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20 Years of Iraq Denialism: The New York Times Continues to Get it Wrong on U.S. Empire (Counterpunch)


20 Years of Iraq Denialism: The New York Times Continues to Get it Wrong on U.S. Empire – By Anthony DiMaggio (Counterpunch) / Mar 24 2023

Marking the twentieth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, The New York Times ran a feature-length article titled, “20 Years On, a Question Lingers About Iraq: Why Did the U.S. Invade?” The piece acknowledges some harsh realities about the war, while dodging questions about its legality and the imperial motivations that fueled it. This is par for the course for the paper of record, which has a decades-long history of sidestepping damning questions about the war.

To provide some context, I should say that I’ve probably done more empirical research on the ways in which we think and talk about Iraq and the “War on Terror” than any other scholar studying media, public opinion, and war (see here, here, and here). So it’s been particularly painful over the decades for me to observe Times reporters systematically distort how we understand U.S. wars. The new Times report reflects on numerous critical facts about the U.S. invasion and occupation, acknowledging “the war’s toll in American military deaths (about 4,600),” and “Iraqi lives,” with “estimates generally fall[ing] around 300,000 or more killed directly by fighting.” The paper also recognizes “the financial cost” of $815 billion – “not counting indirect costs like lost productivity.” Finally, there are the larger macro political and societal consequences of the invasion and occupation, including “plunging Iraq into civil war, giving rise to a new generation of jihadism, and for a time, chastening American interventionism.”

Concerning justifications for war, the Times reports that official reasons given for the invasion were bogus. Considering claims that Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), the Times writes that “Insider accounts consistently portray the administration as playing down or rejecting mountains of intelligence contradicting its claims, instead cherry-picking circumstantial evidence for its case.” This makes short work of apologetic and propagandistic scholarship that fallaciously portrays the war as a result of a simple intelligence error. The Times report also correctly notes the dubious foundation for Bush’s “false” claims that Iraq was “involved in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001” – a point in which Bush was repeatedly reminded by his counter-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke.

CONTINUE > https://www.counterpunch.org/2023/03/24/20-years-of-iraq-denialism-the-ny-times-continues-to-get-it-wrong-on-u-s-empire/



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