Moyers & Company

Season 3, Episode 38 of 52

Jonathan Landay is one of the unsung heroes of Washington journalism. During the buildup to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 he and his colleagues at McClatchy newspapers got the story right, reporting that the government was cooking the intelligence books to make the case for war and that Vice President Dick Cheney and others were even lying. But "official" Washington, including the mainstream media, ignored the inconvenient truths -- with disastrous results. Now Landay is analyzing President Obama's decision to use air power against Sunni Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq: what's different from 11 years ago? Is U.S. intelligence reliable? Last July Landay wrote that the Obama administration knew ISIS was growing but did little to counter it. Why? What has changed? Landay and Moyers are joined by Matthew Hoh, a former Marine Corps captain who fought in Iraq, then joined the Foreign Service and became the widely admired and effective senior American civilian in Afghanistan's Zabul province, a Taliban stronghold. But Hoh resigned in protest when he came to believe that the war was only fueling the insurgency that American troops were trying to put down. In his resignation letter Hoh wrote: "I fail to see the value or the worth in continued U.S. casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year old civil war." Now, says Landay, the nightmare of Groundhog Day is happening again -- we face the same problem over and over. Although President Obama has been trying "everything possible" to avoid fighting in the Middle East, we are once again at war there and no one can predict how or when this new round of conflict will end.

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