Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Attack of the PBS Documentary

To mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war, Frontline presented a four-hour documentary Monday and Tuesday nights, "Bush's War." If you missed it, you can catch a repeat this weekend, or it's already available from Netflix. So far I've only seen the first two hours, and already it's an incredibly powerful indictment.

So far no new ground gets covered. Instead, the show is the most detailed and comprehensive compendium I've seen of what we know about the inner workings of the administration and the decisions, beginning the afternoon of September 11, that led to our invasion of Iraq. I spent two hours becoming reacquainted with facts and events that had faded with time: Rumsfeld's battle with the CIA for control of the "war on terror" and his slow emasculation of George Tenant; the Pentagon's quick abandonment of the war in Afghanistan; the constant repetition of phrases such as "aluminum tubes" and "uranium from Africa" and of course "weapons of mass destruction."

We already know that every reason given for invasion was found to be contrived from intelligence that was discredited from the start. We already know Saddam had nothing to do with bin Laden, that we've only strengthened al Qaeda, that the Pentagon was right and Rumsfeld wrong about forces needed after the regime was toppled. We already know all of it, and even so to have everything laid out all together was both angering and depressing. I wasn't angered only because I was reminded about the rush to war and the way the public was mislead, but also because of the disregard of the Geneva conventions, the creation of the Patriot Act, all of the little ways the "war on terror" was used as an excuse to strengthen executive privilege and powers.

The documentary was depressing because as the years have passed and the war has dragged on I'd forgotten the immediacy of its beginnings, and because I realized that at this point I take the war for granted. It's become something that's just there, always happening, without end, middle, or beginning. Now that the economy's free fall has led us to focus on domestic problems it's not even a focus anymore, abandoned by our collective psyches just like Afghanistan has been abandoned.

I'm left hoping that the result of this year's Presidential election leaves us with some regime change of our own.

3 comments:

tunsie said...

At the time of sept.11 I wanted 2 kill whoever was responsible 4 bringing this hatred 2 our shores,now everyone doesn"t want war.politics and the people who discuss it and the people who try 2 stay afloat by standing by this ones view or that ones view changes on a daily basis. what was is not necessarily what is and what will be. 2 all the political people out there i must implore u 2 watch what u say because it may come back 2 bite u in the a-- 1 day.tunsie.tunsie.tunsie

tunsie said...

the presidential parties r all pointing fingers saying"well u suppoted the war 2".i liken myself 2 Rick in casablanca when he said"I stick my neck out 4 nobody",because i am self employed.I will not get involved in any political fights with someone elses cause,especially if that person is not self employed.they r guaranteed a paycheck at the end of the week.I don"t have that privelege.I will not lend my name 2 conjecture either.because in the end it will be me left out in the cold,not the idiots who reeled me into thier stupid cause. weigh your words and NAME very carefully.tunsie.tunsie.tunsie

J. Spike said...

I really want to see "Body of war" the war doc by Phil Donahue.

If you can watch him on C-Span's Q&A with Brain Lamb its a powerfull hour. And a fine example why Donahue is STILL the best!

Fuck Oprah!
She just supports the status quo like the NY TIMES.