Buying the War and What I Knew Long Before Then

Bill Moyer’s excellent PBS report Buying the War scrutinizes the media coverage in the run-up to the Iraq war. The five-chapter program is available for viewing on-line. It’s must-see TV. Follow this link:

On March 4, 2003, I gave a talk, “Bush’s Dream of a Democratic Middle-East,” at the Plea for Peace Teach-in, held on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay. I told a large audience of students and professors that what the Bush administration was telling the world about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and Saddam’s ties to al Qaeda was more than error – it was a pack of lies.

In 2004, I published the study “War Hawks and the Ugly American: The Origins of Bush’s Central Asia and Middle East Policy,” in a German-language book edited by Bernd Hamm. The book has been translated into English as Devastating Society: The Neo-conservative Assault on Democracy and Justice, published by Pluto Press in 2005. My study has also been translated into Arabic and Indonesian.

I had no special access to classified materials. I had worked neither with government organizations nor with media operations. All my information was gathered from reports and news stories, and my conclusions were the result of putting my training as a social scientist to work analyzing facts, studying history, and checking logic.

I am saying this to make the point that nobody who was in a position to know then can now legitimately claim to have been ignorant of the facts in the run-up to the war. So when people who should have known tell you that they didn’t know, you know what to tell them.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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