There was a time I called myself a journalist.
I don’t any more. I’m a commentator sharing my opinion, not a simple journalist reporting the news. But even if circumstances were different and I had to be a reporter again, I’d be embarrassed to call myself a journalist these days.
Frankly, the ignorance of most journalists on just about everything is stunning.
Recently, I got an electronic message from a former colleague who is still a paid, bonafide professional newspaper journalist lambasting me for my opposition to the U.S. attacking Syria after I questioned how liberals can find such a military assault more justifiable than the Iraq War under President Bush.
I had made the point that in Iraq, we were fighting al-Qaeda, whose agents murdered thousands of Americans on 9/11, and that in Syria, we’re siding with al-Qaeda against a country that has done nothing to us.
Here’s what this professional journalist wrote: “We didn’t invade Iraq because of al-Qaida. We did it because the Bush administration intimidated the British into filing a false report about weapons of mass destruction. There were none. Iraq didn’t do anything to us after 1991, except try to kill George H.W. Bush in Kuwait and we responded in kind. We also had Iraq hamstrung. They could not do s***. We invaded under false pretenses and al-Qaida capitalized on that fact. People were murdered by chemical weapons, banned under international law. Assad crossed the line and we must act to defend national and global security.”
There’s a fair amount of rewriting of history in that message, although in fairness, it’s a pretty concise summary of what most liberal journalists believe in my experience.
While he refers to the attack we launched after the attempted assassination of the first President Bush, he completely ignores Operation Vigilant Warrior in 1994, Operation Desert Strike in 1996, four days of bombing in 1998, and frequent sorties after 1998 against Iraq.
Also, the Congress passed by clear numbers, and President Clinton signed in October 1998, the Iraq Liberation Act, which established as U.S. policy the promotion of “regime change” in Iraq.
Regarding WMDs that weren’t there, those WMDs discussed by the Bush Administration were the exact same WMDs that Clinton discussed in his State of the Union address in 1998 and used as the reason for bombing Iraq later that same year.
In February 1998, Clinton said, “Iraq admitted, among other things, an offensive biological warfare capability, notably, 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs. And I might say UNSCOM inspectors believe that Iraq has actually greatly understated its production.”
When the White House announced the attack later that year, Clinton explained his decision (emphasis added): “Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. … The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.”
You might suppose that in this liberal journalist’s view, Clinton also tricked UN inspectors into filing false reports, but that wouldn’t be the case because Democrats can do no wrong apparently. Clinton’s statements, then, do raise the question of how Saddam could “repeatedly” use weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist?
The Bush Administration did stress ties between al-Qaeda and Saddam in order to try to sell the invasion of Iraq, and it arguably went overboard on that point.
Specific allegations were that Abu Zarqawi and about a dozen followers were moving money, people and supplies through Baghdad with knowledge, if not participation, of the Hussein regime. There was also an al-Qaeda camp in northeastern Iraq that was believed to have been infiltrated by Iraqi agents, probably just to keep tabs on the group. The U.S. reportedly twice gave the Iraqi government information about Zarqawi, but Iraq did nothing to arrest him.
That seems to have been about the extent of Saddam’s links to al-Qaeda.
However, once we invaded, the al-Qaeda roaches came out of the woodwork, so either they were already there or it turned out be a very clever stratagem on the part of the Bush Administration to lure al-Qaeda into fighting on a battlefield that was mostly flat and open, rather than the mountainous, cave-riddled terrain of Afghanistan. And as a bonus, taking over Iraq actually made transporting U.S. troops and supplies into Afghanistan easier.
There’s also the matter of international law, which this journalist cites as being so important in the case of Syria. Iraq had agreed to disarm after the Gulf War, then had proceeded for years to defy that agreement and numerous other U.N. resolutions. The Left may not like it, as they don’t like anything associated with President Bush, but the United States was acting on the repeatedly stated will of the United Nations.
Since President Obama has abandoned Iraq, however, al-Qaeda has resurfaced and increased attacks throughout the country, despite Obama’s assurances that the group is “on the run.” Now Iraq is slipping back into chaos and away from the democracy that they had initiated after we removed Saddam.
Now we’re facing war in Syria, where the Assad regime has done nothing to directly harm the U.S. The “rebels” are organized by al-Qaeda front men, and Obama has been supporting them, covertly at first, then openly. Indeed, it’s his support of al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood that was at the heart of the Benghazi attack last year which his Administration has worked so hard to cover up.
The U.S.’s open support for the terrorist group we are supposed to be fighting appalls many people who understand what’s happening in the region, and it has pushed other governments to take sides against us, including our usual allies, but particularly Russia.
Despite the Obama Administration’s cutesy “reset” button fiasco, relations with Russia have deteriorated during Obama’s reign to the point that we may actually be looking at an open military confrontation between U.S. and Russian troops, something presidents since World War II have successfully avoided.
Right and wrong are often murky in war, but if we go into Syria, it would be clear that we are supporting terrorists who are among the most despicable, brutal and evil people on the planet, including the likes of Abu Sakkar, the rebel commander who was videotaped cutting out and eating the heart of a fallen Syrian soldier, to the cheers and accolades of his men.
As Hillary Clinton herself said in a 2012 interview, “We know al Qaeda [leader Ayman al-] Zawahiri is supporting the opposition in Syria. Are we supporting al Qaeda in Syria? Hamas is now supporting the opposition. Are we supporting Hamas in Syria? If you’re a military planner or if you’re a secretary of state and you’re trying to figure out do you have the elements of an opposition that is actually viable, that we don’t see. We see immense human suffering that is heartbreaking.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said outright he believes the Syrian rebels were behind the gas attack that killed more than a thousand civilians, and there may be evidence that Russia is right.
Even Obama seems to have realized that he treads on thin ice, as he has turned from the hawkish immediacy he evinced earlier this week and now wants, amazingly, to involve Congress in any decision to attack Syria.
Personally, I think it is doubtful he will find the support he seeks even in the Democrat-ruled Senate.
Even the president’s usually faithful supporters have trouble seeing the case for attacking Syria. By forging ahead, Obama is risking a much wider war … for what, an imaginary line?