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The War on Terror

And Other Doublespeak.


by Jonathan Wilson
September 18, 2003

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The War on Terror_Jonathan Wilson-And Other Doublespeak The September 15 issue of NEWSWEEK has on its cover: "New Heroes, New Victims: 433 Americans Have Died in the War on Terror..."

The melding of the American Mind has occurred; the conquest of Iraq is now viewed as a campaign in the War on Terror. This melding is given credibility by major news outlets, despite all the facts on the ground and in the intelligence reports. Just so that we can all jog our memories:

1. No link existed between the Saddam Hussein regime and Al Qaeda.

2. No link existed between the Saddam Hussein regime and the attack on September 11, 2001.

3. Weapons of Mass Destruction have not been discovered because they did not exist.

4. Saddam Hussein's Iraq was, according to intelligence estimates made public through NEWSWEEK and other outlets, a vastly DOWNGRADED military threat from 12 years earlier.

In other words, and I wrote this myself before the March invasion, we had such control over Iraq's air-space that even if Iraq had WMD, their was no possible way they were deployable without exciting the interest of our plethora of airborne intelligence-gathering planes, satellites, drones, and so on. The intelligence reports used to justify military action, that Iraq WMD could be deployed within 45 minutes, was absolutely absurd to anyone who simply watches Peter Jennings or Tom Brokaw.

This is not a campaign in the War on Terror. If there is terrorism now in Iraq, it is a starkly new development to Iraqi citizens, who under American rule live under at least as much danger as they lived under Hussein, but just a different kind of danger, and meanwhile have lost the amenities of civilization, such as electric power and reliable utilities.

You may look it up yourself: President Bush had been talking tough about Regime Change in Iraq for MONTHS before the attack on September 11, 2001. Terrorism in Iraq has developed as a consequence of our invasion. In addition, and I take a big risk here if there are any reading who are inclined to ignore the facts: Soldiers are "hard" targets; what is happening when American soldiers are ambushed by grenades and bullets is not "terrorism" but rather "urban geurilla warfare." I am sorry, and I am praying for our guys, but this is the truth, America.

The bombing of the UN installation can properly be considered terrorism.

The media filters through which our government is reporting on developments in Iraq have been skewed by a combination of public amnesia, public opinion, and the heartfelt need of Americans to think highly of ourselves. Now the administration, through spokespersons such as Powell, Rice, and Rumsfeld, are talking about the "goal of Iraqi sovereignty" and "self-rule in Iraq." The next step will be the media reporting that this had been the goal of the war all along. (Obviously, ridding the world of the Iraqi threat of WMD could not have been the goal, since none were found, right?) In any case, gone from the reports and press releases and sound-bytes, is any acknowledgement that Iraq had been a sovereign, self-governed nation BEFORE the Americans invaded. Gone is any acknowledgement that Iraq's infrastructure is such a mess, and costing a soaring fortune to rebuild, because of the decade plus of restrictive sanctions which had already served to downgrade Saddam Hussein as a threat in the first place.

The truth, that our soldiers are facing stubborn guerilla resistance, is the same truth that permits the distinction between the Israeli military pursuing "hard" targets, and Hamas and other groups pursuing civilian targets. This may be hard to accept, but it is the truth: Targeted strikes on the motorcades of Hamas leaders is a justified action of forward defense. In urban settings the risk of collateral damage is high, which is precisely why, to sway public opinion, terrorists dig hanging out in crowded urban centers. Walking onto a bus filled with school children and blowing it up is called "terrorism." No military objective is obtained. It is simply murder.

Here we encounter more Doublespeak from the current US Administration and news media. Israel is absolutely correct in opening its options to take Arafat down, expel him, or even kill him. No War on Terror respects the truth so long as Arafat is accorded legitimacy. However, the US wants to restrain Israel from these statements and the actions that might follow.

Israel has every right to take Arafat down; Arafat is far more threatening to Israel than Bin Laden is to the US. Difficult to read, but true. In our Doublespeak, however, we somehow want to include Iraq in the War on Terror but dismiss the War on Terror which Israel has been fighting long before ours began.

Now, back to Iraq. Another difficult statement I will make is that taking Iraq down is an example of seizing military initiative. Iraq, though not a combatant in the War on Terror, was preferred ground for the War on Terror to be fought. It is like Belgium in the World Wars.

Now, the resources of anti-American hatred are being channeled towards US targets in Iraq. This is called "forward defense." It is imperialistic and troublesome on a number of ethical grounds, but from a military standpoint, it is actually quite brilliant. No act of terror has occurred on US soil in two years.

The US military cannot trust us with the facts, they feel that they must justify their wars on grounds that the public finds palatable. What our US government and military consistently forget, however, is that Americans have little appetite for lies where it concerns the lives of our soldiers.

Maybe if the US Military had as much courage as the soldiers it sends in harm's way, and could admit to the public why we do what we do, then maybe, just maybe, they will find understanding and support. Or maybe the electorate will do something about it come the next election. That's how it is supposed to work: Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Right?

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