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9-11; the "unifying myth" for the war on terror

By Mike Whitney

09/11/06 "
Information 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 being challenged.

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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