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March 24, 2008
Bush Built Up Bin Laden
Watch it and wonder.
How did we ever let this happen?
It is a 72-minute
documentary, Leading to War, which is available free for
streaming over the Internet. With minimal commentary, the film follows
current and former Bush Administration officials as they make their case
for invading Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power. It documents many
of their 935 specific lies.
Going back to January
2002 through the launch of hostilities in March of 2003, Leading to
War recounts how the Bushies mounted a campaign of mass distraction
that would do the propagandists of George Orwell’s novels and his
political essays proud. Orwell’s Politics and the English Language
should be required reading for every U.S. high school senior.
Leading to War
does a good job of sequencing lie after lie after lie, and of showing in
their own words how top Bush Administration officials used and abused
language to link Saddam Hussein and Iraq to 9/11 in particular, and to
terrorists and terror networks in general. They would make the TV talk
show rounds to repeat the same script verbatim. Yes, they were
disciplined and “on message.” The small hitch: The message was a lie.
That was more than half
a decade ago. Hindsight is always 20/20. Why does it matter now?
For starters, the Bush
Administration is using the same insidious claims of another imminent
threat to agitate for military action against Iran. For example, last
fall the Pentagon lied about the nature of an encounter in the Hormuz
Straits between U.S. Navy ships and boats of the Iranian Revolutionary
Guard. This time it’s not working quite so smoothly for the Bushies,
however. The media quickly deconstructed the Pentagon’s version of
events as a tissue of lies and exaggerations.
So perhaps we are
learning after all. Maybe that’s why Bush’s approval ratings have tanked
and remain low no matter what the administration says or does. Still the
Bushies keep on trying, as evidenced by the recent ouster of Adm.
William Fallon, a sharp critic of the administration’s aggressive
posture toward Iran.
At least we have
learned about this administration. But what about the next
administration? What about a President John McCain or Hillary Clinton or
Although the name will
be different, the issue is the same. Have we truly learned anything
about how we make ourselves vulnerable to being manipulated by remaining
fearful instead of facing the situation head on with a clear head and
eyes and accurate information?
It was bad enough that
the Bush Administration lied repeatedly during its first term to make
its case for war. The truly monstrous deed was top U.S. government
officials terrorizing their own people for the sake of political
expediency. In the infamous words of then National Security Advisor
Condoleezza Rice, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom
Whatever happened to,
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself”? It’s past time to stop
allowing our fears to get the better of us and to call out those who try
to stoke them in any fashion whatsoever.
counterterrorism experts who believe that the Bush Administration all
along has exaggerated the actual threat that Al Qaeda poses. They
believe that in building Osama Bin Laden and his deluded followers into
something larger and more menacing than the outlaws and murdering thugs
they actually were, the Bush Administration endowed them with a stature
and credibility they could not have hoped for in their wildest dreams.
Small wonder the CIA
analyzed Bin Laden’s message to the American public right before the
2004 presidential election and concluded that it was designed to
manipulate voters into choosing Bush over his Democratic opponent. What
did that say about U.S. policies that Bin Laden wanted Bush to remain in
unfamiliar with much of it himself, Bush always likes to cite history as
future vindication for invading Iraq. Leading to War provides a
good running start for future historians, and Bush does not come out
well to date.
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