justifications in a greater percentage than any other demographic group. The Christian-right leaders who orchestrated this PR push waited patiently for their reward, hoping that the appointment of far-right nominees to the federal bench and Supreme Court was not far off.