(This article is published in Salon.)
The media is letting the tail wag the dog. In doing so, it is helping the U.S. government wash its hands of its disastrous and illegal invasion of Iraq — and rewriting history in the process.
Ahmed Chalabi, a rich Iraqi dissident from a powerful exiled family and a vociferous supporter of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, died on Nov. 3. In the slew of reports on his passing, the media promulgated a flatly false, and even dangerous, idea: Namely, that the culpability for the Iraq War rests squarely on the shoulders of a single Iraqi man.
Perhaps the most egregious framing came from BuzzFeed, which insisted that, if “not for the man named Ahmad Chalabi, the United States probably would not have invaded Iraq in 2003.” Taking the idea even further, BuzzFeed — citing a senior CIA official who correctly pointed out that, if it were not for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there would be no ISIS today — blamed Chalabi for the rise of the violent extremist group, histrionically dubbing him “the man who gave us ISIS.”
The media is utterly obfuscating the facts surrounding the Iraq War, in a way that just so happens to be very useful to the U.S. government — and to the Bush administration in particular.
BuzzFeed was by no means the only network to make such claims. This tipsy-topsy illogic predominated in much of the press coverage surrounding the Iraqi politician’s death.