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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Pushing Back Against Late-Term Ignorance

by bert
Good ol' Capper, once a fellow Folkbum nestling but now soaring with his own blog Cognitive Dissidence, stirred up some ignorance-baring outrage at the blog "Right View Wisconsin" that I want to highlight. A "Right View" contributor named Amy was jousting with Capper with posts and counter-posts about Bush when she said this:
I laughed out loud while reading your [Capper's] baseless response. You say: "The media didn't question Bush when he claimed Iraq was involved in 9/11?" When did Bush ever make such a claim? He didn't. It was our media that tried to make it appear as though Bush said Iraq was to blame for 9/11 - a statement NEVER made by our president.

Her verbiage is an example of many forces hard at work right now burnishing what they hope will be a favorable public memory of the Bush presidency. The only reason I care is the little matter of a freakin' war that Bush started, for God's sake. (Another legacy-burnishing example: New York Times conservative columnist William Kristol just Monday tried to sneak in the subjunctive clause reading: "following on the heels of our success in Iraq" in a column supporting Israel's war on Gaza. Sorry Bill, uh uh.)

So I need again to push back against this nonsense. I guess it needs to be said that the White House wanted us to think there was a link between 9-11 and Saddam Hussein. To do it, I'll let another New York Times columnist, Frank Rich, do all the work:

The president now [in February, 2007] says his government never hyped any 9/11-Iraq links. “Nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq,” he said last August after finally conceding that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. In fact everyone in the administration insinuated it constantly, including him. Mr. Bush told of “high-level” Iraq-Qaeda contacts “that go back a decade” in the same notorious October 2002 speech that gave us Saddam’s imminent mushroom clouds. So effective was this propaganda that by 2003 some 44 percent of Americans believed (incorrectly) that the 9/11 hijackers had been Iraqis; only 3 percent had seen an Iraq link right after 9/11.

Though the nonexistent connection was even more specious than the nonexistent nuclear W.M.D., Mr. Bush still leans on it today even while denying that he does so. He has to. His litanies that we are “on the offense” by pursuing the war in Iraq and “fighting terrorists over there, so that we don’t have to fight them here” depend on the premise that we went into that country in the first place to vanquish Al Qaeda and that it is still the “central front” in the war on terror. In January’s State of the Union address hawking the so-called surge, Mr. Bush did it again, warning that to leave Iraq “would be to ignore the lessons of September the 11th and invite tragedy.”

Another good summary of this marketing campaign and the evidence in the so-called Downing Street Memo is the testimony posted here.

The Bush Administration formed the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) in August 2002 to market the war. The Administration waited to introduce the WHIG's product to the public until September 2002, because, as White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card told The New York Times,"[y]ou don't introduce new products in August."

That "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" [as stated in the Downing Street Memo leaked from a British cabinet meeting] is confirmed by the multi-layered effort by the Administration to pressure officials within the Administration to find links between Saddam and September 11 and to manipulate intelligence officials and agencies into overstating WMD threats. Further evidence includes the forgery of documents purporting to show that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium, and the retribution exacted against those who questioned that lie (including Ambassador Joseph Wilson and IAEA Director General and now Nobel Peace Laureate Mohammed El Baradei). Just this week, the New York Times reported on a newly released State Department memo that, in early 2002, had debunked the claim that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium in Niger.

Does all this -- uranium from Niger, Downing Street Memo, "lessons of 9-11" -- ring any bells out there? Of course they do. It's not Bush Derangement Syndrome to remember stuff that happened.

By the way, what do you call those doo-hickeys inside the bells that makes them ring -- a capper, or clapper, or something like that?

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