Apr
01
2008

'Sexed Up' After All

Scant U.S. interest in proof of Blair's Iraq hype

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/World Economic Forum

A key document in making Britain’s case for attacking Iraq, the so-called “September Dossier” (9/02), was initially drafted by a press advisor in then-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Foreign Office, according to stories in the British press. Furthermore, the differences between the early draft and the published dossier indicate that caveats were removed and language strengthened (Independent, 2/19/08; Guardian, 2/18/08) to make a stronger argument for war—factors that give credence to claims, once dismissed, that the dossier had been “sexed up,” and that Tony Blair, in the words of former U.N. weapons inspections chief Hans Blix (Associated Press, 3/12/07), had a […]

Mar
19
2008

Why Are Winter Soldiers Not News?

Dozens of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars gathered in Silver Spring, Maryland last weekend for the Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan hearings (3/13/08-3/16/08), where they offered harrowing testimony about atrocities they had witnessed or participated in directly. The BBC predicted that the event, organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War, "could be dominating the headlines around the world this week" (3/7/08). The hearings were covered as far afield as the U.K. (Guardian, 3/17/08), Australia (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 3/14/08), Croatia (Javno, 3/16/08), and Iran (Press TV, 3/14/08). Yet there has been an almost complete media blackout on this historic […]

Mar
19
2008

Keeping Death Off the Books

Media ignore contractors killed in Iraq

As the Iraq War nears its fifth anniversary, close to 4,000 U.S. troops have died in the conflict. But a significant number of deaths connected to the Iraq invasion have remained off the books, uncounted by the U.S. military and seldom noticed by the media. Private contractors have played an integral role in the occupation of Iraq, often performing duties that would have been carried out by the U.S. military. At present, it is believed that there are about as many contractors as active-duty U.S. personnel (about 150,000). The only available tally of contractor deaths in Iraq from the Labor […]

Mar
17
2008

No Antiwar Voices in NYT 'Debate'

Look back at Iraq features nine hawkish 'experts'

The New York Times offered a look back at the Iraq War in its March 16 "Week In Review" section that leaned heavily towards pro-war voices. The Times explained to readers: "To mark this week's fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the Op-Ed page asked nine experts on military and foreign affairs to reflect on their attitudes in the spring of 2003 and to comment on the one aspect of the war that most surprised them or that they wished they had considered in the prewar debate." The "experts" who were asked to weigh in all more or less […]

Mar
01
2008

Saddam's 'Secret'

Hussein told CBS about WMDs--but CBS wasn't watching

Of all the strange stories to come out of the media's debacle in Iraq, one of the most Orwellian is the fable in which Saddam Hussein tricked America into invading Iraq by making us believe that he had weapons of mass destruction (Extra!, 1-2/04, 5-6/04). Of all the lies, hypocrisies and half-truths of this war, this one may be the most extravagant: a falsehood whose speciousness doesn't even require any checking--at least for anyone whose memory goes back earlier than March 2003. The latest incarnation of this story appeared in January, when CBS's 60 Minutes (1/27/08) aired an interview with […]

Mar
01
2008

WMD Mirages

The mainstream media’s certainty that unconventional weapons would be found in Iraq led them to issue an embarrassing series of false alarms

“In our view, President Bush has built a strong case for the invasion of Iraq, a case that will be overwhelming with the inevitable discovery of the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein is hiding.” —Oregonian editorial (3/20/03) “HUGE CHEMICAL WEAPONS FACTORY FOUND IN SO IRAQ. . . . REPORTS: 30 IRAQIS SURRENDER AT CHEM WEAPONS PLANT. . . . COAL TROOPS HOLDING IRAQI IN CHARGE OF CHEM WEAPONS.” —Fox News Channel (3/23/03) “One important new discovery: U.S. officials say, up the road from Nasarijah, in a town called Najaf, they believe that they have captured a chemical weapons […]

Jan
01
2008

A Million Iraqi Dead?

The U.S. press buries the evidence

The Iraq War was sold to Americans in part as an intervention that would benefit Iraqis, "liberating" them from the despotic rule of Saddam Hussein. In retrospect, after no weapons of mass destruction were found and the alleged links to Al-Qaeda were debunked, this supposed humanitarian mission became the central justification for the invasion. Today, it is a major pillar of what support remains among the U.S. public for continuing the occupation. If Americans are to make informed judgments not only about the invasion of Iraq and whether the occupation should continue, but also about future wars our government may […]

Nov
01
2007

Vietnam's Lessons?

The disastrous end to the Vietnam War served as a historical reference point for many pundits urging Democrats to forget pulling out of Iraq. But the history lesson was shaky. Presenting the congressional fight over war funding as indicative of “what will likely become post-Iraq politics in America,” ABC World News (4/26/07) reported that Republicans were standing tough with an unpopular White House, while Democrats were more or less following majority opinion against the war. This, the report noted, was a problem—for Democrats. “Democrats know they must be careful,” explained reporter Terry Moran. “The shadow of the Vietnam War looms […]