Wednesday, March 26, 2008
PBS just aired Frontline's 5 hour documentary Bush's War. It is a blow by blow account of entire war effort from Sept 11 2001 to present day. It is mostly made up of interviews with the people that were there making the decisions or assisting the people making the decisions. However, there are no interviews with Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowietz, Tenet, or Cheney, only archive news footage. The story holds together surprisingly well and is interesting and easy to understand. From what I gathered it went down like this: Bush and Cheney were elected. Then Cheney brought on his old neo-con warhawk buddy Rumsfeld. They became an insular faction of the government, for the most part excluding Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice from anything they could. It is Rice's duty as Presidential Advisor to make sure the presidents decisions are informed by many points of view. However, she was ignored by Rumsfeld and Cheney always had the last word with Bush at meetings. No vice president had ever wielded power like Cheney.
As soon as 9/11 happened, the idea of attacking Iraq was presented. From the beginning Powell did not want to include Iraq in retaliation plans. He rightfully wanted to concentrate on Al-Qaeda. He is portrayed as a good guy in the doc. Cheney then quickly pushed to make a law that gave the president complete power to do whatever he wanted during war time. He did this secretly and had the memo drafted and signed without anyone knowing. So now basically he and Rumsfeld had the power. Bush didn't do shit, he just made the final decisions he was told to make. They began manufacturing evidence of WMDs. They claimed Iraq had "aluminium tubes" to make WMDs. They then had the NY times write about the situation and quote them saying the WMDs were there. Then, when questioned about WMDs on TV, the neo-cons said "of course they're there, there is an article saying so in the Times today." Of course, they don't mention the only source saying there were WMDs in the article was their quote. This kind of perpetual circular logic was a tool for them to manipulate media, and is a is a good example of how they went about creating propaganda and public support for their cause.
Eventually they went into Iraq. They killed a lot of people and declared victory. Then they sent in L. Paul Bremner to manage day to day affairs like setting up a new government and getting our troops out. This is where a major rift happened between the suits and the soldiers. He royally fucked up when he dissolved the Iraqi military. This meant 50,000 people, whom the army was planning on using to do grunt work, were out of a job and had a reason to be angry. This is where the insurgency really started. The first major roadside attacks were 48 hours later. He also banned the ruling Ba'ath party, which included professors and politicians, and people that knew how to run a government. They were also the voice of Iraq's largest denomination of Islam, the Sunnis, who were now essentially silenced- and pissed off about it. So Bremner went in a made all these heavy decisions without consulting anyone but Rumsfeld. The Military that were in Iraq were furious. All the leaders, included the respected Tommy Franks, quit. They threw their hands up in disgust, flew home, and retired. So Rumsfeld brought up an inexperienced general to lead the 150,000 troops and things only got worse. Total chaos ensued. Estimates for dead Iraqi's are approaching ONE MILLION, while here in America all one hears about is the 4000 dead US soldiers. The doc makes for pretty riveting drama, full of lies, deceit, and the breaking down of the American system of government.