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No Forgiveness for Bush’s 'Useful Idiots,' the Liberal Hawks Who Lead Us into War

The liberal establishment willfully payed along with the preposterous claims that led to the Iraq War.

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No, the apologies we hear are for the war’s lack of success; for the impact on their own brands and political capital.

What’s even more frightening is that nothing has happened to the political capital of these leaders. Hillary Clinton has issued her cursory apologies, and now finds herself as the front-runner candidate for the 2016 elections.  Her apology is for making the wrong calculation in 2003, which likely cost her the presidency in 2008. 

But here is the real problem: the liberal establishment still has not learned its lessons. Those who opposed the Iraq War ten years ago are exposed today, not as having some kind of stronger moral fortitude, but simply having made the right political calculation. President Barack Obama will take his credit for ending the unpopular Iraq War, which he opposed as a senator.  He will do so while dropping bombs in residential neighborhoods in Libya, and expanding the drone program, which kills scores of civilians, in Pakistan and now extending it into Yemen, Somalia, and soon, possibly into Syria.

And just as ten years ago, the media fails us today in carrying a real debate.  Thomas Friedman continues to speak with authority on crises all over the world in spite of spitting vitriol against anyone not buying into the greatest farce ever sold to the American public.  Even more shameful is Bill Keller’s strong stance against Wikileaks and Julian Assange, and the great risks they undertook to expose war crimes and the toll of a war he claims to regret supporting. 

Not one of these prominent thinkers and actors in our liberal establishment has reflected on the true costs of war, or made any changes to their decision making priorities. So today, as we look back on a criminal war, and a human rights catastrophe, we may as well be looking forward as well, because it looks exactly the same. Unless we truly hold those who betrayed their oath of office to account for the devastation they’ve caused, the useful idiots of our next war will be us.

Michael Ratner is the president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and currently serves as attorney for Julian Assange and Wikileaks. He is co-author with Margaret Ratner Kunstler of Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in the Twenty-First Century. Follow him on Twitter @justleft.

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