Thursday, March 23, 2023

I agree with and stand with Christina Applegate

There's talk of remaking VERTIGO.  Normally, I'd scream: "Don't!" I love VERTIGO and probably watch it about 12 times a year and have since 1997 when I first bought a copy -- on videocassette.  I've got it on DVD and I've got it on streaming now.  And I'm always watching it.  It's a great movie.  That said, I think Jimmy Stewart's the weak link and the remake would feature Robert Downey Jr. in that role.  I could really go for that.  I'd also like a new look at the Barbara Bel Geddes character who never seems that nice.  She seems kind of mean, angry and controlling.  And maybe that's how she's supposed to be?  Regardless, I'd like to see it really adressed.

New topic, Christi Carris (LOS ANGELES TIMES) reports:

Christina Applegate, who has been vocal about living with multiple sclerosis, criticized Candace Owens this week for mocking an underwear ad featuring a model in a wheelchair.

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, the "Dead to Me" star posted a series of tweets denouncing the conservative pundit's dismissive remarks and advocating for more accessibility in the clothing industry. Applegate's tweets come a few weeks after Owens deemed the disability-friendly Skims campaign unnecessary and "ridiculous" on her eponymous podcast.

"Yes late tweet. But woke to see the most horrifying thing," Applegate wrote Thursday.

"This Candace person making comments about companies who see we need help. It’s f— gross. I thank skims and Tommy [Hilfiger] and Guide beauty and @neowalksticks for seeing ... us. To [Owens] #youshouldknowbetter."

What the heck is wrong with these people?  They really are Nazis.  They're going after the challenged and the disabled now?  That's outrageous.  And good for Christina for speaking up.  
She's the country's friend.  We grew up watching her grow up on MARRIED WITH CHILDREN and followed her on SAMANTHA WHO? and countless movies (including DON'T TELL MOM THE BABYSITTER'S DEAD).  When she was doing DEAD TO ME, it was like a point of pride for all of us to see her continue acting and continue triumphing.  And we felt the pain when she revealed her MS diagnosis.  So when Candace Owens starts pulling this garbage, we're all outraged and should be.  

Who does she think she is picking on Christina?  Or on our mother or brother or child?  Where does she get off?  

There are a lot of people I think have strange ideas but I mainly try to live and let live.  However, Candace Owens is off sides, she is dead wrong and she needs to publicly apologize and then to prove she means by not attacking the challenged and the disabled.    She's a Nazi, there's no other word for Candace Owens -- and if her parents are alive, I'm sorry your daughter grew up to be such an embarrassment.

Let me note Mike's "Matteo Lane, WILL TRENT, SUPERMAN & LOIS, Ben Burgis" which covers the programs WILL TRENT and SUPERMAN & LOIS and let me note this from it:

On TV, go check out Stan's "EXTRAPOLATIONS" -- I didn't have the bravery to watch, the trailers alone disgusted me.  And be sure to read Ava and C.I.'s "Media: They lie."  Also, Kat wrote about "Season 20 of AMERICAN DAD kicks off Monday" so check that out too.   Oh, almost forgot Ruth wrote about a new TV documentary "United 23" so also check that out.


And here's TV and movie coverage from last week in the community:


"TRUE LIES is a good show and John Stauber is a bad person,"  "James Hong,"  "SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS,"  "Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Cyndi Lauper, Jamie Lee Curtis,"  "Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin,"  "Sassy grandma?,"  "Weekend box office,"  ,"What is Cheynne Jackson's chest" "Talking Oscars,"  "Lance Reddick,"  "Graham Elwood, THE GOLDBERGS,"  "SUPERMAN AND LOIS and John Stauber gets more stupid," "The only word for Wolf Pack is . . . amazing" and  "WOLF PACK, Alice Cooper"


Plus Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The Tired and The Disappointing."

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Thursday, March 23, 2023.  The press sold the Iraq War and the press sold out the Iraqi people -- even the Iraqis they depended upon for reporting.

We're going to start with Trudy Rubin.  She's been a columnist for THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER since 1983.  During the long -- and ongoing -- Iraq War, there have been times where her column was the only thing about Iraq that week in US media.  She's a columnist so she's expressing an opinion and sometimes I disagree and sometimes I agree but I have always applauded her for the fact that she has covered Iraq -- even after the only real US withdrawal from Iraq ever took place -- the US media withdrawal of December 2008.  This is from her latest column:

Twenty years ago, when I first hired him in Baghdad, my Iraqi interpreter and driver Salam was thrilled that the Americans had toppled Saddam Hussein. I worked with Salam over the next several years, on my many reporting trips to Iraq, and I can’t stop thinking about his personal tragedy as we reach the 20th anniversary of the invasion.

A Shiite Muslim whose uncle had been murdered by Saddam’s thugs, Salam was delighted to see the domination of the dictator’s Sunni minority come to an end. Yet he was friends with Sunnis in his neighborhood and took me to meet them in their mosque and in their homes.

Salam was certain the Americans were going to transform Iraq for the better. He eagerly helped the U.S. soldiers in the FOB (forward operating base) in his mixed Sunni-Shia neighborhood, tipping them off about a local Shiite militia that had started murdering Sunni residents. But when the FOB pulled out, members of the Shiite family he had fingered got their relatives in the now Shiite-run army to arrest him as a “terrorist.”

In 2010, I managed to visit Salam in a filthy, smoke-filled jail. He had lost 50 pounds and showed me the torture marks from electric shocks on his body, before starting to cry. A heavyset, bearded, chain-smoking Iraqi intelligence agent, who thankfully didn’t speak English, glared at us the whole time we talked.

When he was finally set free, nearly two years after being detained, Salam received death threats from the Shiite militia and had to flee with his family. They barely made it through Syria to Turkey, then traveled on an open refugee boat to Turkish Cyprus, and finally sneaked illegally through barbed wire into Greek Cyprus. Unable to work legally, Salam had to exist by smuggling.

Meantime, one brother in Baghdad was killed by his vengeful Shiite neighbors and a second brother had to live in hiding after death threats. The surviving brother was entitled to a U.S. special immigrant visa as a relative of someone who had worked with U.S. journalists but was left waiting for years — as happened to so many eligible Iraqis.

For years, I stayed in touch with Salam and even visited him in Cyprus in 2011 to help him get temporary residence when the Cypriot government was kicking out most Iraqis. But the last time I called, he could only gurgle on the phone, having suffered a stroke. His dreams, his family, his life had been destroyed by the war he had welcomed, as Iraq deteriorated into a morass of sectarian chaos and corruption. His brother, still forced to live in hiding in Baghdad, never got that visa to the U.S.

And that's a perfect story for the Iraq War.  Even someone who was happy at the start had those hopes dashed.  The Iraq War accomplished nothing of value.  And so many outlets were shameful.  Let's note the MCCLATCHY reporter.  I'm not talking Leila or Nancy.  Sorry, I can't give her name but I don't want another boo-hoo e-mail about how mean I am to her.

MCCLATCHY had huge mistakes throughout the war.  Lulu was with NPR then but among the stupid things she's done this week at THE NEW YORK TIMES was talk about the ethnic cleansing.  I call it stupid because she's yet to own the fact that she wasn't calling it that then nor was MCCLATCHY.  We called it ethnic cleansing when it was taking place and the US 'surge' allowed it to take place but don't expect any of the US blowhards on the left -- or pretending to be -- to address that reality either even they bother to attack the surge.  

But anyway, nameless didn't do much in Iraq -- she hid behind Iraqi staff, they had to go out like stringers on a US election night gathering polling data while the 'correspondent' rested.  She leaves Iraq and stops covering it but she's really, honest to God, interested in these people who helped her and she, hand on heart and pinky swear, wants them to be here in the US.  Why, anytime there's an event, she shows up.  

Yes, if there are cameras around, she is there.  But as we noted -- and made her cry boo-hoo -- she had a post at MCCLATCHY where she never wrote about the topic.  Shove a microphone at her and she'll talk about it to get personal publicity for herself but she Tweeted multiple times daily and never made time to Tweet about the Iraqis who had helped them and were now suffering.

She suffered!  She wanted me to know in one e-mail.  She did not feel good the night of that party but she went.  Feel good?  As I replied back, "I think you mean you didn't look good.  Is it a home perm?  It looks like a home perm in the photos."  But bad hair or not, she went to the party and posed for pictures and, honestly, shouldn't that be enough!!!!

No, dear, it wasn't.

But in the spirit of the 20th anniversary, let me give you a little gift.  I don't have time to track you.  I wouldn't even have known if the people you were betraying weren't writing to this site and telling me about it.  So grasp that.  Grasp that I called you out and made you cry but it was the Iraqis that your personally knew and betrayed that were the reason we covered this sad and pathetic period in your career.

Time and again, US journalists used Iraqis.  During the ethnic cleansing, for example, the US journalists didn't go out in the streets of Baghdad.  They were too scared and it wasn't safe enough.  But they were always fine with Iraqis having to come into their office or to the hotels they were staying at.  They often billed themselves as un-embedded, these US journalists, and pretended they were so brave when the reality was that they farmed out bravery to people paid peanuts, to people who didn't get the prizes and the glory and then on top of that got betrayed when they should have received the US visas they were applying for.  I remember talking to Ted Kennedy about it because he did do a lot of work on the issue of Iraqi visas and he made a point of noting that Iraqis who were interpreters for the US military had various military people -- rank and file and decorated officers -- who would contact his Senate office to try to assist with Iraqis they knew getting visas.  But, no, no media outlets ever contacted the office to try to help an Iraqi who'd provided their coverage of Iraq.

Remember that the next time there's some event and our MCCLATCHY woman shows up for photos and wants you to know that it's really important that we don't betray these Iraqis.  We?

You mean you.  

Staying with the topic of the press, Zainab Almashat (GUARDIAN) writes about press realities in US 'liberated' Iraq today:

A grenade was thrown into the central Baghdad offices of the Iraqi television network UTV last month. It failed to explode, but the attack is typical of the relentless assault on journalists in Iraq over the past two decades.

The target of the attack was believed to be Adnan Altia, the host of a political talkshow who has criticised the unrestrained use of arms in Iraq. “My questions don’t aim to provoke politicians but to ask them to justify,” he says. “But they’re quickly turned into a weapon to kill me in many different ways.”

Altia had already been forced into exile by previous threats against him and his family and now lives in Turkey, working as a journalist for Iraqi channels, including UTV, which has offices in the country.

The 2005 Iraqi constitution established freedom of expression and freedom of the press, followed by a later law to protect journalists. But far from facilitating a free and independent press, post-invasion Iraq has produced a partisan and sectarian media landscape in which violence against journalists has increased.

At least 282 journalists have been killed in Iraq since 2003, according to estimates by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, with most killed by anonymous gunmen or armed factions, and others by the Iraqi forces. The country ranks fifth in the CPJ’s Global Impunity Index, behind only Somalia, Syria, South Sudan and Afghanistan. A further 74 journalists and media assistants have been abducted, with most of them killed.

Afrah Shawqi had been working as a journalist in Iraq since the mid-1990s and was a correspondent for the Saudi-founded Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, based in London, when about 20 masked gunmen tied up her family and abducted her from her Baghdad home in December 2016.

“I was accused of receiving money from the Saudi and American embassies to write against my country and of cheating my husband with other men, and they made me sign papers to affirm that. Whenever I refused to sign, they would hit me with a baton,” says Shawqi, who was forced into exile to France soon after her release in January 2017, amid a significant social-media campaign on her behalf. “Being in exile is very difficult for journalists, it’s difficult to communicate so far from home,” she says.

I'm not seeing those realities in the worthless garbage so many US outlets are producing this week -- I'm especially looking at you Richard Engel with your NBC 'NEWS' report about how things are going so great.  It's as though you're deliberately ignoring what's happening to Iraqi journalists, what's happening to Iraq social media participants, the crackdown on anyone who disagrees with the Iraqi government online, it's as though you're needing to lie for a reason.  Is it guilt, Richard?  Because if it's guilt over lying, more lies will not bring you peace.

We've been noting the past on Iraq since last week and that includes my applause for Janeane Garofalo who I've known for years.  

An idiot wrote to the public e-mail account ( to tell me that I'd forgotten a woman -- "You who claim to be a feminist, forgot to note her!" -- oooh, even an exclamation point.  I had forgotten brave Rachel Maddow.

No, I was being kind.

I wasn't mentioning her.  I don't care what your whore ass Crapapedia tells you today, Rachel is not now and never was someone against the Iraq War.  In fact, before going to AIR AMERICA RADIO, Rachel supported the Iraq War.  Once at AIR AMERICA?  She wasn't against the war.  She was against the way it was being run.  Like the disgusting Al Franken, she didn't call for US troops to come home, she called for a 'smarter' war.  So take CRAPAPEDIA and flush it down the toilet because Rachel never opposed the Iraq War.  Randi Rhodes did.  I could note her.  In fact, she's on YOUTUBE now and I was going to note her but it looked like she was selling the US-proxy war on Russia so I'm not going to include one of her videos.  (If she's not, e-mail and let me know and we'll note her.)  But Randi was against it.  And Janeane was against it.  There were a few others.  But not many.

Rachel was part of the war effort.  And that's why she whored and pimped Lawrence Wilkerson.

To this day, I can't watch NO WAY OUT (1987, starring Kevin Costner and Sean Young) and not see Colin in Gene Hackman's character and Lawrence in Will Patton's.  Lawrence just loves Colin so much and he brought that love onto Rachel's whorish show and everybody pretended for years like it was fine and truthful.  It took him years to even slightly call out his crush Colin Powell.  

Colin was a liar and it started during Vietnam.  As for lying about the Iraq War, he started lying long before he sat down at the United Nations.  Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH) notes:

If the intelligence didn’t fit the script, it was shaded, retooled or junked.
Take Charlotte Beers whom Powell picked as undersecretary of state in the post-9/11 world. Beers wasn't a diplomat.  She wasn't even a politician.  

She was a grand diva of spin, known on the business and gossip pages as “the queen of Madison Avenue.” On the strength of two advertising campaigns, one for Uncle Ben’s Rice and another for Head and Shoulder’s dandruff shampoo, Beers rocketed to the top of the heap in the PR world, heading two giant PR houses: Ogilvy and Mathers as well as J. Walter Thompson.

At the State Department Beers, who had met Powell in 1995 when they both served on the board of Gulf Airstream, worked at, in Powell’s words, “the branding of U.S. foreign policy.” She extracted more than $500 million from Congress for her Brand America campaign, which largely focused on beaming U.S. propaganda into the Muslim world, much of it directed at teens.

“Public diplomacy is a vital new arm in what will combat terrorism over time,” said Beers. “All of a sudden we are in this position of redefining who America is, not only for ourselves, but for the outside world.” Note the rapt attention Beers pays to the manipulation of perception, as opposed, say, to alterations of U.S. policy.

Old-fashioned diplomacy involves direct communication between representatives of nations, a conversational give and take, often fraught with deception (see April Glaspie), but an exchange nonetheless. Public diplomacy, as defined by Beers, is something else entirely. It’s a one-way street, a unilateral broadcast of American propaganda directly to the public, domestic and international, a kind of informational carpet-bombing.

The themes of her campaigns were as simplistic and flimsy as a Bush press conference. The American incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq were all about bringing the balm of “freedom” to oppressed peoples. Hence, the title of the U.S. war: Operation Iraqi Freedom, where cruise missiles were depicted as instruments of liberation. Bush himself distilled the Beers equation to its bizarre essence: “This war is about peace.”

Beers quietly resigned her post a few weeks before the first volley of tomahawk missiles battered Baghdad. From her point of view, the war itself was already won, the fireworks of shock and awe were all after play.

Yeah, Colin hired her because he's a liar and he knew lies were needed to sell the illegal war and all Lawrence Wilkerson tears, nocturnal emissions and other bodily fluids squirted out while calling Colin's name won't ever change that reality.

FAIR has an article we may note tomorrow.  If we do, and I'm just not into it, we'll just quote from it.  If I'm in the mood, I'll fix it for them because, as usual, they can't seem to get the story right.  Why am I not in the mood?  It's about Alissa J. Rubin.  Apparently our most read and circulated post on her is the one calling her a "crack whore" in the headline.  Her early reporting lacked a lot but she did do some finer things later on and became one of the better US correspondents.  If they want to tackle Alissa the problem for them is that they really ignored Iraq when she began covering it.  Meaning they don't get how bad her reporting was back then.  I'm not sure if I'll be in the mood to unpack all of that including her spin on Sahwa that we called out in real time and said it would fall apart and, of course, it fell apart.  Sahwa did not change the course of the Iraq War or change Iraq for that matter. 

I've never liked Charles Pierce and this column reminds me why.  Supposedly, it's about the Iraq War but you learn more about what Charles was doing -- magazine writing -- than you do about Iraq or the journalists selling Iraq.  I have a friend at ESQUIRE who asked for the link and I said I'd give them a link but I probably wouldn't be kind.  And I'm not going to be kind.

Howard Kurtz was at THE WASHINGTON POST when the Iraq War started.  At FOX NEWS, he reflects:

One of the toughest stories I’ve ever had to do was on how my employer screwed up coverage of the march to war in Iraq.

Two decades ago, while at the Washington Post, I decided to examine how a newspaper with so much talent essentially enlisted in the Bush administration’s effort to sell the coming invasion. Pronouncements by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and others that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction got huge play, while the relative handful of stories questioning such claims ran deep inside the paper.

"I blame myself mightily for not pushing harder…I think I was part of the groupthink," Bob Woodward told me.

"Things that challenged the administration were on A18 on Sunday or A24 on Monday," said Tom Ricks, the military correspondent and author of several books. "There was an attitude among editors: Look, we're going to war, why do we even worry about all this contrary stuff?"

And I drew this acknowledgment from my ultimate boss, Len Downie, the executive editor.

"We were so focused on trying to figure out what the administration was doing that we were not giving the same play to people who said it wouldn't be a good idea to go to war and were questioning the administration's rationale," Downie told me. "Not enough of those stories were put on the front page. That was a mistake on my part…We didn't pay enough attention to the minority."

The article he wrote then was an important one and it remains one of the few articles an outlet did on themselves and how they got the Iraq War wrong.  Everyone else pretty much hid behind Judith Miller and who knew the woman was responsible for all three broadcast networks, cable, all print outlets and THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW -- if you're late to the party, yes, Oprah pimped the Iraq War -- she even had Judith Miller on and she even jumped on one of her audience members who dared to question going to war.  

Okay, we need to move on or we're not going to get to the big Iraq news of the week.  It was in THE GUARDIAN but, in the US at least, no one appears to have picked up on it.  Diane Abbot is a member of the Labour Party and, since 1987, has been a member of Parliament.  That would speak to her being in the know.  In a column earlier this week, she wrote the following:

Local party members contacted their MPs asking them to vote against the war. Even some Tory MPs were declaring that they would vote against it. Blair must have been increasingly alarmed, frightened that he might lose the vote. In the days running up to it, the prime minister had individual MPs brought to his offices to pressure them to vote his way. He did not invite me, or other determined anti-war MPs; he must have judged us to be a lost cause.

When private meetings with him did not seem to be working, I was told that Blair enlisted his wife, Cherie Blair, and the former US president Bill Clinton to ring Labour MPs to apply more pressure. Blair was always a little disdainful of ordinary MPs and parliament, but he was so desperate that he took to physically coming to the House of Commons and touring the bars, tea rooms and other places where MPs gather informally. He was buttonholing MPs and trying to make the case for war. Parliament became a pressure cooker. Everyone knew that the vote was not actually about the merits of the war. Instead, it was becoming a vote on whether you supported Blair personally or not. Everyone knew that voting against the war meant that your career was effectively over.

Is it true?  Was Bill Clinton pressuring Labour MPs to vote for the Iraq War?  Clintonista Joe Conason wrote a lengthy book extolling Bill on Iraq (among other things) but didn't include that detail.  Is it accurate?  If it is, Bill and Hillary have a lot more to answer for.  And if it's true, Bill owes the world an apology but, ask Juanita Broaddrick, Bill's not too good at apologies or admissions of guilt.

Amy Goodman continued the conversation on the Iraq War with two major segments yesterday.

AMY GOODMAN: While President Obama pledged to remove all troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, today, more than a decade later, there are still more than 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq, and violence has continued in Iraq, as well. In 2020, in just one example, a bomb destroyed the American Institute for English in Najaf, Iraq, the school that was founded by our guest, Sami Rasouli. At the time of the bombing, Sami was visiting the United States. Since then, he has remained here with his family, which was finally reunited at the end of last year, his wife and son returning to be with him and their kids. He’s now working on starting a new organization called the American-Iraqi Peace Initiative.

Sami Rasouli, it’s great to have you back with us, as I talk to you from New York and you’re sitting in a studio in Minneapolis. It’s amazing to go back on that journey. As we met you in Minneapolis, the antiwar movement so warmly supported you, the whole community at your restaurant in Minneapolis. But then you said, “I’m closing it all up, and I don’t care if I have to just sweep the streets of Najaf, I’m going to improve my country in any small way I can,” as the U.S. bombs were falling. Take us on that journey 20 years later and how you ended up back in the United States. But talk about that first decision you made, from your comfortable abode in Minneapolis, to say, “I’m going back to Iraq.”

SAMI RASOULI: Hello, Amy. Thank you for having me. And thank you for reviewing our past meetings. It has been a while since we met.

Anyway, I’m back now. And regarding your question, I always tell my listeners that — and friends, of course, that Sami and salmon, the fish, has something in common: that they go upstream. But they also have no income, and that salmon doesn’t come back, but Sami keeps coming back, because my good friend Jeremy Iggers here from Minneapolis said, “Sami, remember, you always wanted to build a bridge for peace between the two countries, your country of birth and your country of choice. So remember that bridge has two ends. You have to maintain both ends.” That meant to come back again and go back. So, wherever I go, that’s my home, and I am privileged to have that.

As you mentioned, eventually, I got reunited with my wife and my stepson. My family and I survived. My dreams and school has been destroyed in Najaf back in September 2020, after killing General — the Iranian General Soleimani by Mr. Trump.

AMY GOODMAN: At the Iraq airport.

SAMI RASOULI: Correct, in Baghdad, Baghdad airport, yes.

Well, it looks like my wife, my kids and I are safe now here, but the war in Iraq, 20 years ago, have left scars and visible legacy. And this is the babies, the babies in Fallujah and Najaf and Basra. And the rise of the incidence of cancer, if we speak in general, fourfolds went up, but among the kids, 12 times went up. And that’s catastrophic. The gruesome deformality of newborn babies, whether in Najaf or in Fallujah, keeps happening as a witness for the crimes committed against peaceful nation in 2003.

And that brings the question how we’re going to deal with that. I always say a just compensation, a just compensation to respect that nation and leave that nation alone. That nation is rich in its resources, but, unfortunately, Bush’s administrations, represented by Paul Bremer, assigned people that’s incompetent. They have nothing to do with leading a country, such a country called the cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia. They are just selling each part of the country out to others. And we, as the people of Iraq, living an unsecure country, and actually it’s not state, a lawless state. So, there is no security. There is no respected economic system, social system, health system, education system.

And when I say just compensation, I mean to build a new culture here, the backyard of the rest of the world, the United States of America, the new culture that’s based on justice and peace, that deal with, for example, local, domestic, severely affected all of us. It’s a school mass shooting. Since Columbine in April 20th, 1999, we haven’t done yet anything to prevent that, because since that shooting in 1999 up to date, there are about 366 school mass shootings happened already. And those disturbed kids, that receiving very bad education system — by their political leaders, I should emphasize — because at school they teach them how to be kind and nice to their neighbors, to their friends, and teach them not to be racist against any colors or other people that they meet, to be diversified. But again —

AMY GOODMAN: Sami, I wanted to —

SAMI RASOULI: — they are told the same thing by their parents —

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to interrupt for one second —


AMY GOODMAN: — because you’re making an extremely interesting point, as you talk about, you know, this country being really the only place in the world that has this level of mass shootings day after day. And you go back to Columbine. As you said, Columbine was April 20th, 1999. And I’ll never forget President Clinton’s comments at the time. What was it? Four — three days later that the U.S.-backed NATO forces, for example, bombed RTS, the Radio Television studio in Belgrade, Serbia, and we saw the body parts of makeup artists and technicians being taken out of this civilian structure. That was just one example. But Columbine happening in the midst of the bombing of Yugoslavia, and President Clinton saying, “How do we teach our children that violence is not the answer to resolving conflict?” And the irony of this with the backdrop of war, then Yugoslavia. In your case, we’re talking about Iraq, and now talking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

SAMI RASOULI: Right. I mean, kids, the lessons. I mean, they were like 12 years old or 17 years old, the perpetrators. Those kids — and they come as a challenge for their surrounding world. They would like to make some changes in this stage of age. So, to tell them at school and at home, “Violence is bad, and we should not do it,” but yet we are doing it by our political leaders in Iraq and Syria and other places, and we tell them, “That’s good, but the violence, for example, or attacking Ukraine today is not OK.” So, we are — what we are doing, we are contributing to disturb their minds, their psyche, and eventually they end up with a conclusion that human life has no value, whether it’s their friends, their classmates or their enemies.

And bullying their classmates if they are bigger or stronger, just they’ve seen it when the U.S., as a superpower, goes and march in Iraq, with no reason, and destroy the country and come back, and go, after that, to Syria, destroy it, to Libya, and the saga will continue. So, that should be ended. And as I said, a new culture of peace and justice should lead our mind and hearts, not only at home and at school, but also in the Pentagon and the White House and the Congress.

AMY GOODMAN: Going back to Iraq, and in a moment we’re going to be speaking with a well-known Iraqi American who, when the U.S. invaded Iraq, left Minneapolis and said, “I don’t care if I just have to sweep the streets of my city of Najaf, I’m going to be there with my people,” and has now returned. We see that President Putin has been now charged by the International Criminal Court with war crimes. The question of where American officials should stand, not 20 years later, but even 10 or before that. President Obama was famous for saying we should always just look forward. But for culpability when it comes to the destruction of this nation of Iraq, what about George W. Bush, who — yesterday I was saying on the show — just a day after 9/11, when we know 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, was pushing his counterterrorism czar, Richard Clarke, on the issue of Iraq, “How can we make that connection?” And Richard Clarke was saying back to him, “There is zero connection.” But then, what this means, what this led to? Should he also be charged with war crimes? And should others be in the dock with him?

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, first of all, there’s no question, in my opinion, that the Iraq War, initiated by the United States, a war of choice, was a crime, a really horrid crime. I’m probably easier on President Bush than many other people are. You know, I view him as an individual, really, of limited talent, to put it bluntly. He became president because his last name was “Bush.” He was an unimaginative figure and was utterly unprepared for what happened on September 11th. And his reaction, which I wouldn’t defend, I think is primarily attributable to the associates that he chose to surround himself with. In other words, if I’m looking for bad guys, I don’t begin by looking at Bush. I begin with Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and Condoleezza Rice, people who fancied themselves to be strategic thinkers. They fancied themselves to have a grasp of world politics, who believed that American military might was so great that we would sweep aside Saddam Hussein’s forces, and some vast benefit would result. Well, they miscalculated. They were utterly wrong. And so, when I’m looking for somebody to blame, I tend to blame those people more than Bush — not letting Bush of the hook. He was the commander-in-chief. But again, I think, in at least some sense, it was not his hands that were on the controls.

AMY GOODMAN: If Bush was so untalented, why couldn’t the largest antiwar movement in the world stop him? And it’s not only in the United States. I mean, remember, February 15th, 2003, millions of people took to the streets of the world to stop the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, I don’t think Bush or anybody in the Bush administration cared about world opinion. I mean, they cared about whether or not they were going to be able to line up certain allies, like Great Britain, to support the war. In that, they succeeded. You know, shame on Tony Blair. But I don’t think world opinion factored, in a large sense, in the inner circles of Washington, D.C. But your larger question is — because I remember those. I happened to be in New York City, in Manhattan, on the day of the — was it February, I think, 15th?

AMY GOODMAN: February 15, 2003.

ANDREW BACEVICH: Moving, massive, astonishing, and I think had zero political impact. Why? Well, I think that says something about our democracy, that elites tend to bow toward the will of the people, but then, when they sit around the table and they make decisions, decisions related to war and peace, I don’t think that they think very seriously about, “Well, you know, what do the folks back in Indiana think?” Their calculation is shaped by considerations of power and, again, I would say, with regard to the Bush administration in 2003, when the war began, radically defective understanding of the war, understanding of ourselves, understanding of the potential of American military power. So, our leadership, elected and appointed, was stupid. The people, actually, I think, had a better grasp of the dangers that we were undertaking when we went to war with Iraq.

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