On this 10th anniversary of George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq back in 2003 the FOX news network invited the former president earlier this week to ruminate over his decision to commit U.S. troops in a war that gave us little of what was promised. Brit Hume of the FOX news network sat down with the 43rd president on the expansive patio at his upscale home in the affluent Preston Hollow district of Dallas. A wealthy neighborhood that once had a written covenant excluding blacks from moving into the neighborhood. Unfortunately, this interview never made it to its intended public broadcast as you will understand later. The transcript of the interview was obtained from a former FOX employee who was fired recently by Roger Ailes because she turned out to be a fake blond.
Brit Hume: Good afternoon Mr. President and thanks so much for sharing your time with me and the American people, or at least the 30-35% who watch our network religiously.
GWB: Well your welcome Brett, it’s a pleasure to have you here. I hope Lance from my Secret Service detail didn’t tickle your privates too much in his search for weapons before letting you on to the property. … he,he,he.
BH: It’s Brit sir and speaking of the Secret Service sir, are they a disruptive factor for the billionaire residents on this cul-de-sac you share it with?
GWB: Oh heck no Brett. My good buddy and former owner of the Texas Rangers, Tom Hicks, is delighted at the extra security it affords them all. You know, to keep that 47% away who just like to mooch off of people like us. (sheepish grin)
BH: I can only imagine and please Mr. President, it’s Brit. Well, I’m here today to congratulate you on the 10th anniversary of your heroic decision to invade the evil domain of Saddam Hussein and the successful efforts your advisors administered in the initial shock and awe campaign that gave our viewers sitting in the comfort of their living room a rather dazzling display of fireworks over the city of Baghdad.
GWB: Whoo boy! That sure was a show wasn’t it. And you know, we missed getting ole Saddam by a possum’s pubic hair that night. (Bush holds up his right hand and presses his index finger to his thumb)
REALITY: The Shock and Awe campaign of 2003 began, appropriately enough, with an air strike on March 19, supposedly intended to kill Saddam Hussein but aimed at a location where he was not present, and — appropriately enough — missing the target aimed at. Attacks continued at a low level until 1700 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) on March 21, when the main bombing campaign began with 1,700 air sorties. By April 15, 2003, according to the BBC, there had been 41,000 sorties, 15,500 strike sorties, and 27,000 bombs dropped. This was combined with a ground assault. A greater number of bombs had been dropped on Iraq, according to the BBC, in 1991: 120,000 sorties, 40,000 strike sorties, 265,000 bombs dropped. By April 30, 2003, T. Michael Moseley, Lt. Gen, USAF, reported 29,200 air strikes during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
GWB: Whoa, whoa, whoa!!! What was that that just flew up there on the screen monitor. Where did all those facts and figures come from.
BH: I don’t know Mr. President. I saw it too and I can assure you we at FOX would have never had any numbers like that. We’ll investigate and be sure to edit that out before this airs sir.
GWB: Well, I hope so. I don’t want the American people to think their President would lie to them about something a few of our good men and women in the military died for, along with a few Iraqis that were the unfortunate “collateral damage” types Secretary Rumsfeld referred to at the time … he, he, he.
REALITY: Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that between March 18, 2003, and June 2006, there were 654,965 excess deaths in Iraq, of which 601,027 were due to violence. Excess deaths means, in this case, deaths exceeding the already high death rate under sanctions. So, all else equal, avoiding the war would have saved 654,965 lives just in the first three-and-a-quarter years, but avoiding the war and ending the sanctions would have saved many more lives.
The British based Opinion Research Business found that between March 2003 and August 2007, there were 1,033,000 violent deaths of Iraqis in Iraq.
Experts on surveys of this sort have supported the conclusions of Johns Hopkins and of the Opinion Research Business as strenuously as the U.S. corporate media (LIKE FOX) has hypocritically denounced them. A review of this debate is found in Erasing Iraq: The Human Costs of Carnage by Michael Otterman and Richard Hill with Paul Wilson.
Among the dead are 4,489 U.S. and smaller numbers of other Western troops, not counting private contractors, and not counting those who have died from war injuries after leaving Iraq.
GWB: Damn! There it goes again. What gives Brent? You yanking my chain here?
BH: Not at all sir. I assure you that this is not something our network would sanction. Our loyalty at FOX to you and the GOP is without question sir and we would do nothing to distort the fantasy we have helped mold of you, your administration and the Republican Party. Let me remind you too sir that I go by B-R-I-T.
GWB: Yeh, well okay. But just to put myself at ease in case there is some spy satellite hovering over head sending some kind of frequency to your telecommunicator thingies there, let’s move inside where we can shield against such an invasion of privacy. We shouldn’t have to fear somebody listening in to our conversation without being asked now would we? (the president gives Brit a wink and half grin)
The former president and Mr. Hume get settled into an anteroom in his plush residence.
BH: Getting back to our praise for your victory in Iraq sir, how do you think the middle East will develop overtime now that your efforts to spread freedom have been firmly planted there?
GWB: You know Brite, since we removed that dictator Saddam Hussein the Iraqi people have created a fledgling democracy where they can vote for their leaders and build a secure future for them and their children.
REALITY: While the dramatic escalation of violence that for several years was predicted would accompany any U.S. withdrawal did not materialize, Iraq is not at peace. Violence is still a part of life, and it may worsen in the months or years ahead.[lv] Sectarian divisions that developed during the war remain very much in place.[lvi] The war destabilized Iraq internally, created regional tensions, and — of course — generated widespread resentment for the United States. That was the opposite result of the stated one of making the United States safer.