Friday, August 19, 2005

New York Daily News Looks like Pentagon's walk tramples truth

New York Daily News -
Looks like Pentagon's
walk tramples truth

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

It has been established with painful clarity that the 9/11 terror attacks had zip to do with Iraq. So why is the Pentagon planning a 9/11 memorial march that is also a salute to our troops in Iraq?

For the same reason President Bush always mentions 9/11 when he's justifying this war: Conflation, conflation, conflation.

The so-called Freedom Walk that will take place in D.C. on Sept. 11 has a jumble of patriotic raisons d'etre. According to its official Web site, the walk from the Pentagon to the Mall, is to "recognize what happened that day, to reflect on that and to commemorate our victims, their families and our American service men and women, both past and present."

Got all that? Lietta Ruger does. She's one of the moms in Crawford, Tex., demanding an audience with Bush. "Obviously somebody is trying to capitalize on 9/11 yet again," says Ruger, whose son-in-law and nephew are serving in Iraq. "As far as we can tell, Iraq and 9/11 do not go together. We realize we may not know who did those acts, but we do know it was not Iraq. 9/11 has been capitalized on long enough. It is an empty message."

Or as Michael Hoffman, one of the founders of Iraq Veterans Against the War, puts it, "What we're doing in Iraq is what's going to create another 9/11." For the administration to commingle troop support and the 9/11 tragedy once again "just shows they don't know what else to do. They're a one-trick pony."

Actually, that's not true. This time there just may be a second trick: a concert by Clint Black at the march's end.

Whether or not a country music concert is appropriate for a day of mourning, I don't know. The thing that rankles is that this concert will be beamed to our troops abroad, ostensibly as a morale booster. But ex-Marine Hoffman has his doubts.

"There were definitely some guys who still listened to country, but they were in the minority," says Hoffman, who returned from Iraq last year. Most of the guys "are listening to rap or hard rock and metal."

So why would Pentagon officials tap Black to perform? "They're not playing to the troops," says Hoffman. "They're playing to who they view as their hard-core audience."

In other words: red state voters right here in the U.S.

I dearly hope that the Pentagon is not that conniving. But when you add up the elements of the Freedom Walk it feels less like a chance to think clearly about 9/11 and the subsequent chain of events, and more like a chance for the Pentagon, once again, to try to stir them together in one murky, patriotic pot.

New York Daily News - Ideas & Opinions - Lenore Skenazy: Looks like Pentagon's walk tramples truth

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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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