The lies of war


I was listening to Democracy Now this morning, and the introduction to a segment on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War started out with such an honest, accurate, straightforward statement that I didn't even think about it until later:

It was 10 years ago today that the U.S. invaded Iraq on the false pretext that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. The attack came despite worldwide protest and a lack of authorization from the U.N. Security Council.

Those are facts. That's about as clean and well-documented a lead as you can put on a news story. It took me a while to realize that a show I listen to because of it's outfront progressive politics was simply saying what should have been on the front page of the New York Times and every other "objective" news media outlet in the country.

Let's just parse those 40 words for a second.

Yes, it was 10 years ago. Yes, the U.S. invaded Iraq. Yes, Bush knew that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction, making that claim by definition a "false pretext." Yes, there was well-documented worldwide protest. Yes, the U.N. Security Council refused to sanction the invasion.

That's not liberal bias. It's demonstrable historical fact.

Let's compare that to what the New York Times said:

Ten years ago this week, on March 20, 2003, the United States invaded Iraq.

Also true -- but inaccurate. Inaccurate because it's incomplete. And that matters, a lot.

I go to Paul Krugman, the NYT columnist who (unlike his bosses) was right about the war from the start. Here's his lead:

Ten years ago, America invaded Iraq; somehow, our political class decided that we should respond to a terrorist attack by making war on a regime that, however vile, had nothing to do with that attack.

That's 100 percent accurate and a lot more complete than the "news stories." He continues:

There were, it turned out, no weapons of mass destruction; it was obvious in retrospect that the Bush administration deliberately misled the nation into war. And the war — having cost thousands of American lives and scores of thousands of Iraqi lives, having imposed financial costs vastly higher than the war’s boosters predicted — left America weaker, not stronger, and ended up creating an Iraqi regime that is closer to Tehran than it is to Washington.So did our political elite and our news media learn from this experience? It sure doesn’t look like it.

And here's why it matters: We're doing the same thing again, in a different forum, with the discussion of budget deficits and the need for cuts in spending:

What we should have learned from the Iraq debacle was that you should always be skeptical and that you should never rely on supposed authority. If you hear that “everyone” supports a policy, whether it’s a war of choice or fiscal austerity, you should ask whether “everyone” has been defined to exclude anyone expressing a different opinion

Here's my lead for the next story on the "sequester:"

House Republicans and the Obama administration met again this week to discuss a problem that doesn't exist, offer solutions that won't work, and drive the nation further into poverty, inequality, and debt.

Accurate. Complete. Factual. I can't wait to see it on the front page of the Times.




Getting your info from Democracy Now is like getting your info from the 700 club.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

The intention is to sway opinion against that which matlock despises: the left, progressives, anything the least bit enlightened. The technique, repeated over and again *ad* *nauseum*, is to first make some statement which would seem to establish the posters' "moderate" bona fides; i.e. disparaging the "700 Club."

(God, this is *so* tiresome.)

Then matlock takes a shot at a perfectly wholesome and vital news outlet like Democracy Now.

The reader is supposed to associate both "extremes" with a sense of disdain.

The tricky thing is that matlock doesn't post these "moderate" mini-diatribes on right wing websites. No. matlock is a plague on *this* website.

matlock *is* a fascist and *hates* everything decent. matlock *knows* that his true thinking would be beyond comprehension to most regular (i.e. non-troll) readers of the Guardian.

That's why matlock disembles *constantly*, pretending to be a political moderate.

It's a cheap performance of cheesy right-wing rhetoric; just like when he pretended there was some equivalency between Dennis Miller and George Carlin.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

I stopped reading what that nut (matlock) writes sometime ago. It's also best to glide over that right-wing Snapples' nut and that right-wing "Guest" (the one who apparently pays for priority posting at the top of every single article thread). I always go to the bottom of the page and then go back up slowly looking to see who-wrote-what to avoid reading annoying scum.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

well, nothing actually.

Dumb comment of the day award goes to you. Why read anything when you can just examine it's location?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:17 pm

Wow, hilarious.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

same person posting at the top might also be posting at the bottom?

Posted by anon on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 6:03 am

Although I rarely agree with Matlock's point of view, I like his/her brevity and knowing wit. And the posts are not tiresome and repetitive like some posters here who are so condescending, closed-minded, and controlling it's a wonder why they ended up in one of the most accepting and carefree places on earth.

I wish lilli would get a clue one day and stop telling us what we "associate" when we read a post by someone he doesn't like. What's it called when we're the least insightful person in the room yet we think we're the smartest? And when someone lilli who constantly attacks posters he doesn't like uses words like "fascist," it's usually a a better indicator of the mindset of the speaker rather than the object of their disdain. It's like lilli never learned that how we perceive someone always says much more about us than it says about the person we're evaluating.

I hope regular readers noticed that lilli was the only person to reply to the obvious troll posts by "REAL" SFASC, as if we needed to be told what was going on. While REAL SFASC's many (and somewhat funny) posts were actually bolstering the credibility and importance of the good work being done by SFACS on this chatboard, only lilli was clueless enough - or lonely enough- to take the troll's bait.

How about a few weeks break, lilli? Take a road trip. Maybe take along a few of the other lonely people like anon and Lucretia who post here everyday. You might gain some insights and perspectives, and the comment readers who currently have to wade through the overwhelming posts by the serial posters like you to find some of the more unique, thoughtful posts will get a break too.

Posted by Anaconda on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

slacker who, sadly, constitutes the "intellectual" spine of this place, if only because he has nothing else to do with his time.

Matlock, Commish, Lucretia and "anon" are the only guys worth reading here. The rest is just kneejerk college-era BS that most of us moved beyond decades ago.

But of course if SF is good at nothing else, it is a good place for never growing up.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

If you think lilli is the "intellectual spine of this place", no wonder your side loses policy battles so much. It's more like lilli and marcos post here so much that most thoughtful people stay away from their little sand box since there's enough history to know nothing good will come from the exchange. We've heard it all before, at least a few hundred times.

And while I don't know if the posters you've listed are "guys," most regular readers know that it's very odd any of them would post here so often since their views are often predictable and almost always countervailing to the perspectives of the publication and many of its target audience. Healthy debate is one thing, but to deliberately goad and bait the publication's journalists and its regular readers says more about anon's, Lucretia's, matlock's and Commish's mental state than it says about their predictable cattiness and snark.

Posted by Anaconda on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

Rarely do practicing professional progressives deign to discuss their business or policy priorities in any public forum. We don't know who illi is. But we do know that I'm a member of a group that is currently one of this publication's local heroes because we beat Scott Wiener soundly on two reactionary ballot measures.

Either we demand accountability from progressive politicos or the progressive politicos are going to find themselves marginalized as the political terrain shifts out from under them.

Of course your post has nothing to do with the 10th anniversary of the second Gulf War.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 8:24 pm

You're as marginal and ineffectual as Lilli.

Posted by anon on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 6:02 am

Except that we organized and beat Scott Wiener. Twice. Big Time.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 7:33 am

As for Scott, he has been the most successful Supe for getting laws passed, so if you base your "success" on his not getting stuff done, then you're clearly ineffectual.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 7:46 am

the one percent have little to worry about.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 8:36 am

We beat "the most successful supervisor" at the ballot box.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 8:44 am

especially a non-issue like that which few care about anyway.

Scott was elected and you were not, so that tells us all we need to know about who has the power and influence.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 10:31 am

"Robert Bork and I both agree that..." - William Bennett.

"Howard Zinn was correct in..." - Noam Chomsky

"Jerry Fallwell made the point that...." - Pat Robertson

In the case of Bay Guardian authors, they prove the factualness of their opinions by linking to their own past opinion pieces.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

"There are little groups of cross agreement:"

Yes. Squeeky Fromme and Charles Manson. Leonard Lake and Charles Ng. George Bush and Dick Cheney.

Oooh wait! That's not "moderate enough," is it?

Instead of just associating psychopath murders with their choses confederates, I should toss in some pairs of decent folk -- intellectual luminaries such as Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky -- to prove I'm "unbiased."

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 7:04 am

"I was listening to Democracy Now this morning..."

An excellent choice. A very credible, objective program. I suspect the conservatives whining about it on here have never listened/watched a single program, and had never heard about DN! until you mentioned it. But because Tim Redmond was listening to it, it has to be bad.

Reminds me of a right-wing relative who is always glued to Faux News (right-wing Fox News) while telling me how "slanted and partisan and left" DemocracyNow! is. I asked her: Have you ever listened to DN! or watched a program? She said, "are you kidding me? I wouldn't listened to that filth." I asked: "well how do you know it's filth if you haven't listened to it?" She smugly said, "Oh I know all about it. Friends have told me." I asked: "What friends? The same right-wing friends who are glued to right-wing Faux News just like you?" Ugh. I ended the discussion because I was going to get no where with her and her closed mind. She hasn't listened to DN! nor will she, but I have listened to and watched Faux News until I couldn't take it anymore!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:03 pm

hopelessly partisan. So if your major concern is reading only neutral news sources, then why read a medium that is so evidently biased and prejudicial?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

Ive watched it many times, my favorite unbiased episode of Democracy Now is when it had Bill Ayers on to monologue and ramble uninterrupted for much of the episode, as the host nodded in agreement. Ayers being the unreformed mad bomber he is so proud to be.

Like Fox News, the 700 club, or AM radio ravings, Democracy Now is biased propaganda, to call it "credible" and "objective" is to not know what those words even begin to mean.

It is quite odd that anyone would bemoan Fox as biased and hold up Democracy Now as unbiased.

I've always found it interesting how the fringe right and left look down on those who don't agree with them as stupid and duped. Interesting anecdote.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

All media is biased, including "mainstream" corporate media. It's just that DN reports things thoroughly and has a different bias than you hear on coporate media. I'd say it's one of the few sources that report reality, but reality is biased too. Unfortunately reality has a progressive bias.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 8:49 pm

That people claim their chosen media isn't biased is just strange to me.

Reality is reality, dealing with it by projecting your politics on it is also strange.

You want the world to be a certain way, it isn't.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

as when characterizing Bill Ayers as "unreformed" and "mad bomber".

For normal-thinking folks, we judge Bill Ayers in the context of the time. His attempts to set bombs to destroy government property but not harm people must be seen in the context of the Kent State massacre and two million dead in Vietnam.

And yes, as Greg pointed out Democracy Now is not unbiased. Nobody has claimed that they didn't take a position. Also as Greg pointed out, FACTS HAVE A LIBERAL BIAS.

Stew in that, matlock.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

The context of the times?

Why do progressives get so upset about Columbus day?

The other day you claimed that progressive didn't have situational ethics.

You must be a right winger spending time attempting to make the left look utterly stupid.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 10:12 pm

Interesting thing about matlock's rhetoric is that as soon as he is lured into abandoning his scripts (various forms of taking “even-handed” shots at “both sides”) he quickly reveals the true nature of his thinking.

If one, for dark amusement, decides to try to understand these more self-revelatory deposits of matlocky, it has been found especially useful to read them in their entirety before attempting any decoding.

The individual bits taken by themselves are more likely to seem nonsensical than revelatory.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 9:40 am

Everyone is stupid for not doing what the leftists tell them to do?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 9:53 am

in order to formulate an accurate assessment of the true nature of thinking and intent behind it.

Is it not strange how similar marcos' schtick is to matlock's?; different only in the center of gravity.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 10:11 am

Center of gravity grounded in ontological empiricism rather than wishful thinking. Keep berating people, it works!

Posted by marcos on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 10:32 am

... each morning during a lengthy interlude with his bathroom mirror

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 10:44 am

There are thousands of activists who berate hundreds of millions of people trying to force them to agree with the activist. I'll berate those thousands for having the temerity to think that, given their record of failing to connect, they know better than the collective wisdom of the hundreds of millions.

I am holding up the mirror to you and you are too afraid to look at your reflection because you know you'll have the same reaction to you that the population has.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 10:58 am

will and world view on others. I have never, not once, in my entire life, been asked by an activist what policies I might support or not. No, an activist doesn't listen or allow himself to be influenced. He is too focused on his own agenda.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 11:13 am

The brutal contradiction is that on the "left," those who purport to act "for the people," hold the people in the utmost contempt because they have ideas of their own that are not "on the reservation."

Instead of identifying areas of mutual concern, the left focuses its attention on areas of difference, and nobody wants to spend their leisure time being berated.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 11:20 am

money to influence policy. Both methods employ extra-democratic means to try and achieve a single-minded, and usually extreme, agenda.

I trust elected politicians far more than I trust activists.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 11:29 am

The biggest problem with the false equivalency between lobbyists and citizens who attend meetings is that such meetings are the *only* forum guaranteed to citizens by the Constitution.

Citizens may be censored at will when they attempt to communicate on privately-run forums or when they seek to purchase political advertisments.

Citizens may or may not find it possible or convenient to band together in clubs and groups to take political action, while corporations are naturally aligned and desposed in that way.

Those who'd like to see the suppression of public participation can certainly seem to cleanse themselves in paeans to democracy, but they would also control speech so that the voters can be told what to do with a single voice.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 6:38 am

Yes, in theory, the public forum idea is sound, and of course the Romans had some success with that (slaves, women, blacks and eunuch's excluded, of course).

But the problem is well known. Watch a typical SF pub;ic meeting and it's is a seemingly endless parade of (for want of a better phrase) the same old whiney busybodies who think they know better than anyone else what we the people want.

What you get at meeting is the extremes. So if the issue is (topically) gay marriage, then a bunch of gays and christians will show up, saying exactly what you would predict that they will say.

But what about the rest of us? We don't show up and so it might be thought that we don't exist or don't care. And yet we have the same say and voice and vote - more so, in fact, because there are more of us.

The public comment section of city hall meetings, which take about 90% of the time of those meetings, are like a picket line that the decision-makers have to cross (tolerate) while waiting to make the decision they were going to make anyway.

Nice idea, perhaps, but ultimately a waste of time for everyone. And misleading as a guide to what the average joe really thinks, because the average joe doesn't attend. He's too busy to fritter away 4 hours, which just leaves the people with no lives.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 7:06 am

Voters who aren't either paying attention to the public comments at public meetings (or reading the work of reliable scribes who do) are not fully-informed voters.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 7:17 am

You know, one of those short words that nonetheless sound "clever".

Not everyone has spare hours in the day to show up at meetings ot study every issue. But the opinions of those less "informed" voters still count. And arguably do a better job as they are not obsessed with what they think is their own agenda. They are just ordinary people living real lives.

Your idea is that people who are under-employed, with a busybody mentality (and usually a beard and sandals) should run the city. Not on my watch.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 7:48 am

If Lilli had his way, his one opinion would trump that of 99 others, if he could. He wants he wants, not what the majority want. He rationalizes that by claiming that the majority are "uninformed".

It is the arrogance of an extremist.

But, as I argued persuasively about gay marriage, I do not care what either a minority of gays think nor what a minority of christians think. I care about what the majority of Californians think.

Activists seek to have an undue influence, to punch above their weight or numbers. They want the city to do what they want regardless of whether they are a majority of not.

And that is wrong, if you really believe in democracy. It is simply a numbers game.

Posted by anon on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 8:12 am

Strawman troll.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 8:18 am

here who realize they are losing a debate.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 10:16 am

anon and his creepy corporate troll-think types don't like free speech. "Shut up and listen!," the corporate trolls say.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 9:09 am

the "usual suspect" activists say at public meetings.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 10:17 am

Okay. So "thousands of activists" are doing all this "harm."

(I'll leave unquestioned, for the time being, how activists are supposed to *be* "activists" without taking forceful action to make change they believe in.)

Any activists who are doing good? -- or should they all be taken out and shot according to you?

marcos, due to your obvious predilection for quoting from my list of Bold Troll Tropes, perhaps you could simply specify which ones you *don't* agree with:

lillipublican's Big List of Troll Tropes

1 Presidents always move to the center

2 Progressive ideas are not popular

3 All politicians lie

4 "Purity progressives" can't compromise

5 Nader lost the election for Gore

6 Progressives have situational ethics

7 Progressives ignore pressing problems while promoting pet projects.

8 Progressives want to tell everyone else how to run their lives

9 Progressives call anybody a troll who doesnt' agree with them

10 Anybody who thinks the police must have proper civilian oversight is a "cop hater."

11 Corporations don't pay taxes

12 Poor people here are actually quite wealthy.

13 Rent control represents newcomers subsidizing those already here.

14 Social Security adds to the deficit

15 Non-criminals have nothing to fear from police investigation.

16 San Francisco "exceptionalism" is behind pro-democratic intitiatives

17 "Only whiners show up at public meetings"

18 Progressive leaders are crazy

19"Most Americans supported the war on Iraq."

20 Blacks Are Responsible for Prop 8

21 Poor people are lazy

22 Poor people commit most crimes

23 Wealth in the U.S. is broadly distributed

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 11:45 am

Empirically, we're losing, so let's keep doing the same thing and never question anyone who says so?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

wrong, but rather because not enough voters are convinced that the policies of the left are good for America.

America, historically, does not do socialism.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

the advisability of changing tactics -- let alone engaging in the scattershot circular firing squad you elsewhere lament.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

One definition of insanity, as proffered by Einstein, is doing the same thing time and again, expecting a different result. Perhaps it is my computer science training, but the scientific method involves experimentation, assessment and recalibration until one finds reproducible, desirable outcomes.

Who needs a circular firing squad when we're being silently poisoned by our allies?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 8:21 am

At least you wouldn't get caught that way.

marcos I respect you for your breadth of knowledge and your technical talents and accomplishments --and I respect the scientific method.

That said, we don't let Megele doctors go poking around without oversight just because they are fixated on some belief of what "the problem" is.

Politics goes through swings. It always has been so. Your habitual validation of the words of corporate trolls seems more the product of a cruel streak which lies within you than any special ability to see with clarity. Your negativity can just as easily be seen as suppressing positive change which is overdue based on the oscillating pattern of time as any structural flaw in progressivism.

Since you elsewhere have disavowed membership in that group you opinions are particularly suspect.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 27, 2013 @ 9:19 am