Episode

3/21 The Lessons America Refuses To Learn About The Iraq Disaster w/ Spencer Ackerman

March 21, 2023

Sam hosts Spencer Ackerman, columnist for The Nation and author of the Forever Wars newsletter on Ghost, to discuss his recent piece “The Unlearned Lessons From the War in Iraq”.  Sam begins by running through updates on the IPCC’s report on catastrophic warming levels, a brand new Fox lawsuit, the LA school system heading into a 3-day strike, Biden blocking the DC City Council’s right to carceral reform, the Israeli government continuing their attack on the judicial branch, Macron surviving the no-confidence vote, and COVID declassifications, before diving into John Bolton’s musings on the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, as he laments the fact the US didn’t expand their failed military action even more. Spencer Ackerman and Sam then reflect on their own 2-decade relationship built around the developments of the US imperial project in Iraq, as they tackle the severity of American Amnesia around the conflict, before Ackerman walks through the two biggest lessons from the war that America has refused to learn – first on the horrors of American imperialism abroad, and second on why capitalism will always encourage these types of imperial extraction. Using these lessons as a broader lens, Sam and Spencer then look to the role of US intelligence in laundering the lies of the Bush administration alongside two decades of diminishing the horrors that we were conducting in the region, all while attempting to distance themselves from the products of their work (war crimes). Next, they turn to the role of mainstream media in further laundering the imperial perspectives, reflecting on news’ complete kowtow to the Bush administration, from the NYT’s famous “aluminum tube” story to a former Bush White House Press Secretary’s astonishment at the lack of pushback, before touching on how objectors and dissidents were painted as “unruly” and “mobs,” as they tackle the how the Iraq war built on the back of previous manufactured American crises. Wrapping up, Sam and Ackerman parse through the lingering impact of this era on American politics today, from how it affected COVID disinformation to what it can tell us about our current stand-off with China.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and the MR crew watch the right-wing response to a potential Trump arrest, from Lindsay Graham and Kevin McCarthy claiming that criminal justice IS suddenly political, to Lindell and Ben Shapiro on why this will beget a Trump victory. Kyle from Queens discusses recovering from his Dave Rubin era, Alena from Virginia parses through Marianne Williamson’s potential role in the Democratic Primary, and Michael Knowles debates the value of bringing back public executions. Carlos from Florida talks about the presence of LGBTQ communities in the south amidst severe legislative discrimination, and the Proud Boys get a rude welcome in NYC, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Spencer’s piece here: https://www.thenation.com/article/world/iraq-war-isis-reparations/

Check out “Forever Wars” here: https://foreverwars.ghost.io/

Check out Spencer’s book “Reign Of Terror” here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/622555/reign-of-terror-by-spencer-ackerman/

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