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February 02, 2006

I Wish THIS Was In "Why We Fight"

The new documentary Why We Fight features a retired New York City policeman and Vietnam veteran named Wilton Sekzer. It examines his turbulent emotions after his son Jason was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11.

At first Sekzer just wants revenge, and he understands the Bush administration to be saying Iraq was somehow responsible. So not only does he support the Iraq war, he asks the Pentagon to write his son's name on a bomb. They do, and drop it east of Baghdad.

Obviously Sekzer wasn't alone in feeling this way about 9/11 and Iraq. Until recently, polls showed a majority of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was "personally involved" in the attacks.

Those possessing a cerebellum know this didn't happen by accident. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the White House Iraq Group ran focus groups to discover the most popular rationale for a war, and found it was an Iraq-9/11 connection.

Of course, they never (quite) came out and directly asserted there was such a connection. People would have asked for evidence. Instead, they repeatedly implied Saddam did it: "9/11...Saddam...terrorism...Iraq...Al Qaeda." They correctly assumed many Americans—particularly those who don't parse every single word politicians say for fine shades of meaning—would make the connection themselves.

But what's gotten little attention is that, in 2004, a Bush official actually admitted this was a conscious strategy.

In other words:

(1) To put it concretely, they sat in their offices and figured out the best way to fool a retired New York City policeman gutted by grief for his dead son.
(2) They were so proud of their cleverness they couldn't help bragging about it to a reporter.

This appears in a November, 2004 article in Esquire about Dick Cheney. If you read the whole thing, you'll see the "senior administration official" was probably Paul Wolfowitz or Scooter Libby:

But what were the real reasons for going into Iraq? I'd asked a senior administration official.

There were two basic reasons, the official said. "One was to be rid of the Saddam Hussein regime"... The other was containment...

As it was, the administration took what looked like the path of least resistance in making its public case for the war: WMD and intelligence links with Al Qaeda. If the public read too much into those links and thought Saddam had a hand in September 11, so much the better.

As Why We Fight shows, Wilton Sekzer was stunned when—many months after the invasion—George Bush explicitly said there was no evidence Iraq was involved in 9/11. He felt duped and betrayed. And now not only is his son gone, so is any faith he had in the U.S. government.

But that's only bad from HIS point of our view! From the Bush administration perspective, if their marks fall for the con, so much the better.

Posted at February 2, 2006 04:15 AM | TrackBack

Bomb'em to hell in LOVING memory of one's son...God that is such a gloriously American impulse. Revenge is a universal impulse, but only in America is it done in LOVING memory...

Posted by: En Ming Hee at February 2, 2006 05:51 AM

"Two basic reasons..."


Our Judeofascist allies in Israel wanted a friendlier government in Iraq and our Islamofascist friends in the region wanted us to remove our troops from Saudi Arabia.

Rovian domestic US politics, Cheneyesque US defense contractors' (and oil companies') bottom lines, and propping up Greenspanish US stock markets (by 'defending' the good ol' US 'petro-dollar') were, to hear some "senior US officials" tell it, just after-thoughts...

The fact that the invasion (and subsequent occupation) was unnecessary, unwise AND illegal is, of course, beside the point.

Posted by: Mike at February 2, 2006 07:35 AM

The W administration's rhetorical behavior to convince their less than well educated supporters is similar to the type of 'yarn' / ruse pedophiles use on their victims. They are totally shameless and despicable characters causing death and misery with impunity; for only a short while longer I suspect and sincerely hope.

Posted by: credjam at February 2, 2006 07:45 AM

In loving memory, indeed. Don't you understand, folks? Such actions hurt us so much more than it hurts them.

Posted by: mk at February 2, 2006 09:32 AM

"But that's only bad from HIS point of our view! From the Bush administration perspective, if their marks fall for the con, so much the better."

This works in so many ways, too. They had this man's support for Iraq. Great. Now he feels betrayed by the government. Perfect! All the better to get his vote for the next "government is bad" candidate to stand for election.

Um. There must be something funny about this. Thinking. Thinking. Ummm...

Posted by: Lame Man at February 2, 2006 10:02 AM

No thanks, Jon...

I will admit that I AM mildly curious about ONE thing though: Why did you leave Doug Feith out of your list of suspected "surprisingly honest senior officials"?

He went all (publicly) weepy about that time too, didn't he? After they decided to can him--in an (apparently) vain effort to keep Colin Powell from going away mad?

Posted by: Mike at February 2, 2006 10:20 AM

Jeez, Mike, haven't you heard?--we're addicted to oil.

Interesting note on Doug "Flowers in the Mind" Feith (and I may have mentioned that here): his father, Dalck Feith, is a Holocaust survivor and resister. My hometown paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, ran an obituary when he died last year.

Oh blessed irony.

Posted by: Sully at February 2, 2006 11:56 AM

In re "Until recently, polls showed a majority of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was 'personally involved' in the attacks", even worse before the invasion almost seventy percent of Americans thought Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden were the same person. I am so totally not kidding.

Posted by: Maezeppa at February 3, 2006 09:17 PM