MINNEAPOLIS — How does a nation build support for war?
Immediately following the 9/11 attacks, Americans were riddled with panic and anxiety. Talking heads and even our elected leaders stoked our fears, warning there would be more attacks to come unless we stop the terrorists in their tracks.
But who flew the planes into the twin towers? Quickly, the Bush administration and other pro-war neocons in Washington tossed out some answers: Osama bin Laden; al-Qaida; the Taliban; Muslims.
With this, Bush launched the invasion of Afghanistan and announced the “war on terror,” which continues today, with no end in sight and no real victories to speak of.
Then, in 2003, the target shifted: Saddam Hussein, the leader of Iraq, who America had once cherished and even armed with chemical weapons, had weapons of mass destruction. Our intelligence was definitive, they said. And, with that, the U.S. invaded Iraq.
Those WMDs were never found, because they never existed. Not only was the intel faulty, it turned out to be a red herring, obscuring a war for oil and resources. A country was invaded, its people killed, injured and displaced, so the U.S. could install someone more friendly to U.S. interests.
Meanwhile, the upheaval in these and countries hit by the “war on terror” created a power vacuum that’s being exploited today by Daesh, an Arabic acronym for the marauding band of terrorists better known in the West as ISIS or ISIL.
None of what unfolded was unforeseeable. So who was on the sidelines in Washington, cheerleading for war? And what can the immediate post-9/11 landscape tell us about what’s unfolding now?
Here to answer these and other questions is Robbie Martin, the filmmaker behind “A Very Heavy Agenda.” His documentary film series examines how neoconservatives seized on 9/11 as a catalyst for establishing a “new world order.”
With 9/11 fading from memory, Martin warns, the U.S. needed a new enemy, so it chose an old one — not Muslims or Islam, but Russia.
Watch the full episode of Behind The Headline:
Watch the trailer for Robbie Marin’s documentary A Very Heavy Agenda: