Iraq, the Mainstream Media, and the Neocon Reunion Tour

By Elaine Magliaro

In June, Mike Spindell wrote a post for FFS titled Back to Iraq: The Madness Continues. You remember the Iraq War—the war that Senator John McCain claims our country won? It appears that Iraq is imploding because of the sectarian violence that erupted there recently. Of course, it’s all President Obama’s fault—according to some people. As Justin Baragona wrote for Politicus USA, “Since the flare up of sectarian violence in Iraq, the cheerleaders and architects of the War in Iraq have taken to the airwaves and opinion pages to criticize President Obama over his decision to withdraw all troops from Iraq in 2011.” Mike said something similar when he wrote in his post “…we now have the same group of Beltway Foreign Policy insiders and militarists urging that we return to Iraq, to repeat the same mistakes of our past.”

Our mainstream media was only too happy to invite those neocon architects of the Iraq onto their programs to provide their perspectives and advice as to what need be done now to solve the problem. Media Matters reported that Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Paul Bremer, and Bill Kristol made sixteen TV appearances in less than two weeks.

Neocon Reunion Tour (Mark Fiore)

Jacob Heilbrunn (Politico) wrote:

Reviled as serial bunglers and amateurs after the Iraq war went south, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and a host of other neoconservatives are seizing the spotlight to conduct their own very personal war of liberation. They want to free themselves from the rap that they got it all wrong. And so they are going into overdrive to pin the blame for the collapse of Iraq on anyone other than themselves.

While those “reviled serial bunglers” seemed to be everywhere in the media blaming others for the sectarian violence in Iraq, it’s interesting to note the people who were rarely asked by the MSM to comment on the problem: those who had been critics of a preemptive war with Iraq over a decade ago.

From Sam Stein and Michael Calderone (Huffington Post):

Despite catastrophic misjudgments — that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, that U.S. forces would be greeted as liberators, that the war would pay for itself with oil revenues — the Iraq war boosters keep getting booked, while those politicians and journalists who were skeptical of the Bush administration’s “slam dunk” case for war remain largely on the sidelines.

McClatchy’s Jonathan Landay, who was part of the Knight Ridder team that produced what is widely regarded as the best pre-war reporting, has only been invited to discuss Iraq’s unraveling on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” a media criticism program. Landay, who just returned from a 10-day reporting trip in neighboring Syria, hasn’t heard from any cable news or Sunday public affairs shows.

Landay views the decision to book former Vice President Dick Cheney and former deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz as a cynical attempt at getting “clicks and eyeballs.” Though Cheney and Wolfowitz “got things so disastrously wrong,” he said, the media gives them platforms “to create controversy, and that controversy will be enhanced by whatever they say, irrespective of whether it’s accurate or not.”

Landay drew an analogy: He said, “You go to a doctor, who diagnoses an ailment and prescribes drugs and surgery. The diagnosis, however, turns out to be disastrously wrong and as a result, the drugs and surgery leave you crippled for years to come. Are you going to go back to that same doctor to diagnose your next illness? No, you aren’t. In fact, you probably sued him/her for malpractice after the first go-round. Unfortunately, we can’t sue Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Feith and the others for malpractice. But we can stop listening to them.”

It seems most members of the news media aren’t interested in hearing from those who had been critics of the war. Evidently, they feel those critics wouldn’t garner enough “clicks and eyeballs.” Former Senator Gary Hart was asked why boosters of the war were appearing on news programs so frequently while critics weren’t. He “sardonically responded, “Fair and balanced mainstream media.”


The Neocon Surge: They are not, in fact, being greeted as liberators. (Politico)

Neocons Should Be Held Criminally Liable for Failed Iraq War Predictions and Damages to Our Country (Huffington Post)

Fool Me Once: Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Kristol, and their fellow neocons botched Iraq. Now they want to tell you what they think. Ignore them. (Slate)

If You Were An Iraq War Critic, You’re Probably Not Being Asked To Go On TV (Huffington Post)

Rand Paul: Blame Dick Cheney for Iraq violence, not Obama (CBS News)

Back to Iraq: The Madness Continues (Flowers for Socrates)

Dick Cheney Rewrites History And Blames Iraq Violence On Obama In Disgusting Op-Ed (Politicus USA)




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