I wrote about this only a few weeks ago, but I still can't get my head around how this story played out in the press. (I could cite many more examples of this national noblesse oblige, such as revelations from the Downing Street Memo, on Abu Ghraib, on illegal wiretapping, on secret prisons, etc.)
From the Center for Public Integrity:
President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses....
In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003.
1546, "practicing illusion or magic, deceptive," from L. pręstigious "full of tricks," from pręstigię "juggler's tricks," probably altered by dissimilation from pręstringere "to blind, blindfold, dazzle," from prę- "before" + stringere "to tie or bind" (see strain (v.)). Prestige is from 1656, from Fr. prestige "an illusion" (16c.). These words were derogatory until 19c.; prestige in the sense of "dazzling influence" was first applied 1815, to Napoleon. Prestigious with this sense is attested from 1913
Privilege is prestige, and prestige, in its fundamental nature as in the etymology of the word, means deception and enchantment. Again the line of development is continuous from the magician-leader of the simpler societies to the priest-king or god-king of the first civilization, as indeed Frazer showed fifty years ago.
Power was originally sacred, and it remains so in the modern world. Again we must not be misled by the flat antimony of the sacred and the secular, and interpret as "secularization" what is only a metamorphosis of the sacred. If there is a class which has nothing to lose but its chains, the chains that bind it are self-imposed, sacred obligations which appear as objective realities with all the force of a neurotic delusion. (Life Against Death, Norman O. Brown, Vintage Books, 1959, p. 252)
LONDON (Reuters) - More than one million Iraqis have died as a result of the conflict in their country since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, according to research conducted by one of Britain's leading polling groups.
The survey, conducted by Opinion Research Business (ORB) with 2,414 adults in face-to-face interviews, found that 20 percent of people had had at least one death in their household as a result of the conflict, rather than natural causes....
The margin of error in the survey, conducted in August and September 2007, was 1.7 percent, giving a range of deaths of 946,258 to 1.12 million.
The project uses reports from English-language news media (including Arabic media translated into English) to compile a running total. In its "Quick-FAQ" the IBC states: "It is likely that many if not most civilian casualties will go unreported by the media. That is the sad nature of war."
...as the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq discovered early last year, verifying the numbers independently is impossible because, since the U.S. escalation nicknamed the "surge" began one year ago, the Iraqi government has refused to share its raw mortality data with UNAMI [United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq] or other outside sources. Many human rights advocates, including UN Human Rights Officer Ivana Vucco, have said this step was taken under pressure from the United States to conceal the real level of violence.