9-11; the "unifying myth" for the war on terror
By Mike Whitney
Clearing House" -- -- To a large extent, the war on terror is a
shabby promotional scheme designed to mobilize the nation for a
permanent state of war while curtailing civil liberties. There’s
nothing original in this analysis, but it does explain the
importance of media as a vehicle for Bush’s public relations
campaign. It also explains why high-ranking officials in the
administration are still provided unlimited air-time to
reiterate the same bland bromides over and over again without
To commemorate the 5th year anniversary of 9-11, the political
talk-shows have again given Cheney, Rice and Bush an open forum
to make their claim that “America is safer” and that “we are
winning the war on terror”. Cheney even went so far as to say,
“We’ve done a helluva job here at home on homeland security….I
don’t know how you can explain 5 years of no attacks, 5 years of
successful disruption of attacks, 5 years of defeating the
efforts of Al Qaida to come back and kill more Americans.”
In Cheney’s mind, the government is performing its task
satisfactorily if he can say, “What are you complaining about,
you’re still alive aren’t you?”
This is a fair indication of how far the “bar has been lowered”
for government accountability since Bush took office.
Condoleezza Rice’s performance on CNN was grimmer than Cheney’s.
Rice repeated the absurd claim that the US might yet uncover
evidence of links between Saddam and Al Qaida. She said, “There
were ties between Iraq and Al Qaida.”
The fact that government officials lie is hardly shocking or
newsworthy. What is surprising, however, is the complicity of
the media in propagating those deceptions without argument. As
Robert Fisk noted some time ago, the news should actually be
called, “High-ranking government official said;” since the news
exclusively reflects the war-mongering, business-friendly
perspective of government.
This phenomenon has gotten steadily worse since the attacks of
9-11. In fact, the war on terror is the greatest public
relations campaign of all time, involving all the major media
which continue to promote the same, tired themes ad nauseum.
There is virtually no refuge in the corporate media for the
nearly 40% of the public who don’t accept the official version
of 9-11, or for the 63% of American who “no longer believe the
Iraq war was worth it”, or for the vast number of people who
“don’t believe we are safer”. Their views are simply dismissed
as irrelevant since they do not advance the objectives of
ownership and the state.
This “open-conspiracy” of controlled media seems much more
interesting to me than the many anomalies surrounding the
attacks of 9-11. At the very least, there is a concerted effort
by corporate big-wigs and western elites to manage public
perceptions through an increasingly sophisticated disinformation
campaign. (Rumsfeld appears to be way out front of his
colleagues in this regard by targeting the internet, chat rooms,
blogs, liberal journalists, and Arab media)
The central part of the present campaign is now, and will
continue to be, the war on terror, that threadbare PR scam which
justifies America’s global resource war. 9-11 is the unifying
myth that animates the war on terror and without that point of
reference the whole project would quickly unravel.
Today’s anniversary of 9-11 promises to be another futile
attempt to reengage the public and try to shore-up support. Bush
can be expected to invoke the same stale imagery of dusty
fireman and smoldering buildings while the bag-pipes wail in the
distance. The nation will again be dumped into a bottomless pool
of grief in the vain hope that their feelings will reinvigorate
the war effort.
It won’t work.
The American people are tired of Iraq, tired of Bush, and tired
of the war on terror. It will take more than Bush’s feigned
patriotism or David Horowitz’s revisionist-rehash in “The Path
to 9-11” to energize the war on terror. Even the best propaganda
campaign has its limits.
The only way to get the public back “on board” is with a
“massive casualty-producing event” in the United States. And,
don’t think they haven’t thought about that in Washington.
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