We’ll Even Believe the Lies They Don’t Actually Tell

Anthony Gregory writes:

In 2002 and early 2003, the Bush administration made its case for war with Iraq. There were assertions given about Saddam’s maintenance of weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaeda. What was never said explicitly, however, was that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. Yet by late 2003, seventy percent of polled Americans thought Saddam Hussein was personally behind 9/11. Bush’s Republican voters were especially convinced of this.

Yet Bush and his officials never said this. And after the multiple disasters of the Iraq war began to present themselves with great clarity, the Bush officials were questioned about their pre-war intel. Yet they could say, strictly speaking, one thing they never claimed was Saddam was behind 9/11.

Condoleezza Rice had said something about the attacks originating in the same region or area as Iraq. There was all sorts of insinuation that Saddam might have been involved. And surely the Bush team never put an ounce of effort into disabusing the American people of the completely false notion that Saddam was behind 9/11. The vast majority of Americans believed it—indeed, at times, more Americans thought Saddam was behind the attacks than believed the Iraq War was just!—yet it was not only completely untrue, but not directly rooted in any explicit assertion given by the administration. Various pro-war commentators had said it, but Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell—none of them ever did.

Fast forward a decade to the current day. Seventy-one percent of Americans—almost exactly the percentage that thought Saddam was behind 9/11—think that Iran has nuclear weapons.  It’s a small sample, but it is consistent with polls over the last couple years, each one showing a majority believing Iran already has nukes, and almost nine out of ten Americans sure that Iran is seeking them.

Indeed, talking with “respectable” liberals—the type who listen to NPR and watch Jon Stewart—I find repeatedly that even folks who don’t want to go to war assume that every reasonable American knows that Iran is on the brink of having nukes, if the regime doesn’t already have them.

What’s bizarre about this, other than the fact that there is no credible evidence that Iran has nuclear weapons, is that no one in a position of official authority is claiming it either! Every report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, even when framed in a way to make Iran seem ominous, confirms the “non-diversion” of nuclear materials to weaponization purposes. The CIA and intelligence community have consistently stood by the National Intelligence Estimate findings that Iran has not sought a nuclear weapon since 2003 (and Iran doing so back then is only suspected based on very scant evidence produced by the Israeli government).

Read the rest of Anthony Gregory’s “Insinuation as War Propaganda.”

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  • Anonymous

    Incidentally, I just read this piece. It’s excellent, I hope it is widley read.

  • Tiggerjohanson

    Does this also mean that they aren’t pursuing a nuclear power program? I’ve heard a lot of different claims about this and I was wondering if anyone could clear this up for me. Great piece here.

  • http://twitter.com/abjectdogma Adam Magoon

    The materials needed for nuclear power are not usable in any way as a nuclear weapon.  While a reactor can be used to create material that could be used in a nuclear weapon it doesn’t do so as part of normal operation, you need specific equipment, technology, and knowledge to do so.

  • Mike

    What I don’t get Tom is why are these people falling for the same trick TWICE in a row?

    Is it really too much to ask people to actually think for a change?

  • Tiggerjohanson

    Thanks, Adam. I was not aware of that. I was just wondering if reports indicated that Iran is or is not pursuing any form of nuclear technology. Just something that piqued my curiosity. Thanks again.

  • David

     Intelligence indicates that they are pursuing “nuclear capability” but are not planning on building a bomb. According to Panetta, what worries them is the possibility that Iran could quickly build a bomb if they decide to.

  • Anonymous

     They haven’t even bothered to come up with new propaganda.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-MacMillan/683031628 Ken MacMillan

    Because people inherit their party from their parents or choose it at a young age & then the party shapes their ideology. This is a known fact of political psychology. Almost everyone in the country has been conditioned to believe what their party tells them from an early age. No one actually knows the facts or does any real fact checking so it’s easy to fall for things like this. FOX News is the most popular news channel so they’re the ones conditioning the largest group of people. Of course FOX doesn’t come right out and say Iran has a nuclear weapon but they’ll insinuate it whenever the opportunity arises. Combine that with the opinion of so called experts and it’s a done deal.

  • cwk

    What is so depressing is how easy it is for the media to manipulate public opinion. There is so much information at our fingertips yet many people don’t see it, or if they do, they don’t use the brainpower to utilize it. Like Mike said, people don’t think.

  • Adam L

    Very good post.  Did anyone else notice during the debate last night that even Santorum admitted that the intelligence community has said that Iran isn’t pursuing nuclear weapons?  It was very quick.  He said it in passing, and in a dismissive way, but he did say that was what he was told when he was in the Senate.

  • http://twitter.com/KeimgMeg Keimh3reg Peh2u Meg


    This whole Iran thing is exactly what the left did with ‘climate change’.

    Pollution, energy dependence, and severe changes in the weather are all bad things, to be sure, but were they really so bad that we needed cap and trade? NO! And we find out later that it was all a hoax. The Dutch professor who admitted to lying. The Hockey stick graph. The leaked emails from East Anglia University. Al Gore making millions (and he would have made more under cap and trade). The Himalayas weren’t really melting. The polar bears were just fine. Etc.

    But now, the so called ‘right’ is trying to pull a similar fast one with Iran…

    Iran, nuclear weapons, Islamic fundamentalism are all bad things, no doubt, but are they so bad that we want to jump to conclusions in the same way we did for Iraq and have another altercation we can not afford? NO! We will find out later who profited from a war with Iran. Who lied. Who ignored the truth. Who neglected their duties. Who fell for the hoax.

    But will we learn our lesson?

    GFool me twice, shame on me. Are the American people going to accept the blame? Or are they going to pass it off to the policy makers they keep electing and believing?