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Originally posted at The Brad Blog

David Corn at Mother Jones offers a preview of some of the new information coming Monday night in Hubris: Selling the Iraq War, an MSNBC documentary based on the book of a similar name by Corn and Michael Isikoff.

Narrated by Rachel Maddow, the film, like the book, will detail the inside story of how America and the world were knowingly scammed by the Bush administration into invading Iraq 10 years ago next month, leading to, as Corn describes it, “a nine-year war resulting in 4,486 dead American troops, 32,226 servicemembers wounded, and over 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians.”

“The tab for the war topped $3 trillion,” he adds, even though “it turned out there were no weapons of mass destruction and no significant operational ties between Saddam’s regime and al Qaeda. That is, the two main assertions used by Bush and his crew to justify the war were not true.”

The facts of how the nation was conned into going to war, Maddow has argued over the past week while promoting and previewing the new film, are important to understand in order to avoid the same thing happening again. “If what we went through 10 years ago did not change us as a nation — if we do not understand what happened and adapt to resist it — then history says we are doomed to repeat it,” she warns.

Maddow says the documentary will likely ruffle many political feathers, and Corn offers a few of the nuggets of new information on the scam that have been revealed since the publication of his and Isikoff’s 2007 book, and that will be presented in the MSNBC film. Among them…

—Retired general Anthony Zinni, former commander in chief of U.S. Central Command, explains his reaction to then-VP Dick Cheney’s infamous declaration that “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.” Zinni, who was sitting on the stage with Cheney during that 2002 speech to the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, says,”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.”

—A November 2001 briefing memo declassified two years ago and used by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during a meeting with General Tommy Franks, details how the administration hoped to trigger a justification for going to war in Iraq. One of those triggers, the memo suggests, was to be a “dispute over WMD inspections,” akin to the one which was eventually, and very publicly, manufactured to help fuel the phony case for war.

—According to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson, Powell was skeptical of the entire case for war, but hid that from the public, even as he was used by the administration to sell the war to the UN Security Council and the American public. “Powell walked into my office,” on the day Congress passed its resolution giving authority to Bush to attack Iraq, Wilkerson explains in the film, “and without so much as a fare-thee-well, he walked over to the window and he said, ‘I wonder what’ll happen when we put 500,000 troops into Iraq and comb the country from one end to the other and find nothing?’ And he turned around and walked back in his office. And I — I wrote that down on my calendar — as close…to verbatim as I could, because I thought that was a profound statement coming from the secretary of state, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.”

Wilkerson goes on to add that, in truth, Powell — who now regards his UN speech as a “painful” “blot” on his career — had no clue whether the intelligence he cited to the UN was actually legitimate. “Though neither Powell nor anyone else from the State Department team intentionally lied,” says Wilkerson, “we did participate in a hoax.”

* * *
Maddow’s own preview of the film from her show on Friday 2/15/13 — and how the fight over the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of the Iraq War is still playing out right now in the battle over former senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE)’s nomination to be the next Secretary of Defense — follows below:


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