In his most recent speech on the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, President Bush issued a stern warning to the American public, emphasizing that if we do not continue to support his policies, soon we will all be dead. Admittedly, his sentiments were paraphrased by the author.
“The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad. Osama bin Laden calls this fight ‘the Third World War’ and he says that victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America’s ‘defeat and disgrace forever.’ If we yield Iraq to men like bin Laden, our enemies will be emboldened; they will gain a new safe haven; they will use Iraq’s resources to fuel their extremist movement.”
A few brief points: 1) the safety of America depends not on the outcome of the Iraq war, but on the extent to which we permit the use of military force against countries that have not attacked us; 2) our enemies are “emboldened” by the spike in recruitment as a direct result of abrasive US foreign policy, which apathetically accepts civilian casualties in the name of keeping Americans safe; 3) contrary to the scenario President Bush presents, we have already yielded parts of Iraq and consequently parts of the world to supporters of bin Laden, not in the battle for land but in the battle that wages in the hearts and minds of ordinary people like us, who have now been pushed against their will to oppose such uncompromising and intrusive policies, and 4) the continued language of the President’s speeches and its simplistic description of complex world events once again demonstrates the ruthless tactics used to force public opinion to one socially ignorant, economically imperialistic, and intrinsically self-destructive side. We shall investigate the previous points in greater detail.
As for the first point, our President leads us to believe that our very wellbeing is dependent on the outcome of the Iraq war, though he fails to address the catastrophic ripple effects of our pre-emptive military action paralleled with our stubborn tunnel-vision approach to all Middle East policy. As a direct result of the near unilateral preemptive invasion of Iraq, the US squandered an opportunity to unite most of the free world against this threat of terror (which was NOT in Iraq), and subsequently gave permanent justification for sovereign nations to strike an enemy at any time without provocation. This does not make the world safer. So when the US invaded Iraq, al-Qaeda simply made known to Muslims what they’ve been preaching all along, that America wishes the destruction of the Muslim world, and if action is not taken, their country may be the next victim of unprovoked invasion. Tactics sound familiar? And it wasn’t that tough of a sell. Make no mistake; the war in Iraq has little to do with making us safer. Iraq was never a serious threat to us.
The second and third points can be discussed together. In the excerpt from his speech, President Bush claimed that yielding Iraq to enemies like bin Laden would embolden them. Due to the aforementioned Middle East policies, friends and family of civilian victims of our “humanitarian war” who now have reason to take up arms against the US, are sufficiently emboldening the enemy by joining their reigns. And as for the prospect of terrorists finding a new home in Iraq, history should kindly point out that before our forces invaded there was little trace of al-Qaeda in the country. Our armed forces had them on the run and scattering in Afghanistan, only to be granted a new home and battlefield, with even more opportunities to murder US soldiers in the many lawless areas of Iraq (in addition to the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis; note: the previous statistic cannot be confirmed because according to US General Tommy Franks, “we don’t do body counts”).
My final point addresses the tactics applied during this conflict and the manner in which this war has been waged. When listening to a speech by President Bush on any given day, it is not difficult to understand why he retains such a loyal base of supporters. His words are carefully crafted by speechwriters to make a complex decision with many tangled repercussions seem black and white. You are either with the terrorists, or you are against them. You are either for the liberation of the Iraqi people, or you wish them to suffer under the brutal Hussein regime. You either want to prevent the detonation of a nuclear bomb in a major US city, or you want to elect Democrats into power. Who can possibly argue against anything he says?
But to the writers’ credit, they have successfully used frightening words and overly simplistic one-sided phrases as the most dangerous weapon of all, the weapon that eventually garnered support for an illegal war. Bush speaks at the State of the Union just before the war in January 2003:
“Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents, lethal viruses, and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other planes — this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.”
Other than scaring the hell out of you, something else was done here that is ethically perverse. At a time where all intelligence agencies agreed that there was no evidence of a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda, without directly saying so the President in the same horrific vision mentioned the 9/11 attacks, Saddam Hussein, and “shadowy terrorist networks.” This unfounded association was common practice for the Administration at the time. It is of no wonder that in September 2003 after the war began, approximately 70% of Americans believed that Saddam had a direct role in the 9/11 attacks. It is more than three years (41 months) into the Iraq war, and after taking a second look at the excerpt from the President’s speech at the beginning of my column, it is clear that he continues to apply the same misleading tactics to try and deceive his comrades, opposition, and even his own dedicated supporters.
These are merely a few examples of manipulating the facts to win support for a long sought after policy that divided our world under deadly consequences. So the next time our President gives a speech, consider these four points when deciding whether you agree with what he says, or whether you would rather burn a rotting death at the stake in the hands of the Democrats and terrorists.
Published by the Collegiate Times on 10/31/2006
By Brian T. Murphy
In his most recent speech on the fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, President Bush issued a stern warning to the American public emphasizing that if we do not continue to support his policies, soon we will all be dead. Admittedly, his sentiments were paraphrased by the author.
A Choice Made Simple: Follow or Die