In a screed against an interventionist foreign policy, Hardball’s Chris Matthews virtually insisted that there is a sinister plot among those initial supporters of the Iraq war to dictate the political life of nations throughout the Middle East. For Matthews, simply being wrong on the Iraq war–to the extent that anyone can make a claim like that with any certainty at the present time–is not enough.
In his initial comments on the June 19 edition of Hardball, Matthews railed at any news outlet that would dare give a platform to George W. Bush administration alumni to share their thoughts on how President Obama should proceed with aiding the Iraqi government [MP3 audio here; video below]:
Why, will someone tell me, do the television networks, all of them, it seems, and newspapers continue to accept the discredited voices of the very people who sold us–using every trick of propaganda–into invading and occupying Iraq in the first place?
Matthews then followed with a sharp criticism of Iraq war supporters:
All those people want is what they wanted from the start–a massive U.S. military bastion planted permanently in the Middle East with an armed reach into every country in the region which fails to march to our orders here in America. They wanted us to knock off Saddam Hussein, Gadhafi, they want us to join the fighting in Iraq, send arms to Syria, bomb Iran, and they will not stop until we are up to our necks in the Mideast quick sand.
Has Chris Matthews ever actually heard, even among the strongest of foreign policy hawks, the suggestion that United States wants to threaten with military action any nation that does not “march to our orders”? While opposing intervention is one thing, suppositions like this are completely unsupported by the facts.
The former Tip O’Neill staffer misses the point that many conservatives raise: the United States has a vested national security interest in stability in Iraq and Syria. A state run by Islamist militants represents an existential threat to American security, and you don’t need to have agreed with the Iraq war in the first place to see that and to argue something should be done to secure America’s interests. In other words, you can have 100 percent opposed the Iraq war then and now think there is some role for U.S. military operations.
Matthews – and many others in the liberal media – is not accomplishing much more than beating up a straw man when he makes claims about the supposedly insidious goals of foreign policy hawks.
The relevant portion of the transcript is below:
June 19, 2014
7:00 p.m. Eastern
CHRIS MATTHEWS, host: Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews in Washington. Let me start tonight with us getting back into Iraq. Question, do you as an American citizen of this country think we should be doing this–getting back into the Iraqi fighting this time in the midst of a civil war? Do you think the president has the constitutional and or the moral authority to do this? I asked these questions tonight because today, this afternoon President Obama who won the presidency by opposing the decision to take the United States into Iraq said he was taking us, if only by a few measured steps, back into that country's civil war. Yes, he is. The president didn't direct air strikes against the insurgent group known as ISIS which is fighting its way to Baghdad. Yet he did direct a shipment of intelligence capabilities to Iraq to identify what he called potential targets for such strikes. He did direct hundreds of U.S. advisors to aide the Iraqi government right now. The president set no political preconditions for this American engagement. While he did, of course, urge President Maliki to form a more inclusive government saying we'll send him initial aid nonetheless, no matter what he does or doesn't do. So the big question tonight for all of us watching and here on this program is under what constitutional or moral right are we inching our way into an Iraqi civil war based on religion? Is this what the American people really want? Why, will someone tell me, do the television networks–all of them, it seems–and newspapers continue to accept the discredited voices of the very people who sold us–using every trick of propaganda–into invading and occupying Iraq in the first place? All those people want is what they wanted from the start–as massive U.S. military bastion planted permanently in the Middle East with an armed reach into every country in the region which fails to march to the our orders here in America. They wanted us to knock off Saddam Hussein, Gadhafi, they want us to join the fighting in Iraq, send arms to Syria, bomb Iran, and they will not stop until we are up to our necks in the Mideast quick sand.