Tuesday, July 01, 2003

 Where's the beef? 

I guess I have to give credit where it's due - our executive branch is masterful at deceit and conflation. This is off the AP wire today - Poll Says Most Believe Saddam-9/11 Link. From the article:

WASHINGTON - Seven in 10 people in a poll say the Bush administration implied that Iraq and its leader Saddam Hussein were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States.

And a majority, 52 percent, say they believe the United States has found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam was working closely with the al-Qaida terrorist organization.

The number that believes this country has found weapons of mass destruction is 23 percent, down from 34 percent in May, according to a poll conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.

Prewar assertions by the Bush administration about al-Qaida's ties to the Iraqi government have not been proven, and weapons of mass destruction have not been found since the invasion of Iraq.


Only four in 10 of those polled, 39 percent, said they thought the government was being fully truthful when it presented evidence of links between Saddam and al-Qaida. But among those who thought the government was not telling the truth, people were more likely to say the government was "stretching the truth, but not making false statements" rather than "presenting evidence they knew was false."

The number who want the United Nations to take a leadership role in Iraq has grown from 50 percent in April to 64 percent now.

In other words, every other person you meet believes Saddam was in on 9/11. Never mind the complete lack of evidence - it's a convenient idea that Bush administration is content to let thrive, much like their tolerance of the absurd anti-French sentiment that has now died down after months of drumbeating. Even if their words didn't always explicitly guarantee or delineate this Saddam-Al Qaeda connection, it was certainly implicit in almost every public statement made from Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, all the way on down to lower-level officials like Negroponte (I can't believe that guy's still around.) After all, as long as that connection is in people's minds, the invasion and occupation of Iraq seems worthwhile, especially since WMD's weren't found there. I guess there has to be some consolation for all the US soldiers who are still dying in Iraq on a daily basis, in the sweltering summer heat of the desert, with an increasingly restless and decreasingly sympathetic population underfoot, with no end in sight for the next several years.

Of course, this terrorist conspiracy notion is pure invention, but I understand where this sentiment comes from. Many Americans (unfortunately including those in our leadership) like to think that those who dislike our country for whatever reason and to whatever degree must all be in cahoots - they couldn't possibly be independently against us. Many Americans can't or don't conceptualize anything more sophisticated than the idea of Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, Good Guys and Bad Guys. "Either you're with us, or you're with the terrorists", intoned Bush back in 2002. A vague statement to be sure (who exactly is "us"?), but one which epitomizes the reasoning expressed in the article above. How can people simply assume a connection when no evidence exists? Because of faith - people want to believe, in my opinion, partly because the alternative - the idea that our government invades and occupies other countries based on phony evidence and fearmongering - is too abhorrent to contemplate. Americans don't like to think of themselves as dupes, but those who supported this invasion under the idea that we were under immediate threat from Iraq were totally played by this Bush administration. This article shows that although the truth is finally beginning to filter into the mainstream media, there's still a ways to go in disengaging people from the distracting song-and-dance that Bush and Company have been peddling for the past year.

Another sad and ironic aspect of this article is that last bit - "now let's have the UN run things". More on that some other time....

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