Why Did the US Invade Iraq? The Answer in 2014

abc-alqaedaReports of Al-Qaeda linked fighters taking over the Iraqi city of Fallujah have prompted a lot of media coverage about the US sacrifice there. In the process, the history of the war is being dramatically rewritten. 

ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer  (1/6/14) announced: 

There is a worrying new sign that Al-Qaeda is on the March in two countries cracked by war. One of them Iraq, where so many brave American troops fought to create a future.

So that‘s what the Iraq War was about–creating  a future? ABC correspondent Terry Moran continued that theme, explaining that “after a decade of US-led war to plant democracy in Iraq, much of Fallujah has now fallen to Al-Qaeda.”

So the war was a democracy-planting mission, and one that’s apparently gone awry. Moran went on:

Al-Qaeda’s takeover of Fallujah brings back bitter memories for Americans. It was here in 2004 that US Marines fought a ferocious, house-to-house battle against Iraqi insurgents. More than 100 Marines gave their lives to pacify the city and hundreds more were injured. 

Fallujah in December 2004 (cc photo: Idaho Sagebrush)

Fallujah in December 2004, after the second US assault (cc photo: Idaho Sagebrush)

As I’ve noted elsewhere (FAIR Blog, 1/6/14), this memory of Fallujah as a place where mostly Americans suffered does serious damage to the historical record. Fallujah was the site of two massive attacks by the US military, where an untold number of civilians–hundreds if not thousands–were killed. That record–which included the use of cluster bombs and white phosphorus chemicals–is not one media are keen to remember.

It’s not just ABC; Time magazine’s Aryn Baker (1/20/14) explained that it was Fallujah where

US forces redeemed the possibility of a peaceful Iraq, fighting house to house, up close and personal, in a costly but successful effort to clear the city of insurgents and make it safe for handover to Iraqi government forces.

So at the 10-year mark, some reporters recall Fallujah as a place where US forces “redeemed the possibility of peaceful Iraq,” and the Iraq War as a noble effort to “plant democracy.” It boggles the mind what they’ll be telling us about the Iraq War in 2024.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.