HUBRIS: LOOKING BACK
If you missed it last month, set your TiVo for the re-air of Hubris: Selling the Iraq War Friday at 9pm Eastern on MSNBC . . . the story of how we were misled and mis-led into a war that wound up wounding or killing more than 100,000 Americans and vastly more Iraqis, at a cost to us of more than $2 trillion.
And a cost to others, like the Brits, as well. “The way Britain was led into war was ‘wholly irresponsible,’ senior military figures have told the Guardian. Though they direct their fire principally at the Bush administration, they make clear the Blair government must share a lot of the blame.”
“. . . It was absolutely irresponsible to go in without thinking of the consequences”, said Lord Guthrie, former chief of defence staff and head of the army. He added: “War is dangerous, difficult, and dirty, but usually cheaper and shorter and easier than what can happen after the fighting stops.”
Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary at the time, had a “lot to answer for”, Guthrie added, referring to the way Rumsfeld, notorious for his “stuff happens” description of widespread looting in Baghdad, allowed Paul Bremer, the US chief administrator – in effect the US governor of Iraq after the invasion – to ban the Ba’ath party and dismantle the Iraqi army.
They should have got rid of the top people but “clasped the army to their bosom”, and say to them: ‘Help us rebuild Iraq'”, Guthrie told the Guardian.
“Why did Bremer squash any sense of the Iraqi people taking any role in their own destiny?” asked Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge, commander of British forces in Iraq at the time of the invasion. “That defies logic.”
General Sir Mike Jackson, head of the army at the time, described Rumsfeld and Bremer as “intellectually bankrupt”. With other British defence chiefs, he expected and wanted Iraqi military units, including Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard, to remain in place and help maintain law and order in Iraq after the invasion. . . .
LOOKING FORWARD: THE PROGRESSIVE BUDGET
Thanks to UP/with Chris Hayes, the Nation, and a few others for publicizing this budget, otherwise getting drowned out by attention to the Paul Ryan budget that dismantles the New Deal (on the one hand) and the Patty Murray budget which is way better but not bold enough (on the other).
The Congressional Progressive Caucus “Back to Work” budget aims to create 7 million jobs its first year as it sets about rebuilding America’s infrastructure . . . paid for with deficit-cutting revenue measures like a carbon tax; a quarter-of-one-percent tax on stock trades; higher tax brackets for that portion of your income above $1 million, with a top 49% bracket for that portion of your annual income above $1 billion. And more. Read it. It’s interesting! And logical!
If I were God, I might so some editing it . . . maybe a tenth-of-one-percent instead of a quarter percent on stock trades . . . maybe a little gentler treatment of estates, especially those under $10 million . . . but in the main, it seems this is exactly the document we should be working from.
MethylGene reported a failed drug trial yesterday having something to do with a fungal enzyme. But we were always in this for the cancer drugs, on which the company indicates there might be a progress report later in the year. It remains highly speculative.
Marriage, as promised: but tomorrow. (Wasn’t divorce fun?)