Conservatives Working Hard to Keep the Myths Alive

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Half of Americans Still Believe In WMDs – They Saw Them on TV

A recent Harris Poll reports found that while “the U.S. and other countries have not found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, surprisingly more U.S. adults (50%) think that Iraq had such weapons when the U.S. invaded Iraq. This is an increase from 36 percent in February 2005.”

This is terrible news. Even President Bush has been forced to admit that his administration’s number one justification for attacking Iraq was wrong, because in fact there were no weapons of mass destruction. The Harris Poll didn’t attempt to analyze why the number of misled Americans has actually increased in the past year, but perhaps it is because Senator Rick Santorum held a news conference not long ago in Washington and announced that WMDs had just been found in Iraq. A bit like announcing that, science be damned, the Sun is revolving around the Earth! Pentagon officials quickly dismissed the Senator’s claims, which were based on the discovery of some leftover, nonfunctioning weapons from more than a a decade ago. Sheldon Rampton and I examine this phenomenon in our next book, The Best War Ever, excerpted below.

Writing for the Associated Press, Charles Hanley suggests that “timing may explain some of the poll result. Two weeks before the survey, two Republican lawmakers, Pennsylvania’s Sen. Rick Santorum and Michigan’s Rep. Peter Hoekstra, released an intelligence report saying 500 chemical munitions had been collected in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. … But the Pentagon and outside experts emphasized that these abandoned shells, many found in ones and twos, were 15 years old or more, their chemical contents were degraded, and they were unusable as artillery ordnance.” The AP quotes John Prados, author of Hoodwinked: The Documents that Reveal How Bush Sold Us a War, as saying, ”I think the Santorum-Hoekstra thing is the latest ‘factoid,’ but the basic dynamic is the insistent repetition by the Bush administration of the original argument” that Saddam had WMDs.

The repetition of these phony WMD claims continues in the right-wing media and blogosphere. For example, this very article by Hanley of the Associated Press is under stiff if ludicrous attack by the American Spectator and others keeping the ‘Saddam had WMDs’ myth alive and even growing.

Keeping the WMD myths alive is part of the ideological agenda, if the WMD claims were lies, then people may question some of the other rationales too. Like Dick Cheney implying an operational connection between Iraq and Al-Queda. Both important parts of giving the impression that conservatives have invaded Iraq because they are supposedly tough on terror.The right-wing fringe has made a huge emotional investment in the story book notion that Iraq is like the mythical dragon king that once destroyed all evil in the world will end. Even on right-wing blogs, a ideologically sympathetic forum, the posts about WMD and the comments tend to be angry and many times include childish insults of those that have not invested in the same outlandish lies. Important as the direct emotional investment is in the WMD and Al-Queda connection myths are, no less important are the myths that entangle US presence in Iraq with the notion that conservatives have sent troops there to defend America and doing so is the patriotic thing to do. I won’t hyperlink link to them directly, but this link from defendamerica.com (http://www.defendamerica.mil/articles/nov2004/a110404g.html) gives an idea of what I mean,

If you hear someone talking about the senselessness of this war, politely remind them of the price. I cannot think of anything worse for a child than to hear that his or her father died without purpose in a land of no importance. Do not allow others to forget or lessen the heroism of our fallen soldiers and those who have sacrificed a part of their lives to help our brothers and sisters in God.

This medic sounds like a nice guy and is probably very sincere, but he is wrong nevertheless. It is deeply wrong to send fathers off to die for a lie, to die in unnecessary wars that have absolutely nothing to do with making America safer and have killed close to 40 thousand Iraqis whom the right claims to care so much about. Many of those Iraqis were fathers and their children. If war is ever moral, it is only moral when we engage it it for valid reasons, with clearly defined goals, a clear exit strategy, and that more good will be done then harm. It may well be that this medic writing for a extremely conservative web site simply cannot face, like many well meaning Americans that people are dying and the reasons for their deaths only are because the powers that be really don’t know what to do about terrorism; there is the neocon theory that Iraq was supposed to be made an example of. That the shock and awe would show radical terrorists a thing or two about American power; only it has shown them that we can became easily bogged down in a fight against native insurgencies. I was going to add that they don’t know what to do about totalitarian regimes, but a realistic look at the world suggests that despite grand claims about the neocon push for spreading democracy we’re slightly worse off then six years ago. Most of the authoritarian regimes in the middle-east remain so. Bush wants to sell more weapons to despotic regime like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Conservative businessmen are falling all over themselves to do business with China. Selling arms to some of these middle-eastern countries may be for the best in the sense, better authoritarian then totalitarian, but this administration’s penchant for weapons deals to countries that swear by boot justice does spoil the image of the neocons as liberators of the oppressed.
Stay in Iraq extended as soldier prepared to come home

Instead of touching down on his Alaskan base last week – and returning home to Nashua in September – Sgt. Jacob Worrell will try to help curb the sectarian violence that has Baghdad close to the point of civil war.

“I cannot wait for him to come home. It’s been long enough,” Belair said Tuesday afternoon in her Nashua home, where a photo of Worrell in an Army dress uniform overlooks the living room.

Belair received the e-mail Friday. In it, her 23-year-old son “apologized profusely,” she said.

“I know I’m breaking your heart,” Worrell wrote.

But Belair doesn’t fault her son. Rather, she blames President Bush and the Pentagon for prolonging what she sees as a losing cause. She asked, somewhat rhetorically, why Bush’s twin daughters haven’t enlisted to serve in Iraq.

“We’ve tried, but we haven’t succeeded, other than establishing a government,” she said. “It’s getting worse.”

Belair knows she’s not alone. Most public opinion polls show a majority of Americans disapprove of the Iraq war. A growing number of voices are calling for U.S. troops to be pulled out immediately.

She also recognizes she’s not a lone military mother. She’s one of many parents watching their loved ones put their lives at risk as the military attempts to preserve its efforts in Iraq.

AS long as the conservative myths about Iraq are kept alive the longer they think they can justify policies that are counter productive. We all still hear the claim that the policies of the far right must be working because we haven’t had another 9-11, thus its a heresy to think that we haven’t been attacked on that scale again because Isalimic terror isn’t as pervasive as some have said. Most of the deaths in the middle-east are actually Arab Muslims killing other Arab Muslims. Even those deaths would have been a fraction of what they are if Bush would have allowed WMD inspections and sanctions to continue. The sooner the Sgt. Worrels come home the sooner the level of violence will lessen. There are terrorists out there and the best tools to fight them are the CIA and special forces, not wholesale occupations of relatively secular countries that don’t have WMD or connections to 9-11. 1,500 Violent Deaths Reported in Iraq

About 1,500 violent deaths were reported in the Baghdad area last month, a top health official said Wednesday, providing figures that showed a steady increase in killings since the beginning of the year.

Deputy Health Minister Dr. Sabah al-Husseini also said about two-thirds of the deaths reported in Baghdad since January were due to violence. Last year, about one third of the 10,105 deaths recorded in the capital were due to violence.

Iraqi women mourn next to the bodies of their relatives kiiled in a U.S. airstrike, in Baqouba, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday Aug. 9, 2006. Four people were killed and 16 wounded in a U.S. airstrike late Tuesday, police said. There was no immediate comment from U.S. officials, but a mosque and nearby houses in the city were heavily damaged in the blast. (AP Photo/Adam Hadei)
Iraqi women mourn next to the bodies of their relatives kiiled in a U.S. airstrike, in Baqouba, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday Aug. 9, 2006. Four people were killed and 16 wounded in a U.S. airstrike late Tuesday, police said. There was no immediate comment from U.S. officials, but a mosque and nearby houses in the city were heavily damaged in the blast.

Those figures do not include members of the U.S.-led coalition.

Snark alert: That woman mourning in the photo at the link is apparently in every picture from Iraq. She’s wearing black and has olive skin so the photo must be staged for propaganda purposes.