The Stupidity of Those Years – 2001-2005

August 21, 2009 at 10:13 am | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

As Atrios puts it so well:

I don’t want to dwell in nostalgiaville, but every now and then events occur which remind me just how fucking weird this country was between… roughly, 9/11/01 and 10/05. The obvious thing, of course, was Iraq, though it wasn’t just that. (Some) liberal bloggers were crazy and clueless and naive and, most of all, “unserious,” for recognizing the rather obvious point that aside from the dreaded balsa wood drones of mass destruction, there was literally no evidence that Hussein had a WMD program even by the rather low bar they’d set for what WMD were. More than that, it was quite obvious that lots of lies were being told to create the impression that Saddam could KILL US ALL AT ANY MOMENT, which was completely absurd, and that’s without even getting into the whole Hussein-Osama BFF pact we were supposed to believe.

People lied to take us into war. The media, by and large, believed or ignored those lies. Thousands of US troops have died along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. And just about everyone still has their jobs. Except maybe Ashleigh Banfield.

You know the worst part, at least for a Mormon like me? President Gordon B Hinckley, the prophet of our times was sold on these lies too:

And so I venture to say something about the war and the gospel we teach. I spoke of this somewhat in our October conference of 2001. When I came to this pulpit at that time, the war against terrorism had just begun. The present war is really an outgrowth and continuation of that conflict. Hopefully it is now drawing to a conclusion.

He believed the lies that the War in Iraq had anything at all to do with the War in Afghanistan.

In the course of history tyrants have arisen from time to time who have oppressed their own people and threatened the world. Such is adjudged to be the case presently, and consequently great and terrifying forces with sophisticated and fearsome armaments have been engaged in battle.

He thought Saddam Hussein was like previous tyrants who oppressed his own people and threatened the world. That of course was a lie. Saddam Hussein was safely contained.

First, let it be understood that we have no quarrel with the Muslim people or with those of any other faith. We recognize and teach that all the people of the earth are of the family of God. And as He is our Father, so are we brothers and sisters with family obligations one to another.

But as citizens we are all under the direction of our respective national leaders. They have access to greater political and military intelligence than do the people generally. Those in the armed services are under obligation to their respective governments to execute the will of the sovereign. When they joined the military service, they entered into a contract by which they are presently bound and to which they have dutifully responded.

And there was the most important failing. President Hinckley gave the Bush administration the benefit of the doubt.

In a democracy we can renounce war and proclaim peace. There is opportunity for dissent. Many have been speaking out and doing so emphatically. That is their privilege. That is their right, so long as they do so legally. However, we all must also be mindful of another overriding responsibility, which I may add, governs my personal feelings and dictates my personal loyalties in the present situation.

He says people are free to disagree, but makes it clear he does not side with those who disagreed with President Bush.

It is clear from these and other writings that there are times and circumstances when nations are justified, in fact have an obligation, to fight for family, for liberty, and against tyranny, threat, and oppression.

He shows his true neo-conservative colors. Stating that “there are times and circumstances” when nations can go around the world killing people but not offering clear guidelines about those circumstances and times opens a can of worms of abuse. Who exactly gets to judge which times and circumstances warrant action? President Hinckley states earlier, when the President of the United States deems it, at least if the president is Republican. We can’t forget, of course, that church presidents in the 1960s and the 1940s were against the wars that Democratic presidents fought.

It may even be that He will hold us responsible if we try to impede or hedge up the way of those who are involved in a contest with forces of evil and repression.

President Hinckley even gives a warning of God’s wrath for those who try to oppose the President of the United States taking the fight against “forces of evil and repression.”

This was the moment I lost faith in President Hinckley. Every General Conference after this, I was hoping he would retract his words. But no luck. He passed away without another public word about his defense of the War in Iraq. It has made it so that I cannot trust the words of the prophets on their own. President Hinckley was clearly wrong in supporting the War in Iraq. It doesn’t make him less of a prophet, but it does make it harder for me to trust the words of a prophet.

Those were really stupid years in America.

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