The new documentary Why We Fight features a retired New York City policeman and Vietnam veteran named Wilton Sekzer. It examines his turbulent emotions after his son Jason was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11.
At first Sekzer just wants revenge, and he understands the Bush administration to be saying Iraq was somehow responsible. So not only does he support the Iraq war, he asks the Pentagon to write his son’s name on a bomb. They do, and drop it east of Baghdad.
Obviously Sekzer wasn’t alone in feeling this way about 9/11 and Iraq. Until recently, polls showed a majority of Americans believed Saddam Hussein was “personally involved” in the attacks.
Those possessing a cerebellum know this didn’t happen by accident. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the White House Iraq Group ran focus groups to discover the most popular rationale for a war, and found it was an Iraq-9/11 connection.
Of course, they never (quite) came out and directly asserted there was such a connection. People would have asked for evidence. Instead, they repeatedly implied Saddam did it: “9/11…Saddam…terrorism…Iraq…Al Qaeda.” They correctly assumed many Americansâ€”particularly those who don’t parse every single word politicians say for fine shades of meaningâ€”would make the connection themselves.
But what’s gotten little attention is that, in 2004, a Bush official actually admitted this was a conscious strategy.
In other words:
(1) To put it in concrete terms, they sat in their offices and figured out the best way to fool a retired New York City policeman gutted by grief for his dead son.
(2) They were so proud of their cleverness they couldn’t help bragging about it to a reporter.
But what were the real reasons for going into Iraq? I’d asked a senior administration official.
There were two basic reasons, the official said. “One was to be rid of the Saddam Hussein regime”… The other was containment…
As it was, the administration took what looked like the path of least resistance in making its public case for the war: WMD and intelligence links with Al Qaeda. If the public read too much into those links and thought Saddam had a hand in September 11, so much the better.
As Why We Fight shows, Wilton Sekzer was stunned whenâ€”many months after the invasionâ€”George Bush explicitly said there was no evidence Iraq was involved in 9/11. He felt duped and betrayed. And now not only is his son gone, so is any faith he had in the U.S. government.
But that’s only bad from HIS point of our view! From the Bush administration perspective, if their marks fall for the con, so much the better.