Cenk Uygur: What the Media Should be Asking the American People
were a lot of amusing and bemusing reasons given by the mainstream
media for their lack of coverage of the Downing Street Memos. But my
personal favorite was this one – everyone already knows the Bush
administration was lying about the war.
Really? Then why did they vote for him in November? Are people happy
about being deceived or do they simply expect it out of this
administration or government in general?
Actually, these are terrific questions that the media should be
asking the American people. Given that everyone knows the Bush
administration was lying about the reasons for the Iraqi war, how do
you feel about being lied to?
You might want to start by asking the parents and families of US soldiers killed in Iraq. How do they feel about being lied to?
Or how about you just ask the wives of soldiers who lost their arms
or legs in Iraq. How do you feel about the lies that led us into a war
where your husband lost his limbs? I wonder if they would be as
cavalier about the issue as the press seems to be.
Then ask the average taxpayer who has to foot a $208 billion bill
for the war. And that’s just what we’ve paid so far. Secretary of
Defense, Donald Rumsfeld says we might be in there for 12 more years.
Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice is even more pessimistic and
thinks it is a generational commitment. If we’ve paid $208 billion for
a little over two years, imagine what the bill is going to be for a
generation of occupation. Please ask the American taxpayer how they
feel about being lied to about that?
“The oil revenues of Iraq could bring between $50 and $100 billion
over the course of the next two or three years…We're dealing with a
country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively
soon.” – Paul Wolfowitz, [Congressional Testimony, 3/27/03]
“In terms of the American taxpayers contribution, [$1.7 billion] is
it for the US. The rest of the rebuilding of Iraq will be done by other
countries and Iraqi oil revenues…The American part of this will be 1.7
billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this.” – USAID
Director Andrew Natsios, 4/23/03
That’s how much the war cost last week. Literally. The $208 billion
we’ve spent so far divided by the roughly 118 weeks we’ve been in Iraq
comes out to $1.76 billion a week.
The administration’s cost estimate was off by more than hundred fold
– and that’s just in little over two years. And no one was fired over
that small miscalculation. Imagine if a project at your work cost over
hundred times what you said it would cost -- and the project wasn’t
even close to being done. Do you think you’d keep your job?
I love the cavalier attitude of the media – everyone knew it was a lie. Really?
Then let’s ask the average American how they feel about being
manipulated into thinking Iraq had something to do with 9/11. That the
administration used their grief and outrage over September 11th to
trick them into going to war with a country that had nothing to do with
the September 11th attacks. Let’s see if they’re just as cavalier as
Let’s ask the average American how they feel about pulling troops
out of the fight against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan to invade Iraq when it
turns out Iraq had nothing to do with al-Qaeda and was absolutely no
threat to us. Let’s ask them how they feel about the President spending
all of our resources to get Saddam Hussein, who did not attack us and
could not attack us, and saying he is “unconcerned” about Osama bin
Laden, who did attack us and could attack us again.
Let’s ask the average American how he or she feels about being
played for a fool when the administration based the invasion on WMD
allegations. Especially when the Downing Street Memos indicate the
British and the Americans knew Libya, Iran and North Korea had more
capacity for WMD and no one knew for certain if Iraq had any WMD (by
the way, in case you’ve been living in a box, it turned out Iraq didn’t
have any). When the administration tricked the public with talk of
mushroom clouds and Iraqi submarines and drone planes. Does the public
feel taken advantage of now? Let’s ask them.
According to Bob Woodward’s book, Plan of Attack, the CIA
drew up a report about red-and-white Iraqi submarines patrolling the
Tigris River. Iraqi submarines! That’s still my favorite.
But then again, Dick Cheney thought we would be greeted as liberators and he now believes the insurgency is in its last throes.
And Dana Milbank thinks John Conyers is playing make-believe?
But if you think those are outrageous fabrications and outright lies
by the administration -- you’re right -- but wait till you get a load
of this doozy by the Secretary of Defense on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass
Destruction: "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit
and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat." [3/30/03]
Well, if they knew where they were, then where the f—k are they?
It’s one thing to say you think they might have WMDs and turn out to be mistaken, it’s another to say you know
they have them when it is clear that you did not know any such thing.
How about giving the American people that quote above by Rumsfeld and
asking them, “How do you feel about your Secretary of Defense lying to
you so brazenly?”
And, oh by the way, how do you feel about Iraqi submarines? And the
nuclear capability they were supposed to have and the possibility that
might be able to strike us in 45 minutes?
There are so many blatant lies that I partly don’t blame the media
for thinking that it is accepted fact that everyone knows the
administration lied about the reasons for going to war. But I think
it’s fair to ask the people and find out for sure. And more
importantly, ask them how do they feel about being lied to?
The lies are not in dispute. Whether people have enough information
about the lies is in dispute. And how they feel about those lies once
they have the information is in dispute.
Perhaps the American public is so jaded about their elected leaders
that they think it’s standard operating procedure for the government to
mislead its own people. Or perhaps when they find out the truth, they
are not going to be pleased.
Only one way to find out … ask them. - Cenk Uygur
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