Thursday, March 27, 2008

Iraqis Speak On Our Invasion's Fifth Anniversay

This is powerful stuff. The normally unflappable Charlie Rose gets flapped.

Glenn Greenwald
on What can and cannot be spoken on television:

The significance of the interview lies as much in what it says about the American occupation of Iraq as it what it illustrates about the American media. In the American media's discussions of Iraq, when are the perspectives expressed here about our ongoing occupation -- views extremely common among Iraqis of all types and grounded in clear, indisputable facts -- ever heard by the average American news consumer? The answer is: "virtually never."

Rose was as adversarial and argumentative -- angry, even -- as he ever gets with anyone, because he plainly did not anticipate, and did not like, that he was being exposed to such hostility towards our Freedom-spreading, Liberty-loving Liberation of the grateful, lucky (dead and displaced) Iraqi people.
Crooks And Liars has the Charlie Rose footage here. Note that previously for his Fifth Anniversary "celebration," Rose touted that he would have "conversations to find out how both critics and supporters of the war effort see the current situation." Chuckle's concept of Iraq War "critics" is seriously warped. Earlier this week, Greenwald ripped Rose's "panel of experts":

The two alleged "war critics" were the President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, Lesley Gelb, and The New Yorker's George Packer. As Rose put it: "To get the other side's perspective, I talked to Richard Perle and Fred Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute." And therein one finds a perfect expression of how limited, distorted and propagandistic the debate over Iraq in the establishment press continues to be.

In no meaningful sense are Gelb and Packer on "the other side" from Perle and Kagan. Both Gelb and Packer were, albeit to different degrees, among the most influential enablers of the invasion of Iraq.

In February, 2003, Gelb went on Fox News with Brit Hume and attacked the French for impeding our invasion, telling Hume (via LEXIS): "But frankly, except for The Cuban Missile Crisis, I don't think more has been at stake than today. Our country really is at risk in a way we've never been at risk before." Three days before the invasion, he told The Associated Press: "I'm in favor of this . . . . It's the best medicine for anti-Americanism around the world I can imagine." To this day, Gelb continues to insist that the invasion was the right thing to do, but that we just should have executed it more effectively. So that's one of Rose's "war critics."

While much more nuanced and cautious than Gelb, Packer was one of the intellectual leaders of the so-called "liberal hawk" movement. He wrote a highly influential December, 2002 New York Times article proclaiming "The Liberal Quandry over Iraq," touting the views of so-called "liberal hawks." The next month, he demanded "a clean break" with what he scorned as "doctrinaire leftists, who know what they think about American foreign policy -- they're against it," and rejected "an antiwar movement with little to say to Americans' fears for their own safety."

Packer never endorsed Bush's specific invasion plan, but he certainly never opposed it, and -- like most "liberal hawks" -- endorsed the concept itself ("the wrong people are doing the right thing for the wrong reasons"). Packer perfectly exemplified the Tom-Friedman-esque "liberal hawk" enabling behavior back then of advocating American interventionism of the type contemplated in Iraq (while wishing it would be better executed) and attacking those who were genuinely opposed to the war ("Until liberals show that they will make the world safe for democracy -- for their fellow citizens, and for citizens around the world -- the American people won't give them the chance").

No wonder Rose was completely unprepared for the Iraqi side of the story. The phrase Rose-coloured glasses comes immediately to mind.