Thirteen years after the Iraq War was started by George W. Bush and his administration, it’s easy to see how big of a disaster the conflict was. There were no weapons of mass destruction, trillions of dollars were spent, and hundreds of thousands of lives – both Iraqi and American – were lost.
In 2002, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) was one of the most vocal opponents of invading Iraq, saying that he believed “[President Bush] would mislead the American people” when it came war. And now that the US is dealing with another tense situation in the Middle East, the same people who were so wrong about Iraq are calling for military action against Iran.
McDermott spoke to the Huffington Post about the politicians and pundits currently calling for more war and said he recognizes that their arguments are the same as they were over a decade ago.
“There is a principle of communication which is very well known and has been documented in a variety of different ways. But it comes down to, if you can make people afraid, you can make them do anything,” said McDermott. “And these warmongers are fearmongers, and they are creating as much fear in the American people as possible.”
Examples of repeat performances include comments from Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), current chair of the House Armed Services Committee, said in 2002 that “a policy of ‘hoping Hussein can be contained’ had allowed Iraq to become ‘one giant WMD factory’ that threatened the entire Middle East and America,” said HuffPo.
Last month, Thornberry said the Obama administration’s negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program were “ratifying Iran as a threshold for nuclear power … [that] will breed instability and increase security competition in both the Middle East and the wider geopolitical order. This must not be allowed to happen.”
Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) both championed for the Iraq invasion, with Graham even calling an attack on Iraq “long overdue.”
Recently, the pair released a statement on Iran, saying, in part:
“Any hope that a nuclear deal will lead Iran to abandon its decades-old pursuit of regional dominance through violence and terror is simply delusional. The Obama Administration’s failure to recognize and counter this threat has only served to expand Iranian influence.”
It’s not just the GOP that’s recycling old arguments. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) predicted in 2002 that an Iraq war would be “somewhat easier” than the Gulf War. Now Schumer is “backing a bill that would require speedy congressional approval of any Iran agreement before any of the deal could go into effect,” reported HuffPo.
While the dates and places may change, the cries from the Warhawk wing of the federal government remain the same. As long as the US can protect its financial interests in the Middle East, there will always be politicians who call for a military invasion regardless of the consequences.