Rant of the Day, Thursday, April 7, 2005
This is how Richard Cohen
wraps up his Opinion piece in today’s WaPo:
"It is now clear that the decision to do so was made shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks -- maybe even the next day. History may well decide that this was the correct decision, that it eradicated terrorism and spread democracy throughout the Arab world -- just as the neocons intended. Even if that materializes (from Richard Perle's mouth to God's ears), it won't change the fact that the administration failed to make a truthful case for war. Instead it built a sham one based on the hysteria, hate and panic created by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Intelligence hardly mattered. Hussein was going to go, regardless of the evidence. My source in the intelligence community understood this from the get-go. I did not -- not right away, anyway.
"No doubt Iraq was a doozy of an intelligence failure. But it was, fundamentally and above all, a breach of faith with the American people. When it comes to matters of life and death, we expect our government to level with us. The Bush administration did not -- and it would not matter if all of the Middle East, from the Tigris to the Nile, becomes a democracy overnight. The fact will remain that this war was fought for a lie. The failure was not in intelligence. It was in political character.”
Cohen’s piece exemplifies what is wrong with the American media and punditocracy. Cohen realizes the Bushies manufactured evidence to support an unjustified war. He even makes the statement, “America went to war because George W. Bush wanted to go to war.” The tone of the article makes it clear that Cohen is angry. But Cohen still doesn’t get it.
This wasn’t an intelligence failure or a failure of “political character.” This was a failure of morality. Germany invaded Poland in 1939 because Hitler wanted to invade Poland. Outside Germany, the rest of the world recognized Hitler’s invasion as a monstrous act of moral depravity. Contemporary American journalists didn’t write about Hitler’s failure of “political character.” They wrote about the evil of his soul.
The Germans of 1939 believed Hitler’s manufactured evidence of a Polish attack at Sender Gleiwitz and didn’t see the evil of his soul because a Ministry of Propaganda controlled the German media. Cohen doesn’t have that excuse. Despite all the failures of the corporate media establishment, America has no propaganda ministry. Can anybody imagine the 1939 Frankfurter Rundschau
publishing a columnist who questioned Hitler’s motives?
This is why the stain on America’s reputation caused by Bush’s unprovoked war is greater than the stain caused by Germany’s unprovoked invasion of Poland. We have a relatively free press which freely chose to support Bush’s war and refused to question the flimsy evidence offered by the Bush administration.
Now that it has become clear the justification Bush offered was largely bogus (and the administration knew it was bogus) the press talks about intelligence failures, policy failures, and now a failure of “political character.” None speak of the moral failure of the administration that knowingly launched an unprovoked war.
George W. Bush and the men and women of his administration made a deliberate, calculated decision to start an unprovoked war that would cost the lives of tens of thousands of people, maim many more, disrupt countless lives and generate hatreds that will last for generations. Cohen even acknowledges that they made that decision with the full knowledge that such a war was completely unjustified.
Like the rest of the American media, Richard Cohen has just looked directly at profoundly evil men and women, but he can’t recognize the evil of their souls.