Archive for the ‘Conservative Hypocrisy’ Category

From David Frum:

Here’s the part of the 2016 story that will be hardest to explain after it’s all over: Trump did not deceive anyone. Unlike, say, Sarah Palin in 2008, Trump appeared before the electorate in his own clothes, speaking his own words. When he issued a promise, he instantly contradicted it. If you chose to accept the promise anyway, you did so with abundant notice of its worthlessness. For all the times Trump said believe me and trust me in his salesman patter, he communicated constantly and in every medium that there was only thing you could believe and trust: If you voted for Donald Trump, you’d get Donald Trump, in all his Trumpery and Trumpiness.

The television networks that promoted Trump; the primary voters who elevated him; the politicians who eventually surrendered to him; the intellectuals who argued for him, and the donors who, however grudgingly, wrote checks to him—all of them knew, by the time they made their decisions, that Trump lied all the time, about everything. They knew that Trump was ignorant, and coarse, and boastful, and cruel. They knew he habitually sympathized with dictators and kleptocrats—and that his instinct when confronted with criticism of himself was to attack, vilify, and suppress. They knew his disrespect for women, the disabled, and ethnic and religious minorities. They knew that he wished to unravel NATO and other U.S.-led alliances, and that he speculated aloud about partial default on American financial obligations. None of that dissuaded or deterred them.

They all know Trump would be an alarmingly bad president. So why do they support him? Today someone suggested, “It’s white people’s O.J. verdict.”

Speaking of O.J. The documentary “O.J. Made In America” is phenomenal. I’m not talking about the miniseries that garnered Emmy awards recently. I mean this one. It is a riveting piece of documentary filmmaking, and highly relevant to current events.

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I notice that our dear friend Amazona asks, “Just curious—does anyone know what impact losing state funding has had on Planned Parenthood activity in Texas?” Well, since you asked…

Before answering her question, we should probably clear up one thing. She seems to be under the impression that Texas defunded Planned Parenthood clinics only since October 2015. Ergo, the span of four months is not long enough to demonstrate any effect on pregancies since it takes longer than that to make a human baby. Of course, she’s wrong again. Not about gestation, but about when Planned Parenthood clinics began to lose funding in Texas.

The fact is, Since Texas slashed funding to Planned Parenthood in 2011, more than half the state’s abortion clinics have shuttered — and data show births among poor women have surged.

You see, Amazona? It was 2011, not October 2015. And some folks have actually studied the situation, as opposed to making up suppositions off the top of their heads to support their ideology. You should try it sometime.

Since Texas slashed funding to Planned Parenthood in 2011, more than half the state’s abortion clinics have shuttered — and data show births among poor women have surged.

Researchers looked at fertility trends among women who qualified for birth control through the state’s public family planning programs in the two years before and after Texas lawmakers booted Planned Parenthood from its payroll. Each woman lived in a county that lost a Planned Parenthood clinic and had, at some point, received an injectable contraceptive from an affiliate before it closed.

The group’s birth rate shot up.

Between 2011 and 2014, the number of these births, covered by Medicaid, climbed 27 percent, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine. (Medicaid coverage for healthy pregnancies — prenatal care, labor and delivery — typically costs at least $8,000 per baby.)

The birth increase coincided with a 36-percent drop in claims for long-acting contraceptives, including implants and intrauterine devices — meaning significantly fewer women started using what gynecologists consider the most effective form of birth control. Claims for injectable contraceptives fell 31 percent. No significant change emerged in women obtaining birth control pills and contraceptive rings.

Joseph Potter, an economist at the University of Texas at Austin who co-authored the study, said there’s no way to prove the Planned Parenthood closures sparked a baby boom.

Perhaps more women simply decided, at higher-than-previous rates, to have babies. Or perhaps they couldn’t find or fund another contraceptive shot, which need to be taken every three months to stay effective. Perhaps they simply lost access to reliable birth control, in general.

“You’ve got a very strong signal that there was an impact of [the Texas exclusion of Planned Parenthood],” Potter said. “The thing about this study, it more or less contradicts the claim you can’t implement that policy at no cost, without hurting people.”

The study, which comes as the national debate over abortion rages on and Planned Parenthood stays firmly in the spotlight, received funding from the Susan T. Buffett Foundation, a Planned Parenthood supporter. Potter said the foundation wasn’t involved in the research and did not ask to see the study.

In 2011, Texas became the first state to block funding to Planned Parenthood, cutting its family-planning funds by 66 percent and redirecting the rest to general health-care providers. After excluding Planned Parenthood, a qualified provider under federal law, the state lost all federal funding for its women’s health program. The new, entirely state-run Texas Women’s Health Program bars funds from clinics that offer abortions.

In 2013, former Gov. Rick Perry pushed harder to quash abortion access in Texas, signing a law requiring all providers to meet ambulatory surgical center standards and physicians to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The move delivered another financial blow to women’s health clinics across the state, forcing many to close their doors. From 2012 to 2014, the number of abortion providers in Texas shrank from 42 to 18.

“To be clear, my goal, and the goal of many of those joining me here today, is to make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past,” Perry said of the policy.

Proponents of the regulations under House Bill 2 say they wanted to protect women’s health. Abortion rights supporters, however, say the mandates are unnecessary, expensive and an “undue burden” on women’s rights. Some Texas women now have to drive 250 miles to get the procedure.

The Supreme Court is slated to review the law this year, with a hearing scheduled for March.

The trend Texas started carries national implications, Potter said. Alabama, Arkansas, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Louisiana and Utah have also taken steps to block public money from Planned Parenthood clinics. Ohio is now considering similar action.

The Congressional Budget Office said in a report last year that cutting off Planned Parenthood from federal money would increase public spending by an estimated $130 million over 10 years. The clinics serve more than 40 percent of women who receive birth control from safety-net providers in 18 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit reproductive health advocacy organization, and more than half of such women in 11 states.

The CBO, a nonpartisan watchdog, asserted that defunding Planned Parenthood, which counts roughly 2.6 million women as clients, would lead to more unplanned births as patients lost access to birth control.

Though Republicans in Texas and across the country have long spoken out against Planned Parenthood, their efforts to defund the organization found new energy last year after anti-abortion activists released video of Planned Parenthood employees discussing the cost of donating fetal tissue.

David Daleiden, the filmmaker behind the videos, claimed the organization was selling fetal tissue for profit – a charge the organization has denied.

Eleven states opened investigations into Planned Parenthood. None found evidence of wrongdoing – and last week, in a surprise move, a Texas grand jury indicted Daleiden on felony charges related to creating a fake ID and trying to buy human tissue. He turned himself over to authorities on Thursday.

“I have never in my life witnessed a more whiny human being than this president.”
–Sean Hannity on his Fox News show, Nov. 3.

Evidently he has never listened to himself, because all he does is whine. It’s his signature characteristic.

Hannity was whining tonight about President Obama mocking the Republicans about their fear of having to respond to tough questions from debate moderators after playing a clip described below:

“Have you noticed that everyone of these candidates say, ‘Obama’s weak. Putin’s kicking sand in his face. When I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out,'” Obama said, impersonating a refrain among Republican candidates that he’s allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin too much leeway.

“Then it turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators at the debate. Let me tell you, if you can’t handle those guys, then I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you,” Obama said.

Sean Hannity: The least self-aware human being on television.

What is it with conservatives and their rampant propagation of chain emails, photos and Facebook posts that are outright lies? One would think that if their arguments and positions are sound, then they wouldn’t need to resort to such tactics. But sadly, the Internet age has brought them front and center.

I bring this up because a Facebook friend shared this Facebook post the other day:

Robert Rosie Rosenkranz' Facebook post, in which he falsely claims that a photograph of the wall along the United States / Mexico border in Arizona is actually a wall that Mexico built on its border with Guatemala.

Robert Rosie Rosenkranz’ Facebook post, in which he falsely claims that a photograph of the wall along the United States / Mexico border in Arizona is actually a wall that Mexico built on its border with Guatemala.

The Facebook user who posted the photo, Robert Rosie Rosenkranz, claims “This is the gigantic WALL that Mexico built on the Guatemalan border. Hummmm. Imagine that? I guess it is not racist for Mexico to build a wall to keep Guatemalans out.”

Some other Facebook users pointed out that the photograph does not depict the Mexico / Guatmala border, but is actually a photograph of the wall along the United States / Mexico border in Arizona. That didn’t stop Robert Rosie Rosenkranz and his duped conservative friends from posting more fake photos of the Mexico / Guatemala border.

Notice that the photo has been shared over 23,000 times. Even after it was pointed out by several commenters that the photograph was a fake, other users continued to comment as though it is legit. Welcome to the Internet age of conservative misinformation. Apparently, critical thinking is not a strong suit among conservatives.

So what to make of Robert Rosie Rosenkranz’ motives? If he was sincere, he would have acknowledge the error of his post once it was brought to his attention. Instead, he has continued to post more false photos of the supposed Mexico / Guatemala border.

My first personal encounter with this conservative tactic was in January 2008, when I received an email entitled, “FOR ALL TO KNOW….WHO IS BARACK OBAMA,….READ THIS ONE!!!!!!” Now, I barely knew who Barack Obama was at the time. I read the email. It didn’t pass the smell test, but it did advise, “We checked this out on ‘snopes.com’. It is factual. Check for yourself.” So I did. It wasn’t.

Then there was the one about Obama’s draconian income tax plan. The email (intentionally) failed to take into account how marginal tax rates work, instead calculating taxes owed based on the using the highest marginal tax rate on an individual’s entire income. I corrected these as I got them, but I soon grew tired of it and realized that it didn’t really matter because no amount of correction would cause them to stop.

Things like this–especially the “FOR ALL WE KNOW” email–simply help drive me to the Obama campaign. Incidentally, I exchange email with dozens of former Obama volunteers, and I have never received lies like this from them. Rather, this seems to be a conservative thing to do.

Which brings me back to the beginning of this post. If conservative positions are as sound as they claim they are, then why do they need to persistently and repeatedly lie? Why do they need to dupe other people in order to bring them to their point of view?

So Scott Walker, conservative governor of Wisconsin, fighter of the good fight, protector of the public’s money–who hates to see the state spend money on stuff like, oh, higher education–signed a bill today giving $250 million in taxpayer money to the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team so that they can build themselves a new place of business (i.e., an arena).

Now, the Milwaukee Bucks ownership group is not exactly destitute. Among the owners are hedge fund investors with net worths in the billions of dollars. You really mean to tell me that they can’t afford to fund the upgrade of their own place of business? Of course they can. But heck, if they can get the state to pay for it, then why wouldn’t they? And it’s actually pretty easy to do. There’s a playbook for it: You simply threaten to move your team to another state if you don’t get the public’s money.

Another member of the ownership group, Jon Hammes, is the co-chair of Walker’s presidential campaign fundraising effort, and during the arena funding negotiations a Walker super PAC received $150,000 from a corporation register to Hammes’ son. Not that this would sway a man of Walker’s character.

From Paul Waldman of the Washington Post:

[O]ne might have expected more from a politician who is basing his presidential campaign on his eagerness to “fight.” This combativeness is central to Walker’s appeal — but it turns out that he’s only interested in fighting people like union members. Extortionist plutocrats, not so much.

And Walker’s justification — that ponying up for the stadium will be worth it because of the economic impact — has been disproven by just about every analysis of stadium financing. When taxpayers put out hundreds of millions of dollars for shiny new stadiums, they don’t make back the money in increased tax revenue. If you want to argue that it’s worth paying for solely because people love sports even if it costs taxpayers a great deal, then go ahead and make that argument. But no politician does.

Even more fundamentally, one has to ask why “small government” conservatives — as Walker and every other Republican candidate considers himself — think that government should be in the business of building stadiums. Don’t they believe in the power and wisdom of the market? If the shrewd businessmen who own the Bucks would increase their profits by building themselves a new stadium, then they’ll do it. If it wouldn’t increase their profits, then they won’t, and the market will have spoken.

Yes, one has to ask why Walker thinks the government should be funding the place of business of his cronies. Well, maybe not, because I think we all know the answer to that question, don’t we.

So Donald Trump was Donald Trump at last night’s Republican debate–and after, too. Bombastic, defensive and aggressive at the same time, hurling insults, convinced he is perpetually being picked on, unapologetic, proud to have cynically use bankruptcy for personal gain regardless of the consequences to others, and on and on. Everyone else is stupid–except the Mexican government.

He treats running for office as a reality television show. In an interview this morning on Fox News, in which he complained about the shabby treatment he received at the hands of the debate moderators, he was proud of his response to Megyn Kelly’s “very, very hard question” about his comments belittling women. “I came up with the Rosie O’Donnell statement which really got a tremendous applause. I mean, that was the biggest applause of the evening, actually.” That’s his criteria for political success: Whatever garners the biggest applause of the evening.

Meanwhile, at the RedState watch party in Atlanta:

The crowd was captivated by his every move – there were wild hoots and shouts as he threatened to run as an independent if he didn’t like the nominee, mocked Rosie O’Donnell’s weight, and outright pandemonium broke out when he declared: “The big problem this country has is being politically correct.”

At one point in the second hour, a woman sitting near this reporter shrieked like it was the Beatles at Shea Stadium while Trump talked. It was hard to find a face in the crowd that wasn’t smiling as they waited to see what he would do next.

“I’m fascinated by Trump,” Joann Balfour, an activist from Oklahoma City, told msnbc afterwards.

“He brings out in bold colors what other people won’t talk about,” Ben Jackson, a Georgia businessman, gushed.

And our former blogging colleague, Cluster, gushed, “Can you imagine a Trump/Fiorina ticket? Speaking of Trump, if he can dial down his ego, add more details to his ideas, and act presidential – he just might run away with this.”

Trump is so the mouthpiece for today’s conservatives, who thrill to whatever happens to be the latest freak show to hit town.

After the debate, Trump went on a Twitter rant about that mean, mean Megyn Kelly. Judging by his response to her question about him habitually calling women names, I think his biggest issue with Kelly was that she’s a woman who dared to call him out.

A sampling:

Meanwhile, in the undercard, Bobby Jindal said this: “Planned Parenthood had better hope that Hillary Clinton wins this election because I guarantee you that under President Jindal, January 2017, the Department of Justice and the IRS and everybody else that we can send from the federal government will be going into Planned Parenthood.”

Attaboy! Sic the government on any private organizations you personally don’t like. Gee, I seem to remember conservatives railing against supposed unfair treatment of Tea Party groups by the IRS. But that was all a charade. Wait until they get in office. They’ll use the IRS to go on the attack!

The hypocrisy is as breathtaking as it is routine.

The Supreme Court affirms the right of same sex couples to marry, just like heterosexual couples. Conservatives pitch a hissy fit because they can no longer deny other people the same right that they enjoy. And for good measure, Justice Scalia once again demonstrates what an awful person he is.

The Supreme Court rejects the cynical argument that the Affordable Care Act was written in such a way as to destroy itself. The only reason this case was brought to court was to damage the Obama presidency. The plaintiffs didn’t really care about how it would affect them. As I said, cynical. But that’s conservatism in the twenty-first century.

Bristol Palin, paid abstinence spokesperson, is again pregnant out of wedlock. She doesn’t seem too happy about it, and asks that no one lecture her. If only she had taken her own advice instead of, well, spending years lecturing other people, she might find a more sympathetic audience. Instead, she’s just another conservative hypocrite.

Sarah Palin no longer has a job at Fox News. May we never hear from her again.

Donald Trump refuses to release his birth certificate. Another conservative hypocrite. Oh my God, though, the 2016 Republican presidential contest is going to be fun. Talk about a clown car! I think they all take turns driving it, though The Donald no doubt thinks he’s the only one who can possibly drive it correctly.

A black woman is arrested for removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state house grounds.

May was the hottest May on record; 2015 on track to be hottest year on record. But nothing to see here.

Over at B4V, Cluster–our dear friend and former blogging colleague (until he couldn’t tolerate dissenting comments about his posts and retreated to a safe haven in which his views are never challenged)–writes in the comments that he is “FUCKING tired of tired of progressives and their penchant to use every damn issue under the sun to hate on white conservatives and divide this country.” He then uses as his sole example a New York Times article titled “White Terrorism Is as Old as America.” The article’s lede?

My grandmother used to speak of Klansmen riding through Louisiana at night, how she could see their white robes shimmering in the dark, how black people hid in bayous to escape them. Before her time, during Reconstruction, Ku Klux Klan members believed they could scare superstitious black people out of their newly won freedom. They wore terrifying costumes but were not exactly hiding — many former slaves recognized bosses and neighbors under their white sheets. They were haunting in masks, a seen yet unseen terror. In addition to killing and beating black people, they often claimed to be the ghosts of dead Confederate soldiers.

Yes, an article that describes the ugly history of terrorism perpetrated by white Americans–namely the Ku Klux Klan–upon Black Americans is equated by Cluster as “hating on conservatives.” Glad we got that one straight.

Did I miss anything else?

P.S. I have to say, it is a bit sad to see conservatives so unhinged that they can no longer even bring themselves to talk to people with whom they disagree. Oh, also, nothing but 107+ degree weather on Cluster’s porch for the foreseeable future. Better get the golfing in early, my friend!

So you’re at the gym and you run into the local former Naval intelligence analyst–you know, the guy who never fails to remind you that he was an intelligence analyst because it makes it him sound both intelligent and capable of thoughtful analysis. In the course of the conversation, you mention that you recently read an article explaining that since 1900 unemployment has been much worse, on average, during Republican administrations than Democratic ones; and that more recessions have started under Republicans than Democrats.

This causes the intelligence analyst to go silent for a few seconds, eyes blinking, until he utters his favorite one-word response when confronted with facts for which he has no counter. “Bullshit,” he says, expecting (hoping) that this will put an end to the conversation and you will go away.

Ah, but this time you pull out your iPad and point out the interesting passages from the article (highlighted in bold below), which is based on research conducted by Dr. James Gilligan in the course of writing his book, Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others. His book shows that the rate of lethal violence rises under Republican presidents and falls just as consistently under Democrats. What might explain this correlation? “According to Gilligan, criminologists and public health experts have long been aware of another striking set of data that reliably parallels increases in murder and suicide when traced over the past hundred years: the rate of unemployment.”

Noting the apparent congruence between unemployment, economic inequality and recession across one dimension, and lethal violence across another, Gilligan put together his own statistical picture of economic conditions under American presidents since 1900, using data compiled by both the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Bureau of Economic Research. He saw what other academics and journalists have remarked upon from time to time (including me, in a 2003 book titled Big Lies) — namely that unemployment rates have gone up during every Republican administration and gone down during every Democratic administration, without exception. Every time a Republican president left the White House, unemployment was higher than when he came in, while the opposite was true whenever a Democratic president completed his term. Rates of unemployment stayed higher for longer periods under Republicans too.

Then he did some simple addition: “If we count up the net sum of all the increases that occurred during Republican administrations from 1900 through 2008, we find that the Republicans brought about a cumulative increase of 27.8 percent in the unemployment rate, and the Democrats an almost exactly equal decrease of 26.5 percent.” The net cumulative difference in the partisan effects was a staggering 53.8 percent. He also calculated the cumulative difference in duration of unemployment among the jobless during Republican and Democratic administrations, and again the numbers are enormous. From 1948 to 2003, Republicans oversaw a net cumulative increase of 24.6 weeks of unemployment, while Democrats oversaw a net decrease of 13.6 weeks — a difference of 38.2 weeks, or almost ten months.

Why is the unemployment record of the Republicans so awful? When Gilligan looked up the tabulations of expansion and recession tabulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research — an organization that was headed for many years, as he notes, by the conservative economist Martin Feldstein — he found a simple answer. The NBER numbers show that “from 1900 through October 2010, the country suffered approximately three times as many months of recession during the times Republicans were governing the country as during the times Democrats were: 246 months (more than 20 years) compared with 86 — a discrepancy that could not have happened by chance more than one time out of 10,000.” Moreover, recessions began 17 times during Republican presidencies and only six times during Democratic presidencies, and always lasted several months longer under Republicans as well.

Now, you explain to the intelligence analyst that you don’t actually subscribe to the notion that presidents have direct control over the economy, but the correlation, over the course of more than a century, seems greater than could be explained by chance. And besides, conservatives are always–always–yammering on about how Democrats are terrible for the economy and Republicans are great, so you found this information curious. The intelligence analyst blinks a few more times, mutters “Bullshit,” and walks away. Yup, the conversation is over.

life-in-hell-mistakes-were-made

So now Jeb Bush has admitted that when it came to his brother’s 2003 invasion of Iraq and the subsequent occupation, “mistakes were made.” It must have been hard throwing his brother under the bus like that.

But as Josh Marshall writes, Republicans are now spinning the fiasco as simply a good faith mistake, rather than a deliberate effort by the Bush administration and its cronies to lie their way into war.

As the GOP has quickly settled into a new consensus that the decision to invade Iraq was – at least in retrospect – a mistake, it has come with a willful amnesia bordering on a whole new generation of deceit about exactly what happened in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. To hear Republican presidential candidates tell it, Americans believed Saddam Hussein had a stockpile of Weapons of Mass Destruction which justified and necessitated the invasion. Since he didn’t, there was no reason to invade. The carnage and collateral effects we’ve seen over the last dozen years only drives home the point: knowing what we know now, the invasion was a mistake. We wouldn’t do it again.

While it’s welcome to see the would-be heirs of President Bush, including his own brother, acknowledging the obvious, this history is such a staggering crock that it’s critical to go back and review what actually happened. Some of this was obvious to anyone who was paying attention. Some was only obvious to reporters covering the story who were steeped in the details. And some was only obvious to government officials who in the nature of things controlled access to information. But in the tightest concentric circle of information, at the White House, it was obviously all a crock at the time.

After summarizing the lies claiming that Saddam possessed a stockpile of nuclear weapons and that he was behind the 9/11 attacks, Marshall writes:

There you have the two pillars of the grand deception: Saddam with nuclear warheads and in active alliance with the reviled figure who had just pulled off a brutal and devastating terror attack on one of America’s biggest cities. Now that both 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq 18 months later have receded somewhat into history and we can see the events of that time with some distance and perspective, it’s no mystery that connecting these two dots would prime the country for almost anything. After all who would want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud?

It is very important to remember that before we invaded, Saddam Hussein actually did allow inspectors back into the country, thus undermining the key argument for following through with the threat of invasion in the first place. But the critical point is that we didn’t invade Iraq because we had “faulty” intelligence that Iraq still had stockpiles of sarin gas. The invasion was justified and sold to the American public on the twin frauds of the Iraq-al Qaeda alliance and the Saddam’s supposedly hidden nuclear program. As much as the White House and the key administration war hawks like Vice President Cheney tried to get the Intelligence Community to buy into these theories, they never did. And to anyone paying attention, certainly anyone reporting on these matters at the time, it was clear at the time this was nonsense and a willful deception.

There was of course still more involved. The White House insisted – over the vociferous disagreement of the Pentagon’s uniformed leadership – that the occupation would be quick and could be managed with a light force. We would, as the painful cliche had it, be greeted as liberators. It is probably true that if the insurgency had never happened and Iraq had become a stable and strong US ally, as predicted, the collapse of the original premise for the invasion would have been largely forgotten. It is the mix of immense costs of the invasion (human and financial) and the chaos in Iraq we are still wrestling with today combined with the collapse of any clear rationale for the invasion in the first place that explains why it remains such a charged and explosive issue even today.

The story we’re hearing today is: Yes, it was a mistake. We wouldn’t do it again knowing what we know now. But we acted on information that just turned out to be wrong. But that is quite simply a crock. The Bush administration was at best in deep denial about the true costs of the invasion. And it lead the country to war based on claims that were quite simply willful deceptions – lies. It may be too much to say that it was obvious to everyone at the time. But to reporters working the story and certainly anyone in the government, it was clear that the White House was involved in a mammoth exaggeration. Only later did it emerge that there was even more willful deception than those following closely realized at the time. Looking back and looking at the time it has always been somewhat difficult to find the bright line where flagrant lying met willful self-deception. But the truth is painful and clear: Iraq wasn’t a good faith mistake. It was a calamity based on lies and willful deceptions. Much of that was clear at the time. It’s all clear now.

And let’s remember that among Jeb Bush’s 21 foreign policy advisors, 17 worked in his brother’s administration, including such stalwart “thinkers” as Paul Wolfowitz, who was wrong about virtually everything having to do with Iraq. These people need to be called out. They were a disaster for the country and the Middle East. Yes, mistakes were made.

In a follow-up post, Marshall, who was closely reporting on the lead-up to the war back in 2002-3, delves further into the Bush administration’s motivations. Just why would they lie their way into war?

On the chaos that engulfed the country not long after the invasion, I think this was much more a matter of extreme negligence and self-deception – but with one exception. The architects of the war knew that equipping the invasion and occupation in a way that would ultimately prove necessary would dramatically up the costs of the endeavor and make it a much tougher sell. So let’s chalk this up to self-interested self-deception and culpable negligence. The key was to get in and make it happen, create a fait accompli. Once that happened there’d be no easy getting out. So the key was simply to get it, create a fact on the ground.

So why did they want to do it? At some level I think it had simply become an idee fixe for many of these people. Because for many of them, when I would have frank conversations with them, they had a difficult time getting past the rationales, even in what I think were off-the-record and unguarded conversations. The real underlying reason, to the extent there was one, was the notion of creating a transformative event, a democratizing wave in the region that would get away from managing and on to ‘solving’ deep and lingering obstacles to American power.

In this sense, chaos wasn’t a problem. It was actually the goal. They just ended up getting a very different kind of chaos from what they expected – not a wave of destabilization pushing out from Iraq and crashing over enemy states in Iran, Syria and even Saudi Arabia but one crashing in on the architects and the US and its military itself. I explored the idea in some depth in this 2003 article in The Washington Monthly, ‘Practice to Deceive’.