Now that President Obama has commenced bombing and droning Iraq in spite of Nixonian proclamations that he would end the illegal war in 2008, the mainstream media is pretending to present the American public with two opposing sides that it didn’t present in the lead-up to George W. Bush’s blunder in 2003: Moderate pro-war and extreme pro-war.
In reality, it’s two sides of the same coin.
Yes, network television news and establishment newspapers like the New York Times helped mislead the country when the Bush/Cheney administration claimed then Iraq president Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction that he would use to attack the United States. Yes, media figures such as Phil Donahue, Ashleigh Banfield, and Chris Hedges lost their jobs for questioning the war in Iraq while reporters like Judith Miller worked as stenographers for White House officials to perpetuate the myth that Hussein was housing WMDS. And yes, despite the media allowing the neocons to get away with one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in American history, the same sources used in 2003 are the featured experts for Iraq War version 2014.
The narrative is a familiar one: Presidential candidates who promise to end wars quickly learn their lofty promises go against foreign policy realities past presidents were faced with. Richard Nixon had to commence bombing Cambodia and Laos despite his campaign promise to end the Vietnam War; and Obama kept the Guantanamo Bay prison open and simply changed the focus of Bush’s Iraq War to Afghanistan, Libya, and a failed attempt to take military action against Syria.
Since Obama campaigned to end the Iraq War in 2008, the media presents him as the moderate, perhaps too cautious, voice in opposition to the plethora of neocon fanatics beating the drums for war on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and Sunday morning news shows on the big three networks. Aside from Iraq, this was illustrated with the media narrative following the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crash last month: On the one side is Obama enforcing sanctions on Russia; the other side is John McCain calling for a new Cold War. No other opinion, such as Ron Paul’s, gets heard.
McCain, along with neocon Sen. Lindsay Graham, has been the media’s resident war expert on every conflict that has arose since Obama took office. He’s received nearly as much air time the past few years as he did when running for president in 2008. Despite recent polls naming him the least popular senator in the country, he made the rounds on nearly all news shows since Obama made his Iraq announcement last Thursday.
“Senator McCain, lots of people, when we have you on, often say why do you have him on so often? We say because he answers our questions, because he expresses his views quite clearly,” gushed CNN’s State of the Union host Candy Crowley during his appearance last Sunday.
And quit clearly, McCain was allowed to repeat the same lie that was made in the lead up to the Iraq War in 2003 that the United States would be attacked if military action doesn’t commence immediately. Sen. Graham parroted his partner in crime on Fox News:
“They’re coming here. This is not just about Baghdad, not just about Syria. It’s about our homeland. If we get attacked because [Obama] has no strategy to protect us, then he will have committed a blunder for the ages.”
Not to be outdone, Rep. Peter King claimed ISIS poses a greater threat than al Qaeda when interviewed on NBC’s Meet the Press: “We can’t wait for Maliki or the Iraqi parliament to fight ISIS. Every day that goes by ISIS builds up this caliphate. They are more powerful now than al Qaeda was on 9/11.”
And who can forget chief warmonger Bill Kristol? Having been proven wrong on nearly every claim he made in the lead up to the Iraq War, Kristol showcased his even worse political punditry during his years at Fox News by predicting that Hillary Clinton would soundly defeat Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary and that pretend 9/11 hero Rudy Giuliani was a sure bet to run for president in 2012.
Despite the above mentioned and several other wildly inaccurate claims, Kristol is now a featured panelist on ABC’s This Week and continues to make the rounds on other reputable news show every time a possible war looms around the corner. Last week on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, he was back at it pontificating that Obama must “get in big and decisively now”. Not surprisingly, his opinions went unchallenged by the other panelists.
Where’s Ron Paul? Where’s Glenn Greenwald? Where’s Pat Buchanan? Where’s Judge Andrew Napolitano? Where’s Rep. Justin Amash who just soundly defeated a pro-war Republican primary opponent after being outspent by nearly $300,000? Why doesn’t the rest of the country that overwhelmingly opposes new wars get a voice?
The guest list for next week’s Sunday morning news shows is yet to be determined. More than likely, they’ll air reruns from 2003 like they did this week.