Justice for Those Who Helped Start an Unjust War?
Historians may dub the war in Iraq "Bush's Folly." But "Rupert Murdoch's War" may be more apropos.
America's NeoCon-inspired war - which killed more than 100,000 Iraqis, dislocated 4.7 million Iraqi citizens, created more than 500,000 Iraqi orphans, several million Iraqi refugees and cost the U.S. treasury roughly one trillion dollars and still counting - is now officially over.
Launched on March 3, 2003, with a much-heralded "Shock and Awe" surprise attack on Baghdad instead of the niceties of a formal and constitutional declaration of war, it died without a whimper last month, in spite of the fact that the misguided leader who got us into the war had declared victory years ago.
The American people were sold the Iraq War by Murdoch's Fox Network more cynically than yellow journal publisher William Randolph Hearst sold them the Spanish-American War ("Remember the Maine!")
Fox was the principal and unrelenting cheerleader for attacking a nation that was not a threat. Fox's talking heads, including O'Reilly, Beck and Hannity, kept up a steady drumbeat for the war from beginning to end. It's no wonder a dysfunctional and disinterested Congress has never investigated how America was duped.
After placing a million of our military in harm's way, with more than 4,000 deaths and 10 times as many serious casualties, the question historians will ask is, "Why, and just what, did America achieve in Iraq?" Brave members of our military, many of whom served three and four tours there at great risk, return home to a nation that was never specially taxed to pay for the effort but told instead to "go to the mall" and shop.
Many Middle East observers fear that after the U.S. leaves, Iraq will inevitably regress into sectarian violence as tribal and religious hatreds are again unleashed.
Those who sought this pre-emptive war, like Bush, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bolton and Rice (remember those mushroom clouds?), assured the American people that it would be over in no time, and Iraqi oil would pretty much pay for it. They've written their books, some even justifying torture and rendition, while many of their most ardent flacks are gainfully employed by right-wing political think tanks and Fox, of course.
None of those in the Bush administration who cynically deceived the American people were punished for their lies. Even Irv Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's aide who was convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators in the probe of the leak of a CIA operative's identity, had his sentence commuted by George Bush rather than serve one hour of his 30-month prison sentence.
Libby is now, not surprisingly, senior vice president of the Hudson Institute, a neo-conservative think tank that also employs Bush's former undersecretary of defense, Douglas Feith, as a senior fellow.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who elected to drag an unenthusiastic Great Britain into war on America's side, is largely discredited at home and considered irrelevant abroad.
The skeptical but ever-loyal Gen. Colin Powell, who as Bush's secretary of state made the convincingly false pitch to the U.N. justifying a rush to war (remember those "weapons of mass destruction"?), rather than resign, is now comfortably wealthy, yet appears uncomfortable in his own skin.
Ironically, Murdoch and Fox may soon face the bar of justice, but for offenses totally unconnected to their role in fostering the Iraq war. That's because top executives and employees of the parent company, News Corporation, including the now-defunct News of the World, have been arrested over myriad charges of corruption, including extensive phone-hacking and widespread bribery in Great Britain. James Murdoch, Rupert's hapless son, may soon be charged with perjury and criminal acts by a special parliamentary commission.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is determining if American citizens (including 9/11 survivors) were subject to phone hacking by Murdoch's henchmen, and Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered an inquiry to see if News Corp bribed foreign officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
If the U.S. Justice Department proves that Murdoch's News Corp., an American company, bribed British officials as a common business practice, it could jeopardize the television licenses of News Corp. in the U.S.
Wouldn't that be poetic justice?
Paul R. Dunn lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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