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THREAD: On the 16th anniversay of the war in #Iraq, I want to make today as uncomfortable as possible for people who cheerlead & supported the disastrous War and ignored the rest of us, who protested, marched in the streets & loudly warned of its violent, bloody consequences. 1/
Protests against the Iraq War began in 2002. I took part as a UC Berkeley student. On Feb 15, 2003, there were a mass protest in over 600 cities around the world. Millions came out. We didn’t have “access” or “insider info.” We all new the war was a sin from the start. 2/
Hans Blinx, the UN weapons inspector, said Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, no “mobile laboratories.” There were 700 inspections. 700! He asked/begged Bush not to do a pre-emptive strike and invasion. He was ignored. 3/
In 2003, Colin Powell shamed himself with an embarassing presentation to the UN Security Council trying to prove Iraq had WMD’s and uranium from Niger and anthrax. All nonsense. He knew it then, knows it now. Now calls it a “great intelligence failure.” 4/
Journalists were “embedded” with the troops in Iraq. They uncritically parroted talking points from the government. Jingoism was at a fever pitch. People went after the Dixie Chicks for critiquing Bush and took steamrollers over their cd’s (that was a thing then). 5/
“Public intellectuals,” “thought leaders, "experts,” especially in DC and NYC, mostly all cheerlead the war. Democracy was going to “bloom” all around the Middle East. It didn’t. ISIS and violent extremists rose. The Project for the New American Century was bloody + chaotic. 6/
Paul Bremer, head of the CPA, made a colossal mistake in disbanding the Iraqi Army, “the de-baathification” of Iraq, 400,000 Iraqi soldiers out of work. The result? No security and lawlessness. In this vacuum, looting, violence and Al Qaeda rose. (Thanks, Paul!) 7/
But guess who stepped in? Erik Prince, who profited off the Iraq war with his murderous private military firm Blackwater. He's making millions around the world. His sister, Betsy DeVos, is now the US Secretary of Education. Some people got very rich off of dead bodies. 8/
Elected officials, including Democrats, lined up with Bush and voted for the Authorization to Use Military Force (which is still in effect) to invade Iraq. Looking at you, Biden. Lincoln Chafee voted against it - the only Republican to do so. Gotta give him a shout out. 9/
In the past 16 years, it’s safe to assume that more than 500,000 Iraqis died as a result of this needless Iraq war, the greatest foreign policy disaster in recent memory. Nearly 5,000 US service members have died. Trillions $ wasted. What did “we” accomplish? Ask Iraqis. 10/
The Iraq war hawks of 2003 are back. John Bolton is now National Security Advisor and Netanyahu is PM of Israel. They cheerlead the war then, but didn’t have power. Now they do. They want to go after Iran. They haven't learned any lessons from Iraq. Maybe others have by now. 11/
The utter failure of politicians, intellectuals & media when it came to questioning & understanding the Iraq War inspired me to throw my hat in the ring as a young writer. “If the bar is so low & these experts keep f’ing up, maybe I can offer ideas?” That was 15 years ago. 12/
I know George W. Bush is now seen as a wise-cracking guy who gives Michelle candy and paints charming portraits, but he was the President and his administration engineered this Iraq disaster & other terrible policies that still haunt. Never forget or whitewash these sins. 13/
Some of these influencers who cheerlead the Iraq War have apologized. I appreciate it. Many haven’t and are still defensive. Don’t let them gaslight you and re-write history. It’s still being written, it’s still raw, it still bleeds. The fallen deserve better. We all do. END
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