Monday, August 21, 2006

The Best War Ever

Original Article at
August 20, 2006
The Best War Ever
By David Swanson
By David Swanson

Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber have a new book, which is always a good thing; but this one is especially good. It's called "The Best War Ever: Lies, Damned Lies, and the Mess in Iraq." It's 206 pages and you'll read it in one sitting, because it's more entertaining than the corporate media whose infotainment is the book's focus. While this book is every bit as well researched as Congressman John Conyers' 350-page report "The Constitution in Crisis," it's written as a compelling narrative rather than a list of evidence or a draft indictment. I recommend reading these two works together.

Rampton and Stauber present a case not only that Bush, Cheney, and gang lied us into a war, but that the lies fooled the liars themselves at least as much as anyone else, and that the lies impeded the planning. According to this analysis, the reason the occupation of Iraq was not planned was primarily that the undertaking of such planning, had it become known, would have conflicted with the lies about Americans being welcomed as liberators. The authors also make a case that the viciousness of the Bushies' attacks and retribution against whistleblowers significantly helped to expose the lies the Administration had been telling. 

Rampton and Stauber recount the twists and turns in this war's narrative from the point of view of careful consumers of media. Because the media has repeatedly erased old storylines and begun anew, a review of where we've actually been is helpful. One of the first major stops on this chronicle of media wonders is the effusive praise bestowed on Colin Powell's U.N. presentation by the U.S. corporate media. Here was a list of blatant and in some cases quite obvious lies, lies that Powell's own staff had warned him would not even seem plausible. And yet, corporate U.S. media outlets universally decreed that the case for war was made undeniable by this speech. Tellingly, however, U.S. newspapers stated that Powell had told the truth because he couldn't possibly have done otherwise, not because the newspapers had checked out any of the claims.

Rampton and Stauber quote, to refresh our memories, what several newspapers and pundits had to say about Powell's performance, including these gems and others like them: 

"It is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction." – The Washington Post

from London Guardian,,1854731,00.html

Their bodies as weapons

Rapes in conflict zones result from the idea that violence is erotic, and it
pervades the US military

Robin Morgan

Monday August 21, 2006

When news surfaced that four GIs allegedly stalked, gang-raped and killed an
Iraqi woman, the US tried to minimise this latest atrocity. Now article 32
hearings - the military equivalent of a grand jury - have ended at Camp
Liberty, a US base in Iraq. In September, a general will rule whether the
accused should be court-martialled. The defence already pleads post-traumatic
stress disorder: in four months preceding the crime, 17 of the accused GIs'
battalion were killed.

The victim's name was Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. Abeer means "fragrance of
flowers". She was 14 years old. According to a statement by one of the accused,
the soldiers first noticed her at a checkpoint. On March 12, after playing cards
while slugging whisky, they changed into civvies and burst into Abeer's home.
They killed her mother, father and five-year-old sister and "took turns" raping
Abeer. Finally, according to the statement, they murdered her, drenched the
bodies with kerosene, and set them on fire. Then the GIs grilled chicken wings.

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