The war that began March 19, 2003, was justified to the country by alarming claims that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and connections to al-Qaida terrorists—almost all of which turned out to be false. Some of the most senior officials in the U.S. government, including President Bush himself, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, asserted these claims in public with absolute confidence, even while privately, ranking U.S. military officers and intelligence professionals were voicing their doubts. Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War, a documentary special hosted by Rachel Maddow that will air Monday night on MSNBC at 9 p.m. provides new evidence that the dissent within the administration and military was even more profound and widespread than anybody has known until now.
David Corn writes:
"One chilling moment in the film comes in an interview with retired General Anthony Zinni, a former commander in chief of US Central Command. In August 2002, the Bush-Cheney administration opened its propaganda campaign for war with a Cheney speech at the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention. The veep made a stark declaration: "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." No doubt, he proclaimed, Saddam was arming himself with WMD in preparation for attacking the United States."
"Zinni was sitting on the stage during the speech, and in the documentary he recalls his reaction":
"It was a shock. It was a total shock. I couldn't believe the vice president was saying this, you know? In doing work with the CIA on Iraq WMD, through all the briefings I heard at Langley, I never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program. And that's when I began to believe they're getting serious about this. They wanna go into Iraq."
But, this is but a glimpse. There is much, much more.
The film is based on Michael Isikoff and David Corn's book, "Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War."
Also, "congratulations" are in order to David Corn. Corn is the reporter for Mother Jones magazine who broke the story of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s remarks that 47 percent of Americans “believe they are victims” is among the winners of the 64th annual George Polk Awards in Journalism.