In keeping with The Monitor‘s ongoing look at the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, our first guest on this week’s show is Sam Husseini. We talk to him about some of the myths that still form part of the public consciousness of the war and those responsible.
Our second guest is Christine Hong. She talked with Mark Bebawi yesterday about the Korean Peninsula and the ongoing tensions between North Korea and the US.
More about our guests:
Sam Husseini is the Communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy
Quote: “It’s common to simply blame Bush and Cheney for the Iraq war, but it’s not accurate. Many voted for or otherwise backed the Iraq war — including Obama’s entire foreign policy team from Kerry to Hagel; from Clinton to Rice to Biden. Even among those who voted against the war, many facilitated it, like Pelosi, who claimed during the buildup to the Iraq invasion that ‘there was no question Iraq had chemical and biological agents.’ None of these individuals have ever seriously come clean about their conduct during this critical period (and I’ve questioned most of them) — so there’s never been a moment of reckoning for the greatest foreign policy disaster of this generation. The elevation of Democrats who did not seriously question the war likely facilitated Bush and Cheney never being held accountable for their conduct. “Persistent myths include that after the invasion, we learned that Bush deceived about Iraqi WMDs. In fact, it was clear before the war that the Bush administration was engaged, as an Institute for Public Accuracy news release headline put it the day before the bombing campaign started, in a ‘Pattern of Deceit.’ Some of these falsifications were brazen, like claiming the UN weapons inspectors were dissatisfied with Iraqi compliance, when they were saying Iraq was making progress and they wanted more time to complete their job. Bush’s deceptions were helped along by the fact that the Clinton administration had also deceitfully hyped Iraqi WMDs, maintained sanctions and a belligerent stance for nearly a decade — a pattern that the Obama administration seems to be repeating in many respects now with Iran and North Korea. Tragically, the peace movement, which took center stage with quasi-global protests on Feb. 15, 2003, went on to marginalize itself by focusing on Bush rather than building a serious global movement for peace and justice.” See FAIR’s 2007 report “Iraq: A Critical Timeline,” which documents much of the media drumbeat for war, as well as notable exceptions.
Christine Hong is an assistant professor of transnational Asian American, Korean diaspora, and critical Pacific Rim studies at University of California Santa Cruz. She is a steering committee member of the Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea, a coordinating council member of the National Campaign to End the Korean War, and a member of the executive board of the Korea Policy Institute., Hong recently co-wrote “Lurching Towards War: A Post-Mortem on Strategic Patience”
Quote: “The military exercises that the U.S. and South Korea just launched are not defensive exercises. As of last year, in the wake of Kim Jong Il’s death, they escalated in size, duration, and content, enacting regime change scenarios toward North Korea. The North Korean government continually refers to these war games as being extremely provocative. “The Obama administration’s ‘strategic patience’ policy toward North Korea boils down to non-engagement at the same time that it implemented its forward-deployed ‘Asia pivot’ policy, which has the U.S. concentrating its military resources in East Asia. The goal is to contain China. In retrospect, Bush made more diplomatic overtures to North Korea than Obama. “People in the U.S. need to understand that the 1953 armistice agreement called for talks to begin three months after its signing regarding the peaceful settlement of the Korean War and withdrawal of all foreign troops. Chinese troops left soon after. U.S. troops remain six decades later, and the Korean War has never ended. “In Korean culture, 60 years represents one life cycle. We’ve had a full life cycle of war so Korean activists are dubbing 2013 “Year one of peace.”