The Noninterventionists Told You So

By:  Sheldon Richman
06/19/2014
       
The Noninterventionists Told You So

Contrary to popular belief, there is no satisfaction in being able to say, “I told you so.”

This is especially so with Iraq, where recent events are enough to sicken one’s stomach. Yet it still must be said: those who opposed the George W. Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq in March 2003 — not to mention his father’s war on Iraq in 1991 and the sanctions enforced through the administration of Bill Clinton — were right.

The noninterventionists predicted a violent unraveling of the country, and that’s what we’re witnessing. They agreed with Amr Moussa, chairman of the Arab League, who warned in September 2002 that the invasion would “open the gates of hell.” There was no ISIS or al-Qaeda in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq before the U.S. invasion.

Once again, the establishment news media have ill-served the American public. In the buildup to the 2003 bipartisan war on Iraq — which was justified through lies about weapons of mass destruction and complicity in the 9/11 attacks — little time and ink were devoted to the principled opponents of intervention.

Maybe war builds circulation, ratings, and advertising revenues. Or maybe corporate news outlets fear losing access to high-ranking government officials. Whatever the explanation, far more media resources went toward hyping the illegal aggressive war than to the case against it.

No one can grasp the complexity of one’s own society, we noninterventionists said, much less a society with Iraq’s unique religious, sectarian, and political culture and history. Intervention grows out of hubris. Nonintervention accepts the limits of any ruling cadre’s knowledge. The war planners had no clue how to reform Iraqi society. But there was one thing they did know: they would not suffer the consequences of their arrogance.

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