A little more than a year ago, MSNBC broadcast Hubris: Selling of the Iraq War. Based on the book of the same title by NBC News’ Michael Isikoff and David Corn, an editor with Mother Jones, the documentary detailed how the Iraq War was sold on the mistaken premise that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). And our viewers responded: Hubris garnered the largest audience of any MSNBC documentary in the last ten years.
Of course, we now know – and the documentary and book show – that some of those in power were told well before the war that the public case they were making was false. There were no weapons of mass destruction. There were no mobile biological weapons labs. Saddam Hussein did not seek significant quantities of uranium from Africa. The public case for war in Iraq was based on faulty evidence presented as established facts.
Despite the flawed argument and flimsy evidence, Congress bought it – authorizing the march to war. Most of the media bought it. The American public bought it. But since the Administration’s WMD argument proved to be a smokescreen, a haunting question remains: just what was the smokescreen hiding? What was the reason for the Bush Administration’s decision to send hundreds of thousands of American soldiers into harm’s way to a foreign land? What was the reason for the Bush Administration’s focus on Iraq even before 9/11? And why Iraq, since other nations posed a greater immediate WMD threat?
Hubris answered the question of How, but there remains an even bigger question: Why?