|June 14, 2006|
The Death of a Boogeyman
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
I'm not bothered by the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, but I am bothered that the Bush administration, in the form of the U.S. military, inflated his significance. That’s exactly what happened according to this story from the Washington Post from April, two months before al-Zarqawi’s death a couple of days ago.
Military Plays Up Role of Zarqawi (Washington Post/uruknet)
Setting up al-Zarqawi as a more serious boogeyman than he really was is exactly what I should have expected from them though. According to the article from the Washington Post, propaganda was used in an attempt to turn native Iraqis against al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian. I'm OK with this because, after all, this is someone who apparently was in charge of a group who was bombing and terrorizing Iraqis. Of course, U.S. bombing and terrorizing Iraqis was done in the name of freeing them and setting up a democracy while al-Zarqawi did it because he is an evildoer.
The part of the propaganda war that bothers me though is that al-Zarqawi's significance was inflated to U.S. citizens. This made his death seem like a greater victory than it actually was. For an administration in need of good news in Iraq, al-Zarqawi's death is just that.
As an aside, whenever I hear members of the administration and those on Fox News (maybe they are the same thing; check out the mention of Fox News in the WaPo story) saying there is plenty of good news in Iraq but it just isn't being reported by the "liberal, elite" media, I wonder why they themselves don't spend much breath on that good news. It’s possible that the death of al-Zarqawi is their way of creating a good news story. Remember that War President Bush said his job is to keep repeating a message over and over again in order to catapult the propaganda forward. Read it here:
President Participates in Social Security Conversation in New York (White House Transcript)
or hear it here:
Audio of George Bush admitting to spreading propaganda (Crooks and Liars)
So, the plan here may have been to make al-Zarqawi seem worse than he really was and then make sure that his death was front and center as the good news from Iraq for at least a couple of days. Lord knows, they need good news
and in a very sad story, here:
Fear of Big Battle Panics Iraqi City (LA Times)
I'm convinced my theory is plausible because such action would have a chance of causing the poll numbers that President Bush doesn't look at go up a bit on the question of how President Bush is handling the war on terror/war in Iraq (same thing? different things?). And, manipulating information is one of the few things the Bush Administration is good at. Remember those color-coded terror alerts that seemed so prevalent during the 2004 campaign and every time before the campaign that Bush’s approval ratings dipped? Even Tom Ridge, former Director of Homeland Security, said that the White House raised those alert levels for reasons he referred to as flimsy and disagreed with.
Ridge reveals clashes on alerts (USA Today)
But, as bad as I'm bothered by the use of propaganda to set up al-Zarqawi as a boogeyman, I’m even more bothered that he could have been killed a long time ago but wasn't. According to a story by highly-regarded NBC Pentagon correspond ant Jim Miklaszewski from 2004, our military had al-Zarqawi in their sights on three separate occasions before the invasion of Iraq but the administration wouldn't OK the plans to strike him militarily, probably out of fear of undermining the plan of invading Iraq.
What is especially heinous about this story, which I'm sure you have never seen, is that the existence of chemical weapons labs and training sites in Northern Iraq was claimed as proof that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and of its ties to al-Qaeda, but there was never an explanation of why they weren’t destroyed. Colin Powell, in his speech to the U.N. talked about these places and even mentioned al-Zarqawi by name.
But Powell omitted any discussion of why pre-emptive action against these places wasn’t taken even though they were located in a place that was controlled by U.S. airpower as we continued to patrol the no-fly zones put into place after the first Gulf War, and that there was actually a plan for taking out these sites that was vetoed by the White House and the National Security Council.
So, had action been taken when the military suggested it, al-Zarqawi might have been killed and the people killed at his hands might have lived. And, inflating his significance in order to create good news where good news is hard to come by might not have been necessary because bad news, like the beheading of Nick Berg, might not have happened. Oh what a tangled web they weave when they practice illegal and immoral war.
This is also a good story to remember the next time you hear some right winger say that Bill Clinton refused to go after Osama Bin Laden.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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