And that’s the way it was: March 19, 2003

President George W. Bush announces the start of the Iraq War

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the invasion of Iraq, the US’s most controversial armed conflict since Vietnam. The invasion and subsequent occupation saw American forces entrenched in Iraq until the end of 2011. The war resulted in almost 4,500 American fatalities, cost $3 trillion, and left over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Today, the Iraq War is widely regarded as an ill-conceived and disastrously managed military endeavor. But 10 years ago, the consensus—including among the national media—was that the invasion was justified.

In the run-up to the invasion, columnists and editorial boards at most major news organizations, including The New York Times and the Washington Post, supported going to war. Critics accused the mainstream media of not scrutinizing rigorously enough the Bush administration’s evidence for invasion—especially its proof of WMD’s—of marginalizing critical voices, and of being complicit in the rush to war. It was a charge that many of these institutions and members of the media would later cop to.

Here is a round-up of 10th-anniversary journalists’ reflections on the role that the media played in the invasion of Iraq.

Iraq 10 years later: The deadly consequences of spin — David Corn, an opponent of the war, remembers 2003 as a time when there was “a sort of madness within the political-media world.”

Iraq War 10th anniversary reminds us of the questions we didn’t ask — Howard Fineman, who supported the war, looks back with regret at the misguided patriotism that led journalists like himself to not ask the tough questions

The eve of destruction: What it was like to oppose the Iraq War in 2003 — John Judis writes that he and three others at The New Republic—all women—were the only staffers at the magazine opposed to the war

The speechwriter: David Frum on the rhetoric of Iraq — A Daily Beast blogger and Newsweek contributor, who wrote the infamous “Axes of Evil” portion of Bush’s State of the Union speech, looks back at the messaging effort, and how Tony Blair swayed Democrats in Congress and liberal hawks in the media

Iraq War media failure can happen again — The Huffington Post on the lessons we’ve learned and the ones we haven’t

This is how newspapers covered the start of the Iraq War — Buzzfeed pulls together the frontpages from 10 years ago

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review. Tags: , , ,