Where Are The Media's Iraq War Boosters 10 Years Later?
On the tenth anniversary of the American-led invasion of Iraq, Media Matters looks back at the work of some of the media's most prominent pro-war voices. Instead of facing consequences for backing the invasion based on information that turned out to be false and criticizing war opponents, many of these media figures continue to hold positions of influence and continue to provide foreign policy reporting and commentary.
Fred Barnes 
Richard Cohen 
Thomas Friedman 
Sean Hannity 
Stephen Hayes 
Bill Keller 
Bill Kristol 
Judith Miller 
Joe Scarborough 
Position At The Time Of Iraq Invasion: Executive editor and co-founder of The Weekly Standard and Fox News contributor. [WeeklyStandard.com, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Barnes: Iraq Has WMD And A Delivery Vehicle "Called Al Qaeda." From a January 2003 appearance on Fox News:
BARNES: Well, that may be a partial problem, but Juan [Williams], you may have missed this, but we had this debate in the fall, and there was a vote on a war resolution in favor of giving the president the authority to go to war with Iraq after the president made the argument, successfully I believe, that attacking Iraq, deposing Saddam Hussein, is a part of the war on terrorism. Because after September 11th, we realized that all of a sudden, despite the lack of intercontinental missiles on part of a country like Iraq that does have weapons of mass destruction, there is a delivery vehicle, and it's called terrorists, it's called al Qaeda. [Fox News, Fox News Sunday, 1/5/03, via Nexis]
Barnes: "[W]inning The War In Iraq" Is "Going To Be Easy." Barnes said on Fox News in January 2003: "[L]ook, the problem is not winning the war in Iraq. That's going to be easy. The problem right now is Hans Blix, the United Nations inspector in chief in Iraq, who seems to think his job is containment. You know, he says these inspections are a form of containment, and he wants to keep the inspectors there as long as possible, it seems to me, and has even said so." [Fox News, The Beltway Boys, 1/18/03, via Nexis]
Barnes: Military Will Find WMD. During a January 2003 appearance on Fox News, Barnes said of weapons of mass destruction: "They will be found there after the U.S. seizes Iraq, deposes Saddam Hussein, and the U.S. Military hunts around the desert probably for weeks and weeks and maybe months and months and finally finds where they have been hidden in hardened underground sites. And they'll find them." [Fox News, Special Report with Brit Hume, 1/14/03, via Nexis]
Barnes: "The Goal Here Is To Remove Saddam Hussein And Get Rid Of Those Weapons Of Mass Destruction." From a March 2003 appearance on Fox News:
BARNES: The goal here is to remove Saddam Hussein and get rid of those weapons of mass destruction. That's the goal. The goal is the security of the United States and the rest of the world. The U.N., what they, you know, whether they're -- gab fest place or whether they're a serious body or not doesn't really matter. [Fox News, Special Report with Brit Hume, 3/13/03, via Nexis]
Where Is Barnes Now? Barnes continues to serve as the executive editor of The Weekly Standard and appears regularly on Fox News as a contributor. [WeeklyStandard.com, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Position At The Time Of Iraq Invasion: Washington Post columnist. [WashingtonPost.com, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Cohen: Colin Powell Proved That Iraq "Still Retains [WMD]. Only A Fool-Or, Possibly, A Frenchman-Could Conclude Otherwise." From Cohen's column in The Washington Post following Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations about Iraq's purported weapons capabilities:
The evidence he presented to the United Nations -- some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail -- had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool -- or possibly a Frenchman -- could conclude otherwise.
The clincher, as it had to be, was not a single satellite photo or the intercept of one Iraqi official talking to another. And it was not, as it never could be, the assertion that some spy or Iraqi deserter had made this or that charge -- because, of course, who can prove any of that? It was the totality of the material and the fact that Powell himself had presented it. In this case, the messenger may have been more important than the message. [Washington Post, 2/6/03, via Nexis]
Where Is Cohen Now? Cohen continues to write for The Washington Post as a columnist. [WashingtonPost.com, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Position At The Time Of Iraq Invasion: New York Times columnist. [NYTimes.com, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Friedman Supported Iraq War Invasion, Though Had Serious Reservations About Bush Administration Tactics And Planning. From a March 19, 2003, New York Times column:
President Bush is fond of cowboy imagery, so here's an image that comes to mind about our pending war with Iraq. In most cowboy movies the good guys round up a posse before they ride into town and take on the black hats. We're doing just the opposite. We're riding into Baghdad pretty much alone and hoping to round up a posse after we get there. I hope we do, because it may be the only way we can get out with ourselves, and the town, in one piece.
This column has argued throughout this debate that removing Saddam Hussein and helping Iraq replace his regime with a decent, accountable government that can serve as a model in the Middle East is worth doing -- not because Iraq threatens us with its weapons, but because we are threatened by a collection of failing Arab-Muslim states, which churn out way too many young people who feel humiliated, voiceless and left behind. We have a real interest in partnering with them for change.
This column has also argued, though, that such a preventive war is so unprecedented and mammoth a task -- taking over an entire country from a standing start and rebuilding it -- that it had to be done with maximum U.N legitimacy and with as many allies as possible.
President Bush has failed to build that framework before going to war. Though the Bush team came to office with this Iraq project in mind, it has pursued a narrow, ideological and bullying foreign policy that has alienated so many people that by the time it wanted to rustle up a posse for an Iraq war, too many nations were suspicious of its motives.
The president says he went the extra mile to find a diplomatic solution. That is not true. On the eve of the first gulf war, Secretary of State James Baker met face to face in Geneva with the Iraqi foreign minister -- a last-ditch peace effort that left most of the world feeling it was Iraq that refused to avoid war. This time the whole world saw President Bush make one trip, which didn't quite make it across the Atlantic, to sell the war to the only two allies we had. This is not to excuse France, let alone Saddam. France's role in blocking a credible U.N. disarmament program was shameful.
But here we are, going to war, basically alone, in the face of opposition, not so much from ''the Arab Street,'' but from ''the World Street.'' Everyone wishes it were different, but it's too late -- which is why this column will henceforth focus on how to turn these lemons into lemonade. Our children's future hinges on doing this right, even if we got here wrong.
The president's view is that in the absence of a U.N. endorsement, this war will become ''self-legitimating'' when the world sees most Iraqis greet U.S. troops as liberators. I think there is a good chance that will play out. [New York Times, 3/19/03 ]
Friedman: Iraq Invasion Was "Worth Doing" Because We Needed To Tell The Middle East To "Suck On This." During a 2003 appearance on PBS, Friedman justified the Iraq war by linking it to the 9-11 attacks and added:
ROSE: Now that the war is over, and there's some difficulty with the peace, was it worth doing?
FRIEDMAN: I think it was unquestionably worth doing, Charlie. I think that, looking back, I now certainly feel I understand more what the war was about.
What we needed to do was go over to that part of the world, I'm afraid, and burst that bubble. We needed to go over there basically, and take out a very big stick, right in the heart of that world, and burst that bubble. And there was only one way to do it.
And what they needed to see was American boys and girls going from house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, and basically saying: which part of this sentence don't you understand? You don't think, you know, we care about our open society? You think this bubble fantasy, we're just going to let it grow?
Well, suck on this. OK? That, Charlie, was what this war was about.
We could have hit Saudi Arabia. It was part of that bubble. Could have hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could. That's the real truth. [PBS, The Charlie Rose Show, 5/30/03, via Media Matters ; Eschaton, 4/17/12 ]
Where Is Friedman Now? Friedman continues to write for The New York Times as a columnist. [NYTimes.com, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Position At The Time Of Iraq Invasion: Editorial page editor and vice president of The Wall Street Journal. [WSJ.com, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Gigot's WSJ Editorial Page Frequently Forwarded Alarmist Claims About Iraq's Nuclear Capabilities. As Media Matters documented, the Journal editorial page, which Gigot has overseen since 2001, frequently hyped the likelihood that Saddam was not far from producing or obtaining a nuclear weapon. [Media Matters, 4/18/06 ]
WSJ In January 2003: Iraqi National Congress Has "Brought Out Scores Of Defectors And Tons Of Information On Saddam's Weapons Programs." [Media Matters, 6/19/09 ]
WSJ In February 2003: Coalition Will Find "Nasty Weapons And The Cheering Iraqis ... When It Liberates The Country." [Media Matters, 6/19/09 ]
Where Is Gigot Now? Gigot is still the editorial page editor for the Journal. He also hosts The Journal Editorial Report for Fox News. [WSJ.com, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Position At The Time Of Iraq Invasion: Co-host of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes.
Hannity: "We're Going To Find All Of The Weapons Of Mass Destruction." From Hannity & Colmes in February 2003:
HANNITY: Because you know something, Ellis [Henican, Fox News contributor]? We're going to go in and we're going to liberate this country in a few weeks and it's going to be over very quickly. No, it's going to be over very quickly. And what I'm going to tell you here is, you're going to find, I predict, mass graves. We're going to open up those -- hang on, let me finish -- those gulags and those prisons and you're going to hear stories of rape and torture and misery, and then we're going to find all of the weapons of mass destruction that all of you guys on the left say don't exist. And I'm going to point -- Ellis, don't go down the road because you're going to have egg on your face. [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 2/19/03, via Nexis]
Hannity: We're Invading Iraq "So The Weapons Of Mass Destruction That We Will Be Finding Don't End Up In American Cities." Hannity said on March 24, 2003: "[A]s we pointed out, this is a noble cause, and we've got to be so proud of these men and women and what they've been able to accomplish in such a short period of time so the weapons of mass destruction that we will be finding don't end up in American cities. And we applaud them all." [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 3/24/03, via Nexis]
Hannity Mocked Critics For Wanting To Claim Iraq's "A Quagmire, We Don't Have Enough Troops." From Hannity & Colmes in April 2003:
HANNITY: You know what I find amazing, one of the most successful military operations, I mean, the left wanted to criticize the president so bad, "It's a quagmire, we don't have enough troops, the battle plan needs to be written straight across the board." Now, how could anybody, when we see the gulags and the prisons open and the children set free that wouldn't join the Ba'ath Party, some have been there five years, how could -- the Democrats are bragging they think we didn't do the right thing here. [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 4/11/03, via Nexis and Media Matters ]
Hannity: Iraq War Critics "Made Fools Of Them Themselves." From Hannity & Colmes in April 2003:
HANNITY: Colonel, the proof will be in the pudding. Because they're going to see that their country is a lot freer, they'll have more liberty and...
COl. DAVID HUNT: Saddam killed half a million of his own people. We've killed by mistake about 1,200. A half a million of his own people.
HANNITY: Yes. You keep mentioning these same naysayers. On every step of the way, they thought this military operation, they were lecturing us on how it wasn't well thought out. This rolling was a bad idea, we didn't have enough troops there, it was going to be a quagmire. All of these thousands, according to naysayers of troops are going to die...
HUNT: Right. And my problem with them is these are retired general officers in the Army and some Air Force. There weren't any Marine and Navy guys to take credit. And now they're backing off, saying, oh, I didn't really mean it. It's on videotape.
HANNITY: But we ought to play it because they've actually made fools of them themselves. [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 4/10/03, via Nexis and Media Matters ]
Where Is Hannity Now? Hannity is the host of Fox News' Hannity.
Position At The Time Of Iraq Invasion: Writer for The Weekly Standard.
Hayes' 2004 Book Was Titled The Connection: How Al Qaeda's Collaboration With Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America. [Media Matters, 6/30/04 ]
Hayes Repeatedly Pushed Falsehood That Al Qaeda And Iraq Were Connected. Spencer Ackerman wrote of Hayes:
Hayes, in the Standard, has made a career out of pretending Saddam and Al Qaeda were in league to attack the United States. He published a book -- tellingly wafer-thin and with large type in its hardcover edition -- called "The Connection." One infamous piece even suggested that Saddam might have aided the 9/11 attack. Hayes can be relied on to provide a farrago of speciousness every time new information emerges refuting his deceptive thesis. Unsurprisingly, Cheney has repeatedly praised Hayes's work, telling Fox News, "I think Steve Hayes has done an effective job in his article of laying out a lot of those connections." [Huffington Post, 3/20/08 ]
Where Is Hayes Now? CNN hired Hayes in 2008, calling him "a well-respected and knowledgeable journalist." Hayes subsequently left CNN to join Fox News as a contributor, where he is a regular on the "All-Star" panel on Special Report, the network's flagship news program. He continues to write for The Weekly Standard as a senior writer. [Think Progress, 11/3/08 ; Twitter.com, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Position At The Time Of Iraq Invasion: Washington Post editorial page editor. [WashingtonPost.com, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Wash. Post Editorial Page Repeatedly Promoted Falsehoods About Iraq And WMD Before The Invasion. As Media Matters has documented, the Post editorial page -- headed by Hiatt -- repeatedly echoed the Bush administration's claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. A February 6, 2003, editorial began, "After Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell's presentation to the United Nations Security Council yesterday, it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction. [Washington Post, 2/6/03, via Nexis and Media Matters ]
Post Editorial Page Linked The Need To Invade Iraq To The September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attacks. For example, the paper wrote in a February 13, 2003, editorial:
During the past decade the United States vowed many times to disarm Saddam Hussein, who made no secret of his hatred and enmity toward the United States; but when the Iraqi dictator resisted, the United States chose to abandon its vows rather than use the force that would have been needed to enforce them. In every case, the calculation, stated or unstated, was the same: Pay tribute, don't make trouble, and maybe nothing worse will happen.
In the ruins of Lower Manhattan in September 2001, most Americans saw evidence that this calculation was incorrect as well as craven. The nation's enemies would not be deterred or mollified by a gentle response; they would be emboldened. President Bush rightly concluded that the nation had to defend itself more vigilantly but also that no defense could succeed unless accompanied by an offensive against the terrorists and the states that sheltered them. [Washington Post, 2/13/03, via Nexis and Media Matters ]
Bill Moyers: "In The Six Months Leading Up To The Invasion The Washington Post Would Editorialize In Favor Of The War At Least 27 Times." [PBS, Bill Moyers Journal, 4/25/07, via Media Matters ]
Where Is Hiatt Now? Hiatt continues to serve as The Washington Post's editorial page editor. [WashingtonPost.com, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Position At The Time Of Iraq Invasion: Keller served as an op-ed columnist and senior writer for The New York Times from 2001-2003, then became its executive editor in July 2003. [NYTimes.com, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Greg Mitchell: Keller Served As "A Leading 'Liberal Hawk' Backing The Invasion Of Iraq." [The Nation, 9/8/11 ]
Keller Apologized For Forwarding What He Called "Justifications For Overthrowing Saddam Hussein." In a September 2011 column, Keller wrote that he now thought the invasion as a "monumental blunder" and wrote of his writing at the time:
In several columns I laid out justifications for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. There were caveats -- most significantly, that there was no reason to rush , that we should hold off to see whether Iraq's behavior could be sufficiently contained by sanctions and inspections . Like many liberal hawks, I was ambivalent; Pollack said he was 55 to 45 for war, which feels about right.
But when the troops went in, they went with my blessing. Of course I don't think President Bush was awaiting permission from The New York Times's Op-Ed page -- or, for that matter, from my friends in the Times newsroom, who during the prewar debate published some notoriously credulous stories about Iraqi weapons. The administration, however, was clearly pleased to cite the liberal hawks as evidence that invading Iraq was not just the impetuous act of cowboy neocons. Thus did Tony Judt in 2006 coin another, unkinder name for our club: "Bush's Useful Idiots." . [New York Times, 9/6/11 ]
Where Is Keller Now? Kelly left the Times' executive editor position in September 2011, and is now an op-ed columnist for the paper. [NYTimes.com, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Position At The Time Of Iraq Invasion: Washington Post columnist, Fox News contributor.
Krauthammer Argued The Iraq War Would Spread Democracy Throughout Middle East. Krauthammer argued in his February 1, 2002, Washington Post column that an invasion of Iraq would lead to the spread of democracy throughout the Middle East:
Iran is not a ready candidate for the blunt instrument of American power, because it is in the grips of a revolution from below. We can best accelerate that revolution by the power of example and success: Overthrowing neighboring radical regimes shows the fragility of dictatorship, challenges the mullahs' mandate from heaven and thus encourages disaffected Iranians to rise. First, Afghanistan to the east. Next, Iraq to the west. [Washington Post, 2/1/02, accessed via Nexis, via Media Matters ]
Krauthammer: "Time Is Running Short. Saddam Has Weapons Of Mass Destruction." Krauthammer wrote in an April 2002 Washington Post article:
Time is running short. Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. He is working on nuclear weapons. And he has every incentive to pass them on to terrorists who will use them against us. We cannot hold the self-defense of the United States hostage to the solving of a century-old regional conflict. [Washington Post, 4/19/02, accessed via Nexis]
Where Is Krauthammer Now? Krauthammer continues to write for The Washington Post. He is also a contributor to Fox News, where he regularly appears on Special Report's "All-Star" panel. [WashingtonPost.com, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Position At The Time Of Iraq Invasion: Editor and co-founder of The Weekly Standard and Fox News contributor; chairman and co-founder of the Project for the New American Century. [WeeklyStandard.com, accessed 3/19/13 ; NewAmericanCentury.org, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Kristol Senate Testimony: "American And Alliance Forces Will Be Welcomed In Baghdad As Liberators." [Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony, 2/7/02, via Media Matters ]
Kristol: "[A]lmost No Evidence" That "The Shia Can't Get Along With The Sunni." During an April 2003 interview, Kristol said: "There's been a certain amount of pop sociology in America ... that the Shia can't get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There's almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq's always been very secular." [NPR, Fresh Air, 4/1/03 ]
Kristol: "I Think We'll Be Vindicated When We Discover The Weapons Of Mass Destruction And When We Liberate The People Of Iraq." From a March 2003 interview on ABC's Nightline:
TED KOPPEL: Does it, bother you that it appears that it is going to be a largely unilateral policy? I don't want to diminish the influence of our British friends, but this is clearly an American policy.
WILLIAM KRISTOL: It is. One would always prefer to have more allies rather than fewer. And I think we actually will have lots of help in the reconstruction and democratization, actually, of Iraq. But, look, I think what we've learned over the last ten years is that America has to lead. Other countries won't act. They will follow us, but they won't do it on their own. And in this case, I think we'll be vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction and when we liberate the people of Iraq. [ABC, Nightline, 3/5/03, via Nexis]
Where Is Kristol Now? Kristol continues to be the editor of The Weekly Standard, and a Fox News contributor. He also holds board positions with the foreign policy groups Keep America Safe, The Foreign Policy Initiative, and Emergency Committee For Israel. The Project for the New American Century has reportedly ceased operations and its website is no longer updated. [WeeklyStandard.com, accessed 3/19/13 ; KeepAmericaSafe.com, accessed 3/19/13 ; ForeignPolicyI.org, accessed 3/19/13 ; CommitteeForIsrael.com, accessed 3/19/13 ; BBC, 12/21/06 ; NewAmericanCentury.org, accessed 3/19/13 ]
Position At The Time Of Iraq Invasion: New York Times investigative reporter. [New York Times, 11/9/05 ]
Miller Produced A Series Of Now-Debunked Reports That Saddam Hussein Had WMD. As Franklin Foer wrote for New York magazine:
During the winter of 2001 and throughout 2002, Miller produced a series of stunning stories about Saddam Hussein's ambition and capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, based largely on information provided by [Ahmad Chalabi] and his allies -- almost all of which have turned out to be stunningly inaccurate.
For the past year, the Times has done much to correct that coverage, publishing a series of stories calling Chalabi's credibility into question. [New York, 6/7/04 ]
Frontline: Miller "Has Come To Symbolize The Media's Credulous Reporting On Iraq's Alleged Weapons Of Mass Destruction." From a post on the PBS program's website about the media's reporting on Iraq and WMD:
Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller has come to symbolize the media's credulous reporting on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Miller has been criticized for pre-war stories, including at least one which relied on Iraqi defectors opposed to Saddam, and her embedded reporting on the ultimately fruitless hunt for weapons after the invasion.
But there is plenty of blame to go around. A March 2004 report by the University of Maryland's Center for International and Security Studies examined the media's coverage of weapons of mass destruction before the war and just after. It concluded that, on the whole, the media tended to lump together all types of WMD, gave too much credence to the administration's arguments and failed to air dissenting views. [PBS.org, accessed 3/16/13 ]
New York Times Published A 2004 Editor's Note Apologizing For Its WMD Coverage. While the paper's note did not identify Miller by name, it stated that its coverage was "problematic":
But we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged -- or failed to emerge.
The problematic articles varied in authorship and subject matter, but many shared a common feature. They depended at least in part on information from a circle of Iraqi informants, defectors and exiles bent on "regime change" in Iraq, people whose credibility has come under increasing public debate in recent weeks. (The most prominent of the anti-Saddam campaigners, Ahmad Chalabi, has been named as an occasional source in Times articles since at least 1991, and has introduced reporters to other exiles. He became a favorite of hard-liners within the Bush administration and a paid broker of information from Iraqi exiles, until his payments were cut off last week.) Complicating matters for journalists, the accounts of these exiles were often eagerly confirmed by United States officials convinced of the need to intervene in Iraq. Administration officials now acknowledge that they sometimes fell for misinformation from these exile sources. So did many news organizations -- in particular, this one. [New York Times, 5/26/04 ]
Where Is Miller Now? Miller left The New York Times in November 2005. She is now a contributor to Fox News and is a frequent panelist on the program's purported media ethics show Fox News Watch. Miller is also a contributing writer for the conservative publication Newsmax. [New York Times, 11/9/05 ; FoxNews.com, accessed 3/19/13 ; Newsmax, 1/11/11 ]
Position At The Time Of Iraq Invasion: MSNBC analyst and host.
Scarborough: "Congressman [Jack] Kingston [R-GA], Give Me A Quick Response. How Could There Be Anyone Left On The Planet Today That Doesn't Believe That Saddam Hussein Has Weapons Of Mass Destruction?" [MSNBC, MSNBC Reports, 3/5/03, via Nexis]
Scarborough: Toppling Saddam "Will Mean The End Of His Weapons Of Mass Destruction." From a March 2003 MSNBC segment:
SCARBOROUGH: And whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, come on now, tell me. Do you really think Cameroon should be in charge of America's national defense policy? I hope not for you, because Washington is now whispering that the president may pull us out of the U.N. after Iraq is liberated. And that's according to James Taranto with "The Wall Street Journal." If that happens, all I can say is, it's about time. Because after 113 days in this polite diplomatic dance, the music's about to stop. And that will finally mean the end of Saddam Hussein. It will mean the end of his weapons of mass destruction, and it will mean the end to the flunkies who are currently running the United Nations. Good riddance, fellows. And do us all a favor: fix your own dysfunctional countries before you bother telling America how to fix ours. [MSNBC, MSNBC Reports, 3/11/03, via Nexis]
Scarborough In April 2003: "In Each And Every Case, [Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld] Were Exactly Right." During an April 2003 commentary, Scarborough mocked Iraq war critics and wondered when they would apologize to the country for being "dead wrong." Scarborough also wondered whether the "journalists at The New York Times and NPR or at ABC or at CNN are going to ever admit just how wrong their negative pronouncements were over the past four weeks." From a MSNBC segment on April 9, 2003:
SCARBOROUGH: The people of Baghdad are free, and the brutal reign of Saddam Hussein has finally come to an end. And if you want to know why, here's the real deal.
For six months now, George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have been telling the world that the people of Iraq needed to be liberated from Saddam Hussein's bloody reign. The past three weeks have shown us just how right these three men have been.
Now you and I have seen images of Hussein's torture chambers, and we learned yesterday of a children's prison where young kids were kept up to five years for refusing to join Saddam's Hitler-like group. And, of course, we were witness to Saddam's sub-human beast who used pregnant women and children as human shields on the battlefield.
Now, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld all three warned of the dangers inherent of leaving such a thug in power. All three laid out a road map for winning this war. And you know what? In each and every case, they were exactly right. And yet, these three visionaries have been the target of abuse from left-wing stooges on Capitol Hill, in Hollywood and, of course, at the United Nations.
Now, just last night, in case you haven't heard this yet, Jane Fonda -- remember her -- told a Canadian audience that the entire world was uniting against America because of this war in Iraq, and that Americans were ignorant of history and ignorant of the world. Less than 24 hours later, as you can see on the screen here, people are dancing in the streets of Baghdad. They're kissing pictures of President Bush, and they're tearing down statues of Saddam Hussein. I wonder if we'll get an apology from Jane Fonda tonight. I doubt it.
I also doubt that politicians like John Kerry and Dennis Kucinich are going to tell us what we already know: That they were dead wrong about the war, they were dead wrong about George Bush's war plan, and most importantly, they were dead wrong about the need to liberate the people of Iraq.
Heading west, I wonder if Janeane Garofalo still thinks George Bush is as dangerous to the world as Saddam Hussein. If so, I suggest she takes a trip to Baghdad like her buddy Sean Penn and talk to the children who lost their parents to Saddam's torture factories. Or maybe she could talk to the fathers whose wives and children were gassed to death by Saddam and his cousin, Chemical Ali.
And I wonder if Ed Norton, formerly one of my favorite actors, is still ashamed of the United States, as this clown pronounced himself to be at the Berlin Film Festival this year. If so, then I think Americans are going to surely be ashamed of Norton and all of these actors who decided to be politically correct instead of being morally right.
I wonder, will Martin Sheen apologize now for providing aid and comfort to the Baghdad beast by working day and night against his immediate removal, despite the fact that this tyrant, Saddam, killed more Muslims over the past 25 years than any man alive? Again, I doubt it.
And I doubt that the journalists at "The New York Times" and NPR or at ABC or at CNN are going to ever admit just how wrong their negative pronouncements were over the past four weeks.
As for the U.N., well, those bumbling bureaucrats can never say that they weren't warned. Remember when President Bush told them, stand up or face irrelevance? Well, they stayed in their seats, and now they should pay the price.
Dante wrote that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral crisis, and if that's the case, then George Bush, Dick Cheney and my man, Donald Rumsfeld, have absolutely nothing to worry about.
Tonight, may God bless our soldiers, our settlers, and the free people of Iraq. And that's the real deal. [MSNBC, MSNBC Reports, 4/9/03, via FAIR  and Nexis]
Scarborough In April 2003: People Should "Apologize" To Bush Officials For Claiming Americans Won't Be Greeted As "Liberators." During an April 2003 MSNBC segment, Scarborough reacted to a quote from media writer Eric Alterman -- who later became a Media Matters senior fellow and is now with Center for American Progress -- by stating:
SCARBOROUGH: Now I want to read you what "The Nation's" Eric Alterman -- and I must say, he's an MSNBC analyst -- this is what he said one week ago: "Is Wolfowitz really so ignorant of history as to believe that the Iraqis would welcome" U.S. troops "as their hoped-for liberators." Now, first of all, let's talk about poor Wolfowitz. I mean, how long can this guy be kicked around? Are people going to line up and apologize to Mr. Wolfowitz and Mr. Pearle and Mr. Rumsfeld and all of these other guys that called it right? [MSNBC, MSNBC Reports, 4/10/03, via Nexis]
Where Is Scarborough Now? The former Republican congressman is the host of the 3-hour MSNBC morning program Morning Joe.