Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Collective Mirage

The two-part PBS Frontline series called "Bush's War" ought to be required viewing for every American. Part 1 aired last night. Part 2 airs tonight. If you've been a sentient being over the past five years, you already know much of this history. What is new, and remarkable, is the synthesis of hundreds of hours of videotaped war footage, political speechifying, and behind-the-scenes interviews.

What do we find out?
  1. As early as the afternoon of 9/11, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were searching for a pretext to include Iraq in the retaliatory measures surrounding the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
  2. If you start with the conclusion, you make the premises fit the conclusion. You will see aluminum tubes, Nigerien yellowcake, and germ warfare wherever you look.

What's fascinating and deeply disturbing here is the phenomenon of the collective mirage. It's impossible to say, really, how much of the mirage was due to a willful twisting of the facts versus, shall we say, merely a creative interpretation of the facts. The key is that the mirage was real. People see funny things in the desert. They always have. They did five years ago. They still do today.

8 comments:

Brother-in-law Bill said...

Thank God for an objective source of news and information like PBS. I am absolutely convinced that it will be completely fair and balanced, unlike tools of the vast right wing conspiracy like Fox News.

I'll probably opt for something truly objective, like basketball.

Andy Whitman said...

Well, Bill, there's this (http://blogs.abcnews.com/rapidreport/2008/03/pentagon-report.html), which finds no correlation between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

The source is the U.S. Military. But they may be biased, too.

But I'm with you on the primacy of basketball at this time of year.

just scott said...

Okay, so PBS isn't unbiased, lol. But I thought they were planning on going into Iraq earlier than 9/11. Oh, thats right, they were. How convenient that 3,000 people died to give them the go-ahead. A good book was "American Alone: The Neo-Conservatives and the World Order" by Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke. But hey, thats just my opinion :)

Brother-in-law Bill said...

Newsflash, folks. We're all biased. Honesty dictates revealing those biases, something I haven't yet seen from PBS or ABC or the other networks. Or the "source" within the U.S.Military.

On the other hand, biased refs seldom truly impact the final results in basketball, even though I enjoy yelling at them as much as the next fan.

Andy Whitman said...

Sure, Bill, we're all biased. But hopefully we can a) be aware of our biases and the biases of others, and b) not be inhibited from drawing conclusions and acting upon those conclusions in the face of overwhelming evidence.

I don't like Nazis. That's a bias. The Nazis killed 6 million Jews. That's a fact. My negative bias toward Nazis should not preclude me from drawing moral conclusions about the Nazis.

A couple points:

-- The report was prepared by Pentagon staff at the direction of the Secretary of Defense.

-- We, the American people, were told that the justification for the current war in Iraq was the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and Saddam Hussein's harboring of terrorists, including members of Al Qaeda.

-- The report discredits both those claims.

-- We have yet to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That's not a bias. That's a fact.

Gar said...

It's funny, my wife is a chaplain in the navy, has one of those top secret red id badges that get her into these good meetings and when she reads people's interpretation of what is happening all she can do is laugh and say the American public really has no clue at all about this. The sad fact is if she told me what she new she would spend the rest of her life behind bars. Well for now though, she is on week 4 in Iraq at TQ (which is about 70 miles west of Baghdad)....

It will be interesting to see how history books write about this time in our lives....

Andy Whitman said...

Gar, your wife has (and all the soldiers in Iraq have) my utmost respect. They are in a very difficult situation, and they're doing their jobs, and I fervently pray that they all come back alive and intact. I mean that.

I still hate this war. It was started on false pretexts, and it continues for God only knows what reasons. "Support the Troops" is a great slogan. Let's get 'em all home.

GAr said...

I wouldn't expect them home anytime soon.

Plus, I stand with you and hate this war too. However, if we leave now, I am more afraid of what will arise.....

It might make Saddam look a Noble Peace Prize winner....