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Late Night: If Only Someone Had Said Something

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What you had to say actually DID matter, you self-absorbed bucket of mop water: 

I was less impressed by Chalabi than were some others in the Bush administration. However, since one of those “others” was Vice President Cheney, it didn’t matter what I thought. In 2002, Chalabi joined the annual summer retreat of the American Enterprise Institute near Vail, Colorado. He and Cheney spent long hours together, contemplating the possibilities of a Western-oriented Iraq: an additional source of oil, an alternative to U.S. dependency on an unstable-looking Saudi Arabia.

And yet imagine if you had  spoken out, as you are now so bravely doing in an attempt to keep food on your table. Imagine if you had said you know, this guy is kind of an assclown, and we’re rushing into war on the basis of his say-so, and who the fuck knows if it’s going to work. Imagine that.

I mean, we probably would have gone to war anyway. And you’d have been scorned, of course, and treated like a filthy hippie. AS WAS EVERYBODY ELSE WHO WAS FUCKING RIGHT. You might have been kicked out of the best restaurants and all the good parties. You might have missed some meals. Might have been forced to take a temp job in some congressional district office somewhere.

And now you wouldn’t be forced to go around talking about how you knew all along that this was a terrible idea, as if this makes it better that you didn’t speak up.

When in fact it makes it worse: 

The Iraq counterinsurgency strategy implemented in 2007, two years after Wolfowitz had left the Pentagon, was “impressively successful in a relatively short space of time”, even though the situation “had spiralled out of control and we’d had sectarian war”.

Is there anything these guys are saying that lacks the subtext of PLEASE DON’T STOP GIVING ME WORK? I mean, by all rights, they should be shunned, turned away from in the streets, refused entry to decent homes and not spoken of in polite society. By all rights they should be in chains. Instead they’re on this perpetual rehabilitation tour, angling to be hired back in the next Republican administration, hawking their books and behaving like all this stuff just happened with no input from them.

The situation “spiralled out of control.” All on its own. And it certainly wasn’t Paul Wolfowitz’s fault:

Long thought of as one of the chief architects of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy, Wolfowitz quibbled with the distinction, asserting that the war “wasn’t conducted according to my plan.”

But boy were you excited to stand next to the president when he was conducting it, Paulie. 

Wolfowitz: Let’s be clear. You said it was my word. Look, I think it’s not productive to spend a lot of time arguing about what several hundred thousand means. I’ve said very clearly it was hard to imagine that we would have a number which I thought of as twice what we were planning for winning the war. The difference between 200,000 and 150,000 obviously is not wildly different, but the important point is, our troops, our commanders, will get what they need. They’ve been asked repeatedly, do you need more? They say, right now at least, we don’t want more. What we want more of and what we’re working to get it is, foreign troops. I’ve visited a Polish brigade that’s going to take over a whole province of Iraq. An Italian brigade is going to take over another whole province.

Everything was just fine, when everything was just fine. Now that it’s universally acknowledged to have been a colossal clusterfuck, it was always going to be that way and nobody listened to you about the right way to do it. Yet I am wracking my brain for the memory of the op-ed piece or blistering speech Paul Wolfowitz gave warning of dire consequences if we didn’t listen to his plan instead of the president’s.

These people all act like there was nothing they could do. Nothing they could do to stop the war. And maybe they couldn’t have stopped it, but they could have done plenty. They chose not to.


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Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel is a 10-year veteran of the newspaper business. She publishes First Draft, a writing and politics blog, with her partners Holden, Jude and Scout. She is the author of the books Chicago's Historic Irish Pubs (2011, Arcadia Publishing, with Mike Danahey) and It Doesn’t End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal, about a great liberal journalism institution (2007, Heritage Books). She also edited the anthology “Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith and the Faulty Intelligence That Led to War” (2005, William, James & Co.) Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Daily Southtown, Sirens Magazine, and Alternet. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two ferrets, and approximately 60 tons of books.