Top Menu

Benghazi? We’re Still Waiting for Bush and Cheney to be Held Accountable for Iraq. [Rachel Maddow Videos]

rachelmaddow_HUBRIS

Hagel saw that, in Iraq, America was taking on an already weakened leader who the senator said probably didn’t have weapons of mass destruction, and at the same time empowering another regime (Iran) that badly wanted WMDs–a dire development further documented on Monday by The Washington Post, which reported that the Iranian-backed Shiite group Asaib Ahl al-Haq, the “League of the Righteous,” is exerting new political power in Iraq. Hagel also delivered some of the earliest warnings about the potentially disastrous effects of George W. Bush’s ill-grounded “Axis of Evil” speech… – Michael Hirsch [National Journal]

IT’S FITTING that as Senate Republicans continue to squeal about Benghazi, and Chuck Hagel’s confirmation filibuster turns into “Friends of Hamas” embarrassment, we also hear John McCain admitting it’s payback for Hagel’s criticism of Bush and the Iraq war. It makes the timing of Rachel Maddow and MSNBC’s broadcast of a documentary on the selling of the Iraq war absolutely perfect. Based on Hubris, by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, it’s a reminder that as Republicans continue to rage on, the two leaders at the top of the national security food chain at the time, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, have never been held accountable for taking our country to war in Iraq on lies.

After Fox News Channel concocted reports, and Republicans started swiftboating Ambassador Susan Rice, it was easy to come to Rice’s offense due to the false charges that erupted and accusations hurled in her direction, using her as a scapegoat.

It was really a campaign to try to take President Obama down on national security before the election. Drive into his strength to wound him politically. It was a desperate tactic that failed, because the American public have grown tired of the Republican spectacle and don’t trust them anymore.

Chuck Hagel’s treatment has been particularly appalling to watch, coming after what happened to Rice, especially since on many issues he’s been proven right, if not prescient. No doubt Hagel didn’t perform well in his confirmation hearing. However, if we’re ticking off a list of wrongs, Bush and Cheney, Wolfowitz and so many others in the Bush administration paid absolutely no price for their national security crimes. So seeing Republicans think they can get away with ruining this man’s reputation and shuttling him back to Nebraska where he can pick up his professional life after being publicly humiliated by a bunch of politicians on a vendetta sickens me.

All of this vitriol coming from a certain brand of Republican has one root.

The killing of Osama bin Laden on President Obama’s watch was shocking to today’s Republicans and unmoored them from their dream identity. That they had to again watch a split screen showing George W. Bush saying “I really just don’t spend that much time on him,” made it worse.

In fact, getting Osama was the killing blow to the extremists running the GOP today who had assumed a prowess on national security, because their party’s marketing was good on the subject of war making. It’s how Bush and Cheney thought they could sell Iraq in the first place.

But Obama giving the order to cross into the sovereign territory of Pakistan, a volatile nuclear armed nation and shaky ally, besides being what he said he’d do, was risky, even given SEAL Team Six had done raids similar before. If it had failed, Obama would have gone the way of Jimmy Carter.

Instead, President Obama announcing Osama bin Laden’s death was the final blow to the foreign policy fantasies of Republicans.

Now the party of Bush and Cheney, who brought us the Iraq war on the wings of lies, want President Obama to listen to them on who would be best for the position of secretary of defense.

It would be laughable if it didn’t show such hubris.

With all of this spinning, it’s a good moment to remember how easily President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney got away with selling the Iraq war on a web of lies, then retired with pensions, book deals and fat speaking fees, without ever being held accountable for what they did and all the people that died on their watch.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

25 Responses to Benghazi? We’re Still Waiting for Bush and Cheney to be Held Accountable for Iraq. [Rachel Maddow Videos]

  1. fangio February 22, 2013 at 12:45 am #

    Why should the Republicans be afraid of Obama, it is Holder and himself who have allowed Bush, Cheney and Wolfowitz to walk the streets of this country as free men. He may have gotten Bin Ladin, but who cares; they know he’s still weak and they know that Americans could not give a crap. Bin Laden was just a symbol, and old man sitting in his living room watching TV. Was it really worth the effort when the result would be to alienate Pakistan. We lost a little under 3,000 at the trade center; we lost 6,000 soldiers in Iraq, more thousands in Afghanistan, 35,000 wounded and around 15,000 maimed who may as well be dead. We are responsible for all those dead and wounded soldiers, not Al Queda. Obama should have come into office to end the Bush era and heal our self inflicted wounds; he chose instead to continue them. I wonder if he read the article about the terrorists learning how to avoid drone attacks. That’s ok, we can use them in Texas instead.

  2. jinbaltimore February 22, 2013 at 4:17 am #

    “With all of this spinning, it’s a good moment to remember how easily President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney got away with selling the Iraq war on a web of lies, then retired with pensions, book deals and fat speaking fees, without ever being held accountable for what they did and all the people that died on their watch.”

    We can thank Nancy “Impeachment is off the table” Pelosi, and anyone else that agreed with her position for this. Even today, with all that we know, there are STILL Democrats who let Pelosi off the hook for failing to do her job.

    I have to admire NBC’s hubris, indeed, in airing this documentary and working both sides of the Iraq War depending on which way the wind is blowing.
    http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/02/19/msnbcs-hoax-documentary-overlooking-the-role-of-media-in-selling-iraq-war/

    “Between August 20, 2002, and the start of the Iraq War on March 19, 2003, Gen. Barry McCaffrey appeared on NBC, CNBC or MSNBC to offer comments on Iraq more than 140 times. He was on MSNBC at least 75 times. McCaffrey was one of 75 military analysts that the New York Times exposed as participants in a Pentagon propaganda campaign. As described in the exposé, ‘The campaign, begun in 2002 but suspended after the article’s publication, sought to transform the analysts into ‘surrogates’ and ‘message force multipliers’ for the Bush administration, records show. The analysts, many with military industry ties, were wooed in private briefings, showered with talking points and escorted on tours of Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.’

    The conversation on cable news programs stigmatized opposition. MSNBC host Chris Matthews used his program, “Hardball,” to highlight European opposition to going to war in Iraq. He was constantly asking guests to explain their anti-Americanism. On February 6, 2003, one day after Powell did his presentation at the UN, he asked Sen. John Edwards about the French:

    MATTHEWS: How would you encourage the countries of France, I don’t mean the governments because Chirac could be doing anything. We don’t know what his motives are. Why do the polls show in Spain, in all the countries, even the ones who’ve signed the letter supporting the president’s position, why all over Europe and most of the world they think we’re the one causing this fight. That the Iraqi – we’re the more dangerous country. How did that happen? Is that Bush’s fault, the perception that we’re Goliath and Iraq is David, and we’re the bad guys? Whose fault is that or is it the policy’s fault?

    Matthews, as New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported, wanted MSNBC host Phil Donahue to be fired. ‘Executives expressed increasing unease about his vocal opposition to the looming war in Iraq.’ Matthews was upset that ‘significant resources’ were being put into Donahue’s show. ‘With the war looming, MSNBC president Erik Sorenson and Phil Griffin decided to take him off the air ‘to make way for 24/7 war coverage.’

    And that we lost Phil Donohue and got stuck with Tweedy over this is a pretty big tragedy as far as media stories go.

    Do Maddow and/or others admit NBC’s complicity? That would go along way toward establishing credibility vs. simply working both angles.

    • Cujo359 February 22, 2013 at 4:48 am #

      Thanks for writing this, and thus saving me the trouble.

      Much as I despise the Bush Administration for doing this, I despise the Democrats who let them. They had the power, particularly from 2006 through 2010, to do something about all this, and they chose to take that option off the table.

      And, as with Harry Reid, I can’t just blame Pelosi. She still has her job, even after making House Democrats so irrelevant that they lost the 2010 election and she lost her job as Speaker, as do the rest of the “leadership” of that failed opportunity.

  3. DaGoat February 22, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    Yes, by all means let’s obsess about the people who are gone and give the ones that are still here a pass. I don’t agree with tying Hagel’s nomination to Benghazi,and of course it’s partisan politics and the GOP is being hypocritical, but just as there is no reason to link Hagel and Benghazi there is also no reason to link Benghazi and Iraq.

    Note to Democrats: You won. Bush is long gone but you’re still fighting the last war.

  4. Taylor Marsh February 22, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    If history isn’t your thing, try absorbing the only sentence in the piece that is in bold…

    Now the party of Bush and Cheney, who brought us the Iraq war on the wings of lies, want President Obama to listen to them on who would be best for the position of secretary of defense.

    jinbaltimore February 22, 2013 at 4:17 am

    Brava.

  5. Joyce Arnold February 22, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    The “war on terror” continues … who won what?

    • Taylor Marsh February 22, 2013 at 10:05 am #

      The legacy lives on in US drone policy, as well as Gitmo and rendition policy, etc.

      Read Charles Pierce, with one paragraph particularly interesting, Joyce:

      This is what happens when you elect someone — anyone — to the presidency as that office is presently constituted. Of all the various Washington mystery cults, the one at that end of Pennsylvania Avenue is the most impenetrable. This is why the argument many liberals are making — that the drone program is acceptable both morally and as a matter of practical politics because of the faith you have in the guy who happens to be presiding over it at the moment — is criminally naive, intellectually empty, and as false as blue money to the future. The powers we have allowed to leach away from their constitutional points of origin into that office have created in the presidency a foul strain of outlawry that (worse) is now seen as the proper order of things. If that is the case, and I believe it is, then the very nature of the presidency of the United States at its core has become the vehicle for permanently unlawful behavior. Every four years, we elect a new criminal because that’s become the precise job description.

      • jinbaltimore February 22, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

        Beautifully written…and extremely sad.

      • Joyce Arnold February 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

        Yep. The “drone policy,” “kill list,” “idefinite detention” and the multiple related pieces simply reinforce, for me, the duopoly realities.

  6. angels81 February 22, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    I don’t think we are fighting the last war, but trying to understand how that war happened. The people who are crying about Benghazi are the same people who helped flame the winds of war against Iraq. I also think that you can connect Benghazi with what happened in Iraq,by us completely destroying Iraq as a viable nation we have set the whole middle east aflame. We have changed the power base in that area and destabilized and weakened established governments.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter February 22, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      Well stated.

    • DaGoat February 22, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

      I’ll tell you how the last war happened angels. It was from good people who for many reasons, some political, some partisan and some with the best intentions, looked the other way for a long time. And it’s still happening – tell me how bombing Libya, the continuing war in Afghanistan and the use of drones is helping to quench the fire in the Middle East. Tell me how the continuing use of rendition, indefinite detention and killing Americans without a trial is any different than what Bush did. That’s why it bugs me when people dwell on past events and ignore the current ones.

  7. mjsmith February 22, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    Hagel was completely unprepared for his confirmation hearing. It seems that what goes for comedy on the Daily Show one night, is presented as serious news analysis onth Maddowshow the next night. Still blaming Bush? If there is one thing Bush did right, it was to get rid of Sadaam Hussein. I do not know why Kerry had a cakewalk confirmation and Hagel is not. Why not a single concern about Kerry and Hagel is unnacceptable? With the exception of Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama and his team failed in every aspect of Mid-East policy. Egypt, Libya, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Iran, Pakistan and Tunisia are all failures.

    • AliceP February 22, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      Did you read Taylor’s article?

      “we also hear John McCain admitting it’s payback for Hagel’s criticism of Bush and the Iraq war.”

      THAT is why. It has nothing to do with Hagel’s qualifications.

      • mjsmith February 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

        McCain wanted to know why Hagel said the troop surge was the worst mistake since the Vietnam War. Hagel was wrong. Should a person who is in a confirmation hearing be held accountable for mistakes they made in the past? I notice a great deal of McCain bashing from the lefties, liberals, and liberals who call themselves “progressives”.That can only mean one thing and one thing only – Senator McCain must be doing a great job!

        • jinbaltimore February 22, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

          “McCain wanted to know why Hagel said the troop surge was the worst mistake since the Vietnam War. Hagel was wrong.”

          How so?
          Inflaming an entire region against us, without the least provocation is now a good thing? Please explain.

        • Cujo359 February 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

          McCain wanted to know why Hagel said the troop surge was the worst mistake since the Vietnam War. Hagel was wrong.

          True. The surge wasn’t the biggest mistake – it was starting the war in the first place. The surge was just one more stupid and feckless act in a long list of them.

          Still, Hagel was more right than McCain was on the subject, by a long way. At least Hagel came to realize what foolishness the war was. McCain still doesn’t.

      • mjsmith February 22, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

        I like Hagel. I do feel that he was not prepared for his confirmation hearing. That was his fault. He was unable to answer some basic questions. Perhaps he did not want to offened certain Senators by simply stating “I don’t know”

    • angels81 February 22, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      Damn right a lot of us are still blaming Bush for attacking a country that was no threat to us whatsoever. Bush sent this country to war on falsehoods and lies. Iraq had no WMD’s, were not hiding any, and was not trying to build any. Iraq had nothing to do with Bin Laden or the terrorists that attacked us, and was in fact on Bin Laden’s hit list.

      As far as Obama goes, tell us how he has failed in Egypt, Libya, Pakistan and most of all Israel? According to the Israeli government Obama has been a great friend of Israel and a strong American president when it comes to the defense of Israel.

      • secularhumanizinevoluter February 22, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

        Didn’t they just give him some kinda medal or something? Oh well, reality has never infringed on the delusions of the Obama Derangement Syndrome aflicted has it?

      • mjsmith February 23, 2013 at 8:00 am #

        President Obama has been a great supporter, really a great enabler, of the far right wing of Israel politics. Peace talks between Israel and Palestine evaporated since Obama took Office. If you think supporting Israel taking more land away from Palestinians is the same as being a great supporter to the defense of Israel, then you are correct. The majority, or clearly over half, of the Israeli population do not support these actions by their own government. The majority of the Israeli population sincerely want peace. Obama supports the opposite side of Israeli politics, the side that just wants land.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter February 22, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      ” If there is one thing Bush did right, it was to get rid of Sadaam Hussein. ”
      OK, let me see if I have this right…you are saying that shrub lied through his teeth and launched a war of aggression against a country that had done NOTHING to endanger America or Americans…because of 9/11. DESTROYED a country and killed hundreds of thousands of human beings and that’s one thing he did right?!!!!!!!!!
      I am SO glad you comment here. It is nice…kinda sad and sickening but nice to know what the divorced from reality crowd is thinking…if you want to call what they do thinking.

  8. Cujo359 February 22, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    Angels81 writes:

    I don’t think we are fighting the last war, but trying to understand how that war happened. The people who are crying about Benghazi are the same people who helped flame the winds of war against Iraq.

    That’s correct. In fact, this is all part of a larger story, which includes that Charles Pierce story Taylor quoted. It’s the story of our acceptance of the lawlessness of our government by us as a people. Don’t forget, the President is immune from criminal prosecution while in office. He must be impeached before he can be tried, until he leaves office. The Obama Administration not only refused to prosecute W. Bush and his cohorts when they left office for their criminal behavior, but he continued and expanded it.

    And now a depressingly large segment of progressives is willing to accept all this because Obama is now the one doing this. Just as conservatives accepted the invasion of a foreign country for no good reason, an act that violates their principles, we accept this clearly out of control behavior that violates ours, because if the One does it, it must be OK.

    Back during the executive overreach that went on in the Bush Administration, I used to chide those conservatives “what would you think of this if Hillary Clinton were doing it?” What I got was the intellectual equivalent of a blank stare – things like “Well, that didn’t happen now, did it?” Now, it could just as easily be asked, as Joan Walsh (of all people) asked of progressives a while back in Salon “What if Mitt Romney were doing this?” Of course, lots of people will yell that it’s not the same thing. Of course it is. It’s exactly the same thing – the reasons we had all those separations and limitations of government power in the first place that no one seems to think are all that important now.

    Nancy Pelosi’s taking impeachment off the table may have been the last gasp of democracy in America, at least under anything like our current government. She deserves infamy for that statement, not praise. Still, it was part of a long, slow decline, and lots of us were ready to accept all those “tough” or “pragmatic” reasons for allowing it to occur. Ya know, ’cause we were all being adults and making those hard choices instead of being “idealists”.

  9. TPAZ February 22, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

    Over the past 10 years, Republicans did our country a disservice on purpose for greed and profit. Democrats did so out of fear and cowardice and pretended it was greed and profit. Which is worse?

    • secularhumanizinevoluter February 22, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

      Is that a serious question?

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong