Duration: 11.61 seconds
The attack on Iraq was completely misdirected and based on lies and distortions and a demonization of Saddam Hussein.
Duration: 21.59 seconds
Echo Chamber Project:
If you take a step back and you look at principles of journalism, it seems like a principle is, you should independently verify as much information as you can before you report it. Can you speak to that and how the press did in terms of WMD and human rights? [Well, I mean --]
Duration: 15.62 seconds
It's hard to talk about how the press did in relationship to this because it's a mixed picture and some people did better than others and some people did better on one day and terrible on another day, so I don't know if I can generalize too much.
Duration: 34.8 seconds
I would say that I think the press catastrophically missed the story. In other words, it never collectively created the impression among the American people that either: 1.) Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, that's now almost an act of faith among Americans, even today, even despite all the investigations. Yet there was no evidence for that, and the press didn't really forcefully try to debunk that.
Duration: 51.69 seconds
In terms of the Weapons of Mass Destruction, there were lots of people available before the war who were willing to say, and I'm talking about experts, who were willing to say that the UN was right, that many of these weapons were probably destroyed many years ago, and that we should let the UN inspections continue. That was a theme that has been submerged now as if there were no people saying that. But those people were denied the opportunity to get front page hearing for the most part, with the exception of people speaking in a foreign accent, with the exception of officials of various countries in Europe or the Arab world or the United Nations who Americans immediately turn off.
Duration: 19.79 seconds
That's especially true on television where Americans tend to lump anybody with a black moustache into the Osama bin Laden category. And so all the Arabs, whether it was the King of Saudi Arabia or Saddam had to have been al Qaeda supporters, which is patently ridiculous.
Duration: 10.74 seconds
Even today people think that somehow the Saudi Royal Family is behind al Qaeda, even though al Qaeda is constantly trying to blow up the Saudi royal family.
Duration: 6.97 seconds
I can't excuse the way the media treated this whole Weapons of Mass Destruction and terrorism issue. It's a shameful episode.
Duration: 21.89 seconds
Yes, there are many heroes. I mean, what we learn about it is mostly through the media. But for the most part the impression that was created among the public today, most of the public believes we found Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. Most of the public believes that Saddam had ties to al Qaeda.
Duration: 25.06 seconds
There's no way they could get that impression from just watching Fox News. Almost nobody watches Fox News it's a few hundred thousand people or maybe a million or 2 on a good day. But among the 100s of millions of people who watch TV and read newspapers a wrong impression has been created. And they didn't get it from watching George Bush speeches either, because nobody watches those. They got it from the media.
Duration: 22.79 seconds
Echo Chamber Project:
So when you take a step back -- how is the media supposed to prove a negative, like there are no connections with al Qaeda. Or are they merely to say the Bush administration provides no evidence, they're just insinuating? [Well -- ]
Duration: 36.6 seconds
I wrote about the Iraq / al Qaeda connection in my stories at the end of 2002. And I found lots of officials who were willing to say to me even on the record that there was no connection. I mean, this was not a mysterious issue. There were people who'd studied this for years, who'd spent their lives studying Osama bin Laden, who'd spent their lives studying terrorism, people following Iraq. And I talked to them and they said, "This is nonsense". Now I don't know what else you can say about it.
Duration: 23.12 seconds
There were studies done at the National Security Council under the Clinton administration where they sifted every possible bit of information and came up with nothing. Daniel Benjamin who was on the NSC at that time told me on the record that they had studied the ties between Iraq and al Qaeda and came up with zero.
Duration: 23.89 seconds
There'd been no terrorism from Iraq or by Iraq from the record as far as I know going back to the first Gulf war. I don't think from 1990 onwards, there was a single incidence of Iraq being linked or sponsoring even a minor terrorism act, somebody pulling out a gun and shooting someone in Beirut.
Duration: 16.68 seconds
There are lots of those linked to many other countries, but none linked to Iraq in the last 14 years. So if Iraq was such a terrorist mastermind, why weren't they masterminding anything? Well, these were the basic questions that nobody was asking.
Duration: 22.32 seconds
Echo Chamber Project:
If you look at people on the Right, people like Steven Hayes or Cliff May, they'll say stuff like "What about Abu Hamas [sic]? Iraq was providing refuge for him -- or Abu Nidal?" They list all these incidents where terrorists had some sort of a tangential connection. Can you speak to any of these specifics? [Well --]
Duration: 18.15 seconds
All I know is that all of the experts said that Iraq was not behind terrorism in the last 14 years. Whatever the rightwing lunatics want to say, I'm not going to address it. I mean, they're wrong and I'm right. They have to show proof that something happened.
Duration: 12.25 seconds
Abu Nidal was a terrorist in the 1970s, and by the time he got to Baghdad recently he was a decrepit, sick old guy in a house somewhere who was just living in Baghdad and wasn't connected to anything.
Duration: 46.41 seconds
There's an overlap between the resistance among the Palestinians and terrorism. And some Palestinians are terrorists. And some terrorists are Palestinians. And so it's easy to take the word "terrorism" and mush it up and then somehow connect it to all the Arab countries because basically all the Arab countries support the PLO. So if you're going to make those kinds of connections to the Left wing or the Radical wing of the Palestinian movement, and find some connections to some Arab countries, anybody can do that. But we're talking about specific organizations and specific terrorist actions.
Duration: 27.86 seconds
If you minus out the resistance fighting in the occupied territories in Palestine, there's simply no Iraqi terrorism to speak of at all. Yes, Saddam provided some support to suicide bombers families in Palestine. But that's not unique in the Arab world and that has kind of a generic, general support among many Arab countries who consider that a war.
Duration: 17.28 seconds
You can argue that that's a dumb strategy. I would. I don't support suicide bombing. But it's not the same as supporting al Qaeda. It's not the same as supporting Islamic terrorism. And in fact, the Islamists considered Saddam to be one of their worst enemies.
Duration: 9.78 seconds
Echo Chamber Project:
So what you're saying is that other Arab countries also give money to families? Or is it just Iraq? [Many Arab countries do. Of course --]
Duration: 26.36 seconds
There are a lot of Arab countries that support the Palestinian movement in all it's shapes and forms and formats through charities, through money directly to the PLO, through Hezzbolah. I mean, there's a lot of money that funnels into the Palestinian movement from many Arab countries -- from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries to Syria to Iraq to Egypt to Libya.
Duration: 40.24 seconds
Obviously, a lot of this money goes into supporting the Palestine/Israeli conflict. I don't think that has anything to do with Osama bin Laden, who has never been much concerned with the Palestine issue during his career. He's a jihadist, who's concerned about establishing a calephit, and re-establishing a central nervous system for the Islamic movement and then conquering the West for Islam or some deluded plan he has. I don't know what it is. But whatever it is, it has nothing to do with the Palestinians.
Duration: 35.7 seconds
Echo Chamber Project:
If you take step back and look at a principle of investigative journalism and "follow the money". And if you follow the money in the case of Iraq, what do you find? And speak to the motivations as to why -- in other words -- [What money are we talking about?] -- If you would have looked at why the -- Let me ask this, why did the United States go to war in Iraq from you -- that's a different question but then I'll follow up. [Ok.]