As the tide is turning on Iraq, with more and more people now condemning the war and saying it was all a mistake, we are witnessing a kind of sneaky revisionism....both personal and public.
Suddenly, our hawkish friends are coming out of the closet as newly-hatched doves. And many of our representatives in Washington are now saying, well, they really were against the war from the start.... But in fact, only a mere handful of them ever said boo. And let's not forget how, time and again, they blithely authorized new appropriations for the war. To date, they have blown away over 360 billion dollars.
There is also a big blame game going on. Many major players in Washington, along with numerous journalists and columnists, are acting as though they were innocent bystanders, mere babes who were fed their daily Pablum of lies and disinformation. Where did they park their brains these past four years?
I am writing this from the other side of the Atlantic, where a number of our European allies got it right and refused to join the fray. (Tony Blair, of course, got it all wrong, and perhaps in his autobiography one day he'll explain what in heaven's name made him jump into bed with Bush.
None of my British friends have the foggiest idea.)
I was against the war long before it began. It would be an act of aggression, unprovoked and unjustifiable. I saw Bush & Co. hell-bent on overriding our allies and the United Nations, then instilling a climate of fear and intimidation at home while pontificating about "democracy" and "liberation" in Iraq. And then mopping up their profits from the war chest.
I watched Colin Powell at the U.N. and cringed in disbelief as he held up some fuzzy photos, a little piece of metal, and a vial of Botox.
It was not merely deceitful -- it was pathetic -- and I wonder if he will ever live it down.
Distance gives you a broader perspective, and distance also filters out a lot of the buzz and static. So what we were seeing and hearing in Europe was probably clearer than the hyped-up, daily stream of propaganda that Americans were subjected to. That's about as far as I can explain or rationalize Americans' falling for the bait....hook, line, and sinker.
Finally, on a personal note, I spent nearly twenty-five years in the news business. (Let's be chic, and call it "the media".) I've been to innumerable press conferences that were rigged, slanted, irrelevant, uninformative, or ludicrous. I've heard presidents and lesser potentates fudge and fib and bluff, and it has left me with a good dose of professional cynicism, which carries over to this day.
What I would like to hear now, more than anything, is a sincere mea culpa from the people who got us into this nightmare, and everyone who blindly went along with it. This is no time to re-write history; it's time to repent, to recover, to rebuild.