Here’s a rather windy mea culpa from Bill Keller, who, at long last, voices his regret at having fallen for Bush/Cheney’s propaganda drive for war against Iraq back in 2002.
Well, good for him; and it would be nice if all the other liberals who took wing as hawks back then—George Packer, Paul Berman, Thomas Friedman, Richard Cohen et al.—would do the same, as all of them have very bloody hands.
But Keller’s “hard look at why I wanted war” is not as hard as it could be, since it says not one word about Scott Ritter—who knew that BushCo’s claims were utter hooey, and who did everything he could to point that out, so as to halt the rush to war. Everything that Ritter said was absolutely true; and yet (or: therefore) the press went after him, accusing him of treason, mental illness, grandiosity and/or venality, for daring to speak out against the Bush regime’s Big Lies.
All the corporate press went after him. His treatment by the myrmidons of cable “news”—especially CNN—was shocking at the time, and now seems downright criminal in retrospect. And he was treated just as nastily in print—and not least by the New York Times. (For the grim details, see my book, Cruel and Unusual, pp. 69-99.)
Here’s “Scott Ritter’s Iraq Complex,” a lengthy hatchet job (5000 words) by Barry Bearak, for the NYTimes Magazine (where Keller’s I’m-so-sorry now appears):
And here is “The Selective Conscience,” Keller’s own op-ed from 12/14/02, which takes a passing shot at Ritter for being too “high-minded” to help agitate for the US
invasion of Iraq: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/14/opinion/the-selective-conscience.html
So why did Keller, and his colleagues, take so hard a line against Scott Ritter, when he knew his stuff, and had the guts to tell us what he knew? How, today, would Keller justify such piling on? And why does he not mention Ritter now?
No doubt these are “hard” questions; but Keller needs to answer them, not just for Ritter’s sake, but as a way to help himself, and all the rest of us, see how, in these United States, the government and press collaborate to say—and even, evidently, to believe—that lies are truth, that black is white, that 2+2=5.
My Unfinished 9/11 Business
A hard look at why I wanted war.
By BILL KELLER Published: September 6, 2011
From the Magazine
Ten years after the attacks, we memorialize the loss and we mark the heroism, but there is no organized remembrance of the other feelings that day aroused: the bewilderment, the vulnerability, the impotence. It may be difficult to recall with our attention now turned inward upon a faltering economy, but the suddenly apparent menace of the world awakened a bellicose surge of mission and made hawks of many — including me — who had a lifelong wariness of the warrior reflex.