Truth is always the first casualty of war. But, on the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Richard Gwyn writes that truth died before that war started:
In Bush’s version of the maxim, it wasn’t the fact every war once begun makes lying inevitable: each side always blames the other, minimizes its own misdeeds and claims that God is on its side.
Instead, the purpose of these lies was to manufacture a war that otherwise couldn’t have happened. As a result, there was no limit to the lying.
And George Bush told some whoppers. He claimed:
That Iraq had an armoury of nuclear weapons. It had none.
That Iraq provided Al Qaeda with the base it needed to stage its terrorist attacks. There was no Al Qaeda in Iraq.
That the invasion, by deposing the dictator Saddam Hussein and bringing him to justice, would make Iraq a democracy. Today, elections are indeed held, but the killings continue (nine Iraqis were killed on Monday) and the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds are as far apart as ever.
Newspapers like the Great Gray Lady -- The New York Times -- bought the lies. Gywn admits that, for awhile, he bought them, too. So did that august public intellectual, Michael Ignatieff. Things did not work out so well for him.
But, for the Leader of the Opposition, Fortune smiled. Stephen Harper wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Canada's refusal to join the Coalition of the Willing was "a serious mistake" and that disarming Iraq was "necessary for the long term security of the world."
Who says that propagating a lie doesn't reap benefits?