On the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 incident, the US president, George W. Bush, launched a powerful and unprecedented 'anti terrorism' offensive. It is by no means a military war but a propaganda war and its target is not 'anti-terrorism' but the American public.
In a rare political scene, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Rice and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld made a series of speeches on anti-terrorism in support of Bush. After his visit to the Mexico Gulf on reconstruction work, President Bush also gave a long speech on anti-terror at Salt Lake City.
In his speech he likened the global war against terrorism to a battle between freedom and terrorism and claimed that within the Middle East, Iraq was the centre of this battlefield. Of the terrorists, three groups could be distinguished: Sunni extremist followers including al Qaeda, Shiite followers including Hezbollah, supported by Syria and Iran, and the terrorists born of a free society. These people have united out of the fear that their beliefs are being threatened by free society.
Bush claimed that if there was no intervention in the Middle East, the next generation of Americans will face a Middle East that is riddled with nuclear weapons and ruled by dictators and terrorists. However if there is mass mobilization across the globe to fight against the ideology of hatred, hope could be brought to the Middle East. This is the path Americans have chosen to take. Bush announced that policies for maintaining the current situation in the Middle East have been abandoned since it has now become an incubator for terrorists and was already dangerous prior to 9/11.
The new anti-terrorism strategy has been illustrated as: firstly, launching an attack on terrorism using all means available, secondly, labeling as enemy any country that harbors terrorist and thirdly, using the force of freedom to defeat the enemy's ideology. Only through the promotion of democracy can the enemy's ideology be defeated. Cheney has also previously mentioned that terrorists or their supporters should be prevented from obtaining weapons of mass destruction.
All these speeches have been a criticism of much anti-war sentiment and the demand of withdrawal of troops from Iraq made by Democrats and the mainstream media. Rumsfeld made a comparison with the anti-war sentiment during the Second World War and the lessons people should have drawn from the appeasement policy prior to the war. He claimed that America is facing new type of Fascism and asked how, "Can we take appeasement policy and talk about peace with terrorists?" stressing the serious consequences of the withdrawal of troops.
The media believes that the reason for propaganda is simply to gather public support for war and win back the Republican's vote. Experiences drawn from the 2002 and 2004 mid-term elections have shown that Republicans had been successful in using their strong president and resolute party image to win the election.
However, due to changes in society, since a year ago anti-war sentiment has now become the mainstream opinion. The latest survey shows that 51% of Americans do not believe that the Iraq War was related to anti-terrorism. Only one-third of citizens support the Iraq war and less than 40% of people support President Bush. Meanwhile, those senators who were against the withdrawal of troops from Iraq have failed in preliminary elections whilst some others have started maintaining their distance from Bush. The reason for this is that facts are more important than rhetoric. Democrats have commented that Americans believe that they still do not feel secure, even five years after 9/11. Iraq is in danger and the American army's influence is limited while the terrorist groups and extreme regimes are strengthened and inspired in the world.
It seems that the mid-term elections in November will be affected by the Iraqi situation rather than the propaganda war launched by the White House.
By People's Daily Online