The "Big Myth"
A week ago, last Tuesday, I happened to catch Michael Medved in a debate with guest Ruth Rosen. Here are her credentials:
Historian and journalist Ruth Rosen, a former columnist for the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a senior fellow at the Longview Institute. A new edition of her most recent book, The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America (Penguin, 2001), will be published with an updated epilogue in 2007.She wrote the following article, which Medved took her to task on. Actually, he raked her over the coals and made her look intellectually foolish. Well...at least she was polite. You can listen to his interview here. Thank goodness for Townhall.com. I miss a lot of programs and it is nice to be able to re-listen to some of the best in talk radio. I implore people to go listen to the interview. Aside from him getting a bit excitable (Rosen took his exasperation as his shouting at her- he was not; I think she was just looking for an easy exit), it shows Medved at his best; and reveals a university professor who clearly wrote an influential piece on a matter in which she is pathetically ill-informed.
Published on Wednesday, August 16, 2006Ok...now this is one of those "big lies" that the mainstream media pushes....kind of like the 16 words in the President's State of the Union Address. I have never been led to believe that Iraq/Saddam attacked us on 9/11 by the Bush Administration. And yet, this is what many of the critics keep telling us.
Oliver Stone, 9/11, and the Big Lie
by Ruth Rosen
When World Trade Center ended, I left the theater tense, my muscles aching. The superb directing and acting, coupled with still hardly imaginable scenes of death and destruction, had sent painful muscle spasms up my back, evoked tears, and left me, yet again, with searing and indelible images of that hellish morning.
I felt disoriented in the bright sunlight of a Northern Californian afternoon. As my mind regained its critical faculties, however, another kind of shock set in. I suddenly realized that Oliver Stone's movie reinforces the Big Lie -- endlessly repeated by Dick Cheney, echoed and amplified by the right-wing media -- that 9/11 was somehow linked to Iraq or supported by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
With a subtle touch, Stone shows us people all over the planet horrified by television images of the airplanes crashing into the towers. He reminds us that the people of the world expressed an outpouring of sympathy (since been squandered by the Bush administration).Hmm....I also recall the cheering in the streets and the Osama T-shirts; and people who were sympathetic on the surface, but underneath, snickering that America finally received a "bloodied nose" in experiencing some of the harsh violence that happens in other parts of the world. Michael Medved also recently wrote a column on "Anti-Americanism", which has been around long before the Bush Administration took office, and touches upon the envy felt by others in the world.
Meanwhile, Stone introduces us to one ex-Marine who feels called by God to help rescue those buried alive. He gets his hair cut short, puts on his old uniform, and with all the authority of a former staff sergeant, does what he knows best -- uses his military skills to save people's lives. Determined and angry, he insists that we must avenge this horrendous attack.The problem here, is that Rosen jumps ahead of herself to her own agenda and pet peeve. The movie is recreating history unfolding, and at the point in time, after the 2nd plane hit, we knew we were under attack, and we wanted to pay back those responsible for it.
We also watch a group of Wisconsin policemen viewing the terrorist attacks on television. One screams out, "The bastards!" Stone, in other words, captures the desire for revenge already in the air.
And yet, in none of these profoundly moving scenes is there even a mention of who might have committed this atrocity. Neither the name al-Qaeda, nor Osama Bin Laden, is so much as whispered.
You might say, "But everyone knows it was al-Qaeda."
And you'd be right, but do most Americans really know just who those terrorists were or that they had no connection to Iraq -- that not a single one of them even came from that country?Okay...15 out of the 19 villains on 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. What's her point? Abdul Rahman Yasin, involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, is Iraqi. Al Qaeda operatives come from many nationalities, training outside of their native countries.
It doesn't sound very important until you realize that various polls over the last five years have reported from 20% to 50% of Americans still believe Iraqis were on those planes. (They were not.) As of early 2005, according to a Harris poll, 47% of Americans were convinced that Saddam Hussein actually helped plan the attack and supported the hijackers. And in February, 2006, according to a unique Zogby poll of American troops serving in Iraq, "85% said the U.S. mission is mainly ‘to retaliate for Saddam's role in the 9-11 attacks'; 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was ‘to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.'"Many of these pollings are bogus; and Zogby has become rather partisan in recent times (remember his polling during Election 2004?)- something that Michael Medved also points out. I'm too lazy to dig up old links; but remember: Google is your best friend (well....sorta).
The Big Lie, first coined by Adolf Hitler in his 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf,was made famous by Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister for the Third Reich. The idea was simple enough: Tell a whopper (the larger the better) often enough and most people will come to accept it as the truth.Uh yeah...kinda like how the Left has repeated the mantra-phrase "Iraq and Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11" so often enough, that it's misled the general public into the false belief that this Administration has ever claimed that Saddam was responsible for 9/11. This is one of those insidious lies.
During World War II, the predecessor of the CIA, the Office of Strategic Services, described how the Germans used the Big Lie: "[They] never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it."Yup. That pretty well sums up the liberal lamestream and agenda-driven, Bush-hating propagandistic media. Whatever happens in the world- must be Bush's fault.
This is, in fact, just what the Bush administration has been doing ever since 9/11. As a result, in 2005, an ABC/Washington Post poll found that 56% of Americans still thought Iraq had possessed weapons of mass destruction "shortly before the war," and 60% still believed Iraq had provided "direct support" to al-Qaeda prior to the war.I see part of the problem as being the mainstream media misreporting and misrepresenting what the Bush Administration's statements and positions are. The other part may be that those being polled are actually a bit better informed than the dinosaur media and liberal professors who read from it. Intellectuals such as Professor Rosen have never heard of such things as the "Saddam documents", or read Stephen Hayes pieces, to know that some of us are several steps ahead of them.
In June 2006, Fox News ran a story once again dramatizing the supposed links between 9/11 and Iraq. And, as recently as July, 2006, a Harris poll found that 64% of those polled "say it is true that Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda."*Yawn*
The Bush administration's Big Lie has worked very well. Dick Cheney, the point man on this particular lie, has repeated it year after year. In a similar way, George Bush has repeatedly explained his 2003 invasion of Iraq, which had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11, by insisting that we must fight terrorists in that country so that we don't have to fight them here. (It turned out to be something of a self-fulfilling prophesy.)One of the things that Michael Medved did on-air, was corner Rosen to cite him specific examples rather than vague references and innuendos. She could not. She knew she was coming on a right-wing talk show to defend her article, and she did not have one specific example of where Vice President Cheney mispoke or told a lie. A caller brought up Cheney appearances on Meet the Press; often cited by those on the Left. What was brilliant, was during the commercial breaks, Medved dug up transcripts of the interviews Cheney gave in 2001 and 2003 with Tim Russert, and just like President Bush's 2003 SotU Address, what was actually said, and what the Bush-haters want to believe was said, are two different things.
What is so remarkably insidious, is the NYTimes will misrepresent what President Bush said; then others will pick up on it; and pretty soon a whole mythology is developed around something that never took place; but everyone believes it did, because they all end up citing from each other, never examining the actual source. The perception, however far from the truth, becomes "Bush lied". Or, for those on the Left who do examine and probe deeper, the excuse becomes, "It's cleverly worded, so as to cover themselves." Why can't they just flat-out admit, that something alleged to have been said, never was said?
Neither these, nor so many other administration statements had a shred of truth to them."not a shred" is pretty bold and sweeping. It would be nice to be given specific citations- and not "gotcha" moments of mistatements, but real, honest-to-goodness deliberate bold-faced lies!
Even the President, who repeatedly linked Saddam Hussein to the terrorist organization behind the September 11th attacks, admitted on September 18, 2003 that there was no evidence the deposed Iraqi dictator had had a hand in them.One of the most frustrating things when arguing with those on the Left of this argument, is that so many of them can't seem to distinguish the difference between "Saddam and 9/11= no direct causal link" and "Iraq and al Qaeda= evidence of links". To what degree of operational links is not fully known. But believing there are links between al Qaeda and Iraq does not mean the same thing as Saddam masterminded or had a hand in bringing about 9/11. If liberals are such airheads as to confuse and conflate the two, that's their problem. I just don't get what is so hard to understand. I have never once felt misled about this war and the several cases made for going to war- which was more than just the w(s)md (weapons of mass destruction).
One of the dishonest arguments from some on the Left who believed along with the many of us that Saddam had wmd capabilities; and yet were still strongly against The War. And now they use the argument "no wmds" as a justification that they were right in opposing the war. That's dishonest since even if the mass stockpiles were there and Saddam unleashed chemical and biological weapons on our troops during the War, these peace fascists still would not have endorsed justification for war.
But that didn't stopped the Vice President from endlessly repeating the Big Lie that justifies this country's invasion and occupation of Iraq.Again, Medved handled this beautifully by going through the transcripts. Here is an excerpt of what he wrote on his blog at Townhall.com:
I played her an excerpt of the President's Monday press conference in which he specifically, unequivocally acknowledged that Sadam had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks so she quickly retreated to claiming that it was Cheney, not Bush, who promoted this "Big Lie" (which she explicitly compared to the techniques of Goebbels and Hitler). Amazingly, this "distinguished academic" provided not a single citation -- not one! -- for her insistence that Cheney "often" misled people about Iraq's involvement in attacking the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A caller, hoping to rescue Professor Rosen, mentioned a 2005 appearance by Cheney on "Meet the Press." While the Vice President certainly discussed Iraq's long-standing support for terrorism, and many contacts with Al Qaeda (also cited by the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission) he never came close to claiming Saddam's direct involvement in 9/11--- saying twice, "We just don't know."I'm cutting down some of the other whiny drivel in Ruthen's article. Here's the conclusion:
That evening, I wrote the words that should have appeared in the postscript: "Government officials later confirmed that the organization which plotted the destruction of the World Trade Center was al-Qaeda, led by Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi Arabian, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian. Nineteen men executed the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Fifteen of them came from Saudi Arabia; the remaining four from Egypt, The United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon. None of them came from Iraq."You mean: "Why isn't this film laced with his Leftist views", don't you?
What happened to Oliver Stone, the filmmaker who gave us Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street, and Nixon? Despite his conspiratorial foibles in JFK, he has long been a movie-maker dedicated to raising tough questions about our American past. Where did his commitment to opening historical subjects for debate go?
He was right not to politicize this film, but truth-telling required that he identify the terrorists. Truth-telling would have resulted in his helping to dismantle the Big Lie that has resulted in the deaths of so many American soldiers and Iraqi civilians, and has plunged Iraq into chaos and civil war.In other words, "why didn't he politicize the hell out of it?", is what you'd really like to ask.
How could Oliver Stone leave it up to viewers to discover for themselves who committed this crime? And how could he leave the audience with the impression that there was a connection, as Dick Cheney has never stopped saying, between 9/11 and Iraq?*Groan*....please go listen to Michael Medved's interview and his reading of the Meet the Press transcripts. It is quite entertaining. Unless, that is, if you are a liberal moonbat kool-aid-drinker.
This is the tragic failure of Stone's World Trade Center. It undercuts the historical value of the film and reinforces the Biggest Lie of the last five years, still believed by far too many Americans -- that in Iraq, we are fighting those who attacked our country.