Friday, February 05, 2010
Day of Shame 2010
Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy reminds me the February 5th is the Day of Shame, the anniversary of Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations. Full of falsehoods, and not very convincing for all that, the presentation played a crucial role in selling the Iraq War to the American people. Most Americans didn't listen too carefully to what was said, but they trusted Powell. While Powell has since tried to portray himself as a dupe, he knew that specific charges were dubious or outright bullshit, and certainly knew that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were exploiting his credibility.
It's important not to let this go down the Memory Hole, especially when so many people in politics and the media are trying to pretend the Bush years never happened and/or no one's to blame. This was not an innocent mistake. It was deliberate deception. For the most part, those in power and influence who bought the case for war haven't truly acknowledged their error. Richard Cohen is a blithering idiot, but he's not alone in insisting that he was wrong for the right reasons, while those who saw through the bullshit were somehow right for the wrong reasons. Cohen is dead wrong as usual, and couldn't accurately describe the anti-war objections if his life depended on it. It's one thing to have been wrong, though, but it's quite another never to learn anything from such mistakes. Too many people with power and influence haven't, and that's what's dangerous.
I'd recommend, as always, the books Angler by Barton Gellman and The Dark Side by Jane Meyer for a good overview of the staggering abuses of power and horrendous mismanagement of the Bush administration. The Frontline specials on the Bush years, particularly "The Dark Side," "Cheney's Law," "The Lost Year in Iraq" or the compilation "Bush's War," are also excellent.
There's plenty more that needs to come out, though, and among other things, the Justice Department should be doing a full investigation of the torture regime. The Obama administration has in some cases borrowed from the Bush playbook. Granting prisoners due process is a strength, not a weakness. Meanwhile, the number of people running around casually or emphatically endorsing torture – despite its immorality, illegality, ineffectiveness and endangerment of Americans – is truly disturbing.
The Day of Shame website has more, and links to other posts. My most extensive post on the subject is this one from 2008. Peace.