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Eleven Years Ago: The Questions the Media Didn't Ask Before We Went to War in Iraq

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, americans, bushadministration, congress, constitution, corruption, cover-up, crime, dishonesty, elections, Govtfearmongering, lies, media, military, politics, propaganda, republicans )

- 1585 days ago -
Just over eleven years ago, President George W. Bush held a widely watched televised press conference, as his self-imposed deadline for launching an invasion of Iraq neared.

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Kit B (276)
Thursday March 20, 2014, 12:03 pm
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Hadi Mizban -- A US Marine takes cover behind an Iraqi Army humvee in Amarah, southeast of Baghdad, June 19, 2008

Just over eleven years ago, President George W. Bush held a widely watched televised press conference, as his self-imposed deadline for launching an invasion of Iraq neared.

Bush stated in his intro, “We will not wait to see what terrorists or terrorist states could do with weapons of mass destruction.” A couple of the questions from the press were sharp, but one of the many softballs—if you can imagine, on the brink of a war that would cost thousands of American and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives—asking about his religious strength gave him an opportunity to say, “My faith sustains me because I pray daily. I pray for guidance and wisdom and strength…. But it’s a humbling experience to think that people I will never have met have lifted me and my family up in prayer. And for that I’m grateful.”

It was the mood of the affair that was most disquieting.

Bush smiled and made his usual quips, and many of the reporters played the game and did not press him hard. This was how these press gatherings had gone throughout the run-up to war. When it was over, I felt the press had blown its last best chance to really put his feet to the fire, and along with Ari Berman (then an intern at my magazine, Editor & Publisher, later at The Nation), came up with a few questions we wished reporters had asked.

Two weeks later—on this day in 2003—the US indeed did invade Iraq. The following, the list of questions we came up with just before the war, appears in my book, published recently in an updated and expanded e-book edition, So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits and the President Failed on Iraq.

— Why is the U.S. threatening an optional war if 59% of Americans do not support a U.S. invasion without the approval of the U.N. Security Council, according to a Feb. 24-26 USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll?

— If our allies have the same information on WMD—and the Iraqi threat is so real—why do some of our friends refuse to take part in your coalition?

— You praise the Iraqi people, say we have no quarrel with them, pledge to save them from the dictator and give them democracy. Would you tell us how many of them are likely to die in this war?

— You say one major reason for taking this action is to protect Americans from terrorism. How do you respond to the warnings of CIA Director George Tenet and others that invading Iraq would in fact likely increase terrorism?

— Rather than make us wait for a supplemental budget request—after the war has been launched—to tell us what it (and its aftermath) will cost, don’t you think the American people, who will pay the bill, deserve to know the latest long-term estimates before the fact?

— You say Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and is evil enough to use them. If not during an American invasion of his country, then when? How many deaths on our side do you expect?

— Why, if North Korea has the capability to produce six nuclear warheads by mid-summer, are you letting their very reluctant neighbors take the lead in deterring them while demanding that the U.S. take charge in confronting Saddam?

— With the economy shaken and deficits climbing, how do you respond to critics who say you’re ignoring domestic issues and the long-term economic security of this country by focusing so much of your time and resources on Iraq?

— Why did the U.S. edit the 12,000 page Iraqi weapons report (as recently revealed) to the U.N. Security Council, removing all names of U.S. companies that sold weapons materials to the Iraqis in the past?

— You claimed tonight that Iraq has started producing new missiles—but are these nothing more than less capable versions (fully permitted by the U.N.) of the missiles being destroyed now?

— How do you respond to reporter Daniel Schorr’s statement that the “coalition of the willing” is actually a “coalition of the billing?”

By: Greg Mitchell | The Nation |

Greg Mitchell’s So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, the Pundits—and the President—Failed on Iraq has just been published in an updated e-book edition

**Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50! **

JL A (281)
Thursday March 20, 2014, 5:47 pm
Excellent questions. I seem to recall baby Bush played with seating arrangements and other games to prevent getting hard questions during his White House press conferences ensuring voices expected to ask tough questions could easily be ignored due to where they were in the room.

Diane O (194)
Friday March 21, 2014, 6:29 am
It seems prudent, since we are targeting a republican president, to reacquaint ourselves with wars under both democrat and republican presidents:

Democrat or Republican Presidents: Who Has Started More Wars?

Indian Wars occurred in every Presidency up to the 20th Century. Many were the results of broken treaties. They will not be counted.

Franco-American Naval War (Quasi War): John Adams, Federalist (Ancestor Party of the Republicans); See XYZ affair for reason of war

First Barbary War: Thomas Jefferson, Democratic-Republican (Ancestor Party of the Democrats); Tripolitians ransomed American Sailors and tried to blackmail US. When the US refused, the Pasha (equivalent to king) declared war.

Second Barbary War and War of 1812: James Madison, Democratic-Republican; Second Barbary War began the same way as the first only with the Bey of Algiers declaring war. While the War of 1812 can be argued as being a war about sailor's rights, the real motive was Canada.

Mexican-American War: James K. Polk, Democratic; The Republic of Texas had a claim to Land between the Rio Grand and San Antionio(which the US inherited), which was not valid. Polk sent troops to the territory to protect it and the Mexican government sent troops to drive it out.

American Civil War: Abraham Lincoln, Republican; Hostilities began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter, a key fort held by Union troops in South Carolina. Lincoln called for each state to provide troops to retake the fort; consequently, four more slave states joined the Confederacy, bringing their total to eleven. The Union soon controlled the border states and established a naval blockade that crippled the southern economy.

Korea (1876); Ulysses S. Grant, Republican; Called Choson in 1876, the country attacked and destroyed an American Navy Vessel. The war was fought with similar motives as Perry's visit with Japan.

Spanish-American War and Phillipine Insurrection: William McKinley, Republican; American Naval Ship Maine sent to monitor alleged mistreatment of the civilians of Cuba and protect American economic interests. The ship was destroyed and the press (the real instigators of the war) of the time placed the now doubtful blame on the Spanish. US fought the war to free Cuba. McKinley announced that giving the Filipinos Independence outright would be like simply handing them over the Germans or Japanese (because of the geographic position) and harm American economic Interests.

Haiti; Vera Cruz occupation, Pancho Villa, World War I: Woodrow Wilson, Democratic; Troops were sent in to stabilize Haiti, Vera Cruz was occupied to prevent ships from Germany delivering guns to the government. Pancho Villa made several attacks on Americans (because he was not recognized as President of Mexico) forcing Wilson to send troops to capture Villa. WWI involvement was the result of Germany violating Neutrality rights.

Nicaragua: Calvin Coolidge, Republican; Like Haiti the objective was stabilization.

World War II: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democratic; Asked for declaration of war after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Germany and Italy declared war two days later.

Korean war (1950-54): Harry S. Truman, Democrat; North Korea, in violation of a UN treaty, invaded South Korea. Troops were sent to contain communism.

Vietnam War: Lyndon B. Johnson, Democratic; involvement started after two American gunboats were attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin (the reports have now been proven falsified.).

Grenada: Ronald Reagan, Republican; When a Communist government took over the country, it persecuted the American college students studying there.

Panama, Persian Gulf War Operation Restoring Freedom: George H. W. Bush, Republican; Noriega, leader of Panama was charged with drug trafficking and through Noriega's power, Panama would declare war (Retaining the Panama Canal is allegedly the real motivation). Persian Gulf War was fought to Liberate Kuwait from Iraq and protect Saudi Arabia from an Invasion (also protecting oil interests). Troops were sent to Somalia to assist in the feeding the hungry, after guerrillas shot up UN aid convoys.

Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq: Bill Clinton, Democratic Party; troops were sent to Bosnia to enforce peacekeeping. Yugoslavia was attacked over genocide upon the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Air assaults on Iraq were ordered after failing to comply with UN weapons inspectors.

Afghanistan and Iraq: George W. Bush, Republican; Invasion of Afghanistan was the result of the Taliban ruled government's refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden after the attack of September 11, 2001.
Iraq's invasion after 9/11 is still under debate.

Final Score:
Democrats: 16
Republicans: 10
Wikipedia, Robert Leckie's The Wars of America

Kit B (276)
Friday March 21, 2014, 7:40 am

I'm happy for you that you can copy and paste. None of that has anything to do with this article. If you can not address the topic, then please feel free to walk on bye.

There is NO debate about the illegal war and invasion of Iraq. If you can not look at the real flaws in a decision no matter what the party, then you are just repeating the propaganda that was spoon fed to you.

Nearly 300 Marines were bombed in Libya, Reagan's answer? Invade a country about the size of Rhode Island. It was BS and everyone knew it. FYI ---- Saudi Arabia offered to get Osama bin Laden, as did other Middle Eastern countries. Bush refused their offers. Read some books - you need the history lessons.


Past Member (0)
Friday March 21, 2014, 9:05 am
I was in the UK, and working in The Netherlands, and thinking You guys had lost your minds because the news was pretty consistent. Then again, everyone now says "it wasn't me."

JL A (281)
Friday March 21, 2014, 9:24 am
Here is the link to a topical Wiki article for this thread:

Kit B (276)
Friday March 21, 2014, 9:29 am

Why Iraq and not North Korea? --- "Why We Did It!"

Angelika R (143)
Friday March 21, 2014, 1:40 pm
Thx Kit for picking this out, I also had in mind posting it, only you were faster.
Wish people would LEARN! Again right now media is failing to address the important questions and the spin goes on.

Diane O (194)
Friday March 21, 2014, 3:17 pm
Kit, actually, I would never walk on "bye" when a liberal opinion is biased and not well researched. You are showcasing GWB when, in fact, he acted on intelligence information. You will recall at that time the CIA and the FBI were not sharing information with each other. Google it if you need to refresh your memory. You may also recall that Saddam Hussein refused weapons inspections directed by the UNSCOM for years...literally got away with dodging that special commission. When he finally allowed them in to inspect for WMD's they didn't find actual WMD's because they were mobilized and sent elsewhere.
What they did find was evidence of yellow cake. There's strong suspicion that Saddam's chemical weapons went to Syria. Last year these weapons were used in Syria. So, let us be clear that GWB was correct in following the intelligence information he received.

So, let us now take a moment to talk about the media....the questions they never asked or should have asked. I'll begin and end with Barack Obama. Where was the media? Why weren't they asking the questions about why Obama lied over 30 times to the American people that they would not lose their private healthcare coverage and they could keep their own doctors and that it would be a "good deal" in that they would save money? Talk about blatant lies....but then I said I would end it here about the media. Obama's popularity rating is in the 30's. Case closed.

You seem to have a problem when someone disagrees with your propaganda. You cannot change the facts. People sign your petitions when they don't even know what they are signing. Case in point is the Bernie Sanders for President petition. Someone needed to step up and inform those who signed that Bernie Sanders is an avowed socialist and not a member of either political party. That is exactly what I did. Inform the readers. This article is about questions the media never asked. We are "the media stream" on Care 2 and by golly people need to ask questions when a biased article like this one is presented to them....just like the one you put up about what a great president an avowed socialist would make for the American people.

I am dedicated to being out here on Care 2 to inform those Americans who have been hoodwinked by biased left wing talking points. My sole purpose here is to tell the other side of the story. Like you, I have my freedom of speech and for you to suggest that I walk on "bye" because I'm like a gnat who dares to challenge you when you are wrong is breathtaking.

Many presidents, both democrat and republican, have entered our country into wars. Each war had its own set of circumstances. For you to maintain a single focus on George W. Bush and Iraq and where was the media at that time is pure propaganda. If you are going to take the time to post someone else's personal opinions I would think that you would engage in a bit of research before delivering your personal opinions which are based purely on what you've read from left wing sources.

Sorry to rain on another one of your parades but readers deserve better. They deserve the truth.

Kit B (276)
Friday March 21, 2014, 4:13 pm

Try one FACT - just one - look up Hans Blix. Stop with the copy and paste unless you are going to give full credit to the real author.

JL A (281)
Friday March 21, 2014, 4:18 pm
Anyone who actually read even the title of this article and comprehended it or actually read the article before posting anything knows this is about media coverage and not politicians or political parties.


Plagiarism is taking the writings or literary ideas of another and selling and/or publishing them as one's own writing. Brief quotes or use of cited sources do not constitute plagiarism. The original author can bring a lawsuit for appropriation of his/her work against the plagiarist and recover the profits. Although not normally a crime, a person who plagiarizes is subject to being sued for fraud or copyright infringement if prior creation can be proved."

Kit B (276)
Friday March 21, 2014, 8:53 pm

Hans Martin Blix is a Swedish diplomat. He was Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs and later became the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. This man [Blix] spoke to the president, (GW) the president's advisors and news outlets. He told people there were NO WMD's. This was his job with IAEA. Gee whiz, what did we find after we killed thousands, destroyed their homes and tossed what government they had to the winds. No WMD's, you can make this about democrats and republicans if you please, Diane. The fact is that the president lied to the American people with full knowledge that he was lying and complicit in the loss of American and Iraqi lives for his own personal reasons.

J L is 100% correct your post is pure plagiarism and that is intolerable. If you had even bothered to double check the idiot on Yahoo, you would have discovered his answer was contrived of his imagination and not even supported by his one source Wiki. If you can not write for yourself, at least be honest enough to give full credit to others that do the writing, even when it is wrong.


Diane O (194)
Saturday March 22, 2014, 3:00 am
Nice try but there is no plagiarism anywhere in my comments. I posted a list of past presidents and wars from Wikipedia. I then added my own comments based on my research. You may not agree with my personal opinion but you do agree with Hans Martin Blix's personal opinion.

Hans Martin Blix has his personal opinions on GWB and the war in Iraq.

Hans Martin Blix shared his personal opinions on what he thought was the truth. How do you know that his assessment was correct? Because he told you he was correct in his assessment?

It always comes down to the question "Who do you believe?"

More of Hans Martin Blix's "personal opinions."


Kit B (276)
Saturday March 22, 2014, 7:02 am

Are you really that dense or just so bent on defending an illegal and immoral war that you are willing to ignore actual chronicled facts? I believe the FACTS, you believe fairy tales. Hanx Blix doesn't share personal opinions, he reports facts on the ground as does every person that works for the IAEA. I have read about this decision to go to war, even Bush doesn't argue with the many books by his personal "confidants; that he wanted a war with Iraq.

As for the plagiarism you took that word for word from the link below which was posted by someone 8 years ago. It's obvious neither you nor this Travis bothered to check even Wiki:

Plagiarism like stubborn resistance to truth is for small minds that need a boost to create an answers.

Kit B (276)
Saturday March 22, 2014, 7:05 am

You really don't get it, other than being a slight annoyance, your presence or lack there of is meaningless.

JL A (281)
Saturday March 22, 2014, 7:47 am
Stealing someone else's work and words is the epitome of disrespect for others IMO in addition to violating C2's Code of Conduct and US statutes.

. (0)
Saturday March 22, 2014, 10:17 am
From what I read the chemical and bio weapons were moved to three facilities in Syria from Iraq. One is in the Beqaa Valley and the other two are in NE Syria at two decommed military bases. By now they might have been removed to Russia due to the unrest that was commencing just before the Arab Spring happened.
That's what that Russian convoy was all about just before Shock and Awe happened in Iraq. They never did find weapons of mass destruction and that so called cheap oil well we never saw any of it. Who stood to profit?

Bush was Cheney's puppet just like Obama is Brzezinski's. It's always about profit and the rest is nothing more than political gamesmanship. To list all the wars take a look at who stood to profit from the Indian wars or wars with Mexico or the Barbary Pirates. I could belabour the point but I won't. The First Bank of the US in 1791 was 75% controlled by English bankers; the very same enemy who played both sides against each other to create maximum profit.
It was these same bankers who backed the south in the Civil War. Lincoln spurned their offer of monetary backing due to the high rate of interest, almost 120% in some instances. Kennedy did the same thing in the 60s when he shut down the FED and issued US script much as the colonialists had prior to the American Revolution and as Lincoln did with the Greenback. Maybe that's the reason they were killed? Who knows but it is an interesting line of investigation.
It is these same bankers who are profiting off the FED today. It's all about profit. You can blame Bush as much as you want but Darth Cheney was the real power behind that throne and he was in Reagan's cabinet too - one of the worst presidents ever who almost bankrupted the nation.
Per Bernie Sanders; I would take him or any other independent who wants to deal with the issues rather than personal mudslinging. A politician should represent the people; their issues. His/her financial policies; campaign and other spending should be transparent and accountable to the nation and not the corporate sponsors or their lobbyist acolytes.
The POTUS position is a puppet who dances and speaks according to the script given him by the corporatist puppet master. It doesn't matter which party is in power. That's just my opinion of course and as facts emerge and I become more informed and edumacted my opinion grows and changes to incorporate any new and relevant data. I believe that's called growth.

. (0)
Saturday March 22, 2014, 10:18 am
Sorry that should be NW Syria and not the NE. My aplogies.

. (0)
Saturday March 22, 2014, 10:22 am
BTW if you doubt my statement about the English Bankers financing both sides of the American Revolution; a man far more intelligent and better educated than myself held the same opinion. I didn't come across that fact until just recently. His name was Ben Franklin.

. (0)
Saturday March 22, 2014, 10:31 am
Grenada btw was nothing more than political theatre and farce in order to prop up a sagging nation due to the Federal Reserve policies and the exacerbating stringency of the White House financial policies which were in conflict with each other.
Panama was a joke. Noriega was nothing more than Bush Sr.'s drug conduit to the coke cartels in Colombia. The Colombians would fly their drugs into protected Cuban airspace. From there it was safe passage to Panama; Guatemala and Nicaragua to be distributed to the Contras who turned it into cash to finance weapons. It was also safe passage for an ex Green Beret like Barry Seal to transport the drugs into Mena, Arkansas.
Drugs have always been the currency the CIA has used to finance all their dirty, little wars.
Of course Noriega refused Bush's requests on certain military issues such as allowing safe passage for the Contras through Panama and he couldn't keep his mouth shut.

David C (119)
Sunday March 23, 2014, 2:43 pm
.....I think one question that would have been enough is "Why is war the answer?"........or since Mr. Bush liked to show his religion so much "What war would Jesus have started?"


Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday March 23, 2014, 5:35 pm
My thanks for posting this, Kit. The "if-only" questions are sad. I recall when questions of this sort WERE asked, they were simply glossed over anyway, and never really answered. Remember Dumsfeld's "known-unknowns" comment? (The man who made a documentary about that was on Bill Maher last Fri).
And, I don't want to get in the middle of anything....especially off-topic, but let's also not forget Curveball, the Downing Street memo and Valerie Plame & Joseph Wilson....who explained all that non-existent yellowcake.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 12:02 am
All Bush had to say was 'Bring it on"- I saw that on the front page on a street corner in huge black letters. I was appalled.

Laura Straightup (0)
Wednesday March 26, 2014, 10:53 pm
The media is in love with a Progressive movement that's breaking us into the third world weak and uninformed stoned population we've become...All so they can continue to push the Bush bashing and hover like Vultures over the profits of a Country the World loves to hate... Hate us, but fear and revere us... That's what kept us safe and productive. The thoughts put into this article are great, but look at the mess we're in NOW, and the complicity of the media who refused to report the TRUTH about this REAL threat to the United States and The World. The enemy within. He popped out of nowhere and killed more of our troops than any IED did during the entire Bush Administration in the first two years of his "command". Welcome to The Red Scare Revisited and a world without Winston Churchill- the guy who woke up and smelled the Communists coming. They're back, and they're on the attack. Wake Up Main Stream Media~ Lapdogs are lying down with fleas. { BENGHAZI ~ 9-11 ~ Never Forget. }

Craig Pittman (52)
Saturday March 29, 2014, 4:58 am
Excellent background work. Thanks Kit.

Leanne B (46)
Saturday March 29, 2014, 3:28 pm
I enjoy reading most all of these posts. thanks all.

Barbara P (1069)
Monday March 31, 2014, 5:12 pm
Thank you for posting Kit... Great share!

Past Member (0)
Monday April 7, 2014, 2:01 am
Interesting article and very poinyent questions.I still believe the war in Iraqu was illegally contrived in order to remove an irritant regime.North Korea is a different kettle of fish and will not be a pushover.
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