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Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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More than a little sick of warmongers? Get on board the Sick Train

Posted by James McPherson on March 13, 2009

As much debate has there has been about the stimulus bill and the economy (debate spilling over into primetime television), it’s good to remember that the single biggest long-term drag on our economy for most of our lifetimes probably will be the Iraq War–which, we hear today, that the public is “a little sick” of hearing about, talking about, etc. If you want a better picture of what the war will cost you, and for how long, check out NationalPriorities.org.

And for those of you who have recently joined our ranks aboard the sick train (now there’s a song I can’t imagine Cat Stevens singing, even under the name Yusuf Islam): welcome aboard–but what took you so long? Some of us were more than a little sick of this war, and equally sick of the Bush/Cheney cabal that foisted it upon a generally clueless and revenge-seeking public, years ago.

As I’ve noted previously (in a book and repeatedly here), a gutless Democratic Party and a Bush-kissing mainstream press constributed to the problem in the first place. Both now seem largely determined to forget it, but it will be with us for decades to come.

It remains to see whether the “anti-war” Barack Obama will be any better than Bush in terms of war and related spending, and judging by his first steps into the quagmire of Afghanistan, I have my doubts. In the meantime, war also rages much closer, on our southern border. Though I’m not sure we should be helping out there, either, it may not matter–we can’t spare the troops, even if we wanted to help.

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10 Responses to “More than a little sick of warmongers? Get on board the Sick Train”

  1. ryan said

    Iraq will be with us longer than The Stimulus Package? The Stimulus Package is nearly $1 trillion by itself.Now consider the price tag for health care, social security, bailouts of banks….the war in Iraq will not be the only expensive legacy this era will be leaving our heirs.

    Ultimately, the biggest drain upon the economy will be paying for multiple enormous governmental expenditures. This isn’t anything new. Our 4th largest expense in the budget is paying the interest upon the total national debt. That is the fault of Republican and Democrats alike.

    Afghanistan is a difficult, but not unsolvable problem if the goal is limited. You are never going to mkae that country affluent, but we can leave it better than when we came to it. And unlike Iraq, the invasion was fully justified. The foolish adventure in Iraq really made things difficult there.

  2. Hannah Stevens said

    The invasion of Afghanistan was not what people think. This war was planned before 9-11 and the purpose was to get the Caspian Sea pipeline, which was not happening due to the Taliban not co-operating. The bush administration told the Taliban shortly after stealing office and before 9-11, that if they did not let us build the pipeline, there would be a carpet of bombs. So then along comes 9-11, bush hollers for war on Iraq, whups, too soon, and then the US invades Afghanistan where there just happens to be a camp for training al Qaeda. Perfect. So they round up everybody in sight, some of them al Qaeda trainees, some just farmers in the wrong place at the wrong time and throw them in GITMO. And then proceed to go after their first planned target of Iraq, leaving Afghanistan in disarray. Can the country ever recover? Remains to be seen.

  3. BeanerECMO said

    Oh, this war on terror is so dé classé, and so boring. To what can I switch my attention, now? Oh, it was so foolish to go into Iraq with its WMD (500 rounds of chemical munitions found in 2003; small by US standards, but just as deadly. And, the 550 metric tons of yellowcake that were shipped to Canada in 2008.) Besides, with Al Qaeda in Iraq being supported by Saddam as well as his genocide on his own people; it wasn’t any of our business to free them; just as it wasn’t our business to stop the genocide in WWII. I guess these people were from the wrong ethnic background – or was it skin color. After all, we went into Bosnia without UN or Congressional backing; and are still there. But, out of sight; out of mind.

  4. James McPherson said

    Of course virtually every one of the various shifting rationales for war has proven to be based on Bush administration misinterpretations or outright lies. (Don’t take my word for it; see http://projects.publicintegrity.org/WarCard/Default.aspx?source=home&context=overview&id=945.) The media also helped promote the lies, to the point where the New York Times was actually forced to apologize for its pre-war coverage after the war began.

    And if saving people and stopping genocide were a logical rational, we’d have been in the Congo or Darfur long before invading another country. That invasion, by the way, turned most of the Arab world, most of the Muslim world (and no, the two are not synonymous) and many of our former allies (“freedom fries,” anyone?) against us. Thanks all, for the comments.

  5. Naomi said

    It is disgusting that Republicans were so willing to pour trillions of dollars into fighting the Iraq War and rebuilding Iraq, but when it comes time to pull together a stimulus package to help the American people, they cry about “pork”, “debt”, and “overspending.” If they had been fiscally responsible during the past 8 years, our deficit wouldn’t be looming out of control in the first place! As it is, it’s disgusting that Republicans are so willing to “help” Iraqis but not Americans at home.

    This is a time of crisis for many Americans faced with job losses, losing their homes, economic anxiety, and worry. Sure, additional debt sucks, but the alternative is letting honest Americans starve and prolonging the economic crisis – and this alternative is far worse.

  6. […] other words, it’s the old fascist argument, offered at a time when the American public is sick of the whole Bush/Cheney-caused mess, that “we have to strip your civil rights away to save […]

  7. BeanerECMO said

    Yes, facts have never gotten in the way of libs. Joe Wilson was proved to have lied; Clinton (Jamie Gorelick et al) lied that Clinton used the same methods and processes for intel gathering – rendition anyone; ensuring that intel could not be shared among the different agencies (Gorelick); etc. None of the ‘shifting reasons’ for going into Iraq have been disproved, just read the facts in the Congressional Record, not the bloviating by the members. But y’all can sleep soundly under the blanket of security that is provided by those of us you castigate (one cannot support the troops and not support the mission – another canard of the weak-willed) and hold in such disdain.

  8. James McPherson said

    “… just read the facts in the Congressional Record, not the bloviating by the members.”

    I agree with you that lying is a bipartisan activity, though I’d welcome your clarification of which “facts” you’re referring to–after all, the Congressional Record is largely an expanded and edited-after-the-fact written version of the members’ bloviating.

    I obviously I disagree with your statement that “one cannot support the troops and not support the mission.” But for the sake of consistency, under your interpretation, I assume you must then support any decision made by your new Commander in Chief, Barack Obama, regardless of where or why he decides to send troops?

    I would point out that you seem to be conflating a couple of separate issues. While I have regularly criticized the Bush administration, Congressional Democrats and Republicans, and the press for leading us into what I consider to be a stupid and illegal war, I have never “castigated” the troops.

    Nor do I hold those troops in disdain, of course–I value their lives and service enough to wish that we’d use them (and we are using them, judging by their pay and benefits) in places where they’re most needed, rather than as pawns in political games waged by liars and thieves. Naturally I do hold in disdain those liars and thieves, who happen to include Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, etc. Thanks for the comment.

  9. zelda said

    Right on James………right on.

  10. […] presidential administration that is incapable of apologizing for–or even admitting–obvious blunders (though of course, “We’re sorry we were wrong about the weapons” won’t […]

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