The Audacity of Unrepentant War Criminals

Rumsfeld tweetThe Elephants of the Republican Party don’t seem to have very good memories. Diaper Dave Vitter, Ralph Reed, and even Mark Sanford seem to have continuing careers despite basic transgressions of civility and law. Words fail me on the convenient memories of the perpetrators of one of America’s greatest sins on its 10th anniversary.

The media and the Bush administration led a whole lot of people–never me–down a garden path filled with imaginary WMDs, mushroom clouds, and Al Quaida Terrorists to support its NeoCon Agenda which has cost this country precious lives and treasure. You’d have to ask the Iraqis if they feel ‘liberated’.  Too bad we can’t poll all the dead innocents because I’m sure they’d have something to say about Rumsfeld and Cheney’s War of Ideological Convenience too. It’s hard to believe they even have the audacity to pop their heads up like some Neo Con Ground Hog Day Rodents let lone make statements like the one above.  None of them can take vacations in Europe any more because most countries realize they belong in the justice system with the other War Criminals. There is nothing like the hubris of absolute gall.

There are so many things that are wrong with the lead-up and the shock-and-awe of the Iraq War that we should make yesterday a national holiday to remember the criminal enterprise that brought us the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and all the other murderous chicken hawks of the Republican Party.  Voters should be made to remember that Jeb Bush was also a signatory to neocon documents that became policies of the of group of folks that were disgruntled that Poppy Bush didn’t take the initiative to get us into Iraq after the Kuwait Invasion.  That’s another resurrection that shouldn’t happen. PNAC and all its signatories and enablers should go down in history as a list of War Criminals. Judith Miller and various other ‘journalists’ should be added to the list of enablers of war crimes too.

But, back to the absolute mistake and horror that became the Iraq invasion and occupation via Beltway Bob who mentions he got all caught up in the propaganda and complicity of the press at the time too. Even then he was showing signs of the gullibility trait that we like to kid him for around here.   Hence, his nickname. He spoke to Ken Pollack who is one of those people that should shrink into permanent obscurity.

I supported Ken Pollack’s war, which led me to support George W. Bush’s war. Both were wrong. The assumptions required to make them right — Hussein had WMDs, Hussein was truly crazy, Hussein couldn’t be contained, American military planners and soldiers could competently destroy and then rebuild a complex, fractured society they didn’t understand — were implausible.

But saying, in retrospect, that I shouldn’t have supported the Iraq War is easy. The harder question is how to avoid a similarly catastrophic misjudgment in the future.

So here are some of my lessons. First, listen to the arguments of the people who will actually carry out a project, not the arguments of the people who just want to see the project carried out. Who manages a project can be as important as what the project is.

Second, don’t trust what “everybody knows.” There is, perhaps, nothing more dangerous than a fact that everyone thinks they know, because it shuts down critical thinking. In a retrospective for Foreign Policy, Stephen Hadley, Bush’s national security adviser, said, “It never occurred to me or anyone else I was working with, and no one from the intelligence community or anyplace else ever came in and said, ‘What if Saddam is doing all this deception because he actually got rid of the WMD and he doesn’t want the Iranians to know?’ Now, somebody should have asked that question. I should have asked that question. Nobody did. It turns out that was the most important question in terms of the intelligence failure that never got asked.”

People that were that gullible and wrong do not need to be interviewed.  We need a day each year to point and laugh at them and spread national loathing in their general direction. However, I frankly believe that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld knew there were no WMDS.  They need a completely different sort’ve of treatment. The kind of treatment the court at The Hague dishes and serves cold.  I’m not sure if the President knew because frankly, at that time, he appeared at his most clueless on a scale of almost infinite cluelessness.  But, if you read the current writings of some of the men that should be standing in front of judges at The Hague, you would think that  the now well-known absence of WMDS isn’t even historically relevant. By the way, many Republicans still believe the Iraqis had them so when I say “well-known’ I leave out the cult of cluelessness that is the core Republican base.  Try this rationalization and excuse for size from HuffPo.  Richard Perle says  ‘Not A Reasonable Question’ To Ask Whether Iraq War Was Worth It.

NPR “Morning Edition” host Renee Montagne asked, “Ten years later, nearly 5,000 American troops dead, thousands more with wounds, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead or wounded. When you think about this, was it worth it?”

“I’ve got to say, I think that is not a reasonable question. What we did at the time was done in the belief that it was necessary to protect this nation. You can’t, a decade later, go back and say, ‘Well, we shouldn’t have done that,'” Perle responded.

Perle’s refusal to evaluate the question seems to underscore just how little those who made decisions in the lead-up to the invasion want to go back and re-evaluate a choice that most Americans think was a mistake.

The war hawk made some spectacularly wrong predictions and proclamations prior to the Iraq war. Mother Jones reported that Perle claimed Saddam Hussein had ties to Bin Laden days after 9/11, suggested that war with Iraq would be easy (requiring only about 40,000 troops), and claimed that Hussein was “working feverishly” to acquire nuclear weapons. Perle also said that Iraqis could finance their own reconstruction.

Elsewhere in Wednesday’s interview, Monagne asked Perle if it ever crossed anyone’s minds that Iraq’s deception about its chemical weapons could have been directed towards, say, Iran — with which the country fought an eight-year war — rather than the United States.

“I’m sorry to say that I didn’t achieve that insight,” Perle replied.

Perle also cast the toppling of Hussein’s reign of nearly 24 years without any centralized authority as an opportunity. “You can say we left it broken. I think we left it open for opportunity. And then we closed our own opening by moving into an occupation,” he said.

If you really want to be appalled, go read John Yoo who justifies the war by saying “We shared the benefits with the Iraqis“. Why is UC Berkely paying this man to pollute young minds?

And isn’t that what we did in Iraq? We spent billions of dollars in Iraq as damages. We did so not because the war was wrong, but because it was right — and we shared the benefits of the war with the Iraqi people by transferring some of it in the form of reconstruction funds.

It’s at these times when I understand the appeal of an almighty deity that will firmly send such folks to eternal suffering for all their hubris, ignorance, and murderous acts. However, I’d just like to see a little justice done to them here on Earth while we can.  It could start with never, ever letting them show up as experts on anything and absolute excoriation when they try to redefine their mistakes.  I know it’s too much to think the Justice Department would deliver their arrogant asses to a court.  But, I would like to think the court of opinion and the press could treat them with the contempt they deserve.  It galls me to think that they’re moving around press circles trying to spread more lies and resurrect themselves.  What they should be doing is Public Service for the rest of their lives to make living tolerable for Iraqi veterans, their families, and for Iraqis.  None of them should live any kind of life of ease nor should any of us ever let them try to forget that they are Unrepentant War Criminals.

32 Comments on “The Audacity of Unrepentant War Criminals”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Thanks for writing this, Dak. I hope Rumsfeld read some of the tweets that responded to his, but he’s probably too busy figuring out new ways to hurt people.

  2. Delphyne says:

    Rumsfeld should be in jail, preferably solitary for the rest of his life.

    I remember when this happened and the government was naming is Operation Iraqi Liberation and then changed it to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Even at the start of the horror, they gave the real reason why we were going over there – O I L.

    • dakinikat says:

      Should’ve been named Operation Iraqi Oil Field Occupation

      • Fannie says:

        You on fire girl, and that’s good…………..trillions of dollars went to waste, not to mention that my family lost one who was nine months into Iraqi Freedom, and his daddy was wheelchair bound from Vietnam, and the both of them would give any man, woman or child the shirt off their backs to they wouldn’t have to go without.

        We need to join the world court.

    • RalphB says:

      Jail maybe, hung more like it. These people deserve their own Nuremburg!

  3. Allie says:

    I cannot friggin BELIEVE Yoo thinks reconstruction dollars makes up for the millions of dead or dismembered Iraqis – nevermind homeless refugees – caused by this war. And does that money help survivors? Take a guess:

    And I know you all saw the Truthout article about uranium contamination. There are at least three articles over there about the ongoing wonderful “liberation” of Iraq.

    I’m just so ashamed but I didn’t even think Afghanistan was the right thing to do, much less Iraq.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yoo is a psychopath. He doesn’t care about all the dead, tortured, suffering people. He might as well be a serial killer–same with Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    • dakinikat says:

      The Rumsfeld tweet put me over the top yesterday. I couldn’t stand hearing from another one of those war criminals trying to find wiggle room back to respectability.

      • Allie says:

        Thank you for posting this and letting us ventilate – I think my blood pressure must be over 200 right now.

        And I have a neighbor I’d like to send to Iraq for a two-week vacation….she thinks it was all a great idea.

  4. RalphB says:

    Thank you very much for this post. I have been angry for a week just thinking about this anniversary.

    Penance Before Absolution

    The eagerness of smart young people to join in the circle jerk back in 2002 and 2003 was one of the more disillusioning aspects of the whole business — and not a bad argument for reinstating the military draft, if only as a measure, as Dr. Johnson once said about hanging, to concentrate the mind wonderfully. A great number of them joined the circle jerk in order to secure their credentials in the Serious People Club. They joined in support of a war in which thousands of people their age would be killed and maimed. At least give Ezra credit. He seems to feel pretty badly about the whole business. Terrific. He won’t grow up to be Richard Perle. But this? I’m sorry, but this is unmitigated codswallop.

    Charles Pierce on Baghdad Bob’s bit of self excusing bullshit! Damn them all to Hell in their lives here on Earth!

    • dakinikat says:


      OK, even if you accept that Pollack was more mark than he was con-man — which I don’t, entirely — why would a book making the case as Klein describes ever serve as a “key document in the run-up to the war” since, at the time if its publication, it was plain to every sentient primate on the planet that the Bush people were going to go to war in Iraq simply to go to war in Iraq?

      All you had to do was visit the PNAC site and it was all spelled out there for every one to see. They were just looking for an excuse to invade Iraq. Just like they’re looking for excuses to invade Iran now.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    You’d think Beltway Bob could have talked to someone who remembered Vietnam, like maybe one of his professors. He was young and dumb alright. And he’s still very naive, despite his wonkitude.

    Frankly, I never thought we should have gone into Afghanistan and as soon as Bush/Cheney stared talking about Iraq, I knew they were lying. It never once occurred to me that these people knew what they were talking about or wanted the best for Americans or Iraquis.

    • bostonboomer says:

      His description of Saddam Hussein would fit Bush and several other U.S. presidents I can think of if you just make a few changes in countries named and maybe leave out the “murderous rampages,” although presidents have certainly been responsible for the deaths of many Americans in the military.

      an unusually reckless, cruel and self-deluded dictator who either had weapons of mass destruction or was very close to attaining them. His past, which included catastrophic wars with Iran and Kuwait, murderous rampages against his own people, erratic personal behavior and a clear aspiration toward regional hegemony, suggested that he wasn’t the sort of tyrant who could be contained or reasoned with, and so Pollack’s reluctant, unhappy conclusion was that he was the sort of tyrant who must be stopped before the right weaponry made him unstoppable.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Comment from a teacher on Bagdad Bob’s post:

    I was a high school teacher back then – and not a history teacher, either. The idea that “everyone knew” that there were WMDs in Iraq, or that there were no prominent voices opposing the war, is nonsense. The arguments I and my colleagues were making against the war, the predictions of what would (or would not) be found, and what would (or would not) be accomplished turned out to be accurate not because we were prophets, or had access to secret information or were smarter than anyone else – it was because we could read and listen and think. We knew the war would be a disaster. You should have, too.


    • RalphB says:

      It really was obvious to people who were paying attention and thinking for themselves. How could a country we had been bombing at will for over a decade be a danger to us? It never made sense on any fundamental level at all.

      Look around though, largely the same people are still Baghdad Bob’ing as hard as they can, but now they’re doing it on the economy, budgets, and deficits etc. Beltway group think is still rampant and dangerous as it ever was. Stamping that group think out may be the cause most worth our efforts.

      • dakinikat says:

        How to Write an Iraq War Apologia

        demonstrations using Chait, Frum and Beltway Bob Klein

        1. I was but a lowly worm, powerless to change anything…

        Former Bush speechwriter David Frum, for Newsweek: “I could have set myself on fire in protest on the White House lawn and the war would have proceeded without me.”

        Ezra Klein for Bloomberg View: “I was a college student, young and dumb.”

        Jonathan Chait for New York: “I wasn’t afraid to alienate my colleagues, editors, and employer, but I didn’t go out of my way to do it, either. I have a lot of regret for this.”

        • dakinikat says:

          And the Most Outrageous Neocon Iraq War Anniversary Remark Is..

          Yet here is Perle going beyond no-regrets to deny it is even worthwhile to consider the human costs of the war when assessing the decision to invade Iraq. His comment is modern-day Strangelove and yet another reason he deserves the nickname he earned in the 1980s: the Prince of Darkness. What transpires within Perle’s soul, ultimately, is not all that important. The true tragedy is that anyone would seek—let alone heed—the advice of a man so averse to considering a basic (and moral) calculation.

      • RalphB says:

        Frum should have set himself on fire or do it now. Idiot!

  7. RalphB says:

    JOHN B. JUDIS: “This kind of rhetoric about America’s special role … most resembles the kind of moral-ideological rationale used by Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia.”

  8. purplefinn says:

    What they should be doing is Public Service for the rest of their lives to make living tolerable for Iraqi veterans, their families, and for Iraqis.

    Well said. That’s the work that remains. And so many people forget to include the Iraqis.

    I hold George W Bush accountable too. He may have believed that there were WMDs. He picked his advisers and the people he listened to. He was a full participant in the “rush to war.”

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Joseph Cannon:

    That may be the real lesson of the Iraq debacle: Toss out all advice from commentators who lack grey hairs. Ten years ago, we needed to hear from some influential greybeards who might have reminded people of how LBJ ramped up the Vietnam War based on the Tonkin Gulf fraud. Nowadays, we have one group of jackass kids who consider themselves Der Supermen because they’ve read Ayn Rand and it went straight to their underdeveloped little heads, while another group of jackass kids ruined the Occupy movement by insisting on “consensus” and “leaderless rebellion” and other ideas with a long track record of failure. The world would be a safer place if everyone under 40 were forbidden from expressing an opinion on any topic other than pop culture, sex or food.

    • hyperjoy says:

      The world would be a safer place if everyone under 40 were forbidden from expressing an opinion on any topic other than pop culture, sex or food.

      Well, that’s sure a reversal of the old “Youth Generation” slogan of the 60s – “Don’t trust anyone over 30.”

  10. Fredster says:

    There’s another who ought to be out doing public penance and I always flip the channel when Morning Schmoe has him on.

    How many times a loser? His part in Iraq and then the Romney campaign? Jeebus!

  11. kitchenmudge says:

    I hope you’re not forgetting the Dem leaders in Congresss, most of whom went right along with it. They’ll go right along with an invasion of Iran, if it comes to that.