The Bush administration has a well established pattern of using the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to hype an often fictional “threat to America” and sell the war in Iraq, writes the New York Times‘ Frank Rich in his Sunday column. Rich expects this year to be no different.
“When the September ‘snapshot’ of the surge shows little change in the overall picture, the White House will say that ‘the consequences’ of winding down the war would be even more disastrous: surrender, defeat, apocalypse now. So we must stay the surge,” says Rich.
Using the September anniversary to push the Iraq war is not a new strategy, according to Rich. On Sept. 8, 2002, three Bush cabinet members and the vice president fanned out across morning talk shows to warn of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and his alleged nuclear program. That was the date of Condoleezza Rice’s infamous “mushroom cloud” line.
“Like the war’s rollout in 2002, the new propaganda offensive to extend and escalate the war will be exquisitely timed to both the anniversary of 9/11 and a high-stakes congressional vote (the Pentagon appropriations bill).”
If the administration wanted to give an accurate assessment of Iraq, they would not be withholding information about increased attacks in the Green Zone, says Rich. “Apparently the White House is working overtime to ensure that the September ‘snapshot’ of Iraq will be an underexposed blur.”
By letting the White House get away with “falsifying reality, sliming its opponents and sowing hyped fears of Armageddon,” a real debate on what to do in Iraq cannot not occur, he argues.
“The best way to honor the sixth anniversary of 9/11 will be to at last disarm a president who continues to squander countless lives in the names of those voiceless American dead.”