Chilcot

Calamitous Iraq invasion paved way for Trump and ISIS

The lies of Bush and Blair led to breakdown of trust in public institutions
Photo: IoSonoUnaFotoCamera

It took years to complete and only days to forget.

Given the fact that attention deficit disorder is endemic to much of the corporate media, it’s hardly surprising that Sir John Chilcot’s damning exhumation of the events leading up to the interminable, metastasizing catastrophe of the Iraq invasion has vanished from its collective consciousness.

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The four-day long lunacy of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, culminating last night in the coronation of Donald Trump, and the lunatic act of a murderer in Nice, France, quickly consumed the establishment press. These events deflected attention away, as well, from a necessary consideration of how Chilcot’s core findings are inherently tied to these disturbing incidents, in these disparate places.

Lies, damn lies and the liars who tell them

Let me attempt to connect the proverbial dots since this exercise will, I’m convinced, reveal the undeniable and unflattering truth about the grifters who populate mainstream media and politics and why they have rushed with Usain Bolt-like speed to flush Chilcot’s report down the memory hole.

Chilcot has now established, beyond any doubt, what many others knew long ago: The invasion of Iraq was, in effect, made possible by a pack of lies, told by liars with help of a lot of other liars.

The lies were conjured up by politicians, spies, lawyers, soldiers, diplomats and regurgitated unquestioningly by so-called reporters, writers and the reactionary “news” organizations they faithfully worked for. To be sure, the liars and their lies were often confronted by much more sensible, “ordinary” people, but, regrettably, to no avail.

Still, Chilcot’s report and history has vindicated the latter, and condemned the former. This is small solace, of course, because Iraqis have had to endure the daily, deadly, dispiriting, disorienting, and disfiguring human consequences of the unconscionable acts of the liars.

Not done, blathering Tony Blair and all the other liars have compounded the permanent injury caused by their lies by remaining blissfully unrepentant. And like guilty schoolboys, they only indict themselves further by claiming, laughably, that they told their lies “in good faith” — whatever that flimsy, exculpatory phrase means.

Many of the litany of Canadian writers who could hardly contain their thirst and avidity for war have, in the days, now turning into weeks since Chilcot’s report was made public, gone oddly mute, save for one hysterical, gun-toting super fan of Blair.

I suspect their instructive silence is connected to Chilcot’s clinical refutation of each and every hollow strand of the “arguments” they made with such obdurate certainty from 2003 to this day.

So it must be particularly stinging to this chorus of war toadies to watch a fellow establishment man deliver the coup de gras with such painful precision. It would be unbecoming for this impenitent lot to employ the same cheap smears and accusations of “appeasement” against a man that, under different circumstances, they would eagerly describe as one of their own.

As a predictable result, rather than owning up to their lies and the shabby role they uniformly assumed in recycling the lies told by Blair and Bush, they’ve decided instead to shut up and wait for the media caravan to move quickly on its amnesic way, as it invariably does.

But the lies they told about Iraq continue to reverberate in different ways, in different places.

Bush and Blair's mendacity led to the rise of Trump

Arguably, the success of a rancid demagogue like Trump, is the product, in part, of a gaping vacuum where popular faith in public institutions should be.

The lies that were told in defence of an illegal war by yesterday’s grifters have not only grievously undermined the already waning confidence citizens may hold in the architecture of government, but they have also spawned a new, more explicit generation of grifter today.

What yesterday and today’s grifters unmistakably share is the ability to lie with unwavering conviction and to repudiate the truth with the same implacable belief in the rightness of their cause.

Blair, Bush and company sold a war, while Trump is, yet again, selling himself. The modus operandi is largely the same and equally sinister, only, this time, the objective is different.

Despite his odious buffoonery, Trump is only too aware of how to exploit the fawning deference to power and celebrity that remains a defining characteristic of much of the mainstream media that deludes itself into thinking that rather than being in the service of the powerful, it exists as a “check” on these forces.

Trump knows this is an industry-wide charade and, has, since his announcement for the Republican nomination for president, expertly played the easily and willingly played — perhaps most notably the charlatans on TV, who forfeited and dishonoured the job title “journalist” a long, long time ago.

Trump and his gaudy family lie with impunity, just like Bush and Blair continue to do. And like Bush Jr., Trump now does it with the imprimatur of the Republican and media establishment.

In this context, complacency is a sure prerequisite for disaster… again. Bush and Blair and their handmaidens in the press convinced a lot of people that the Iraq war was just, within the bounds of international law, and, remember, winnable.

The same cynical, myopic dynamic that permitted those grifters to launch a calamitous, perpetual war has become the norm, and may well see an orange-haired fascist and fellow grifter win the presidency come November.

The Iraq war created ISIS

The other, seminal contemporary lesson Chilcot has drawn, and the grifters hope we promptly lose careful sight of, is that ISIS was born precisely out of the chaotic, violent remnants of the historically discordant religious fissures inside Iraq that were being unleashed at the very moment Bush Jr. was triumphantly declaring Mission Accomplished.

Once unleashed, these divisions were impossible to contain and ISIS — an early offshoot of Al Qaeda — eventually grew in size, strength, ferocity and dominance. The atrocities ISIS has committed in Iraq and well beyond its porous borders are the by-product of lies told by the liars who insisted that their war of choice would “liberate” the Middle East.

As many warned, that fantasy has turned into an endless, debilitating horror. Chilcot draws a big, black line between the invasion and the emergence of ISIS. A war that was supposed to save Iraq and Iraqis has destroyed both and other innocents in other countries, too.

ISIS has taken credit for a murderer’s decision to plow a truck into children, women and men watching fireworks on Bastille Day in Nice, though the attacker's ties to the fanatical group remain tenuous. Whatever his links to ISIS, this much Chilcot makes abundantly clear: The architects of the Iraq war have enabled the murder and mayhem visited upon so many, in so many places, including Nice.

Taken together, it’s little wonder then that Chilcot’s report has swiftly evaporated from the corporate media’s landscape and memory. Since they can no longer deny the truth, they conveniently opt to forget it.

Despite their haughty efforts, Chilcot’s report will remain a permanent record of the folly of listening to mostly rich, white, Western men in suits and uniforms telling the rest of us what we should believe, think and do.

Chilcot has exposed their dangerous pathology. We should heed his warning.

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