Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How did we get here?

Today marks five years since we embarked on the neocon wetdream of war in Iraq. There were many steps in the build up to this war. We all watched them happen. At first it was a trickle which became a rushing river which became an avalanche of deception. Many of us kept thinking cooler heads would prevail, the UN would help us engage in a meaningful resolution, other countries would talk sense into our headstrong leaders, or our leaders would realize that the millions of protestors taking to streets all over the world might have a point. We did not realize we were being herded on a path to war.

I remember holding my head in my hands, watching shock and awe descend upon Baghdad, and thinking no-no-no-nooooooo, folly, all folly! Sometimes, with all that's happened since that day, and the way it has been constantly revised and recolored, it's a struggle to remember the exact segments of bullshit that led us here. But fortunately, we don't have to rely on our own memories. That's because there is a film that documents this path, using only archival news footage, without commentary or opinions. It leaves you as the viewer in control of your own responses.

Here is a brief synopsis from the website, Leading to War:

"How does a government lead its people to war? How does it communicate to its citizens – and to the wider world – the reasons and rationale for initiating military conflict? What rhetorical devices and techniques are employed? And how is a nation brought to support the profound decision to wage war against another nation? These are the questions that LEADING TO WAR seeks to explore.

"This 72-minute film shows the evolution of the United States government’s case for military action against Saddam Hussein’s regime, leading to the Iraq War which began in 2003. LEADING TO WAR is comprised entirely of archival news footage – without commentary, without voiceover – presented chronologically from President Bush’s State of the Union address in January, 2002 (the “axis of evil” speech), and continuing up to the announcement of formal U.S. military action in Iraq on March 19, 2003.

"Covering these 14 months, the film presents selected interviews, speeches, and press conferences given by President Bush and his administration, including Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, as well as by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and others.

"This compressed, chronological view offers a unique opportunity to examine the media record from a historical perspective, allowing the material to speak for itself. Footage was licensed from major news sources, including ABC, AP, BBC, CNN, ITN, and NBC. LEADING TO WAR is also intended as a historical record for future generations, who will not have had firsthand experience of the precise, incremental steps taken by the government in presenting its case for war."


If you are interested in seeing this documentary, you can purchase a DVD on the official website linked above. Or you can watch it for free online, if you don't mind sitting at your computer for 72-minutes. Just click here and follow the red arrow to start the film in english. After the film begins, you can expand it to full screen with the little compass icon in the right corner. I watched it with growing unease.

For me, it's not just a matter of reliving the outrage while watching documentation of the lies, it is also a matter of witnessing the methods a government can and will use to sell its agenda to its citizens. I live in hope that perhaps documented film evidence like this of how we got here will help ensure that this type of unnecessary war will never happen again.

Unfortunately, examining how we got here does not automatically lead to understanding exactly how we will get out. There are no good options, no easy ways out of this mess. To me, this is one of the best signs of a deliberate act, an action that once embarked upon, effectively narrows the choices left to successors. We have a sliver of path left open to us now. It won't be easy. It will involve much pain, for both us and the Iraqis. It is NOT a path open to the GoP.

While we as individuals may not have had much choice in our country's headlong rush into this morass, we sure as hell don't have to be a part of allowing McWarDog to get a chance to brush it all under the rug. We must insist our new president and congress investigate the various crimes of the Bush administration. We must expose the corruption of those unbid contracts of Halliburton and KBR and Blackwater. We must examine & assign blame for this disasterous war where it belongs, or we will leave behind us a legacy of criminal villains and thieving murderers that makes a mockery of every principle our country was founded upon.


Here's some additional links to lies from Leading to War:


enigma4ever said...

Excellent post...thank you...I will have to see the whole thing...( it looks as good as the "Fog of War" and "Iraq Uncovered" )

D.K. Raed said...

It was excellent because it just let the actual archival footage speak for itself. Listening to the lot of them lying their asses off, especially Cheney & Rumsfeld, makes you want to slap your computer monitor around. Try it when you've got a spare 72-minutes.

Cart said...

I will give the review a miss thank you... The world is really moving on in so many ways and you poor buggers are stuck with groundhog day until you finally get rid of the criminal Bush regime.
Personally I'm not sure impeachment is worth the trouble, but a war crimes trial for leading admin figures sure is.

D.K. Raed said...

I don't think it's groundhog day, Cart. I wish we could move on, but until we understand the past, we can expect the same mistakes in the future. There is a substantial segment of americans who are in complete denial about what really happened. sadly, these are not the people who would ever watch this doc, but maybe their children will. There are also many who still embrace this war. Oh sure, maybe they don't like exactly how it's been prosecuted, but that is the extent of their disagreement. Then add to those numbers, the people who've made big money off this war. They would like it to continue forever. Cummulatively, these people are why we are probably still looking at close to a 50/50 divided electorate.

And yes, while hopes of an impeachment hearing are fading fast, it will never be too late to examine the crimes of this admn which are certainly NOT confined (as my post was) to the Iraq War.

D.K. Raed said...

testing again !!

Cart said...

it works on this end

Fran said...

Bravo! This is not just some miskate gone awry-- this was planned, cold calculated, war profiteering, and mass manipulation of this country. Going to war based on lies, especially in the way this was done, is a definite fit for *high crimes and treason*-- certainly more than the sex scandal Clinton was put up for impeachment over. Over a million Iraqis dead, US troops near 4000 deceased, torture, prisons in remote island locations where they can skip laws & behave however they choose in seclusion. These are horiffic offenses crimes against both our own constitution, and international laws. There is a reason Bush refuses to participate in the International court-- he has something to hide. He has committed crimes against humanity, and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Too bad our majority of dems in both the house & senate can;t seem to get impeachment on the table.... they have had plenty of time. Instead they put out petitions, and tells us (Conyers), to give them reasons to impeach.... (he promised that was his platform).... now he needs reasons? Please.

I will watch this film. Documentaries that let the story tell itself are really powerful-- sometimes Michale Moore overdoes it that way-- the film tells the story- he could withold his commentary & have it be even more powerful.

Thanks for your focused & right on piece here.
I like the way you laid out the promises vs reality too. The two have never met!

D.K. Raed said...

Cart: well at least one end is working. I give up for now. I'll think about it while hiking tomorrow. perhaps the answer is in nature!

Fran: not only does Bush refuse to partcipate in the International Criminal Court, his adm actively encourages other countries to opt out, too. Quite actively. Their methods vary, from withholding foreign aid to controlling world bank terms to military threats & more. Just ask Ecuador or Paraguay. I suspect most of Cheney's trips abroad incl their no-ICC-or-else agenda.

I've stopped following Conyers after his continuing silence in pursuing impeachment post-2006. So now he wants us to fill out petitions providing reasons to impeach? He ought to look back to his own stated reasons. He laid it out a few yrs ago, reasons why impeachment should begin because that is the only way to examine the evidence. Or try reading some of the constitutional lawyers who've written books on the subject. To me, the fact we are not impeaching means we have allowed impeachment to be removed from the constitution. In judicial matters, precedence is law.

I know you are busy now. Save the film for sometime when you have a spare 72-minutes and your blood pressure is normal, or keep the cuff on while watching, just in case.