Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chris Matthews: Not An Iraq War Critic

While watching Bill Maher last week, I caught a blatant attempt by Chris Matthews to cast himself as a principled opponent of the War. Matthews' anger at Fusion TV's Jorge Ramos is palpable and shocking if you didn't know how mixed up inside Matthews must be in order to depict himself as having opposed the Iraq War.

Perhaps most famously, when Bush claimed “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq, Matthews went into full on fan-boy mode, claiming Americans loved having a President who had “a little swagger”, that regardless of whether he had actually flown, he looked like a fighter pilot, and that women loved him. This sort of cheerleading had a great effect on selling the White House's narrative of a War for Good and a Mission Ordained by God. It kept people in the dark about the horrors of the war and about Iraqi resistance to US forces. The fact that this was all done on the supposedly liberal-leaning MSNBC makes Matthews' misleading warmongering all the more heinous. Matthews gave cover to Bush on his left flank and planted seeds of doubt among moderates and liberals. Matthews' attempt to be “balanced” overlooked the fact that airbrushing over a politician's weak points is like leaving a movie halfway through and claiming that you know what happened.

Throughout Bush's regime Matthews continued to speak warmly of Bush. In 2006, he said that there might not be an alternative to George Bush's warmongering. He In 2005, Matthews praised a speech by Bush, calling it “brilliant” on two occasions and terming critics of the speech “carpers”. Also in 2005 Matthews tried to cow critics of the President by claiming that if elections in Iraq went successfully, Bush deserved a place on Mt. Rushmore. In 2007, he gushed over Bush's foreign policy even while the country continued to turn more against a war that was widely hated by Americans at that time.

Matthews cynical support for the ouster of Phil Donahue comports with the actions of someone who didn't want to seem opposed to the War in Iraq. His actions show him to be an opportunist and someone more concerned with his own job security than in taking a principled stand on the most important US foreign policy issue since Vietnam.

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