September 7, 2003

Baseball-Free Edition: Nearly 70% of Americans still believe Saddam Hussein and Iraq were involved in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. "[T]he Bush administration and congressional investigators say they have no evidence of [Hussein's involvement] ... that belief came without prompting from Washington..." What?!? Do these reporters have any self-respect? Do they think our minds are wiped clean every morning and whatever they write that particular day will be accepted as truth? Are their minds wiped clean every morning? Here are many clear examples of "prompting."

There are several reasons why people believe this lie. One is the government, for strongly implying that a connection exists. Another is the media, for taking the government at its word, failing to objectively report the news and for making their broadcasts more entertainment than information. And while it's tempting to say that most Americans are as dumb as rocks, it's not fair. Most people are too busy living day-to-day to research and dig up facts on their own, and they likely wouldn't know where to look even if they did want to investigate. There also seems to be a strong aversion to even discussing certain topics. For example, the Independent Commission investigating the 9/11 attacks have held three series of public hearings in the last year, but none of them have received much coverage. In fact, the first one, held last March near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, was completely ignored by the New York Times and other national media. And no one seems to care. I don't understand this at all. I recall seeing bumper stickers after 9/11 that said: "Never Forget!" But all we do in this country is forget.

The most troubling aspect of this aversion -- as far as Iraq & 9/11 goes -- is that the lie is easier to believe. Because if we accept the fact that Iraq had no connection to the attacks, we have to admit that our military has killed thousands of men, women and children for nothing. We would have to admit that our sons and daughters did the killing and we cheered them on. That's not something anyone wants to confront.

In a May 2003 report, the ACLU reported: "A favorite tactic of the Bush administration has been to herd protestors at presidential appearances into 'designated protest zones,' out of sight of motorcade, and to arrest people who refuse to be moved. The policy, applied only to those with dissenting views, has been used to suppress dissent nationwide." These protest areas are often referred to as "first amendment zones"; funny, I thought the United States itself was a "first amendment zone." The reason for this discrimination is two-fold. First, Bush is so thin-skinned that he cannot stand to see or hear anyone criticize him. Second, it promotes the illusion that Bush and his policies are popular. This deliberate misrepresentation keeps those citizens who don't approve of Bush isolated and unaware that others feel the same. It is anti-democratic and anti-American.

In January 2003, a White House official remarked: "The President considers this nation to be at war and, as such, considers any opposition to his policies to be no less than an act of treason.'' When Bush said "Either you're with us, or you're with the terrorists" what he meant was "Either you agree with my administration or you're with the terrorists." By putting himself in place of the state, Bush, in his mind, has made dissent equal to treason. How this will play out next September when the Republican Convention is held in New York City is anyone's guess.

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