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Ben Johnson

CNN "Journalist" Calls Obama's Election a "Benefit" of the Iraq War

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Posted on July 1 2009 9:31 am

On CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 last night, Cooper used the handover of power in Iraq to examine the costs and benefits of the war, an exercise he called “an exercise in raw politics and, of course, human lives.” Cooper introduced Tom Foreman, who presented what seemed, for CNN, a relatively balanced analysis – which caused my senses to tingle like Chris Matthews’ thigh during an Obama stemwinder.

Foreman opened, “The cost of Iraq is easy to see and hard to look at.” He noted the number of American and Iraqi civilian deaths, as well as its alleged economic costs. “The Bush administration thought it would be quick and relatively cheap – $60 billion, maybe,” but Foreman informed his audience:  “Plenty of analysts think the tab could run to $1 trillion or more.” Indeed, one such economist estimates a trillion dollar price tag – by 2015; others inflate the costs by attributing the entire rise in oil prices to the war.  In April, the Obama Pentagon estimated the cost at $694 billion, or less money in six years than President Obama spent the day he signed a $787 billion stimulus bill that has increased unemployment to 9.4 percent (reportedly 9.6 percent as of tomorrow). But what is money when, as Foreman noted, “the world’s opinion of the U.S. has plummeted”?

CNN’s journalist then moved to the war’s benefits, which “are trickier to calculate since polls show most Americans are against it, and they don’t really see any benefits.” Thanks for the heads-up. He made the obligatory remark: “We now know Hussein did not have Weapons of Mass Destruction, but we also know he did want them and had worked on getting them.” He acknowledged the war helped “avert potential, future threats” from Saddam and his sons, and that democracy had taken root in Iraq.

True, he missed a few other benefits: the bloodthirsty barbarians of Al-Qaeda were driven out of the area that Osama bin Laden called the “epicenter” of the War on Terror; Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (the bin Laden ally who personally beheaded American businessman Nicholas Berg) was killed; the people of Iraq decisively turned against jihad after living under the strictures of Shari’a; Abu Abbas was captured in Baghdad, 17 years after he had masterminded the Achille Lauro hijacking and murdered an elderly, crippled American Jew; Abu Nidal (the Palestinian terrorist leader and Saddam ally) died, under whatever circumstances; Saddam’s $25,000 honoraria to suicide bombers’ families came to an end; the Kurds were freed from the threat of genocide to develop a democratic, pro-American Kurdistan; the Iraqi government-sponsored rape rooms were closed; the recreational use of electric drills on children’s craniums was suspended; and the man “responsible for the deaths of more Muslims than any single leader since the Mongol hordes invaded the Middle East in the 13th century” was put to death.

Still, despite being leavened with dismissive comments, it had been a remarkably balanced report for the mainstream media.

Then Foreman got to his final benefit.

Pointing to a large screen featuring a picture of Barack Obama, Tom Foreman intoned dramatically: “And–there–is–this: not only did the war’s unpopularity lay the groundwork for Barack Obama’s election, but it’s also been a training ground for American troops learning to fight against insurgencies, lessons that are already proving critical as they shift to the new president’s top military concern now: the war in Afghanistan.”

[N]ot only did the war’s unpopularity lay the groundwork for Barack Obama’s election“?

Ah, a benefit from the war at last.

The unbiased professional journalism begins at 26:50.

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