“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Joseph Goebbels
Watching the TV special that reviewed information contained in the book, “Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War,” by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, brought back memories of articles and radio shows I had done during the run-up to “shock and awe” in March 2003. It reminded me of how callous and shameless those high level politicians were and how low they would go to get this country into an unnecessary war.
It gave me pause as I thought of the nearly 5,000 American lives that were lost, the tens of thousands of soldiers who came home incapacitated, minus arms and legs, and the 100,000 Iraqi men, women, and children killed in a war that was supposed to “liberate” them. This war was made even more tragic in that it cost more American lives than were lost in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
The authors of “Hubris,” as well as interviews of key individuals involved in the Big Lie, point out the sheer and utter disregard for truth, integrity, and human life. From the neo-con gang, i.e. Feith, Wolfowitz, Perle, to Rumsfeld, Rice, Cheney, and President George W. Bush, one thing was crystal clear: They were going to war with Iraq regardless. They obviously didn’t care about weapons of mass destruction simply used the threat of WMD to scare everyone else into believing the biggest charade in history. I could hardly believe it when high level officials admitted on television, before the American public, that they were shocked at the lies that were being told by the Bush administration.
When Bush, Cheney, Rice, and Rumsfeld are asked if they now believe they made a grave error by going into Iraq, they all say, “No, I think it was the right thing to do.” What hubris! It seems they have no consciences and no fear of the fact that they will someday have to account to a higher court for their actions, irrespective of what they “think.” Even now, after all the lies have come out and after most reasonable people know the Iraq war was not based on the premise put forth by Colin Powell at the United Nations, they still say they did the right thing. I don’t know how they sleep with the blood of thousands on their hands.
Of course, at the bottom of the Iraq mess was economic enrichment: no-bid contracts, the construction and maintaining of the largest embassy in the world, $9 billion dollars in cash still unaccounted for, Ahmed Chalabi getting his payoff, Halliburton, KBR, and all the others who made millions off the war in Iraq.
The hypocrisy that reigns now, especially among some of our politicians who earn a minimum of $174,000 compared to a soldier who makes less than $45,000, is embarrassing, insulting and, if you ask me, even sinful. To see the symbolic reverence and respect portrayed by politicians when they visit graves and hospitals, juxtaposed against their mistreatment, neglect, and ignoring the needs of veterans is unbearable. It’s as though veterans’ lives and sacrifices are only good for photo-ops.
Back to the stupid needless war in Iraq. We should be ashamed of our leaders for perpetrating the biggest fraud of the past century, well maybe at least the second biggest next to the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 – another Big Lie. Talk about legacies. Daddy Bush gave us Clarence Thomas; Dubya gave us the Iraq war; I wonder what Jeb Bush has up his sleeve for an encore if gets elected.
The Big Lie was exactly that, and now we have the long awaited unmitigated truth about what happened and how some of us were made to believe the lie. The lie cost $1 trillion and many lives, and it was recited and recanted, in spite of the fact that many insiders knew it was a lie. But, the public, the electorate, the “people” believed the lie and were scared into thinking our soldiers were headed to Iraq to protect our shores and cities from a nuclear weapon Saddam did not have that would be fired at a place it could not reach. To use those ominous words of George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice, as lies go, they don’t get any bigger than a “mushroom cloud.” We the people are being treated like mushrooms; they keep us in the dark and feed us cow manure.
“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” Thomas Sowell
Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his Web site, blackonomics.com.