Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War. For this reason, MSNBC ran two very interesting segments on the Iraq and U.S. presence in the Middle East; however, unsurprisingly, they left out some vital information about how and why the United States felt compelled to invade Iraq.
In one of the segments, Luke Russert interviewed veteran NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel on the state of Iraq today. The interview surprisingly lacked any substantial information. Engel argued that U.S. influence in the region has declined since the beginning of the Iraq War and briefly discussed the sectarian conflict among Sunnis, Shi’ites and Kurds that plagues Iraq. After only five minutes of discussion, they then transitioned to President Obama’s trip to Israel.
It is widely understood that President George W. Bush encouraged war with Iraq through a series of lies combined with largely exaggerated rhetoric. Furthermore, it is the unfortunate truth that media of all political spectrums, including the liberal MSNBC, hopped on board Bush’s war-mongering train. Today, liberals and conservatives alike resent the countrywide misconceptions that triggered the beginning of the Iraq war. In fact, many speculate that had former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton not supported the Iraq War in 2003, she would have emerged victorious during the 2008 Democrat primaries. Nevertheless, the aforementioned MSNBC segment, which acknowledged the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War, failed to address the beginning of the Iraq War, instead focusing on the current state of Middle Eastern politics.
In the second segment, Joe Scarborough was overwhelmingly ironic. Bob Woodward, reporting from Washington D.C., discussed former President Bush’s failure to formally discuss the invasion of Iraq with Secretary of State Colin Powell. However, Woodward, known for his premiere investigative journalism with the Washington Post and for 16 non-fiction books discussing American politics, was not immune to President’s Bush’s war-mongering tactics. In fact, when Woodward was asked by Larry King on CNN what happens if we go to war and don’t find any weapons of mass destruction, he answered, "I think the chance of that happening is about zero. There’s just too much there." OOPS.
Can we blame media networks for their part in convincing the American people war in Iraq was a wonderful idea? Yes and no. Unfortunately, politicians, journalists, and regular citizens fell victim to the same trap. We must learn from past experiences and move on.