Democracies become dictatorships if governments do not listen to the voice of the people.
Tom Van Meurs
Original Blog US Casualties Contact Donate

February 9, 2006

The Adulation of Ignorance

by Paul Craig Roberts

After three years of war in Iraq, reporting and debate continue to ignore the key fact: The U.S. invasion was a mistake.

President Bush himself acknowledges this. He says the war was based on intelligence and the intelligence was wrong. So, then, what is right about the war? If we believe Bush, he would not have taken America and Iraq to war if he had been given correct, instead of incorrect, intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and connections to al-Qaeda.

In view of this, why is Bush intent on continuing the war? Why is it important to win a war that should not have happened and only happened because U.S. intelligence was mistaken?

The war is extremely expensive. It has cost thousands of dead and maimed Americans and tens of thousands of dead and maimed Iraqis. The war has already cost $200-$300 billion and is being financed by foreign borrowing. Distinguished economists put the long term cost of the war to the U.S. in the $1-2 trillion range.

This is an enormous sum to spend on a war that President Bush says is based on mistaken intelligence. Why, then, does Bush continue to fight the war?

The mistaken war has damaged America's reputation, harmed our alliances, enraged Muslims against us, and radicalized Middle Eastern politics. The CIA reports that the war has provided al-Qaeda with recruitment and a training ground. The U.S. military is trying to ascertain whether its attempted occupation of Iraq is creating insurgents faster than they are being killed.

In view of the available facts, how can Bush in his State of the Union address tell Congress and the world that the U.S. is winning in Iraq? Why did Congress stand and applaud? What does it mean to win a war that should not have been started?

Having admitted that his invasion of Iraq is based on incorrect intelligence, why did Bush claim in his State of the Union address that his war in Iraq is central to the war against terrorism? He must mean that his mistake created terrorism where it did not exist, and, having created the terrorism, he must now fight it even if doing so creates yet more terrorists.

A rational response to Bush's mistake would be to remove the cause of the insurgency by apologizing for the mistake and withdrawing U.S. military forces. Neoconservatives say that the U.S. cannot withdraw because Iraq would fall into civil war. This is an admission that by removing Saddam Hussein, Bush created the conditions for civil war in Iraq. How, then, was removing Saddam Hussein a good thing?

The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq have destroyed Iraq's infrastructure, entire villages and towns, families, careers, and public safety. What America has done to Iraq is a monstrous crime. And Bush says it is because of a mistake in intelligence.

A mistake in intelligence in more ways than one.

It is extraordinary that after admitting to erroneously starting a war, Bush wants to do it all over again – this time against a more formidable foe, Iran.

America's adulation of ignorance gives Bush a free hand to repeat his mistake on a larger scale. Karl Rove used 9/11 to recast Bush as the archetypal hero vowing retribution on those who struck at innocent America. Enamored of this role, Americans have ceased to think.

There is no sign of intelligence or accurate reporting on Iran in the newspapers, on television or even over PBS radio. It is never made clear that Iran's "defiance" is one orchestrated by the U.S. government, or that the "defiance" is limited to Iran's development of nuclear energy, not a weapons program. When Americans hear "nuclear defiance" over and over, they conclude that Iran is making nuclear weapons. Instead of informing the people, the media drive them toward acceptance of another war.

Bush has been picking a fight with Iran for a long time. He declared Iran to be part of an "axis of evil." He constantly demonizes Iran and threatens Iran with sanctions and military attack. Israel announced that if Bush doesn't attack Iran, Israel will. Bush disrupted Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose inspectors have found no weapons program in Iran. The media misreport it all as Iran's bad behavior, bad behavior that reflects bad intentions.

The explosive situation in the Middle East needs to be defused, not aggravated. The United States gains nothing by confirming its image as the hegemonic Great Satan.

Nothing is gained by the deaths and maiming of thousands and tens of thousands more people whose lives are thrown away to the purposes of blind propaganda.

Nothing is gained by the U.S. wasting more hundreds of billions dollars that are desperately needed for important and legitimate purposes.

Nothing is gained by the U.S. pressuring with threats and bribes other countries to line up with what they know to be a wrong and dangerous policy.

Nothing is gained by endangering oil flows and a Western transportation system dependent on the internal combustion engine.

Bush's approach is insane. It serves no legitimate purpose. There is no reason for it.

Why is it happening?

comments on this article?

  • Who Remembers 'Guns and Butter'?

  • If Only US Law Applied to the US Government

  • Washington Arrogance Has Fomented a Muslim Revolution

  • The Cost of Hegemony Is Beyond Reach

  • This Time, the World Is Not Buying It

  • Do You Feel Safe Now? Proud?

  • Are You Ready to Face the Facts About Israel?

  • One Million Terrorists?

  • Only Little War Criminals Get Punished

  • We, the Salt of the Earth,
    Take Precedence

  • John Yoo, Totalitarian

  • The Conservative Movement: From Failure to Threat

  • Lies of Aggression

  • What the Iraq War Is About

  • American Hegemony Is Not Guaranteed

  • Petraeus Testimony May Signal Iran Attack

  • Protecting America – From the President

  • Paying Insurgents Not to Fight

  • What Do We Stand For?

  • Bush Calls on France for Help

  • American Liberty Teetering on Edge of Abyss

  • The West's Orwellian Monopoly on Morality

  • Bringing Death and Destruction to Muslims

  • We Are All Prisoners Now

  • No Liberty Without
    Habeas Corpus

  • Kerry Complicit in
    Bush's Crimes

  • Who Are The Fanatics?

  • The War Criminal in the Living Room

  • More War on the Horizon

  • Padilla Jury Opens Pandora's Box

  • US Israel Policy Harms Both Countries

  • US Hegemony Spawns Russian-Chinese Military Alliance

  • A Free Press or a
    Ministry of Truth?

  • A Reform to Restore the People's Power

  • Beyond Recklessness

  • The Neocon Threat to World Peace and American Freedom

  • If You Think Bush Is Evil Now, Wait Until He Nukes Iran

  • How Can Bush Free Iraq When He Brings Tyranny to America?

  • Will the GOP Destroy Itself Before It Destroys America?

  • One War Criminal Down, A Fistful to Go

  • The War Goes Ever On

  • Creating a Market for Security

  • Crime Blotter:
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

  • The Confession Backfired

  • The Last Days of Constitutional Rule?

  • How Much More Harm Can Bush Do?

  • Americans Have Lost Their Country

  • Criminals Control the Executive Branch

  • The Crime of the Century

  • Bush Is About to Attack Iran

  • The Empire Turns Its
    Guns on the Citizenry

  • The 'Surge' Is A Red Herring

  • Jimmy Carter Speaks Truth to Propaganda

  • Distracting Congress from the Real War Plan: Iran

  • The Surge: Political Cover or Escalation?

  • Is Bush's War Winding Down or Heating Up?

  • US Hypocrisy Reaches
    All-Time High

  • Keane/Kagan Plan Means More Bloodshed

  • The Disrespect for Truth has Brought a New Dark Age

  • Is James Baker a Match
    for AIPAC?

  • Catastrophe Still Awaits

  • Bush Is No Conservative

  • Is President Bush Sane?

  • Bush's Only Real Victory

  • Are Democrats Turning A Blind Eye to Civil Liberty?
  • More Archives

    Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and contributing editor of National Review. He is author or co-author of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon chair in political economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and senior research fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury's Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell.

    Reproduction of material from any original Antiwar.com pages
    without written permission is strictly prohibited.
    Copyright 2017 Antiwar.com